Reed Foehl and Lisa Bastoni preview music from their upcoming Parlor Room show, June 1st.

Reed Foehl made his first visit to NineVoltHeart studio to sing some songs from his latest couple of albums in advance of his Parlor Room show on June 1st. We had a lively conversation about his musical journey including growing up in Dover Mass (home of the Dover Demon) with musical parents and sibling. From Boston to Colorado to Nashville and recently Vermont, Reed has plenty of stories from the road and songs to document them! We heard his grammy-nominated song “Fly” co-written with Brent Cobb for Lee Ann Womack to start the segment. Reed played a number of songs live in this session including “My Song”, “Stealing Starlight” and “Wild Wild Love”. We finish with “This Too Shall Pass” from the latest release. Make sure to catch Reed in his Parlor Room debut, Thursday night June 1st.

Lisa Bastoni is a pro at these in-studio sessions! Our conversation covers her latest Visual Art projects, her work as an Art teacher, her upcoming full band album, and more! Our segment begins with a cut from her latest “Backyard Birds” CD called “Bring It On”. She debuts a brand new song called “Right Side of the River” and “Nearby” from the gorgeous release called “How We Want to Live”. We finish the segment with the recorded version of “Walk a Little Closer” from that same release. Powerful personal songs from our favorite local singer-songwriter. Catch her show opening for Reed Foehl on June 1st at the Parlor Room or next week 6/7 at Club Passim in Cambridge or 6/15 at Easthampton’s Luthiers with Pamela Means!!

Johnny Folsom 4 coming to the Shea 5/12

David Burney has a classic country voice. It’s unmistakeably Cash in timbre and delivery. That’s a fine trait when you’re fronting a Johnny Cash tribute band, Johnny Folsom 4. The band brings it’s classic sound to the Shea Theater on Friday 5/12.

David Burney started this journey later than some; but he’s been at it for fifteen years now. These last two years were particularly productive with a release of his debut solo record “I Forgive It All’ released near the end of 2022 and the band release, “Sooner Or Later; Our Tribute to Johnny Cash”, just released.

Our conversation covers David realization that after years as a designer, he wanted to start a honky tonk band! The parallels between his design work and his music were a theme throughout the interview. We talk about his two studio experiences and his amazing band for both albums. We ask him what his creative and personal goals were and what it feels to be productive these days.

Of course we talk about Johnny Cash and our mutual delight at his early TV shows and the amazing guests on the program. We compare favorite Cash “eras” and I ask if David has created his “100 Songs To Learn” as Johnny did? Did it include any of the late great Gordon Lightfoot songs? You’ll have to listen to the segment for all the topics and David’s honest and insightful answers. We also include a batch of songs from both albums. From the “solo’ Burney record, we hear his great take on Townes Van Zandt “Dollar Bill Blues” as well as Dennis Dougherty’s beautiful “My Hands” with musical credit to Andrew Marlin! From the Johnny Folsom 4, we played “Personal Jesus” and “Get Rhythm”.

Tickets for the beautiful historic Shea Theater on 5/12 are still available! will get you a night of great songs from the Man In Black; even if he’s from Leland NC!

Tony Trishka’s Earl Jam comes to the Drake 5/6

Banjo legend Tony Trishka was my guest on the Town Crier. We talked about his musical path starting with his NYC days in the 1970’s. His band included an eclectic fusion of styles and players including Kenny Kosek and Andy Statman. His influences from classical to jazz to fusion are on full display in these early recordings. Tony discusses those early scene gigs as well as mentoring folks like Bela Fleck. Fleck and Trishka were fearless innovators on the instrument over their careers. Both have also embraced traditional bluegrass as well. The latest project from Tony is a note for note transcription of Earl Scruggs banjo parts obtained from a home recording tape with John Hartford! Tony will be bringing a talented group of young players with him at the Drake! Folks like Michael Daves (guitar) Jared Engel (bass) and Nate Lee (fiddle and mandolin). Other dates include Jacob Jolliff, Alex Hargreaves and Brittany Haas. If you’re in the Boston area the “Earl Jam” will be at City Winery at Noon on the same day 5/6.

