Local Rhythms – Going Green With Plug and Tug

I got an email last week from Shamus Martin telling me about 84 Sheepdog, the power trio he recently formed with Josh Maiocco (Ingrid’s Ruse) and J.D. Martin (Highball Heroes). The band, named after the customized Ford Econoline van in “Dumb and Dumber,” plays its first gig Friday at J.D. McClintock’s in Putney.

So far, it sounded like a lot of e-mails I receive, until I got to this part. “In an effort to promote ‘green business,’ we’re inviting anyone with an MP3 player to bring it, along with a cable, to the show. We’ll upload a copy of our CD, free of charge. No waste. No packaging.”

Reading that, I wanted to do a happy dance.

I don’t understand why bands, especially poor independent bands with no money to spend, insist on making CDs. I’m going to tell you something, in case you don’t already know. When I get a disk, I rip it to my laptop. If I like it, it gets copied to my iPod.

Packaging is so last century, and with oil approaching $150 a barrel, it’s un-American to manufacture something as wasteful as the compact disc.

Everything contained in a CD package will be better when it’s all-digital. If you like a guitar solo, you’ll press a button and see the song credits, and push another for lyrics.

With a net-connected device like an iPhone, you’ll switch from listening to searching the net for a band’s next live performance.

If you want to take the music home, it should be as simple as plug and tug

I can hear the audiophiles out there crying foul. MP3s, they whine, squash the highs and drown the lows.

To them I say – FLAC you.

No, I’m not being obscene. FLAC is short for Fully Lossless Audio Compression, a file format that sounds better than a typical CD. Not that most people would notice. Lots of bands now sell their music that way.

A typical FLAC file is five times bigger than an MP3. Before broadband, that was a problem; these days – not so much.

There’s also the issue of fairly compensating performers. But I really don’t see that as a big problem. Fans want to pay artists. Like I said the other day, after a megashow featuring bad sound and 10-dollar cups of Bud Lite, “I hate everyone in the music business who’s not a musician.”

Save the music, save the planet, and check out these local shows:

Thursday: Second Wind, Lebanon Farmer’s Market – This soft rock duo is turning up at more than a few outdoor markets this summer. The opened the Claremont Farmer’s Market last week, and will be back June 19. They’re also performing the first show at the Orford River Jam this Saturday. They have an easygoing sound, here’s hoping they’ll bring the sun with them.

Friday: Roamin’ Gabriels, Salt hill – This Philadelphia band comes to town every few months and packs the dance floor with a groove-infused, funk based sound. The RG’s are named after the Rams quarterback who was famous for never stepping out of the pocke. That’s how they sound – tight and in the pocket, though they’re inventive enough to change things up occasionally. It’s a fun time every time.

Saturday: Kilimanjaro, Quechee Balloon Festival – Burlington’s jazz masters performing as hot air balloons lift off into the sky – If the weather holds, this will be a very special ascension. The weekend-long festival (fathers are free on Sunday) includes family music, comedy, blues and rock. The entire lineup is on the web at http://www.quecheeballoonfestival.com.

Sunday – Godspell, New London Barn Playhouse – Here’s a fun fact: Stephen Schwartz wrote a good portion of this, his first Broadway hit, while working with the Barn Playhouse in the late 1960’s. Of course, he went on to create “Pippin,” and there’s a wing in his house for all the Tonys, Grammies and Oscars he’s won. So it makes perfect sense that the Barn would perform this work (while it waits for “Wicked” to become available).

Monday – NRG Band, Lobster Pound (Wier’s Beach) – It’s Motorcycle Week in Laconia, and this blues band is the featured attraction at the Lobster Pound every night. NRG is led by Nicole Hart, who looks like a young Bo Derek and sings like Bonnie Raitt. Make no mistake, though – a pretty girl can sing the blues, and Hart proves it every night.

Tuesday: Matt McCabe, Canoe Club – A while ago, Matt played my request – “Willow Weep For Me” by Wes Montgomery – even though it wasn’t a piano tune, which proved he was both versatile and a good guy. Canoe Club has been asking him back for a long time now, ever since he finished a long run with Roomful of Blues and moved upcountry for a quieter life. He and CC make a very good match.

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One thought on “Local Rhythms – Going Green With Plug and Tug

  1. “Plug and Tug” THAT’S IT!!! Brilliant title for the process.

    We hope the idea catches on with other musicians and maybe even attracts new audiences.

    Thanks for the mention. Hope to see you at the show.

    -Shamus Martin

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