Sumaia Jackson is Californian born, Berklee School of Music trained, fiddler. She has worked with a number of collaborators including Jayme Stone’s Folk Life Project, Laura Cortese and the Dance Cards, and many more. She has just released her debut solo CD called “Mobius-Trip” and will be performing at Cambridge’s Club Passim on Tuesday 5/14.
Our conversation is interspersed with a number of tunes from the new release including “Old Granny Blair”, “Jig; The Fog Rolls in”, “Halifax” and “Smoke Jumpers”.
Allison DeGroot and Tatiana Hargreaves will release their new self-titled album at Northampton’s Parlor Room on 5/5. In advance of that show, I had the chance to talk to them about their careers and their latest songs and tunes.
Allison DeGroot plays clawhammer banjo on these recordings while Tatiana fiddles. Folks might recognize Allison for her work with the Canadian quartet, Oh Darling or perhaps her appearances with The Good Bye Girls; a collaboration with Molly Tuttle, Brittany Karlson and Lena Johnson. Her latest visit to the area was with Bruce Molsky’s Mountain Drifters.
Tatiana may be familiar to our listeners from her time at Hampshire College or as part of Western Massachusetts Ephemeral Stringband. She has played with Gillian Welch as well as Laurie Lewis in her tribute to Hazel Dickens and Alice Gerrard. Tatiana also has a new project called “Hard Drive”.
Our conversation covers their musical educations, their myriad projects and their teaching at camps. Tatiana is on UNC’s Music faculty this year teaching bluegrass fiddle. They are both teaching at summer workshops all over the country.
Our soundtrack includes Tatiana’s “Say Darling Say” from her first CD release, The new duo album songs spotlighted were “Cuckoo’s Nest”, “Farewell Whiskey”, “Dry” and “Beaufort County Jail”. Additional songs include Tatiana’s work with Laurie Lewis’s “Walking in my Sleep”, Hazel and Alice’s “Sing Me Back Home”, Molsky’s Mountian Drifter’s “Grandad’s Favorite/Flatwoods” and the Goodbye Girls live recording of “I’ve Always Been a Rambler”.
Check out their Parlor Room show on Sunday May 5th.
When the members of Manchester Ct.’s 41 Prospect scheduled their show at Luthier’s Coop in Easthampton, they knew it would be a celebration. It marks ten years of making music together. I invited them back to Nine Volt Heart to help them mark the anniversary. The band put together a set of originals and covers to perform live in-studio. The set includes “Something Sinister”, “Illustration to Loneliness”, “Toodle Loo”, along with Jenny Lewis’ “Acid Tongue”. We heard the cut “Slow Learner” from the band’s Album release “Steps That Remain”. An acoustic set of Tom Petty songs followed with “Listen to Her Heart” and “You Don’t Know What It’s Like”. The original song, “She’s Fickle” finished 41 Prospect’s set. The segment also includes a cut from Chatham County Line’s new cover album of a band favorite “I Got You(At the End of the Century) as well as Sarah Jarosz’ cover of Prince’s “When Doves Cry”.
Check out the band’s anniversary show on Friday 4/26 at Luthiers.
The ladies of Emma June Band came to Valley Free Radio’s studio to sing some songs and let their fans and radio listeners know about their upcoming shows and plans. Emma Ayres is the lead vocalist, guitarist and song-writer but shares vocal duties with Zoe Young who also plays guitar. Abby Kahler plays fiddle and Abbie Duquette plays bass (she plays a wild uke-bass in this session). They all sing.
We open the segment with their song, “For Icarus” followed by Joni Mitchell’s “Amelia” which also uses the Icarus metaphor. Live in the studio, the ladies continue the “mythology imagery” with a song called “Odysseus”. They perform “Little Bird” which is an unrecorded song for the band. I played an amazing song from the only recorded release, Graduate, that is called “Progress”. Emma introduces the song as a tribute and reminder of the history of the towns submerged by the Quabbin Reservoir. The band finishes our set with a gorgeous affecting acapella version of “Bread Winner”.
The Emma June Band will be performing tonight April 14th at the Shea Theater in Turners Falls, Ma. They are also scheduled to perform at the Sustainability Festival on the Amherst Common on April 27 as well as the Taste of Amherst in June.
Annie Guthrie is the middle daughter of Arlo Guthrie. Annie along with siblings Sarah Lee, Cathy, and Abe are grandchildren of Woody Guthrie. All of the family tree are musicians and have played important roles in the “Guthrie Family” business. For decades, Annie has managed the Family touring details as well as “Rising Son Records”.
These days, Annie is singing songs from her latest release, “Dragonfly”. I caught up with her in advance of her local show along with John Sheldon at Hawks and Reed in Greenfield, Ma. We talked about her roles in the musical family’s business as well as her original songs. We talked about her early Dance career inspired by her grandmother’s experience of dancing in Martha Graham’s troupe. Our conversation centered around her songwriting including a newer song dedicated to her Mother, Jackie, who died in 2012 of cancer. The segment includes the songs “White Sundresses, “Feistier Than Gin” and “Who I Am”.
John Sheldon is a busy guy. Just keeping up with his projects is daunting. He is involved in a project called “Do It Now” with poet-spoken word artist Paul Richmond and Valley World music percussionist Tony Vacca. These three perform in the area in an extraordinary spontaneous beat poetry meets improvisational music experience. In addition, John Sheldon has been digging deep into the healing aspects of music by exploring themes of environmentalism and spirit; Music as a form of prayer more than entertainment. Our conversation covers his life-changing visit to Standing Rock and the community he found there. We listen to a song written and performed by John along with Emma Ayres called “The Same Water”. We also explore another guitar piece called “Earth Blues”.
John has many projects he’s developed incorporating music with story-telling such as “The Ayahuasca Monologues”, “Journey To the Center of the Earth” and his award-winning self exploration called “The Red Guitar”. Throughout these many projects, John’s incredible guitar playing stands out; front and center.
John will be playing Friday 4/5 along with Annie Guthrie at Greenfield’s Hawks and Reed Performance Arts Center.
Lisa Bastoni has revisited and re-energized her musical career in the last two years. She took ten years away from singing to get a degree and raise a family. We’re glad that the muse hit her again while pushing a baby stroller or late at night after her children were put to bed. Her 2017 release is named after those times, The Wishing Hour. Those ten original songs brought her back to performing and to great acclaim. She was chosen as Emerging Artist at Falconridge Folk Festival, a showcase Artist at North East Regional Folk Alliance, winning awards for her songwriting at places like Rocky Mountain Folk Festival among others.
Lisa has moved to the Northampton area and has several upcoming shows scheduled in the area (as well as the Boston area). We were fortunate to spend an hour together listening to her songs and discussing her songwriting. Our set includes a number of tunes from “The Wishing Hour” like “In This Town”, “It’s the Staying That Hurts”, and “Wichita”.
We were fortunate to be able to hear a whole batch of soon to be released songs in this session. We heard versions of “Walk a Little Bit Closer”, “Beautiful Girl”, and “Nearby” among others. It was a pleasure to get to know Lisa while talking about a variety of subjects including busking, her Grandmother’s influence, and the new music series that Lisa is curating for the Montague Book Mill.