Rita & Lolita

BEST BENEFITS

Rita: Happy April Lolita Day folks. It’s not every idiot who gets a national holiday named after them. Since you are the biggest FOOL I know it would be appropriate for you to tell us what advantages there are to being you in your stupendously stupid sorry state? Lolita: I have a better idea. How about we ask our favorite artists “What are the side benefits of playing live music in New England” instead? Rita: All right, one in a row my dear boorish sister. Let’s start off by asking our favorite female folkie Sister KATE TAYLOR (Kate Taylor)The fans are great, very discerning. They know how to appreciate good music. They like to have a good time and they’re all adorable. *** STU KIMBALL (Bob Dylan Band/ x-Face To Face):  There’s so much diversity.  So many talented people. Boston is the greatest city for local music in the whole country. *** MARK CHENEVERT (The Hot Tamale Brass Band/ Willie Alexander/ Doo- Wop Deville/ Zoe Lewis/ Josh Lederman & The Csars/ 440): Working in New England has an advantage in that it’s a tiny area, nowhere near close in land area to any other states, so we do a lot less driving than musicians from anywhere else (but still bitch about driving to Albany, The Cape, Providence, NYC or whatever). The thing is, where I live now, in Somerville, it’s close proximity to Harvard, Davis, Union, even Central Squares I can WALK to a lot of my gigs! Of course, I play clarinet and tenor sax, so this always infuriates my colleagues who have way more gear to lug! To them I say: switch to piccolo, suckers! Ha. Ha. *** ALLISON LEE FREEMAN (Shipmates): The obvious benefits of playing live music in Maine include gigs that involve a boat ride, summer concerts on the waterfront with Liz & Chris Lannon, or celebrating 40 years of arts at the Chocolate Church Arts Center in my home town. The best rewards come when I perform at memory impaired units. Watching the audience as I sing, one by one their light glimmers on for a moment and they tap their foot or sing along. Joy fills my heart. *** SIR CECIL REDNALLAC (The Full Circle Band/ The Islandside Band/ x-African Roots): The side benefits of playing music in this area. It’s just part of my life and if you’re not a player then you sleep longer. Listening to local bands depends on my mood. Scattered gigs here and there. You can find me at many different singer/ songwriter open mics and every Sunday night at The Cantab with The Full Circle Band. And at Sam’s Pizzeria in Northampton on Friday’s. In the Summertime I’ll be around New Hampshire with The Islandside Band doing the Hampton Beach Fish Festival this year. Also the Belmont Music Festival at Payson Park July 5. It’s just part of my life.

