Dominick Leslie of Hawktail visits Nine Volt Heart;


Dominick Leslie is one of the bright young mandolinists of his generation. Selected to be one of the Young American Mandolin Ensemble representing in France, Dominick has studied with the very best. David Grisman, Sam Bush, Chris Thile, Andy Statman, Mike Compton and countless others have made him one of the “go to” mando played for many a spontaneous ensemble. Last summer’s Green Mountain Bluegrass and Roots festival included Dom in their all star “Strength in Numbers” tribute, for example. Dominick is a highly sought-after collaborator as evidenced by his numerous side projects including Sam Reider and His Human Hands, Phoebe Hunt and the Gatherers, The Bee Eaters, Missy Raines and the New Hip, Grant Gordy Quartet, and The Deadly Gentlemen.

This month he’s touring with the fabulous instrumental quartet, Hawktail. The band also includes Brittany Haas on fiddle, Paul Kowert on bass and Jordan Tice on guitar. They will be appearing at The Academy of Music’s Back Porch Festival on Saturday 2/29 as part of the bluegrass bill with the Travelin McCoury’s and Della Mae. Hawktail will also be performing a Parlor Session on Sunday 3/1 at Northampton’s Parlor Room.

Our interview includes a trio of tunes from the recently released album “Formations” including Annbjorg,Dandelion and Last One on the Line.

Ari and Mia join Lucy Wise at the next Parlor Session 2/16

Ari and Mia along with Lucy Wise will be part of the Parlor Sessions Sunday 2/16 along with the Celtic trio KALOS. Mia Friedman was a guest in-studio for this segment and Lucy Wise called in for a short segment from NYC. We talked about their upcoming shows and their latest CD release Sew The City. We include a handful of the trio’s music as well. Give it a listen or better yet; consider attending the Parlor Session on Sunday!

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.