Christa Joy brings her hopeful upbeat “Get On, Heart” to Nine Volt Heart.

Christa Joy and Michael Stephens joined me for a “joy”ful in-studio performance on Nine Volt Heart. Our wide-ranging conversation includes a healthy dose of tunes from her upcoming album, “Get on,Heart”. We talk about the evolution of her sound over her three releases. Christa delves into her personal history documenting the heartbreak and joy behind these songs. Our session includes cuts from her new disc along with three live versions. Included are “Get On, Heart”, “Honey Bee”, “Ready or Not”,”You Don’t Know”, “On the Shunpike”, “She’s Enough”, and “You’re Not There”.

The commentary is honest and in-depth throughout. Give it a listen.

Christa Joy and the Honey Bees CD release shows are 6/23 at The Parlor Room and 6/27 at Dream Away Lodge. Catch them if you can.

Michael Francis McCarthy brings the Blues to WXOJ.


Michael Francis McCarthy is a blues stylist and passionate singer based in NY’s Hudson Valley. He was referred to me by my college pal Beanie (You get a shout-out in the first audio at around the 12:00 minute mark) and I’m glad he could make the drive to visit with us on Nine Volt Heart. He played a number of original songs starting with “Keep Swimming” followed by “Leave your Porch Light On”, both live in-studio. We listen to the song “Blue Angels” from his latest CD “Migrant”. A couple of brand new songs were debuted as well including “Better Than Your Phone” and “Judgement Day”. We listen to his cover of “Kill the Old Gray Mule” and his original song “Green Grass Hopper”.

It was a pleasure catching this young man sing his original songs so passionately and play his guitar with incredible dexterity. He certainly puts a lot of effort into his craft. Listen to the two audio segments above and I think you’ll agree that Michael Francis McCarthy is an amazing original talent.

Carla Racine talks Strong and Pleasant Music Fest 6/6-6/9


STRONG and Pleasant Music Festival is about to debut in downtown Northampton in seven venues over three days; 6/6 – 6/8. Over forty bands are already scheduled. The festival Director is Carla Racine (pictured above with Kristian StJohn from The Embers) along with Kara Karmah and a host of sympathetic local businesses. In our visit, we talk about the idea of a downtown music festival; it’s genesis, the planning, the venue’s participation. We also dedicate some of the credit to the late Donal Rooke as inspiration.

Some of the music featured in the hour include; The Medicinal Purpose, Workman Song, Kimaya Diggs, Trailer Park, Old Flame, The Mary Jane Jones, Snowhaus and Lux Deluxe among others.

Fiddler’s Friend Eric Lee discusses upcoming Strong and Pleasant Festival appearance.


Eric Lee is a very busy musician. He has five shows in the next week and he visits Nine Volt Heart to help promote Northampton’d First “Strong and Pleasant Music Festival” to be held Thursday through Saturday, June 6-8. Our conversation covers Eric’s latest song writing as well as his planned trip to Europe including his first visit to Norway.

The discussion also includes a number of Eric’s original songs such as “The Garden”, “Bloody Mary Morning”, “Lonesome Over You” and “Heartache Town”. We also include a few tunes from Eric’s bluegrass band, A Man About a Horse who will be recording a brand new album in the fall.

Humble Digs duo preview their Strong and Pleasant Fest appearance


The Amherst based band, Humble Digs, came into Nine Volt Heart Studio at WXOJ in Northampton to play some songs and talk about their participation in the STRONG and Pleasant Festival to be held in Northampton from 6/6 to 6/8.

We talk about the band’s beginnings and their sound’s evolution. Two of the band members, Jake Slater and George Condon, play a few live while we listen to a few pre-recorded tunes as well. We begin with a recent song called “Bloodstream” followed by a live cut “Shame”. The song “Montauk” is included from their latest CD. The duo give a spirited acoustic version of an older song called “Free and Bitter Sweet”.

The band plays Saturday evening 6/8 at Progression Brewing Company as part of the larger Strong and Pleasant Festival.

The Fawns visit Nine Volt Heart


Lesa Bezo and Henning Ohlenbusch visited WXOJ’s Nine Volt Heart program to talk about their band, The Fawns, and their upcoming appearance at Northampton’s STRONG and Pleasant Music Festival on Friday 6/7 at Progression Brewing Company.

We talked about their latest release, “Goodnight, Space Girl” as well as a recent tribute album that local musicians put together called “Friends; A Celebration of the Songs of Lesa Bezo”. The Fawns have played every conceivable venue in the area but this will be the first time at Northampton’s newest brewery, Progression Brewery, across fromĀ  the Pearl Street Ballroom.

Amid our conversation, we include three songs from their “Space Girl” release as well as two from the tribute CD. Included are “High School Party”, “Smoking Lounge” and the title cut. We also include the cuts “Friends” and “David is a Guy” by GoldWaterII and The Young At Heart Chorus. Give it a listen, but better yet; check out their local shows each Friday in June starting with 6/7 at Progression Brewery; 6/14 Taste of Amherst; 6/21 at Luthiers Coop in Easthampton.

Sumaia Jackson takes listeners on a “Mobius-Trip” on Nine Volt Heart


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”.