Local Rhythms – “A Fine Little Business”

brianclow.jpgI’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – the local music community takes care of its own. This time, a Claremont man who’s anchored his fair share of rhythm sections over the years has fallen ill, and his friends are stepping up to help him out.

This Sunday at the Claremont Moose Hall five bands – Stonewall, the Davis Brothers, Sun King, Saylyn and Flashback – will perform a benefit show for Brian Clow, who’s been a part of the area music scene for over 40 years. Brian has played with Carter-Rush, the Doc Maryn Band, Private Gold and Special Delivery, among others.

Joe Peters performs with the Davis Brothers, and led the effort to organize the show. He says that the day of music, which runs from 1 to 6 PM, reflects the connection Clow feels with the music community. “Brian asked for these bands,” Peters says.

The afternoon features an eclectic lineup.

Stonewall, the young power rock trio with a new album on the way, has a history of donating their talents to worthy causes. Saylyn is a fine local reggae combo, while Sun King has an energized jam band feel.

Flashback’s sweet spot is classic rock, while the Davis Brothers Band can play pretty much anything you toss at them – country, rock and blues of every stripe.

All have a connection with Brian Clow and a desire to do their part to raise his spirits, and help him in his time of need.

“You can be down on your luck,” Joe Peters says, “but when someone throws you a jam, you’re all set.”

Brian Clow learned of his illness last summer. Recently, he had to leave his job at Comcast, where he’d worked for many years. The benefit will hopefully help to ease the financial crunch these circumstances have put him in.

More than that, it will remind him that he can count on his friends.

“It’s not about the money,” says Peters, “it’s more about the camaraderie.”

It’s also a reminder of what a fantastic, close-knit musical community we’re blessed with. It’s no way to make a living, and everyone has at least one day job. But, says Joe Peters, “this is a fine little business we’re in.”

How can you support local music this weekend? I’m glad you asked:

Thursday: Jeff Warner, Goshen Town Hall – Warner is a singer/guitarist who excels in turn of the century folk music. His mission, he says, is to “teach American history and culture through traditional song … to make history as interesting as it really was.” To that end, he’s recorded several albums featuring songs like “River Driving” and “Come Love Come” as well as children’s records with timeless tunes like “Froggy Went A-Courtin’”.

Friday: John Gorka, Middle Earth Music Hall – One of the sadder stories to come out of the local music scene is the report that Chris Jones plans to close his Bradford, Vermont music room. If someone doesn’t buy the hallowed hobbit hole, the final Middle Earth show will be June 1. The next few weeks serve as a reminder of how vital the club is, with world-class songwriters Gorka and Chris Smither appearing on consecutive Fridays.

Saturday: The Squids, Zotto Gym – The good news out of Claremont is that the City Council has committed to its part in making the skateboard park a reality. But there’s still a lot of public fundraising to be done, and this dance party by good time blues rockers the Squids will hopefully raise the thermometer sitting by the park’s location just past the Puksta Bridge on Washington Street. Plus, it’s a good excuse to shake your tail feathers.

Sunday: Tiger Okoshi, Center at Eastman – This inventive trumpeter is a perennial performer at the Jazz on a Sunday Afternoon shows, and with good reason. The Japan-born Okoshi came to fame as a member of Gary Burton’s band, and has carved out quite a niche with his blend of traditional jazz and modern fusion. This combination is sure to keep his backing band, the JOSA Ensemble, on its toes

Tuesday: North Country Chordsmen Practice, Hanover Church of Christ – There are times to listen to music, but eventually everyone feels compelled to make a little of their own. This organization exists simply to celebrate singing – of the barbershop quartet variety. It’s old-time and old school, with handlebar mustaches, vertical striped shirts and all men.

Wednesday: Natalie MacMaster, Chandler Music Hall – Few musicians tour with the vigor of this fiddler. Tonight’s performance is the second of two in Randolph; she has five more New England shows before month’s end. If you miss any of those, she’ll be back in June. Of special note is a raffle to raise money for Jerry Holland, a musician who helped create the Cape Breton sound; he’s battling cancer. First prize is a one-hour private lesson with MacMaster.