Rita + Lolita


Rita: The month of February always makes me smile when I think of St. Valentine’s Day and lovers all over the world celebrating their happiness and good feelings. Lolita: It reminds me of the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre and I wonder who I can call to drop a dime on youRita: You are so cheap prying a dime from your grip would require surgery so how about we ask some of our favorite local artists that since February 14 is for lovers – tell us about something (or one) you love (or loved) having to do with the music made in New England? Lolita: Not a bad question from 300 angry pounds of spite, hate and hair. Let’s find the time to ask BRUCE ARNOLD (Orpheus) what he loves about making music in New England:  As a young man playing for bread and board on Cape Cod beaches, I learned quickly what kind of songs the girls liked. Everybody wants to be loved…even adored. Poets have a passion for hyperbole. *** AMANDA CARR (Vocalist/ Composer): What do I love about music made in New England?   I love that so many different types of music is not only made in New England, but played in New England. NE provides a place and situation to perform every style which gives me a choice to create whatever I want and know it will be living and breathing somewhere. I can headline a jazz club one night or be center ice with Boston rock icon,Charlie Farren, the next night performing an original anthem for one of our major sports teams… and even have the Mayor and Governor rocking out, too. What’s not to love!? *** JOHN STYKLUNAS (x-Big Dipper/ CTP/ Lovetrain/ Strangebrew Allstars): I played with the Chandler Travis Philharmonic for 10 years. (Tried to quit for five!) I was having a cigarette outside the Midway and struck up a conversation with a woman, telling her that I was his old bassist and was going to sit in for a few songs. She said that she loved the band and had seen them many times. We kept talking occasionally during the show. I had been off relationships for a long time and didn’t ask for her number. I asked if she was going to the next Midway show. I was sick that day and didn’t go. I got a text from Belinda telling me that a woman was asking about me. I told her I was hoping to go, but was sick. Belinda took a picture of her business card and sent it to me. We messaged back and forth for a few weeks. We had our first date on the following Midway gig. We’ve been together every day since then. Thanks Belinda! *** THEA HOPKINS (Thea Hopkins): New England is my home base. I grew up in the country and the beauty of nature always calms, inspires and reassures me. *** BRAD HALLEN (Duke Robillard Band/ The Evenfall Quartet): There are so many talented artists from every genre of music in New England that I couldn’t name just one! The Evenfall Quartet is one of them and just happen to be playing on Valentine’s Day, Tuesday, February 14 at The Fairmount  Grille in Hyde Park.  So why don’t all you lovers come on down and get some!



Rita: How about some fabulous factoids? Now is the perfect time to spread the word about what’s going on in the New England music scene. Lolita: I hate when you make sense.  LIVINGSTON TAYLOR has a new album Safe Home coming out March 3 featuring SHELLY BERG on piano, DAVID FINCK playing bass, CHELSEA BERRY on vocals and BASHIR JOHNSON on drums. *** Rhode Island swing blues horn band ROOMFUL OF BLUES celebrating their fiftieth year of touring. CHRIS RIVELLO just left the Roomful family and has been replaced by CHRIS ANZALONE. *** SARAH BORGES and her band THE BROKEN SINGLES do a great cover of GRAM PARSONS’ “Cry One More Time,” that the  J.GEILS BAND also covered back in the day. *** Check out THE REVELATIONS for heavenly sounds. Members include: ANDREA GILLIS, JENNY DEE, ERICA MANTONE, MARC PINANSKY, CHRIS ANZALONE and MATT MURPHY. *** Eighteen-year-old guitarist JIMMY BEZ and his band have a great new original song “Down Into The River.” Check it out. This kid can play. *** Drummer GAY HEBERT from the all female four piece garage rock band COROLLA DEVILLE from the North Shore tells us their new CD will be coming out soon. GYMNASIUM, FIREKING and TRICK WALLACE are also all working on new releases too.