Tim Eriksen, Semi-reformed Punk meets Shape Note Singer.


Tim Eriksen is a local treasure in our Pioneer Valley but there aren’t too many chances to see him perform. Next Sunday 2/9 is just such an opportunity at Northampton’s Parlor Sessions. Tim has taught at Amherst College, Hampshire College and presently teaching Shape Note Singing from The Sacred Harp tradition at Smith College. He’s been active in providing music for theater (“Refugee”) as well as documentaries (“Behold the Earth”)recently ; but this work goes back to his role in the Academy Award nominated film, “Cold Mountain” back in 2003.

Tim will bring his music to the Parlor Session for an evening of stories , songs, and Magic Lantern projections from an imaginary New England village. Peter Irvine, long time collaborator from Tim’s Cordelia’s Dad days joins him as well as painter Susan Brearey who is working with the old school technology of the Magic Lantern projections.

Our conversation touches on his work on the film “Cold Mountain”, training the cast including Alison Krauss and Elvis Costello, in the Shape Note tradition. We discuss New England’s role in this traditional style of singing and preview the Parlor Session on next Sunday. The evening also will give tribute to John Cohen of the New Lost City Ramblers. Tim is a natural born story teller and he gives us a number of fascinating glimpses into what the Parlor Session will be like. The segment includes a handful of Tim’s music, of course, including¬† “Better Days Are Coming” from the Soul of January Hills CD, “Am I Born to Die” from the Cold Mountain soundtrack as well as “Gabriel’s Trumpet” from Josh Billings Voyage.

KALOS is a thing of “beauty”. Celtic trio coming to Parlor Sessions 2/16


The trio of celtic wonderlings KALOS were my guests yesterday on my radio show Nine Volt Heart. Jeremiah Mclane on accordion, Ryan McKassen on fiddle along with Eric McDonald on guitar are working on a brand new release as a trio.They will be part of 2/16 Parlor Session in a fabulous series of music designed to chase away the winter doldrums. These gentlemen’s music will surely do that. We had a long discussion of their acculmulated influences and experience and it is broad and diverse. They have experienced a lot in their musical wanderings and this expansiveness is apparent in their music. Our segment includes two recent tunes, “Brooke Leigh” and “Mark the Hard Earth”. Give it a listen or better yet get yourself down to Northampton’s Parlor Room on Sunday February 16th.

Chris Brashear and John Benjamin update Nine Volt listeners on Back Porch and Parlor Sessions.


Chris Brashear and John Benjamin played an entertaining set of music in anticipation of their hosting duties at upcoming Parlor Room events. John Benjamin and Max Wareham will be hosting the Parlor Sessions for select Sunday shows this winter. Chris Brashear will be teaching a workshop along with Matt Flinner on 2/29 as part of the Back Porch Festival. Chris will also be hosting the Townes Van Zandt tribute night on 2/27 along with a host of singer/songwriters. Details for these events can be found at Signature Sounds Presents website.

Their set of music included “Lil’ Joe”, “The Road to Columbus”,and “The Midnight Special” live as a first time duo! The segment also includes Chris’ “Tell All My Pickin’ Friends Goodbye”, Matt Flinner’s “Inferno Reel”, Townes Van Zandt’s “To Live Is To Fly” as well as a cut from Chris’ collaboration with the Piedmont Melody Makers, “Just Keep Waiting Till the Good Times Come”.


Sam Reider and the Human Hands open this Winter’s Parlor Sessions 1/19/20

Sam Reider and the Human Hands (6Piece).jpg

Sam Reider is a pianist, accordionist, composer and leader of a band of virtuoso’s called the Human Hands. Sam and his band will open the Parlor Room in Northampton’s Winter series called The Parlor Sessions on Jan 19th. Our conversation touches on his young career as a jazz pianist and his discovery of folk music at Columbia. We talk about his many tours sponsored by the US State Department all over the world acting as a music ambassador. We also touch on his work with Jazz at Lincoln Center which brought him into NYC public schools.

The Human Hands include Eddie Barbasa on Sax, Alex Hargreaves on fiddle,Dominick Leslie on mandolin and Roy Williams on guitar. Sam plays both piano and accordian. Our segment includes two selections to give you a taste of their virtuosity and style. We listen to “The Murder” and “Swamp Dog Hobble”.

Low Lily perform a “Winter Solstice” show at the Parlor Room. 12/18


Liz Simmons of the Vermont-based Low Lily was my guest on Nine Volt Heart to talk about Wednesday’s 12/18 Winter Solstice show at the Parlor Room. Low Lily will be sharing the festivities with mandolinist Matt Flinner. I can only imagine the gorgeous four part harmonies along with two fabulous mandolin pickers on the Northampton venues stage. My conversation covers a lot of territory in under 15 minutes. We discuss her early exposure of “life on the road” with her parents to her current role in Low Lily. In between, we flesh out the Boston folk and celtic scene leading to the formation of their first project, Annalivia and their decision to start anew with Low Lily. Along the way we hear a number of tunes from the band from both their recordings including “Northern Spy”, “Sovay”, “Dark Skies Again” and Liz introduces the gorgeous hand-clapped acapella, “Hope Lingers On”. Give it a listen, or better yet, go to the Parlor Room show on Wednesday night.

Old Time Music Master Bruce Molsky to hold workshop and concert 12/15

Bruce Molsky will lead a workshop and a concert on December 15th in Northampton’s Parlor Room. Bruce is a leading advocate of old time fiddle music whose work spans genres and generations. He’s a serious musicologist and has a serious work ethic which he refers modestly as a “bunch of projects”. Touring worldwide with Molsky’s Mountain Drifters (pictured top right) a trio of Allison DeGroot and Stash Wyslouch as well as releasing a disc with Scandanavian supergroup Mozaik are just two of his recent projects.

Our conversation covered some of his early influences from Billy Taylor’s Jazz Mobile to studying years later at the feet of old time legends in the Upper South. We talk about his role as educator at Berklee’s School of Music and his efforts to establish the American Center for Folk Music in his hometown of Beacon NY.

Of course, the segment includes some old time fiddle tunes including Bruce’s versions of “Piney Mountain”, “Shelving Rock”, “Forked Deer” as well as the Mountain Drifter’s “Old Jawbone” and a version of “The Drunken Hiccups” finishes this set of old time standards.

Pictured above (top left) is Bruce in-studio on Nine Volt Heart,(Center photo) Bruce with Altan along with Alison Brown at Freshgrass, (top right) Molsky’s Mountain Drifters

Lisa Bastoni and Zak Trojano preview their 12/14 Parlor Room show on Nine Volt Heart.


Lisa Bastoni and Zak Trojano were my guests on Nine Volt Heart in advance of their Parlor room show on 12/14. They will share the bill on that Saturday night assuring those in attendance of a fabulous singer-songwriter evening. Lisa is debuting her “How We Want To Live” CD on this tour. It is very personal set of songs which is guaranteed to¬† engage both the heart and the mind. Zak uses his incredible finger-picking style along with an amazingly expressive voice.

Both musicians shared a handful of new songs in our segment. Their shared appreciation is evident while each artist sang in the studio. Smiles and nods of mutual understanding abound. Lisa sang three songs from her gorgeous new release including “Nearby”, “Pocketful of Sighs’ and “Beautiful Girl” while Zak sang “Gorham”and”Poor Boys Long Away from Home”. Our segment includes a number of songs from their catalog including Zak’s latest disk “Wolf Trees” and an instrumental disc called “I Took Molly to see the Butterflies”.

Catch this talented pair when they each showcase their latest work on December 14 in Northampton’s Parlor Room.