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NOTABLE NOTABLES

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.  DUKE ROBILLARD looking for a September release for his Duke And His Dames Of Rhythm CD. Who’s on it? SUNNY CROWNOVER, MADELINE PEYROUX, CATHERINE RUSSELL, KELLEY HUNT, ELIZABETH MCGOVERN and MARIA MULDAUR.  His other new band project is basically this album’s band. DUKE & HIS DAMES RHYTHM BAND includes: BRAD HALLEN (The Evenfall Quartet) on upright, MARK TEIXEIRA behind the kit, BRUCE BEARS on keys,  SUNNY singing and swinging, plus the incredible BILLY NOVICH on alto sax, clarinet and occasional jazz penny whistle. Robillard’s new group’s material is well known and obscure tunes from the twenties and thirties and blues with a few cool Latin songs thrown in. They are still working on a band name that will capture the essence of what they do. Their first show is April 8 at the Blackstone River Theatre in Cumberland, Rhode Island. Coincidentally, this is also the last day you can view Duke’s art exhibit there. *** Have you heard THE ADAM EZRA GROUP’s killer version of Lennon’s “Imagine”? They do it live and it’s great! *** In case you missed The Oscars, that was LAUREN HASHIAN looking fabulous there sitting with her boyfriend DWAYNE THE ROCK JOHNSON. We think they have a little girl together named Jazzy. Lauren is the daughter of drummer SIB HASHIAN from the group BOSTON. *** Local gal LORI MCKENNA on Stephen Colbert’s The Late Show singing her ballad “Humble And Kind” from her The Bird And The Rifle album. Her band was PAUL KOCHANSKI (The Swinging Steaks/ The Drive) on bass, JOHN SANDS (x-The Joneses) pounding and MARK ERELLI on guitar. *** Check out indy/ alt rock/ singer/ songwriter JENNIFER TEFFT‘s first release in ten years Cutting For Stone. A great voice and she just had her killer record release party at the Black Box Theatre in Franklin. *** Are you a Boston area jazz fan who would like to host a jazz concert (at no cost to you) for your neighbors and friends in your home during Jazz Boston’s Jazz Week April 21- 30? Or are you a solo duo or trio who would like to play at a jazz house concert? Contact BIRDSONGS OF THE MESOZOIC’s KEN FIELD on Facebook and he’ll give you all the details. Ken will also be onstage with WILLIE ALEXANDER when he brings his PERSISTENCE OF MEMORY ORCHESTRA to the Cape Ann Cinema on April 22. Ken’s on flute and sax and MARK CHENEVERT’s on clarinet and sax. *** The new club in Kendall Square in Cambridge with live music is called The Smoke Shop. Check it out. *** VINNY SERINO harp frontman for BOSTON BAKED BLUES tells us the band has a new song “Fine Looking Automobile.” Fasten your seat belts folks and take a great ride with the band. *** For another great ride blues/r&b axeman BROOKS YOUNG and his band are at The New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon on September 24 at ten in the morning! The band plays on The NASCAR Fan Zone stage before the New Hampshire 300 race. Time to wake and bake at 120 mph. *** The Worcester Music Awards are on April 12 at The Cove Music Hall. A great time with incredible acts. Don’t miss it *** HILTON PARK is an all acoustic Americana/ folk group from Southern Maine. They are an acoustic father/ son act with Dad BRUCE HILTON on vocals/ guitar (slide too) and harp. 20 year old son CONOR HILTON singing, playing guitar and mandolin, and GREG PANNIER on vocals, piano and flute. They were just interviewed on the WCSH t.v. show 207.  The band tours from Maine to Virginia and their latest album Moments was nominated for Album of The Year at this year’s New England Music Awards. We dig the song “Stupid Game” with Conor playing a Mountain Dulcimer. They also have a side biz called The Song Shop where they write and record custom love songs for couples to have for their weddings and anniversaries. *** TERRY KITCHEN (x-Loose Ties) has a song “Seeds” with RUBY BIRD singing harmony that was named runner up in The 2017 Family Folk Choral Song Contest. His song “Sequel” was runner up in their 2016 contest. We sense a trend here. *** JULIANA HATFIELD will release her new music Pussycat on  American Laundromat Records. It has 14 songs and the opening cut “I Wanna Be Your Disease” and the killer “Wonder Why” are the hits. There will be 700 pink vinyl, and 300 peach vinyl records and a one time run of 250 pink cassettes. Juliana produced it and plays every instrument (bass, keys, guitars and vocals) except for drums where PETE CALDES adds his talent to the mix. *** LAURA VECCHIONE has her record release party for Love Lead May 13 at TCAN and proceeds will benefit the Family Promise Metro West charity. *** Plan ahead folks and get your tickets for the New England Blues Summit April 28-30 at The Hyannis Resort and Conference Center down on the Cape. These and other New England artists will appear: ANTHONY GERACHI AND THE BOSTON BLUES ALL- STARS, JOHNNY HOY AND THE BLUEFISH, THE WILLIE J. LAWS BAND, DIANE BLUE (Ronnie Earl & The Broadcasters), TONI LYNN WASHINGTON, BRUCE BEARS (The Duke Robillard Band), GRITS & GROCERIES and SAM GENTILE. *** Tuesdays mean live music acoustic style with DAVE MATTACKS, DAVID BROWN and WOLF GINANDES at Jalapenos in Gloucester on The North Shore. As the name of the club implies, expect a cool night of hot music early in the week. *** Two DIGNEY FIGNUS tunes “Party Down In Hell” and “Why Work?” have been nominated for The Just Plain Folks Cajun Song of The Year Award. *** SISTER KATE TAYLOR came up from the Vineyard to play at entertainment journalist and Berklee teacher STEVE MORSE‘s Outside The Lines benefit at Thunder Road in Somerville. Joining her onstage was STU KIMBALL who used to play in FACE TO FACE but has been in BOB DYLAN‘s band for the past decade touring the world. *** Jazz group NOMAD DREAMS plays mellow, funky folk and world music and had a great gig at the Swing for Spring Show recently at The Regattabar. We dig their quiet Russian lullabies, their French torch ballads, their Middle Eastern tunes, their African rhythms and all with a Spanish penchant for audio drama. Singer VLADA BROFMAN, guitarist CHRIS BRENNE, GEORGE NILES playing piano, WING LA drumming, ISSAM EL-HADOUTI on percussion, TOM CURATOLU on bass, DAVE BIRKIN on sax/ flute with MARI BLACK on fiddle. Look for their self- titled new CD out real soon. *** JORGE VERDE tells us that jazz pianist extraordinaire VIJAY IYER and his sextet  just blew the roof off of Sanders Theatre at Harvard University. Vijay is a Grammy-nominated pianist/ composer who was named Downbeat Magazine‘s 2015 Artist of The Year. He is also a Professor at Hah vahd. In his band are drummer MARCUS GILMORE, bassist STEPHAN CRUMP, alto saxist STEVE LEHMAN, tenor saxman MARK SHIM and on cornet/ flugelhorn is GRAHAM HAYNES. Iyer plans on releasing his next album with the sextet on ECM Records in the Fall. *** Four seasoned musicians who are in different working bands have joined forces to form THE H- BOM QUARTET. This is music speak for Harmonious Blend of Music. All four front the band and sing songs. Check out DIANE BLUE (Ronnie Earl & The Broadcasters), ALIZON LISSANCE and ED SCHEER from The Love Dogs and RICKY KING RUSSELL play old- school blues, classics and a few originals. Diane on harmonica, Alizon on keys including deft left-handed bass, Ed drumming and Ricky playing guitar. Look for them spontaneously com- busting at a club near you for a sizzling show.

