Valley Music Showcase’s Mark Sherry visits Nine Volt Heart.

Mark Sherry and I sit down to discuss the upcoming showcase to be held 7/20 at Easthampton’s New City Brewery yesterday. Our conversation starts with a discussion of the third season of the Music Showcase along with the challenges of running an ongoing event. Mark and I chat about the bands who have been selected for this month’s event. The audio contains musical selection for Tales of Joy, Auguste and Alden, Matchstick Architects, and the Sunshine Brothers.


Alison Brown describes the Song of the Banjo on Nine Volt Heart!

Alison Brown has changed a lot of people’s impression of the banjo; it’s sound, it’s role in music (not just bluegrass)and the kind of songs which allow the instrument to shine. Her career is full of successful recordings resulting in countless IBMA and Grammy Awards; all culminating in 2015’s Distinguished Service Award from the International Bluegrass Music Association. Despite these honors, she was gracious enough to spend some time with me to talk about her career, her unique sound, her latest version of her Quartet and her upcoming show at Watermelon Wednesday’s concert series on 6/29 (Friday, truth be told). We talked about her role in advancing gender equity in bluegrass/americana music, both as a performer and co-founder of the prestigous Compass Record label. Our conversation touched on the role of cover tunes as well as a sneak peek at this fall’s Freshgrass Festival!

Of course, we played a half dozen tunes along the way. I hope you’ll give it a listen, she was a joy to talk to.



Chris Brashear brings his “New City Opry Band” to Nine Volt Heart.

The New City Brewery in Easthampton hosts a Bluegrass evening once a month featuring many of the Pioneer Valley’s best players. While each third Wednesday hosts a different group of players, there are a core of players represented. Today on Nine Volt Heart, we are fortunate to have four of the best, live in-studio; Chris Brashear on guitar along with Peach Hampton on mandolin. Fiddle player in the band, Annika Amstutz is joined by double bass player Lucy Kahn.

The setlist includes Soldier’s Joy, Thinking Tonight of My Blue Eyes, Wildwood Flower, Good Corn Liquor, Wild, Turkey Shuffle, Comin’ Back But I don’t Know When, Keep Waiting Till the Good Times Come, Ain’t Gonna Work Tomorrow among others.

Emma June debuts new disc, Graduate, on Nine Volt Heart.

Emma Ayres has her creative fingertips on every aspect of our Pioneer Valley. U Mass, Amherst College, Hampshire College, Holyoke’s Enchanted Circle Theater have all hosted her screen writing and theater work. She has created the Emily Dickinson Project, The Water Project and she is the creative spark behind the bands June and the Bee, All Babes Society, Old Flame and now, Emma June.

Emma Ayres is joined by Abby Kahler on fiddle and vocals as well as Zoe Young on harmony vocals. The trio will be hosting their CD release party at Cushman Market and Cafe. The trio sing a handful of tunes from the release, Graduate, as well as two brand new songs.


Dave Alvin talks about his musical influences from Blues and R&B. Dave Alvin joins Jimmie Dale Gilmore at the Shea Theater on 6/16

I spoke with roots musician extraordinaire Dave Alvin a year ago and rebroadcast our conversation in advance of his local show at Turner’s Fall’s Shea Theater. Our conversation covers his early music experience in Downey, California along with his brother Phil. We talk about the Blasters, their 1980’s band together as well as their estrangement until Phil’s near death experience. Dave describes meeting all their blues and R&B heroes like Big Joe Turner at the AshGrove club in Los Angeles. The segment includes a number of songs including” Nine Volt Heart”,”Ashgrove”,”Mister Kicks”,”Boss of the Blues” and Jimmie Dale Gilmore’s “Another Colorado”. We finish the segment with Dave and Jimmie Dale’s “Downey To Lubbock”


Spouse puts on a rare acoustic set for Nine Volt Heart listeners

Spouse, the indie-rock band from Northampton, Ma has not recorded or toured since 2010. Jose Ayerve, having lived in Ecuador for the last several years, has decided to return to writing and recording new material. The band has called Portland, Maine home as well, with the members over the decades culled from both regions. Today, in Nine Volt Heart Studios, we have Jose Ayerve along with long time drummer JJ O’Connell and DupĀ  Crosson on guitar. The band which plays the Parlor Room on Friday 6/15 and Brattleboro’s Stone Church on 6/17, will add Peyton Pinkerton and bassist Marc Seedorf.

The band has just released a CD, “Sell the Silver” with both vocal and instrumental tracks of five new songs. In studio, both Jose and Dup play acoustic guitars while J.J. brings a solo bongo drum for our session. This rare acoustic combination plays two songs,” Uglier, Friendless” and reach back to 2004’s “Are you Gonna Kiss or Wave Goodbye?”. The audio also includes “Sonic Camouflage” and “Money” from the latest release.IMG_2956IMG_2957

Western Centuries visit on Nine Volt Heart; We talk about new release, Songs From the Deluge, and local Parlor Room show 5/26

Ethan Lawton, Jim Miller and Cahalen Morrison visit prior to their local show on the “Songs From the Deluge” tour. This Seattle based honky-tonk outfit is a real throwback to the origins of country-western music with songs about drinking and hell raising. This latest release has expanded the songs to include discussions about VietNam veterans as well as drug addiction in their Pacific NorthWest home.

The band opened up last year’s Green River Festival and were a real treat. They feature songs from all three songwriters, Lawton, Morrison and Miller. Each have had previous success in their own endeavors; Jim Miller was one of the founders of NY based, Donna The Buffalo, Cahalen Morrison was in a critically acclaimed duo with Eli West. Ethan Lawton was the mandolin player in Zoe Muth’s excellent band, the Lost High Rollers.

These guys put the “western” back in country-western music. They avoid the currently trendy pop-country sounds instead preferring old school honky-tonk music with plenty of pedal steel and twang. This release was recorded in Eunice Louisiana with Joel Savoy producing as well as adding his cajun fiddle to the mix. Roddie Romero’s accordion thickens the swampy sound on many songs too.

Our conversation finds the three songwriters in a local watering hall while on tour. Admittedly, the sound is less than perfect but the laughter is genuine and the conversation diverse. Each member chooses a favorite tune from the new release. The songs included are Weight of the World, Earthly Justice, Far From Home, Borrow Time as well as Wild You Run.27971844_1636513776443002_5858604582155814142_n