Max Shakun discusses Parsonsfield and his upcoming solo show.

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Max Chakun, from the Signature Sounds’ band Parsonsfield, was my guest on Nine Volt Heart yesterday. We talked about the band’s growth from exuberant young students at U Conn. to an experienced touring unit. Our conversation touches on the unique experience of performing hundreds of times the play “Robin Hood” for Canadian theater-goers to their recent band show at Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival in San Francisco.

Max will be appearing with friends and local heroes Emma Ayres and Izzy Heltai at Northampton’s Parlor Room on Wednesday 10/16. Our conversation includes music of all three musicians from in-studio performances on Nine Volt Heart, which is a real treat for me.

The songlist for the segment includes Parsonsfield’s song, “Stronger”, Max’s version of Joni Mitchell’s “All I Want” as well as two songs from Max Shakun’s recent project “Le Vie” called “Garden Sleep” and “Day Dreamer”. We also play Izzy Heltai’s “Anyone to Anybody” and “Marching Song”. Emma June Band finish the segment with a gorgeous acapella version of a then brand-new song, “BreadWinner”.

Carla Racine talks Strong and Pleasant Rocktober Festival.


Carla Racine, producer of Strong and Pleasant Music Festival, was my guest on Nine Volt Heart yesterday. We talked about the details of the Rocktober version of the Festival happening October 10-13th in downtown Northampton. Four venues with over 50 bands celebrating the diversity and scope of our vibrant local music scene. Details at Strong and

Our segment includes music by Eric Lee, Greg Hall, Lexi Weege and the Wonder Twins, Mark Schwaber, The Equalites and more.

Evan Murphy of Mile Twelve talks songwriting and more.


2019 has been an exceptional year for the Boston-bred bluegrass band. Mile Twelve was nominated by the IBMA (International Bluegrass Music Association) for both Album of the Year and Song of the Year! Evan Murphy is the lead singer, guitarist and one of the principal songwriters for this talented band.

Mile Twelve will be at the Parlor Room tonight! Sunday 9/29 at 7PM. This fast rising quintet will likely be playing much larger venues from this point on; so grab your chance to see them at this cozy listening room.

Pamela Means celebrates Abbey Road on Nine Volt Heart.


Pamela Means is an exceptional guitarist and songwriter. Her protest-leaning folk songs are legendary. She fronts a Jazz band and as a trio in the Pamela Means Band. But her latest project is ambitious indeed. She has challenged herself to learn the Beatles’ Abbey Road and play it solo acoustic in it’s entirety.

Our set includes two such pieces from Abbey Road, George Harrison’s “Something” and Lennon/McCartney’s “Golden Slumbers” from the side two medley.

We also visit some of Pamela’s Jazz Project with “My Funny Valentine” and a gorgeous tune from her latest solo release, Plainfield, called “Castor and Pollux”.

In between our conversation, we listen to the newly released 2019 “Super Deluxe Package” of Abbey Road including “Come Together”, “Sun King”,”Maxwell’s Silver Hammer” and “Here Comes the Sun” .

Pamela will play the Abbey Road album on Friday October 4th at Northampton’s Parlor Room. Her complete catalog and information on lessons etc can be found at Pamela

Science Div co-founders Jay and Kayleigha Zawacki talk “Tribbles”.

Jay and Kayleigha Zawacki are a husband and wife team collaborating on a side project that went from a lark to a reality. In less than a couple of years, the “what if?’ became “how do we?”. The creation of one of Star Trek’s most iconic pets became more than just a dream but a multi-faceted introduction to entrepreneurship and marketing. They did lots of legwork in this process including the manufacturing of the “tribble”, investigation of licensing issues, a marketing plan and a dozen or more other “rabbit holes” neither of them expected nor trained for. Nevertheless, these two “lighting designer/theater nerds” have persevered and now have their own company ready to provide you with the world’s only app-enabled interactive tribble. Check it out at

Listen in on my conversation with Jay and Kayleigha if you missed it yesterday on Nine Volt Heart.

Green Mountain Bluegrass and Roots Festival is all about Collaboration; My conversation with Jill Turpin.

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Jill and John Turpin are the creative forces behind the Green Mountain Bluegrass and Roots festival which celebrates it’s second year in Manchester VT. It runs from Thursday 8/15 to Sunday 8/18. The lineup for this “young” Festival is Mature indeed with legends like Sam Bush  and Darrell Scott alongside bands like Town Mountain and Mandolin Orange. The emphasis for the festival is collaboration between artists as well as solo sets from established bands. Bobby Britt and Andrew Marlin from the previously mentioned bands have their own sets featured during the long weekend.

Festival veterans Donna The Buffalo will jam their groove-based sounds in the lovely Vermont mountainside (last year’s performance was rained out). Chatham County Line and fellow Tar Heels MIPSO will give a southern flavor to the weekend. But, there will be plenty of New England acts such as Twisted Pine, Lonely Heartstring Band, Lula Wiles as well as Bruce Molsky’s Mountain Drifters. Expect lots of collaboration with acts jamming together in new and exciting configurations. Joe K Walsh , Grant Gordy will corral Danny Barnes’ banjo in a trio. The same with Phillips Grier and Flinner . Jordan Tice will host a group just for this event as well as performing with Hawktail. The collaborations culminate in a tribute to the Late Eighties “one-off” Super Group called “Strength In Numbers”. This band brought together the very best of the progressive wing of bluegrass at Colorado’s Telluride Bluegrass Festival and included Bela Fleck, Sam Bush, Mark O’Connor, Jerry Douglas and Edgar Meyer. A group of Nashville hotshots will put together a “not to be missed” set.

The combination of friendly staff, adventurous musicians and lovely setting guarantees a great time for this ambitious Festival’s second year. The details are available at their website, Green Mountain

Spirit Family Reunion’s Nick Panken previews Hawks and Reed Show with a new Album, “Ride Free”.


Nick Panken, lead singer, guitarist and song-writer for the Brooklyn based Spirit Family Reunion, was my guest. Our conversation covered the beginnings of the band, it’s growth and challenges. The constant touring; it’s struggles and joys, have led to personnel changes along the way. Entering it’s second decade, the band has recorded a new album, “Ride Free”. While the band is touring to support the new record, the schedule is more relaxed and band-friendly. They appear at Allston’s Great Scott on August 17th and locally at Greenfield’s Hawks and Reed Performing Center on August 24th. Our segment includes a four-pack of tunes such as “It Does Not Bother Me”, “I Am Following the Sound” from earlier releases. We also debut two new songs from “Ride Free” which is being released this week nationally. “Would You Would or Would You Won’t” and “Ease My Mind” are indications that the songs are still strong meaningful and upbeat.

Catch their energetic joyful music at Hawks and Reed on August 24 in Greenfield, Ma.