Local Rhythms – Field of Rock This Saturday

fieldofrock.jpg“If you build it, they will come,” wrote W.P. Kinsella. Or, in the case of this Saturday’s “Field of Rock” local music showcase in Ludlow, “if you stage it they will come.”

Shoeless Joe Jackson and Ty Cobb likely won’t materialize from the cornfields, but the day promises its’ share of magic. Some of the area’s best bands will perform a show that starts at 11 AM and runs past dark. Tickets are a bargain at $10 ($15 at the door).

It’s all for a good cause, too – the just-formed Ludlow Recreation Camp Fund, a charity that helps kids who can’t afford to go to summer camp.
In a way, it provides them with their own field of dreams.

The management at Christopher’s hatched the idea of an all-day festival as a way to give performers who play the Ludlow club a wider audience. Soon, their ambitions grew.

“This the first time we’ve done anything like this,” says show organizer Dave Van Guilder. “We have people who want to come and watch the bands here, but they’re underage. So we decided to have a big event that anyone could go to, and then we decided why not make it a charity event.”
In typical fashion, the local music scene coalesced around the effort. Everyone’s playing for free Saturday to give the fund an initial infusion of capital.
The eclectic musical lineup leans towards hard rock, with Stonewall, Starefall and Broken Mindz, and edgier metal, with Cellblock One and Undying Breed. But prog-rockers Spectris will spice up the mix, and one of my favorite groups, rage rappers The D’Brotherhood, should also liven things up.
Rounding out the all-ages event are Haili, Pocket Toys, and Mercy Machine.
As if a great day of rock weren’t enough, the promoters (Christopher’s Bar, SpiderBiteRadio.com and 99 Rock) are also giving away prizes, including a very cool Washburn guitar package.

Van Guilder expressed admiration for all the bands willing to step up for the cause. In particular, he says, “Stonewall’s a great bunch of guys. They’re grounded – they don’t think of themselves as bigger than they are.”
That sentiment pretty accurately sums up a lot of local performers. Here’s how you can support the scene this weekend:

Thursday: Putnam & Pirozzoli, Sophie & Zeke’s – Gerry and Tom have known each other for years, but didn’t get around to making a record until this year. The CD, “Conversation Without Words,” has elements of bossa nova and free form jazz, but also includes tunes from the likes of Gershwin and Bach. What’s most distinctive is the way the two mesh musically, as smooth as coffee and cream.

Friday: Who Are the Brain Police, Seven Barrels – I’ll admit I don’t have much first hand information about this ensemble. There are four or five guys, and they play rock, I guess. But their moniker implies an affinity for Frank Zappa, one of my favorites. Plus, two members of the band used to belong to an group called the Shaven Ape Babies. So, I’m willing to recommend them for their inventive approach to band names.

Saturday: Gully Boys, Middle Earth Music Hall – Local impresario Chris Jones turns fifty for the fifth time, and his friends in music conspire to give him a bash. Chris is still fighting the good fight and keeping the music alive in the Shire. He’s hoping some of the upcoming shows, including Steve Forbert next Thursday, draw well so he can buy a new heating system. You can read more about that on the club’s web page, memh.com.
Sunday: Cornish Fair – The final day of this venerable fair begins with an inspirational morning set from Gospel Train, with support from the Plourd Family Quartet. The rest of the day includes magic (Conjuring Carroll), kid’s music (Bill Shontz’s Teddy Bear Picnic) and country (Maria Rose & Danny Elswick). Of course, there are also horses, goats and funny dogs – seriously. Raul Castano’s Comedy Dogs strut their stuff at 2:30.

Tuesday: Ensemble Zora, Metropolis Wine Bar (Brattleboro) – A new-to-me venue welcomes a quartet of singers who were inspired by a visit to Bosnia last year. They perform village music, dance songs and the urban Muslim music of Bosnia, Croatia, Serbia and Macedonia. They’re joined by Miamon Miller on fiddle and Chuck Corman on bass and dumbek (a goblet-shaped instrument also known as a chalice drum).

Wednesday: Wynton Marsalis Quintet, Iron Horse – The ambassador of American jazz stops in Northampton for four intimate shows – two each on Tuesday and Wednesday. These dates were postponed when sax player Wes Anderson took ill, but they’re un-cancelled now. Marsalis leads things on trumpet, with Dan Nimmer playing piano, Carlos Henriquez on bass, Walter Blanding Jr. taking over for Anderson on saxophone and Ali Jackson at the drums.

Local Rhythms – Outdoor Music

summer-sun.jpegOK, say it with me – “summer’s best has yet to come.” I have to believe that this past rain-soaked, windswept month was simply Job-like preparation for splendid days ahead.