*** JEFF HUDSON has a new solo album out under the pseudonym SUPER FROSTY called Do What’s You Want, a celebration of the new Massachusetts pot laws. Funky synth beats and chill tracks with cool vocals. The music was composed and mixed on Reason Music software, mastered by MARK ALAN MILLER and all the electronic tracks written and performed by Hudson/Super Frosty  who is often overheard saying “Just say grow.” *** The electronic production and design department at BERKLEE is sponsoring a major music tech conference March 10-11. A number of manufacturers, designers and artists will be on hand for presentations and performances. There will also be panel discussions and technology demos in their new EPD labs. *** Black Eyed Sally’s in Hartford, Connecticut presents the Northeast Blues Harmonica Showcase April 1st with  DENNIS GRUENLING, DAVE “KOSHER KID” ROBBINS, JOHNNY MARINO and  ROXY PERRY. *** Club Passim’s Iguana Music Fund is in it’s ninth year of grant making to local musicians in the areas of recording, publicity, market support, equipment and instruments, songwriting retreats, tour support special projects and/or professional growth. To date Passim has awarded over $300,000 in grants! A free concert showcasing the work of the 2016 Iguana Music Fund grants will take place at Club Passim in Harvard Square on April 10th. 2016 grant recipients are: A2Z TALENT,  ARIEL BERNSTEIN, AURORA BIRCHAWAAZ DO, BOSTON SCOTTISH FIDDLE CLUB,  CELIA WOODSMITH, EMMA JUNE, GENNAROSE NETHERCOTT, GREG LISZT, HINDI ROCK FEST, JOHN FARAONE, JULIA MARK, LAUREN PARKS, LYLE BREWER, MIRIAM ELHAJLI, NAT SEELEN, PUTNAM SMITH & ASHLEY STORROW, RISING, SAN LORENZO, SEAMUS GALLIGAN, SHANNON HEATON, SORCHA CRIBBEN-MERRILL  and WINDBORNE. ***  BRITTANY BRAVE  publicist from The Syndicate tells us to go see THE KURT BAKER COMBO at Obrien’s in Allston on April 8th. This Maine native is a master of hooks and melody. Sorta like a feel good spirit wrapped in a punk rock sheen. This gig is in support of his recent release In Orbit. Kurt used to be in THE LEFTOVERS. *** DUKE ROBILLARD guitarist extraordinaire is also a great painter like his brother GERALD ROBILLARD. Duke is having an exhibit of his art at The Blackstone River Theater in Cumberland, Rhode Island February 18 ’til April 8. *** R.I.P. ELIZABETH TEDESCO aka LISA LIPPS disco dj for KISS 108 back in the day. *** For the past two years MATT STUBBS has led the great blues jam at the Common Ground in Allston. As of March 29th Matt will be moving the Wednesday night extravaganza to the Plough & Stars in Cambridge. He hosts these nights as a trio. He also currently runs the newly started residency Downbeat Mondays at The Sinclair with  MATT STUBBS AND THE ANTIGUAS his four to five piece band playing psych/ acid/ garage/ twang. Different nights expect different members but always the same rocking Matt Stubbs. *** THE SQUEEZE BOX STOMPERS are RALPH TUFO (accordion/ vocals), LARRY PLITT (guitars/ vocals), ANDY SOLBERG (bass/ vocals), MIKE MIGLIOZZI  (drums/ vocals), STEVE LATASIAN (fiddle/ mandolin/ banjo), and GEOFF WADSWORTH  (sax/ harmonica/ penny whistle). They are a cajun/ zydeco/ blues/ roots band. Ralph, Mike and Andy are former members of THE BOOGALOO SWAMIS and they do many Louisiana standards as well as their own high-energy tunes with a New Orleans feel. Their latest CD is Stompin’ At The Crossroads  recorded live last winter with songs “Hot Tamale Baby,” “Uncle Bud,” and “Mardi Gras Mambo.” Great stuff. *** EZEKIEL’S WHEELS KLEZMER BAND, winner of the 2012 Jewish Music Festival, just had a great gig at The Burren, in Somerville, playing songs from their new release Turning Point. The Wheels improvise with the intimacy and passion of chamber music and the intensity of a rowdy dance band. *** Check out RICK AXTMAN’s “Open Mics In New England” FB page to see 1,816 monthly events in Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont. The page has over 22,000 members and lists music/ comedy/ karaoke/ and poetry free events in your area. *** The SAM BLACK CHURCH documentary is now available for downloading and streaming on vimeo. In the ’80s, these hardcore punkers ruled. Check out Behind A Groove In The Earth: The Story Of Sam Black Church. *** On the Salisbury Beach Blue Ocean Club’s menu is “The Psycho Chicken Quesadilla.” Coincidentally, MIKE GIRARD and his band THE FOOLS gig there a lot  Between sets he sells autographed copies of his book Psycho Chicken And Other Foolish Tales. Sometimes he signs the sandwich as well. *** RICK BERLIN  has  heating pad kitty beds this winter for his two brother and sister cats Wasabi  and Carlotta. *** Check out THEE SONOMATICS a garage/ surf/primitive rock ’n’ roll band from Worcester. Steeped in the traditions of LINK WRAY,  THE SONICS, THE VENTURES and THE RAMONES. Foot stomping drums, swinging guitar rhythms, surf rock at it’s best. The musicians are JONATHAN YONAN from South Windsor, Connecticut living in Kittery, Maine on drums, Holliston’s CRAIG FITZGERALD on guitar and vocals,  TIM SMITH on lead guitar and BILL LEBEAU on bass and vocals. *** Folk music will be involved in the late Spring opening of The Mount Cutler Coffeehouse in Hiram, ME. Singer/ songwriter DAVE FOLEY from Hull is involved. You can catch him in his band DAVE & THE SHADES or you can see him solo at his Wednesday night residency at The Junction in South Boston. *** Bands that broke up in 2016: POPGUN, TWO SAINTS, LITEHOUSE, Reshuffled bands: THE BLACK SOULS, GREG ALLEN’S FRINGE RELIGION, THE BRIGANDS. Cool Up and Coming bands and artists: CARRISA JOHNSON, FLIGHT OF FIRE, ABBIE BARRETT, LISA HALEY, VICKY PORTER and GRETCHEN & THE PICKPOCKETS. *** Cult cabaret artist AMANDA PALMER (The Dresden Dolls) was overheard saying, “Donald Trump is gonna make punk rock great again.”



Rita: Enough gossip! Let’s get back to asking another local legend about his scene sentimentality.  CLIFF GOODWIN (x-Joe Cocker/ x-Robert Palmer/ Rebel Montez/ Jon Butcher Axis/ James Montgomery Band): The thing I love about playing here in New England is that, for me, it is like a musical diamond. Multi-faceted and always interesting – no matter how one views or plays it. *** PAUL WILLIAMS (The Brickhouse): I just fell in love with a voice, a sound of a minstrel, a troubadour, I wanted to see more, hear more, I cleaned out my over sized basement in Scarborough, Maine. Built a small stage, put together a sound system and started The Brickhouse concert series back in 2011. I invited Sarah Blacker from Boston up to be the first show. Followed by several local artist the first year. Then I got drawn into the blues and was able to book some bigger artist that where passing by the area for bigger gigs in the area. As the word grew of The Brickhouse the artists also grew . We have had five seasons and 55 shows, we start up again April 1 with the fabulous  Nick Moss Band. Followed up by Bobby Thompson and the Revelator Hill and finishing up April 29 with the great Grammy award winner and Johnny Winter Band guitarist Paul Nelson. And with the like of Chris Duarte and Anthony Gomes signed up on this year’s line up it’s sure to be one hell of a year. ***  PAMELA RUBY RUSSELL(Pamela Ruby Russell/ Pamela Ruby Russell Photos): February 14th is for lovers! Decades ago, in February 1977, I came to Boston via the Caribbean, to learn how to put music to my poetry. I had been a restaurateur, jewelry designer and photographer. Tarot card reading and my Mexican circus elephant riding would come much later. Songwriting seemed a logical next step. Why not? What I encountered here in Bean Town was for me life-changing. I was young, kind of shy and though I stayed pretty much on the periphery of Boston’s ‘music scene,’ I fell madly in love with the energy, dedication and pure honesty of many of the musicians I met and had the privilege to get to know and work with. They LOVED what they were doing and it was exhilarating to be even a small part of it all back in the late ’70s and ’80s. Oh, I fell in love all right, over and over. Romance? A late night at Bunratty’s