Matt Andersen 3/20/16

Matt Andersen has been enthralling audiences with his one??-of??-a??kind performance in North America, Europe and Australia for years. Earlier this fall, the award winning artist once again de??camped from his New Brunswick home ‘ this time to record his upcoming album. Produced in New York with Commissioner Gordon (Joss Stone, Amy Winehouse, KRS??One), H​onest Man follows up the JUNO Award nominated W​eightless​and sees the songwriter pushing himself into new territory. Blessed with a rich gospel soul voice and armed with a new set of songs, Matt Andersen found a perfect partner in crime with Commissioner Gordon. ‘Gordon has worked with so many different people, like Santana and Quincy Jones, on so many historic albums,’ says Andersen. ‘He has such a great approach and was able to tie??in so many new ideas to what I’ve done in the past without losing touch with my sound.’ From writing around drum beats to bringing in a cast of players including Andy Bassford (Toots and the Maytals, Burning Spear, Natalie Merchant), Benji Bouton (Ibibio Sound Machine), Josh David Barret (The Wailers, Lauryn Hill), and Lenny Underwood (Mary J. Blige, Amy Winehouse), Honest Man​expands on what we already know and love from Andersen and brings it to a new level. ‘Gordon brought a drum beat to one of our first sessions that I loved, and I wrote ‘Let’s Get Back’ around it. When we tracked, we did it the same way as the others ?? myself on acoustic guitar, Benji on electric, Josh on bass. Using beats is something I never thought I would go for. But it was a lot of fun and I’m really excited with what we recorded. If I was left up to my own devices it would have been a very different record.’ The ten songs that make up H​onest Man​explore both the political and the personal. The title track, co??written with Chris Kirby, was inspired by a US political cartoon while ‘Let’s Get Back’, co??penned with Andy Stochansky, has Andersen thinking about how his country as a nation has changed, but not for the better. ‘Who Are You Listening To?’ was hatched with Ryan Hupman during a pre??election social media flood and emerges as rally call for people to make up their own minds and not be swung by the ‘information’ we’re being fed. On ‘All The Way’, written with Gordie Sampson, Andersen takes a more personal approach as he sings about the decision to fully commit to a relationship, while on the alluring piano ballad ‘I’m Giving In’, composed with Andy Stochansky and Jamie Hartman, he muses about the moments leading up to that commitment. ‘The song ‘I’m Giving In’ was the final one that I needed to lay down vocals for,’ recalls Andersen. ‘It was my last night in New York and the studio we were using was underneath a ballroom where Alicia Keys was rehearsing for a performance the next night. We managed to get the piano recorded in between the breaks of the rehearsal but had to skip the vocals. We went back to Gordon’s studio to listen back to the weeks’ work and enjoy a scotch when we decided to take a stab at recording the vocals. This was at 1am. It was a special way to wrap up the sessions with Gordon.’ On one of two songs created with Donovan Woods called ‘One Good Song’ Andersen sings about exactly that. He explains, ‘All songwriters desire to have that one good song that just gets everybody. Not necessarily a hit, but a song that when it’s heard you can’t help but listen. This song is about the journey we all take to get there.’ There is no need at all for Matt Andersen to worry about one good song, H​onest Man​is a watershed album full of transcendent musical moments that should elevate the songwriter from internationally acclaimed to world renowned. About Matt Andersen With over 5 million views on YouTube, independent sales over 30,000 albums, a 2013 European Blues Award, and winning Best Solo Performer at the Memphis Blues Challenge, it appears that the entire world is now discovering Matt Andersen. A powerhouse performer with a giant soul??filled voice and commanding stage presence, Matt has built a formidable following the old fashioned way ‘ touring worldwide and letting the converted audiences and Andersen devotees spread his reputation through word of mouth. In addition to headlining major festivals, clubs and theatres throughout North America, Europe and Australia, he has shared the stage and toured with Bo Diddley, Buddy Guy, Greg Allman, Tedeschi Trucks Band, Randy Bachman, Little Feat, Jonny Lang, Serena Ryder, and more. Andersen has won the 2013 Euro Blues Award for Best Solo /Acoustic Act, three Maple Blues Awards in 2012, and nabbed him 2010 International Blues Challenge in Memphis. Since the release of W​eightless​in early 2014, Andersen has received a JUNO nomination for Roots & Traditional Album of the Year, a CIMA Road Gold award, and a Maple Blues Award for Male Vocalist of the Year.