Are you ready? I certainly am.

So too are the many are venues presenting my favorite hot weather pastime, outdoor music. Here are but a few regional choices. All the details can be found in my Google calendar, linked at the Local Rhythms website.

Most Thursdays, the Claremont Farmer’s Market has music. Tonight it’s bluegrass, followed by a community band concert at 8.

In Sunapee, you can count on a one show every Wednesday at the Bandstand and Saturday at Flanders Stage (with a bonus day of blues on Sunday as well) through September. On the other side of the lake, Newbury presents live music on their bandstand each Thursday. This week it’s bluegrass from the Mink Hills Band.

New London gets into the act over three mid-August Fridays (the 10th, 17th and 24th) on the town common.

Also, there’s two big all-day rock shows on the way. Whalestock reprises last year’s successful show on August 11 at the Whaleback Ski Area. It features rockers Hexerei, Sarvela and Iron Box, along with alt-rock, reggae and folk pop.

The following Saturday’s “Field of Rock” presents good music for a good cause. Some of the area’s best bands – Stonewall, D’Brotherhood, Spectris and others – gather at Ludlow’s Bixby Field to raise money for the Ludlow Recreational Camp Fund. With 12 hours of music (a 10:30 start) at 10 bucks a ticket, it’s a bargain too.

Down the road at the Jackson Gore resort, the free Friday alfresco shows continue through the end of August.

The Okemo Chamber of Commerce just kicked off their Summer Music Series, which happens Tuesdays in Ludlow, Wednesdays in Proctorsville and Thursdays in Chester. There’s a fine assortment of musical talent, including Chris Kleeman, Gypsy Reel and the Starline Rhythm Boys, through August 23.

There’s also music every Thursday in Lebanon’s Colburn Park, Fridays on the Norwich Town Green, and Pentangle Arts has a few noontime shows lined up Thursdays on the Woodstock Village Green.

Finally, local Americana supergroup the Stone Cold Roosters plays Hanover’s sidewalk sale on Saturday.
So whatever the weather, you can still dance. What else can we look forward to?

Thursday: The Elmores, Salt Hill – The club’s regular blues night features a band which probably got its name after a few shots of rock and rye, led by the ubiquitous Ted Mortimer, he of Dr. Burma, Ted & Linda and the Stone Cold Roosters (is there a genre he hasn’t mastered?), with support from drumming ace Bobby Gagnier and Brian Kennell. BTW, Brian’s band the Squids are at the Newport Salt Hill tomorrow.

Friday: Kid Pinky & His Restless Knights, La Dolce Vita – The New London restaurant’s de facto house band does a pair of shows this weekend. I like the way Kid Pinky describes their music – “pure yet nasty.” That’s something to strive for. With a sultry sound that recalls Charlie Musselwhite, but with a soulful punch – think Billy Vera’s version of “At This Moment.”

Saturday: Championship of New England Barbeque, Harpoon Brewery – A big weekend event featuring seven bands over two days, along with every musician’s favorite combination – barbeque (pork ribs, brisket, chicken wings, sausage, pork chops) and beer. There’s an eclectic blend of music, too. On Saturday, El Gringo plays cactus funk, Otis Grove gets funky, and Distance to Empty (love that name!) specializes in Kansas pop rock & roll. Sunday, Nobby Reed does the blues, and Wherehouse, fronted by Jason Cann, just plain rocks.

Sunday: Day Four, Falcon Ridge Folk Festival – If you live, like I do, to discover new music, the long drive (just over the New York state border on the Pike) is worth it for this lineup. Friday’s probably the best day, with a song swap starring Richard Shindell, Marshall Crenshaw and others, as well as the mid-day New Music Showcase. But most of the musicians are around for at least two or three days. Who, you ask? Well, Arlo Guthrie, Dar Williams, Gandalf Murphy, John Gorka, Eilen Jewell and Mary Gauthier – plus a bunch you don’t know yet.

Tuesday: Rich Meijer, Elixir – White River Junction’s latest nightspot has been likened to Canoe Club for the small plate features and the frequent music. Recent guests include Lisa Rogak, Wise Rokobili and Terry Diers. Upcoming are Matt McCabe. Mark Shilansky and Dave Clark’s Juke Joynt. Sounds like a good vibe, and Gully Boy alum Meijer will certainly add to it.

Wednesday: Songwriter’s Night, Firestones – One of my current favorites, Lori McKenna, got her start this way, at an open microphone for original songwriters. Now, she’s a Nashville darling. OK, Quechee isn’t Cambridge, but who knows what talent lurks in our own backyard? Jason Twigg-Smith leads the festivities.