Our conversation touches on lots of topics from the young talent in the roots music world to the learning the Scruggs catalog. We include a batch of tunes as well including Tony’s take on “Reuben” the first tune Earl mastered his three finger style as a young man; now referred to as “Scruggs style” playing. We hear from the trio of banjo players Bill Keith, Bela and Tony do “Black Mountain Rag”. The only recorded duet with Earl Scruggs and Trishka is documented on “Farewell Blues” from Tony’s Double Banjo Bluegrass Spectacular release. We end the segment with Earl’s take on his “Nashville Blues” from Will The Circle Be Unbroken collection with the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band.

Give the segment a listen or better yet go to and get a ticket for this Saturday’s show 5/6.

Preview of 2023 Freshgrass with Olli Chanoff, festival curator.

The end of September is a special time in New England. Change of season colors and Freshgrass for roots music lovers! My guest on Nine Volt Heart is partly responsible for at least the latter. Olli Chanoff curates the lineup of musical acts for September 22-24 at MassMOCA in North Adams. Our conversation covers planning for an event this size; a year round process involving hundreds of possibilities. We discuss the part diversity plays in creating a broad spectrum of sounds for Freshgrass audiences. Chanoff is excited for fans to hear some of the lesser-known acts like Bombino; blues from the African desert or Buffalo Nichols and Sunny War; two talented singer songwriters. Elements of the past festivals remain, such as the Band contests and the Commissioned works by the Freshgrass Foundation. This year I’m excited by Aoife O’Donovan’s new work as well as very special commissioned work by Mr. Sun; a reworking for string band Duke Ellington’s “Nutcracker Suite” (itself a radical remake of Tchaikovsky’s).

Other elements of previous festivals like workshops are returning from Covid precautions. Last year the festival added a segment called House of Songs where a group of musicians come together a week prior to the concert to cowrite and create new works in common. Elements like a dedicated set to a particular band (previous selections like Johnny Cash, Grateful Dead or the Band) have not been announced. While element come and go, it’s ALWAYS the highlight of this time of year. The Mass MOCA campus lights up with amazing music on three stages on three days. Details at

Natalie Padilla, award-winning fiddler, joins NineVoltHeart. Record Release Party 3/31 at Ana Bandeira Chocolates.

Natalie Padilla was born and raised in Montana. Her fiddling began at an early age with classical and eventually Texas style fiddling culminating in a half dozen Fiddle Contest Championships. She has just released two new albums. “Hell Broke Loose” which is an old time trio album released in February. But on March 31st, Natalie will release “Montana Wildflowers” a mix of Celtic and Old Time styles. The album release party will be at Ana Bandeira Chocolates (48 Main Street)in Northampton @6:30.

Our conversation covers Natalie’s Contest experiences as well as Fiddle Camps throughout the Mountain West. We talk about the differences between styles of fiddle playing and how she prepares for certain styles. Natalie compares these regional styles like learning a new language which necessitates immersion in the culture. If she’s playing Celtic music she’ll attend a “session” in a pub with the celtic repetoire. Conversely, she’ll need to play Bach violin and practice with the orchestra. Natalie is very adept at Texas , Celtic, Old Time and Classical styles as well as bluegrass. Her selections played live in studio show her mastery. Give the segment a listen. Many of the selections are from the “Montana Wildflowers” CD including “Prairie Flax”,”Ladyslipper”,”Forget Me Not”,” as well as “Court The Widow”. She finished with a version of “Hell Broke Loose”

Make sure to get to AnaBandeira Chocolates in Northampton for the release party. Natalie is also starting an “Irish Night” and an “Old Time Night” at the same business every week. Check the website for details.

Florence Dore discusses her book “Ink in the Grooves” and her show at the Drake 3/28.

