This week’s Hippo

Jessica Prouty Band – not acting their ages

Sometime last November, Katherine Prouty sent her 16-year-old daughter Jessica to her room. That’s not an uncommon occurrence for many teenagers.

But here’s the difference. Jessica went not to her bedroom but to a rehearsal space with the members her band — Cam Pelkey, Andy Covino and Cody Nilsen. She had a stern directive from her mother, who also happens to be the manager of the Jessica Prouty Band. Come up with some new music, she told them.

“We were in a time crunch, because we had to go into the studio, and we needed songs,” Jessica Prouty said recently from her home in Marblehead. “So my mom locked us in our band room, and we wrote songs. We chopped them out.”

The hard work led to their second album, Time to Escape, and even more accolades for a band that’s steadily amassed them since forming three years ago.

James Cotton’s night, courtesy of James Montgomery

When harp player James Montgomery was finding his way as a musician, he met James Cotton. It was the late 1960s and Cotton, who’d recently left Muddy Waters’ band, was redefining the blues, introducing new elements to the raw sound that Waters and others had brought from the country to the city.

“He really paved the way,” said Montgomery from his Newport, R.I., home. “If a blues musician wanted to move forward and branch out from blues to soul and R&B, Cotton was the template for that.”

Hippo cover story – You in the spotlight

Musicians, singers, poets and comics get their moment at open-mike nights

Got a performing itch you’d like to scratch, but don’t know where to begin? From the Seacoast to the Lakes Region, there’s a microphone waiting every night of the week. There’s nothing like a live audience to provide that moment of truth — pickers, poets, vocalists, even comics and storytellers have a bevy of options available across the state to give their newfound talent a public turn.

You just need to know where to look.