Charlie Musselwhite 3/11/16

With an induction into the Blues Music Hall of Fame, 35 Blues Music Awards (including three wins in 2014!) and 11 Grammy nominations (including a 2014 win!), American electric blues harmonica player and bandleader Charlie Musselwhite has truly earned legendary status as one of blues music’s most important artists. One of the non-black bluesmen who came to prominence in the early 1960s (alongside Mike Bloomfield and Paul Butterfield, among others), Musselwhite was reportedly the inspiration for Dan Aykroyd’s character in The Blues Brothers. He was born in Mississippi but spent his formative years in Memphis, TN during the period when rockabilly, western swing, electric blues and other forms of African American music were combining to give birth to rock and roll. Musselwhite supported himself by digging ditches, laying concrete and running moonshine in a 1950 Lincoln automobile. This environment was Musselwhite??s school for music, as well as life, and where he acquired the nickname ‘Memphis Charlie.’ In true bluesman fashion, Musselwhite then took off to Chicago, where he continued his education on the South Side, making the acquaintance of even more legends including Lew Soloff, Muddy Waters, Junior Wells, Sonny Boy Williamson, Buddy Guy, Howlin’ Wolf, Little Walter, and Big Walter Horton. Musselwhite immersed himself completely in the musical life, living in the basement of Big Joe Williams and forging a lifelong friendship with John Lee Hooker. In time, Musselwhite led his own blues band and in 1966 released the legendary ‘Stand Back! Here Comes Charley Musselwhite’s Southside Band.’ Since then, Musselwhite has released over 25 albums, as well as guesting on albums by many other notable musicians including Bonnie Raitt, INXS, Tom Waits and The Blind Boys of Alabama, among others. Musselwhite recently teamed up with Ben Harper on ‘Get Up!’ – the long time coming collaboration that took home the Grammy for Best Blues Album in 2014.

Anonymous Among Us

Anonymous Among Us: Images from a New England Potter’s Field

This exhibition is from a photo essay featuring numbered paupers’ grave markers in Taunton, MA. This project is funded in part by a grant from the Taunton Cultural Council.

One of the main goals in my photography is to capture abstractions, minute details, moments in time, and the emotions they evoke. While my photographs are digital, I use computer software sparingly, making minimal adjustments to the digital file. For me, the thrill of photography is in the hunt ‘ finding the unusual and the unexpected and capturing those instances. To build images in Photoshop or another software program would remove the reward I get from that spontaneity, from the ‘aha’ moment of realizing I’ve just come across something very special.