Florence Dore has a lot to talk about. She has a recently published book “Ink in the Grooves” which is a series of conversations on Literature and Rock n Roll. She also has a new album and tour for “Highways and Rocketships” which has a local stop at the Drake in Amherst on 3/28. Florence Dore is also giving a “lecture” on the literature/rock n roll topic at Amherst College on 3/29.

Our conversation touches on her work as a Professor of English at UNC-CH teaching both writing and song-writing! We talk about her favorite essays in “Ink” and which might make the case that supposedly “low’ music can be as “literate” as creative writing. Authors such as Daniel Wallace and Colson Whitehead are included as well as songwriters such as Lucinda Williams, Steve Earle and Amy Helm. It a very entertaining read! We also heard a cut or two from her album including the title cut and “Wifi Heart” to conclude the segment. Give it a listen or better yet find your tickets for the March events in person.

Mark Erelli “Lays His Darkness Down” in new release.

Mark Erelli is a touring singer-songwriter. His craft is finely tuned, he has a substantial following and a network of reliable venues. He’s also going blind. After a devastating diagnosis of Retinitis Pigmentosa, a rare inherited ocular condition which begins as loss of peripheral vision and progresses to legal blindness, Mark decided to simplify his creative process by recording at home. He reached out to his KickStarter community and was astounded at the positive response. This enabled Erelli to record his most recent album, “Lay Your Darkness Down”. Mark Erelli will be appearing at Northampton’s Parlor Room on March 25.

Our conversation covered more than Mark’s RP diagnosis. We talked about the songs he had already written and how they may have changed in light of changes in his life. We chatted about Tom Petty and Neil Young as well as Justin Townes Earle as influences. Mark talked about how relationship songs have changed as he and his wife celebrate decades together. The impact of Western Massachusetts is also explored. Throughout our conversation, we hear songs form Mark’s catalog including “By Degrees”, “Is It Enough”, “Call You Home”, “Lay Your Darkness Down” and “Love Wins in the Long Run”.

The conversation was lively and fun, despite Mark’s setbacks, he’s remarkably resilient and upbeat. I’m honored to have such honesty, courage, and insight in one interview. I hope you give it a listen (and buy his album) and go to the Parlor Room in March.

Sandy Bailey and Ryan Hommel join NineVoltHeart to talk about Back Porch Festival 3/3-3/5

Sandy Bailey and bandmate Ryan Hommel performed in-studio in advance of their upcoming appearance at this year’s Back Porch Festival held March 3-5th. They performed four songs from Sandy’s not yet released album, “Daughters of Abraham”. They open the segment with “Already Down” followed by the title cut. Our chat covers some of Sandy’s musical journey and her multi-racial background. We also talk about Ms Bailey’s songwriting workshops with Mary Gauthier and Gretchen Peters; both acclaimed songwriters from Nashville. We talk about the influence of John Prine’s songwriting which resulted in Sandy Bailey’s song, “Dear John”. The last cut we hear is the song Sandy submitted to NPR’s Tiny Desk contest called “Get The Message Through”. This song was part of Mary Gauthier’s mentorship and we hear the updated version today on NineVoltHeart. It is an amazing performance of original music. I really enjoyed the conversation and the music. I know you will too. Check out her website,

Sun On The Muddy; A Day of Poems, Songs and Photography. Sunday Feb 5 @2:30, Parlor Room

Dave Madeloni joined me today on the Town Crier to discuss this weekend’s event called Sun On The Muddy Book Release Party; Photography, Poetry, Songs and Signing. Join him and Jim Armenti at the Parlor Room this Sunday afternoon for a reception that will feature songs by long-time Valley staple Jim Armenti, photographs by Dave Madeloni . Books will be available for purchase at the reading. A copy of Jim’s latest CD, “The Poetry of Longing” will be included with each book purchase.

In our conversation, Dave discusses his photography method, his inclusion in this book and the specifics of this reading event. Give it a listen. Better yet, check out this unique event, it’s going to be a lot of fun. Parlor for details. Tickets at the door as well.