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MORE BEST BENEFITS

Enough gossip! Let’s get back to asking another local legend about the beneficial boons of playing music in New England.  WARREN ZANES (The Del Fuegos): Side benefits of playing music in New England? I can see my mother. And she might slip me a fifty. *** KIMBA BATTIS (Mancini Soul Project): There are many talented musicians in and around the Boston area. Most musicians know each other and are willing to help each other out if you need another player in a pinch. That’s a big benefit. When I’m not performing, listening to my favorite local band play their original’s is very exciting to me. It makes me feel like their music is still trying to find it’s way into the main stream. There are great local bands around town like Brian Maes. Did you know he’s produced more than thirty albums? *** PAUL VIGEANT (Soul of A Dark Machine): Good Morning ladies! What are the side benefits of playing music in New England? In a word, Camaraderie. We have an amazing network of artisans and musicians here, all working to create something greater than themselves. It’s almost like family. *** BRUCE HILTON (Hilton Park): There’s room for everyone. The music business used to be dominated by a small group of megastars in an oceanic market. Now it’s a huge population of talented people who are big fish in little ponds. It used to be about concert arenas in big cities, but now, the small towns are where the lovers of honest, organic music gather to listen, engage and sing along. And that’s where the talent is going. New England, and up here in Maine, is so full of small communities with concerts happening in theaters, coffeehouses, churches; even in people’s homes. The music scene is alive and well in New England and it’s not in one or two places that everyone is fighting and scratching to get to; it’s everywhere, and there’s room for everyone. *** BART BRYANT (Bart Bryant Band): Sorry to sound like a whiner, but after my MTV debuts I had the honor to work with SRV and he was very frank with me about his experiences. When we started comparing notes, I realized I was wasting my time and efforts here in CT. In 1992, I moved to Austin and was glad I did. Within a year, my music took off and I was treated like a performing artist. After 9/11, I returned to CT, where artists are dismissed and treated like dogs.

