Maya DeVitry “Adapts” to life after The Stray Birds.

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Maya DeVitry has just released a gorgeous solo release called “Adaptations”, a set of a dozen thoughtful songs covering issues like migration, civil and personal rights. The songs differ from her work with The Stray Birds in that they were written and conceived not in three part harmony but for her solo voice. She is ably supported by the stellar guitar work of Anthony Da Costa whose work includes Aiofe O’Donovan and Sarah Jarosz. Sam Grisman on bass and Jason Burger on drums fill out her band. Our segment covers a lot of territory with commentary about her trip to Jordan with the Boston-based bluegrass unit, Della Mae, to her solo trips to Cuba and remote cabins in Pennsylvania to write these songs. Her answers are thoughtful and full of insights of her journey from the aggressive touring of The Stray Birds to this very meditative soulful release on her own.

Our segment includes a healthy dose of the new album but begins with The Stray Bird’s song, “Dream in Blue” from 2012. New songs include “What the Moon Said”, “Anybody’s Friend”,”Go Tell A Bird” and “My Body is a Letter”.

Maya brings her band and her new batch of incredible songs to Club Passim in Cambridge on May 17th. Catch this talented singer songwriter with her trio of Ethan Jodziewicz on bass and Jason Burger on drums.

Award winning fiddler Laura Orshaw visits Nine Volt Heart before her Parlor Session.

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Laura Orshaw has just won the prestigious “Best Fiddler” award from the Society for the Preservation of Bluegrass Music in America (SPGMA) in late January. She is an energetic singer and fiddle player who plays full time with Alan Bibey and Grasstowne, records with her own band of Boston-based musicians, The New Velvet Band, all the while working a full time job at Leslie College. Her work ethic and enthusiasm come through in our conversation which covers her early musical education, her decision to make her musical base in Boston, and more.

Our conversation includes some of her tunes with the New Velvet Band’s “Songs of Lost Yesterdays”. We include “Going to the West”, “The Cotton Farmer” as well as a just-released song from Alan Bibey and Grasstowne called “Gonna Rise and Shine”.

In honor of Women’s History month, we discuss her musical heroes and teachers as well as Laura’s opinion of being a women in today’s bluegrass community. I’ve included the song “Swept Away” from the First Ladies of Bluegrass (Allison Brown, Becky Buller, Missy Raines, Sierra Hull and Molly Tuttle) who’ve all won the Best in their respective instrument from the IBMA awards.

It was a pleasure getting to know Laura and I was impressed with her enthusiasm and passion for her work and art. She appears at the Parlor Room TONIGHT 3/10 as part of the Parlor Session’s series. Catch her in a rare Western Massachusetts appearance.

Ona Canoa debuts their folky trio harmonies on Nine Volt Heart.

This newly formed trio have performed together only a handful of times but their joyful singing and harmonies would have you believe these ladies have been at it all their lives. They have been friends since high school and their comfort level  with each other adds to their natural ease performing together.

The group consists of Chelsie Field, Tess Burdick and Eliza Hollister. Ona Canoa will be opening the upcoming “Lilith of the Valley” series on 3/9 at Northampton, Massachusetts’ Bishop’s Lounge. Our in-studio session features four original songs by the band as well as songs by some of their favorite songwriters. Included are the songs; “Legs”, “River Rock”, “Aubergine” and Molasses”.

Included in our discussion is a chat with Kara Kharmah who is the organizer of these “Lillith Of the Valley” showcases. She is also the woman behind PRIA Music Marketing who aids bands in their quest to “brand themselves” in the effort to gain more fans. She helps focus their efforts through her work on social media platforms, website designs, promotions and more. She gives us details on March 9th’s lineup and participants.

Jacob Jolliff brings his crazy mandolin skills to Parlor Sessions 3/3.

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Jacob Jolliff just turned thirty but he’s already accomplished a lot musically. He was the first full scholarship awarded in Mandolin at Berklee School of Music. While attending, he was touring with the acclaimed band, Joy Kills Sorrow. After graduating, he became the National Champion Mandolin in 2012. He was recruited by the Yonder Mountain String Band soon after; a band he still tours with. But it is the Jacob Jolliff Band that will be coming to a Parlor Session on 3/3.

Our conversation covers all those accomplishments plus his mandolin heroes, his current touring band, the stress of naming all those instrumental tunes! Listen to our conversation which includes a number of tunes from Jacob’s bands. We hear his tribute to his bandmate Stash Wyslouch in “Shearson Crosses the Rocky Mountains”, a  Postal Service song covered by Joy Kills Sorrow, a King Harvest song covered by Yonder Mountain String Band as well as a new tune form Jacob’s new release “Instrumentals, Vol.1” called “Waiting on Gravey”.

 

Michael Daves belts out the bluegrass standards on Nine Volt Heart

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Michael Daves has played with the giants of the bluegrass world. He is the premier guitarist and singer in the robust NYC bluegrass scene which includes Sarah Jarosz, Chris Thile, The Punch Brothers, Brittany Haas and others. He hosts a weekly bluegrass set at the Rockwood Music Hall. In our conversation we discuss the jam scene in NYC and his subsequent collaboration with Chris Thile in a grammy nominated “Sleep With One Eye Open” in 2011.

Our wide ranging chat includes his time at Hampshire College, gigs at the Black Sheep Cafe, recording at Jack White’s Third Man Records, the influence of Yusef Lateef, and more.

The musical set includes “Tennessee Blues” with Chris Thile along with the Stanley Brothers’ “I Only Exist” and “Rain and Snow”. Michael Daves will be appearing locally at The Parlor Room as part of their Parlor Sessions series on 2/17.

Chris Brashear and Jim Henry sing and play the Music of Doc Watson.

 

Chris Brashear and Jim Henry will headline the Tribute to Doc Watson which will be held on 2/28 at the Parlor Room. They were kind enough to join me for the first hour of Nine Volt Heart on WXOJ. The live set began with the classic, “Deep River Blues” followed by the mournful “Dream of a Miner’s Child”. We also heard Jim Henry’s recorded tune “Doc’s Rag” in between the in-studio performances. A nice version of “Columbus Stockade Blues” is followed by Chris and Jim’s rendition of “Black Mountain Rag”. We listened to Billy String’s version of “Beaumont Rag” along with a live version of “Windy and Warm”. The recording finishes with Doc’s “Your Lone Journey” and “Whiskey For Breakfast”

Both Chris and Jim are incredible musicians and tell some great stories throughout.  There will be a full lineup of stellar players joining this duo including Paul Kochanski, Eric Lee, Rebecca Jones, Max Wareham and Tracy Grammar! Enjoy the session on the audio track above.

Seamus Egan, one of Celtic music’s finest, on Nine Volt Heart!

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I admit to being a serious fan of Seamus Egan and his band, Solas. He’s a wizard on virtually every stringed instrument (and more). I was anxious about interviewing him because, well, he’s a big freakin star! I shouldn’t have worried, he couldn’t have been more genuine. Our conversation covers his early musical education in Ireland and the burgeoning  traditional Irish jams in Philly and NYC which led to the formation of his long lived band of virtuosos, Solas. We talk about the band’s hiatus and the opportunity to refocus on his first solo instrumental album in 23 years, “Everything Always Was”!

The Seamus Egan Project comes to Northampton’s Parlor Sessions on 2/10. Don’t miss this chance to see this multi-instrumentalist wow a crowd. Joyfulness personified.