or The Rat… I probably wasn’t as wise as I should have been, but I wouldn’t have traded a minute. Well there was one I could have done without. Ha. When it comes to your music, when you love it and it consumes you, this is your soul’s song, your dream and the gift is getting to share it with others. Passion, that is what I found in my early days in New England and that is what inspired so many of my songs and kept me going. I loved the experience of becoming a better songwriter and photographer. Boston has given me both, as well as all the amazing people I have met along the way. I thank you. *** SAL DIFUSCO (x-Blockyard/ Sal Difusco Group/ Berklee School of Music): One of my favorite musical memories was playing with the amazing group Blind Lemon Pledge & The Seeing Eye Dogs. This was back during the ’80s and we mainly performed in one of my favorite clubs in Boston, Bunratty’s! AJ Wachtel was Blind Lemon and The Seeing Eye Dogs were made up of some of Boston’s finest musicians. I remember sharing the stage with the likes of Danny Morris, Larry Baeder, Johnny A. and many others! Great times! *** G.G. ABRAHAM (Rare Form): What do I love that has to do with music made in New England? That’s easy: SINGING in it. And I’ve been on the mic since 1981. Born and raised in Salem, MA, I “came of age” in the 1980’s. With world class groups like, Aerosmith, Boston, The Cars, ‘Til Tuesday, The Stompers, New England and so many others from the area I was growing up in, it is wasn’t much of stretch for me to become a rocker at heart. Wait… did I say “came of age” AND “rocker”? Okay, I’ve contradicted myself, as there is nothing mature about a rocker’s soul, nor does it strive to be. Sue me.  But here’s another twist: It was hearing Boston’s own, Donna Summer over the airwaves – that’s right not rock, but disco – that inspired me on my very first professional singing gig. I was filling in for my sister Debi’s cover band, at the local Knights of Columbus. At seventeen, with no experience, other than the occasional  Salem High school choir solo and singing into my hairbrush,  Summer’s, “Hot’ Stuff” came pouring out of me like McDonald’s special sauce.  Thank you, Ms. Summer. Born 1948 and died in 2012. I loved your voice then and today it can still give me tingles. That’s the power of music – and my gift of singing has been an invitation I’ve whole heartedly accepted as a lifelong labor of love.



Lolita: Back to babbling! Legendary jazz and blues impresario FRED TAYLOR fired as booker at Scullers Jazz Club after being there for twenty seven years since it’s inception. Before that he ran Paul’s Mall and The Jazz Workshop on Boylston St. “You’ve been doing the same thing for so long it’s time for a change” was the heartless depth charge issued by the young administration. Freddy is an institution. You don’t fire institutions. *** EITHER ORCHESTRA has an upcoming release  Ethiopiques 32: Nalbandian The Ethiopian (Buda Musique). SInce 2011 they have been reviving the music of NERSES NALBANDIAN, an Armenian who found a new home in Addis Ababa and became a major force in Ethiopian music from 1938-1974. They will be celebrating with a special concert February 19th at The Arsenal Center For The Arts featuring vocalist BRUCK TESFAYE of THE DEBO BAND and other special guest singers. *** SHALOM & AISLING PEARTREE, rapper and singer extraordinaire, have a new song. The production is from SIA‘s song “Elastic Heart” and they call their new re-mix “Stronger.” Great hip- hop/ r&b. Check it out. *** The Blues Summit Open Golf Tournament at Twin Brooks Golf Course in Hyannis will be on April 28th and is located right across the street from The Melody Tent. Play golf with a rock star! The Blues Summit itself has a lot of great local talent scheduled. Sunday May 13th is SUGAR RAY & THE BLUE TONES, JOHNNY HOY & THE BLUEFISH and JOE LOUIS WALKER BAND with local bassist LENNY BRADFORD. Saturday has the WILLIE LAWS JR. BAND with DIANE BLUE and Sunday has RACKY THOMAS and his band and TONI LYNN WASHINGTON with BRUCE BEARS (The Duke Robillard Band/ Threadbear Finn) on