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INSIGNIFICA

Lolita: Back to babbling! MAYOR MARTY WALSH announced the hiring of an Artist Resource Manager to serve as Boston’s city liaison to local artists. JULIA RYAN is now working in The Mayor’s Office Of Arts And Culture. The newly created position will act as a single point of entry to City Hall for creative people and businesses looking to find info about a wide range of issues from permitting and licensing processes to affordable housing and financial literacy to small business support. Mayor Walsh: “I am thrilled that we are opening up an important channel of communication between local artists and their city government by creating an Artist Resource Manager. Responding to the needs of artists is a crucial part of the cultural plan and I am confident that Julia will do an exceptional job in serving as a liaison to our creative community.” *** TIM MCKENNA (Live Nation) overheard giving a lecture at Berklee telling students “it’s nice to be important. But it’s more important to be nice.” *** JON BUTCHER 2 Roads East record release party June 3 at the new venue Venus 9 in Beverly on the North Shore just 20 miles out of Boston. For all you local music trivia nuts this will be the club’s first  music show. *** ED MOOSE SAVAGE (Moose & The Mudbugs) recently seen hanging with MICKEY WARD the great boxer from Lowell. Ward was overheard saying “I hate fucking Mudbugs” before he floored Moose. *** Guitarist extraordinaire BROOKS YOUNG and his band set to release their new single “Drinking On Love” in the next few months on Vibe Records in New Hampshire. Their original line up is back together. *** Have you heard JENN LOMBARI’s song “Rock n Roll” from her new release Heart Core? It’s another great Americana ballad from her and we really dig her incredible voice! *** Cape radio DJ CAT WILSON is celebrating the 20th anniversary of her show The Cheap Seats on 104 WKPE. She has also been selected to host the New England Music Awards on April 24. *** Hip Hop artists SEAN MATHIAS and CRACK SIZZLACK go by the name CLOAQxDAGGER and are currently working on an album A Working Title. Stay tuned. *** RUSS GERSHON (Either Orchestra) has finally made it! He recently appeared on  Armenian TV. On the screen we see Russ and an orchestra but we don’t know what is being said. Is Russ a music hero over there or is this a public service announcement calling for his arrest for disturbing the peace? *** CHANCE LANGTON has a new website and you should check it out. This super-talented comedian, musician, screen writer, and actor is usually up to no good. We still think he looks like a future assassin and it’s a known fact that his biting satire is lethal. Whenever icon ROY BUCHANAN came to town to perform he would always invite Chance up onstage to play a few tunes. Pretty cool. *** MATTHEW STUBBS & THE ANTIGUAS are putting out a new album and just launched a Pledge Music drive offering pre- order and exclusives to raise money to release their album. Order if you can. *** EZEKIEL’S WHEELS KLEZMER BAND is at The Burren in Davis Square April 14 to celebrate the release of their new studio album Turning Point as well as their new live album Ezekiel’s Wheels Live In Rockport. *** AMY FAIRCHILD is having a record release party at The Burren on April 29 and her great group has THE CLIFF HILLIS BAND on the bill also. *** COLE TYLER tells us that his band THE FORZ is about to release a new EP Krakatoa! and is changing their name to MELODY MOTEL. Some of the original members have been replaced. *** ILANA KATZ KATZ our favorite Appalachian blues fiddler opening for  BOBBY RADCLIFFE at Nelson’s Candy Store May 6 in Wilton, New Hampshire. She also has a new CD coming out with BARRY LEVENSON producing. No drop date yet. *** KIMBA BATTIS tells us her band MANCINI SOUL PROJECT is putting the finishing touches on some original material in the studio this month or next. They will release four songs and have a record release party sometime in June (keep your fingers crossed). *** Congrats to great guitarist SCOTT MILLER (x- Pleasure Pointe/ x-Beat Surrender) for earning his purple belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Hard work and dedication pay off! He is now a guitar instructor at Dedham Country Day School and plays and sings  in THE BOSTON NATURALS with BILLY KANE on bass/ vocals, DAVE FOURNIER on keys/ vocals, drummer CHRIS GEORGENES and lead vocalist RICK KASSIOTIS. *** Congrats to sax icon BOB GAY (x-New Man) who was just inducted into the HOF at The Huber Heights Performing Arts Center located in the new auditorium at the Wayne High School his alma mater! His 95 year old mother is very proud of this honor and so are we! *** Memphis Mini Amps newest pro endorser is blues harp master JERRY PORTNOY who spent six years in the MUDDY WATERS band and four years gigging with ERIC CLAPTON. He still plays in THE JERRY PORTNOY BAND on the circuit. He has lived for decades on Cape Cod and once when we asked him why he still lived there while in national bands he laughed and said “the seafood. I love the seafood.” *** Check out post metal sludge band SOUL OF A DARK MACHINE with PAUL VIGEANT on bass. He used to be in SEISMIC SUPERSHEAR. The other part of the loud and powerful rhythm section is JAMIE POWERS behind the kit. Their hit is “Quake” which is sorta like BLACK SABBATH meets CANDLEMASS. *** BUTCH BAZILLION and his band are releasing a three disc set in May. They appear every Saturday and Sunday afternoon at Kimball Farm Ice Cream in Westford and you can catch them regularly at Bailey’s Bar and Grille in Townsend and Cafe 641 in Hudson. *** Did you know that this year’s Oscar winner CASEY AFFLECK talks about The Cantab in Cambridge in a CBS November 27, 2016 interview? Affleck talks about spending time with his Dad at work when Pops tended bar in a “celebrated local joint called The Cantab Lounge.” *** If you feel like singing check out Sunday Funday Karaoke at The Spotlight Tavern in Beverly. Eat, drink, be merry. And try not to embarrass yourself by going off- key. *** If you are gay and feel like singing check out Queeraoke every Thursday night at The Midway Cafe in Jamaica Plain. Drink. Sing. Dance. Repeat. *** WILLIE LOCO ALEXANDER on the death of CHUCK BERRY: There was a time when if you called yourself a rock ’n’ roll band in America, you started off the night by playing “Johnny B.Goode.” *** P.R person FLORA REED tells us that ten more artists have been announced for the Green River Festival, Western Massachusetts’ largest summer show, celebrating its 31st year and being held July 14-16. The new bands are TANK & THE BANGAS, LAURY CAMPBELL & TERESA WILLIAMS, PARSON FIELD, RACHAEL PRICE & VILRAY, RIVER WHYLESS, KAT WRIGHT, THE SWEATBACK SISTERS, WESTERN CENTURIES, TWISTED PINE and THE DESLONDES. They join BIG AL ANDERSON (NRBQ) and his band THE FLOOR MODELS plus another ton of talent. Be there or be square.