Rhett Miller (of Old 97’s) 4/2/16

Miller is the front man and main songwriter of the hard-charging rock ‘n’ roll quartet the Old 97’s, as well as an accomplished solo artist. In addition to his nine studio albums with the 97’s (most recently The Grand Theatre Volume One and The Grand Theatre Vol. 2 in 2011), he has released seven solo albums; 1989’s Mythologies, 2002’s The Instigator, 2006’s The Believer, 2009’s Rhett Miller, 2011’s The Interpreter: Live at Largo, 2012’s The Dreamer, and 2015’s The Traveler. Miller has been playing in touring bands (most notably, The Old 97’s) for the better part of 20 years. This fact alone certainly qualifies him as someone allowed to title his latest solo album titled The Traveler. Although the album was written and performed by Miller he also had some help, by the members of Black Prairie, a band based in Portland that plays everything from bluegrass to klezmer to country and shares members with the Decemberists. The band (Black Prairie) entered the studio with the singer (Rhett Miller) and briskly recorded the songs that make up this album (The Traveler). Additional guitar work was also added by Peter Buck and Scott McCaughey of REM. In addition to his music being featured in countless films and television shows, Miller has appeared in an episode of the NBC hit series 30 Rock and the Old 97’s were prominently featured in the Vince Vaughn/Jennifer Aniston romantic comedy, The Break Up. Primarily known for his songwriting and awe-inspiring live performances, Rhett is also a critically-acclaimed author whose work has appeared in several books and such well-known periodicals as Rolling Stone, McSweeney’s, and The Atlantic. Miller is an accomplished guitarist and lyricist and continues to produce moving and pointed songs about the human condition. Shifting seamlessly from love worn odes to solemn recounts of loss, the songwriter is able to craft compelling story lines that reward and enrich the audience.

SOLD OUT Peter Wolf 4/30/16

Join us for a CD Release Party when Peter Wolf’s makes his return to the Narrows with his latest ‘A Cure For Loneliness.’ Tickets go on sale Friday, February 19th. Special bonus! A digital download of Peter Wolf’s forthcoming album, ‘A Cure For Loneliness’ (available April 8), is included with every ticket you order for this show. You will receive an email with instructions on how to receive your download following your purchase. ‘A Cure for Loneliness’ manifests the same vibrant passion for music that’s motivated Peter Wolf for most of his life. Growing up in an artistic, politically engaged family in the Bronx, he became an early rock ‘n’ roll convert after attending an Alan Freed rock ‘n’ roll revue that included performances by Chuck Berry, Buddy Holly, Jerry Lee Lewis, Little Richard and Frankie Lymon. His thirst for new and old sounds drove him to exploring blues, soul, country, folk and jazz, inspiring weekly visits to Harlem’s Apollo Theatre and leading to acquaintances with many of the music’s surviving originators. Wolf’s talent as a painter won him a grant to study at the Boston Museum School of Fine Arts. While a student there, he experienced a life-changing epiphany after jumping on stage to sing with a blues band at a loft party. He soon talked himself into membership in that band, The Hallucinations. ‘I didn’t join a band to meet girls,’ Wolf recalls. ‘I joined my first band to meet musicians. Painting was a fascination for me, but I was a music fanatic, and sitting in with that band was a born-again type of experience for me. I was transfixed, and myself and some of the guys in the band would check out performances by the musicians we admired so much, like Muddy Waters and John Lee Hooker and John Coltrane and Bill Monroe and the Stanley Brothers. Those roots stayed with me.’ Wolf’s natural loquaciousness won him a job as an all-night DJ on the fledgling FM rock station WBCN. Adopting the persona of ‘the Woofa Goofa,’ he spun raw rock ‘n’ roll and rhythm ‘n’ blues, channeling the spirit of the flashy, fast-talking DJs he’d grown up listening to. Wolf’s encyclopedic musical knowledge came in handy when he and some like-minded Boston players formed the J. Geils Band, much of whose early repertoire was drawn from Wolf’s vast record collection. The band soon became a local favorite injecting a much-needed jolt of raw, uninhibited rock ‘n’ roll into the ’70s scene and was soon signed by Jerry Wexler for Atlantic Records. Between 1970 and 1983, the J. Geils Band released 13 influential albums, topped the pop single charts with 1981’s ‘Freeze Frame,’ ‘Love Stinks,’ ‘Centerfold,’ and earned a reputation as one of rock’s most exciting live acts, thanks in large part to Wolf’s flamboyant, hyperactive stage presence. After going solo with 1984’s Lights Out, Wolf continued to stake out new musical territory with the subsequent releases Lights Out, Come As You Are, Up to No Good, Long Line, Fool’s Parade, Sleepless and Midnight Souvenirs. His solo work has seen him collaborate with the likes of Aretha Franklin, Merle Haggard, John Lee Hooker, Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Little Milton, Wilson Pickett, Shelby Lynne and Neko Case. Wolf temporarily reunited with his J. Geils Band cohorts for live shows on several occasions between 1999 and 2015, but his solo career has remained his creative focus, as A Cure for Loneliness makes clear.