keyboards and SAM GENTILE & THE MEDICINE SHOW REVIVAL. *** R.I.P. JIM MOURADIAN long time bassist for RONNIE EARL & THE BROADCASTERS and luthier of the stars who died after a gig in Connecticut. A great loss for the Boston music community. CHRIS SQUIRE plays one of his basses on the YES classic “Owner of a Lonely Heart.” *** Folkies MARTIN GROSSWENDT and SUSANNE SALEM-SCHWARTZ have gigs on the second at The Camden Public Library in Camden, ME, February 11 and 17 at The Wellfleet Public Library and the New Moon Coffee House in Haverill, and The Vanilla Bean in Pomfret, Connecticut on the 25. They sure get around! *** THE EVENFALL QUARTET has a new Tuesday night residency at The Fair Mount Grille in Hyde Park. Great easy listening jazz by bassist BRAD HALLEN (The Duke Robillard Band), JOE BARBATO on piano, JERZY GOLD on drums and MARK EARLEY blowing sax. *** JOHN CAFFERTY & BEAVER BAND with THE DAN LAWSON BAND opening up at The Regent Theatre in Arlington March 11. *** Appalachian blues fiddler and subway station performer ILANA KATZ KATZ coming out with a new release in March. *** ED VALAUSKAS (Q Division/ Jenny Dee & The Deelinquents ) was listed in the credits of the new movie hit Manchester By The Sea as on set music consultant. *** PERRY JAMES formerly the drummer for ATA TAT and 1992 WBCN Rumble winners and industrial rock legends BIG CATHOLIC GUILT was seen on TV being quoted on the streets by Channel 25 Fox News about the city wanting to raise the parking meter rates downtown and at the sea port. He almost got tagged for loitering. *** BELLA’S BARTOK has new member SAERA from WISHBONE ZOE. She is on a mission to provide sweet accordion jams for you. *** MUCK & THE MIRES/ THE REAL KIDS/ RICHIE PARSONS on February 10 at The Midway Cafe opening for BADASS MOTHERFUZZERS the garage rock band from France. *** CAM and KIM ACKLAND‘s band THE BLACK SOULS has a line up change – THE CLASSIC RUINS – FRANK ROWE, CARL BIANCUCCI  and DAVE KOWALCHEK are now backing the duo on guitar, bass and drums. They’re working on songs and will be playing out in the near future. *** The New England Music Awards are on Saturday, April 29, at Showcase Live, Patriots Place, in Foxboro at Gillette Stadium. Stay tuned. *** THE ROY SLUDGE TRIO with Roy, JIM SCOPPA and JOHNNY SCIASCIA played two sets of booze fueled country and wild rockabilly for Elvis’s birthday last month at The Midway in Jamaica Plain. Wild band. Wild night. *** The Brickhouse up in Scarborough, ME, is located in the home of PAUL WILLIAMS. If you can get a ticket for his intimate clubhouse’s incredible shows you will have a great time. Connecticut axe-grinder PAUL NELSON (x- The Johnny Winter Band) brings his band there April 29, CHRIS DUARTE on May 28, ANTHONY GOMES on July 16, and KENNY NEAL in August. *** Lead vocalist LISA MARIE tells us that her band JUKE JOINT 5 just had their debut CD release party for Use That Spot! at Nick’s Restaurant and Bar in Worcester with Silvertone Steve on guitar, Bob Vabulas on bass, Dick Lourie on sax and Richard Malcolm behind the kit. Lisa also plays New Orleans r&b boogie woogie rock ’n’ roll  in LISA MARIE & ALL SHOOK UP. *** Check out PAMELA RUBY RUSSELL’s new CD Highway of Dreams co-produced by Carly Simon’s guitarist PETER CALO (x-PCB/ Heavy Metal Horns). *** Check out Dance! by SPECIAL GUESTS. Funk music at it’s best. *** Blues guitar icon MIKE WELCH (Sugar Ray & The Bluetones) working on a new as yet untitled release coming out in the spring. He was nominated for a Blues Music Award for Instrumentalist Guitar. In total, members of SUGAR RAY & THE BLUETONES had 10 nominations. *** THEA HOPKINS currently recording her new CD with producer MIKE DAVIDSON that should be released later this year. Trumpeter extraordinaire TOM HALTER (Either Orchestra/ Mariachi Internationale) plays on a few tracks. Thea has been touring in the UK but will be back gigging locally in the coming months. *** Have you seen KING BLUE yet? Trad roots, wing, rock, bluegrass with JIM COYLE on guitar and vocals, ERIC ROYER on banjo and vocals, HAZEL ROYER on upright bass and vocals, DAN