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FINAL BEST BENEFITS

Rita: And now for the last of our territorial treasures. BEAN (The Old Rocker) LEFEBVRE (Sleeping Monkey Band, Soulshine- Boston, x-Myles Connors Band):  Interesting question! I’ve been playing bass guitar and singing for many years. Back in the ’70’s, I was in the Myles Connor Band, I started playing with him in prison, and when I was released I joined his band in the Boston area, at present I’m in two bands.  I believe the benefits for me are:  It keeps me young and active, I’m seventy six years old and still rocking Iike I was in my youth.  The diversity of playing with different artists, broadens my music repertoire.  One of the most important benefits is the friendships and camaraderie I have developed in the music community over the years. *** MIKE VISCONTI (The Mike Visconti Band): What are the side benefits of playing live music in New England? A greater love of the art of live music. The scope of live music venues, from coffee shops to state of the art music facilities (and every other local watering hole between), supports a full range of caliber players performing on any given night.  The pool of talent in the area is deep, giving all areas of the live New England music scene much potential for growth.  As a musician it’s humbled and driven me. Another side benefit is if you find a good musician’s hang or jam night you increase the possibility of hearing the right players to connect with. *** MAUREEN MEDEIROS (Booty Vortex): The side benefits of playing live music in New England is that I pack a bikini and mittens with my congas! *** GRANT KELLY (Dr. Grant & The Medical Marijuana Band): The biggest benefit is bringing people together and seeing them have a damn good time. Folks in New England know how to do that. It’s like our contribution to  Make The World A Better Place– and it works!  A good time is had, connections are made, a good, uplifting experience is taken with the audience and musicians out the door and into the rest of their lives. The Johnny D’s Sunday Blues Jam has been a weekly focus where these good things happen. We are currently negotiating with a venue to bring the Johnny D’s Blues Jam back near the Davis Square area from where it was born, and I am very excited about that. If things work out we will be looking at a start date in June, I will keep progress posted on our Dr Grant & the Medical Marijuana Facebook page. We look forward to continuing to enjoy the benefits of playing live music again in New England soon. *** BUTCH BAZILLION (The Bazillion Band): One of the great benefits of playing live music in the New England area especially for a solo act like myself is that the audience is really into what you’re doing. They don’t just sit there in the club and have conversations with whoever they are sitting with and not paying attention to what the musician is doing. They get really involved with the artist where as in other places that I’ve played whether it’s California or Las Vegas yeah it’s just background music. People here really get into what the artist is trying to express and his or her music especially original songs I play. Also I get to plug my original Bazillion Band and sell our CDs at my shows. Rita: Great answers! Sounds like a good time to end the column. Lolita: Send in your band’s news and come see us again for our next column May first. Have fun folks!

R.I.P. ED BURKE – owner of the legendary club on Huntington Ave in Mission Hill, Boston, MA,  died of heart failure at 76.

R.I.P. SANDY SHEEHAN – owner of Sandy’s Music Store in Cambridge, MA.

R.I.P.  SIB HASHIAN – drummer for the bands Boston, RTZ, and Ernie & the Automatics, passed at 67 while performing on stage during a Legends of Rock cruise.

R.I.P.  J. GEILS (John Warren Geils Jr.) died at his home in Groton, MA, on 4/11/17.  J. was the founder/ lead guitarist for The J. Geils Band. He was 171 years old.


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