Jimmy LaFave 6/25/16

Austin-based singer/songwriter and guitarist Jimmy LaFave brings a passionate rock & roll energy to his original folk songs, whether he’s playing solo or with a band. LaFave grew up in Wills Point, east of Dallas, but at 17, his family moved to Stillwater, OK. When he was in his teens, his mother purchased his first guitar for him with green stamps. While Stillwater was not exactly bustling with musical activity, it wasn’t a ghost town either, and it was close enough to Tulsa that LaFave found all the opportunities he was seeking as a young singer/songwriter. The musical heritage of the area certainly was rich enough: folksinger Woody Guthrie, jazz trumpeter Chet Baker, and jazz fiddler Claude ‘Fiddler’ Williams, plus songwriter J.J. Cale and Leon Russell’s Shelter Studios. But to find a wider audience and, more importantly, a record deal, LaFave thought it would be worthwhile to move to Austin. He found both after moving to Austin in 1985, and he’s been based there ever since.

Westport & Beyond/The Erika Hall Memorial Fund presents Sarah Potenza 3/6/16

Moved Again: Words…sounds…images…the list goes on and on. There are so many ways that we connect with life and each other. From the frivolous and the mundane to the heart-wrenching and achingly beautiful, art speaks to and about our souls, our selves, our community. And for a fabulous evening to benefit local students via our scholarship fund. Westport High 2014 graduate Aaron Lessard opens the evening for us with a long awaited performance by his band of Berklee friends while Sarah Potenza, RI native headlines the evening with what is sure to be a very powerful set. While you’re at it, come early to browse the selection of high school art that will be on display in the back gallery, a selection chosen by WHS AP art teacher Jess Raimondi that has already been making the rounds in exhibitions at places like UMASS Dartmouth and the Dee Dee Shattuck Art Gallery in Westport, to name a few. Open your ears and eyes to see the inspiration that is all around, inspiration that resides in our world, our communities, and in our students, Sarah Potenza After spending seven years with her band Sarah & The Tall Boys, Sarah Potenza relocated to Nashville Tennessee with not much more than her husband and her monster vocals. That coupled with her honest reflective songwriting she quickly garnered the attention of the city’s thriving music scene and she became a staple at the world renowned Bluebird Caf?? and the globally broadcast Music City Roots program One of her performances on Music City Roots resulted in a phone call from the NBC television show, ‘The Voice’. Potenza took the challenge in stride and managed to land a four chair turn and out of 50,000 contestants, she made it to the top twenty! Her passion for performing and undeniable voice resonated with America and made her a fan favorite across the country. Nashville welcomed her home with pride and celebrated her authentic, heart-felt songwriting with a sold out show at the Bluebird Cafe and her debut on the Grand Old Opry. Her new album ‘My Turn’ will be available in the Fall of 2015 and she is currently on tour in a city near you!