KELLAR on fiddle, ELIZABETH STEEN on accordion, and LEO CIARAMITARO on drums. A super loose and fun band. *** DECOMPRESSION CHAMBER MUSIC is a classical band from Portland, ME, now touring their two part show Haydn & Mozart. The first part was just performed at the end of last month and the second part is coming up February 6 at Club Passim. The performance is an exploration into the beginnings of the classical string quartet presented as an informal concert, discussion and demystification of the classical genre. It features creator, artistic director and cellist PRISCILLA HAYES TAYLOR, EMILY RIDEOUT performing on both modern and baroque viola, COLIN DAVIS and PIOTR BUCZEK on violins. *** BLUE AUDIO has the father/son team of  the legendary local sax player MIKE “Tunes” and 16 year old guitarist and singer ALEX JR. ANTUNES from Pomfret, CT. Drumming is BRAD POULIN and DON ASQUITH plays bass. *** Hearth Music owner and folkie DEVON LEGER tells us about the musical relationship and history between Boston and Cape Breton Island in Nova Scotia. For many decades there has been an open path back and forth between the two areas delivering some great musicians and especially fiddlers. Young fiddler KATIE MCNALLY just released an album The Boston States which is the long time Cape Breton Island nickname for the city. She delves deep into the heritage and tradition with her trio and she’ll be performing a dance with these tunes at The Canadian-American Club in Watertown on February 11th followed by an all-star concert at Passim on February 16. Plan ahead and don’t miss this great Cape Breton Island artist now living in Boston



Rita: And now for the last of our exceptional endearments. JEFF & JANE HUDSON (Jeff & Jane Hudson Electronic Duo): We loved the art school bands like La Peste, The Girls and The Humans! We really loved the scene in Boston back in the late ’70s- early ’80s. *** EMILY SABINO (The Flying Seeds): The first time I heard Lenin (husband and band mate) play Peruvian flutes was at a concert at Berklee College of Music, ten years ago. I had been studying Spanish intensely for about three months before we met. I thought to myself ‘who is this person and how can I convince him to play music with me? One of the first songs I asked him to play was a love song I wrote to him! But he didn’t speak English at the time, so I just presented it as a song. And so began our story. We got married three years later and formed The Flying Seeds. We are in Peru at the moment making a music video for “You Stole My Heart,” which will be ready for release in time for Valentine’s Day. *** PETER GOUTZOS (Red House/ Gyro Lula): Well, in my own career in Boston, the band I loved playing drums for the most was The Vinny Band. The wildest and most exciting part of it was when we played for Pablo Escobar (head of the Drug Cartel and a mass murderer) in Columbia, in Bogata, Metajene and  Cartagena; in 1983.  Pablo took me for rides in his Mercedes. He was very congenial and pleasant to us. At the  time I had no idea whom or what he did for work. I am just very lucky to be alive and breathing through my nose today. *** MIKE WELCH (Sugar Ray & The Bluetones): The people. *** AL PECHULIS (Special Guests): I loved going to hear music at Jonathan Swifts back in the days of The Atlantics, Jon Butcher Axis, and B.Willie Smith. Great times at a great club. *** DAVE ROBBINS (The Kosher Kid): I love playing the blues in New England. The blues fans here are the best! Hey man, my religion is the blues! I love the respect, love and depth of understanding that a high percentage of very talented New England blues musicians have for the masters of the blues and  roots. As such, they hold themselves to very high standards, work really hard at it, and prove so in their killer live performances!  Rita: Great answers! Sounds like a great time to end the column.  Lolita: Send in your band’s news and come back and see us again for our next column  posted on March 1! Have fun folks and all you lovers keep yourselves warm!

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