Professor Louie and the Cromatix 2/19/16

Professor Louie’s upstate ensemble is an old school Americana template that jams out timeless rock, country, blues and New Orleans influenced originals.’ – Village Voice This GRAMMY-nominated Woodstock, NY band plays 150 shows every year in the US and worldwide. Led by recording engineer and producer, Aaron ‘Professor Louie’ Hurwitz on vocals, keyboards and accordion, The Crowmatix repertoire is steeped in rock ‘n’ roll, blues, Gospel and American roots music, and features a compelling collection of original and traditional tunes. The band’s latest release, Music From Hurley Mountain (Woodstock Records, 2016), showcases music written by Louie and his songwriting partner, vocalist, pianist and percussionist, Miss Marie (Rick Danko). Drummer Gary Burke (Bob Dylan, Joe Jackson), guitarist/vocalist John Platania (Van Morrison) and bassist/vocalist Frank Campbell (Steve Forbert, Levon Helm) complete the talented and versatile quintet. Professor Louie & The Crowmatix have grown into a true legacy of Woodstock band. ‘Their new material is soulful and their performance last night (at Sugarloaf Performing Arts Center) was the highlight of the evening.’ – Stan Beinstein, radio executive (WPDH, WDST) & concert promoter Professor Louie & The Crowmatix began as the studio backing band for Aaron Professor Louie’s musical productions with the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductees, The Band. Louie produced Jericho (1993), The Band’s first album of new music in 16 years, and their final group recordings, High on the Hog and Jubilation. The Crowmatix also worked on numerous solo recording projects and live performances with Rick Danko, Garth Hudson and Levon Helm. ‘Working with Rick, Garth and Levon for 15 years was a great honor ‘ and a lot of fun ‘ and we’re proud of the music we created together,’ says Louie. ‘Their love of crafting musical stories based on American history had a strong influence on us, and I like to think we’re continuing that tradition in The Crowmatix recordings.’ ‘All the best parts of great music are on display with Professor Louie & The Crowmatix. It’s clear these folks are driven to match the all time greats.’ – Cash Box Magazine

An Evening of Film and Discussion featuring
I Am What I Play 2/25/16

From the 1960s to the 1980s, the rock radio DJ played an unprecedented creative role in the rock music world. ‘I Am What I Play’ profiles four DJs in major markets during this period: their programming, their politics, and their deep connections with musicians and fans in the heyday of rock radio. Where are they now ‘ and how did they reinvent themselves as the medium changed? ‘I Am What I Play’ combines material shot on location in the 4 cities (Seattle, Boston, New York and Toronto) with rarely seen archival footage of the disc jockeys, the radio stations and well-known rock performers, all complemented by a soundtrack that features many great rock songs of the era. This event will also feature a Q&A with Meg Griffin one of the disc jockeys featured in the film. Meg Griffin is a rock radio legend, having spent almost 40 years on New York airwaves. Her early stint at WRNW lead to a lifelong friendship with colleague Howard Stern. Later, at the incomparable WNEW, she played a major role in championing the punk and new wave scene of the late 70s and early 80s, introducing listeners to the music of Patti Smith, The Ramones, Talking Heads and many others. Griffin has been honored by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and continues her groundbreaking free-form radio work on three different Sirius XM satellite radio channels. This event is a must for rock and roll fans who are interested in how the music was delivered to your ears. A trailer for the film can be found here.

Roots of Creation 4/16/16

The 2013 New England Music and Cider Magazine Award Winners, Roots of Creation, mix roots and dub reggae with guitar-heavy rock and electronica, all wrapped around lead singer/guitarist Brett Wilson’s introspective and consciousness laden lyrics. The band is raising the bar at every performance with the intent of delivering a true rock show cleverly disguised as a reggae dance bash with psychedelic and energizing lights. The techno-beam and LED tube lighting increases the already high-energy sound that Roots of Creation (RoC) brings to their audiences. RoC’s newest release, Live at Bella Terra Festival (. . . And Stoned at Church), captures the band as a five-piece, during a 10 show tour, from the east coast to Chicago to Eastern Canada, in August 2011. The stop at Bella Terra in Stephentown, NY allowed RoC to perform a high- profile slot directly after the headliner, The Mickey Hart Band. As thousands of fans poured from the main stage over to the late-night tent, RoC delivered a truly unique music experience with thumping reggae bass lines, piercing guitar licks, and an electronic-dub sound only this band could create. RoC travels with their own lighting designer, who put on a show of techno beams and LED tubes to match the music and vibe of Bella Terra as lead singer Brett Wilson demanded the crowds’ attention with his soulful lyrics and revolutionary calls.