Ken Maiuri’s Tuned In April 21-27

  • Jim Kweskin —© Catherine Sebastian/ CSP...

  • The Suitcase Junket (Matt Lorenz)

  • Spanish for Hitchhiking

  • Hammydown (Abbie Morin)

  • Feya Faku

  • Christian McBride —Peter Gannushkin

  • Jim Henry 

Thursday, April 20, 2017

“I don’t cover songs — I uncover songs,” Jim Kweskin told an interviewer earlier this year. “That’s what my music is all about. Finding these jewels, these wonderful songs that were done 70, 80 years ago, and bringing them back to life.” 

Kweskin, best known as the founder of the Jim Kweskin Jug Band in the early 1960s, will make a rare solo appearance at the intimate Royal Monarch, studio 325 in the Paragon Building in Easthampton, on Sunday at 8 p.m. Advance tickets are recommended and available at TheRoyalMonarch.org.

The studio belongs to artist and musician Vanessa Chatwood Kerby, who calls Kweskin a “personal hero.” 

“One of the first songs I learned how to play on my tenor banjo was his version of 'I Ain't Gonna Marry,' " she said in a recent interview. She and her studio mate, Robert Arthur Hill, traveled across the country recently, and Kweskin’s music was the soundtrack for the majority of their trip. 

Kweskin, wearing his trademark cap and picking on his acoustic guitar, specializes in singing country-style blues, ragtime and jug band tunes from the 1920s and ‘30s, but he’s been known to throw a clever original set of lyrics onto an old melody, as he did at one recent show with “Swinging On a Star.” Here’s his new personally relevant chorus: “Would you like to play the guitar / Take your money home in a jar / From a coffee house or a bar / or would you rather get a job?” 

The Suitcase Junket is Matt Lorenz, a one-man band unlike any other, seated on luggage that doubles as a bass drum, rocking out on a well-worn guitar amidst an array of handmade percussion items. His debut full-length album for the Signature Sounds label, “Pile Driver,” comes out today, and to celebrate Lorenz plays the Shea Theater in Turners Falls on Friday at 8 p.m. The special guest starting off the night is Matt’s sister Kate (one of his bandmates in their old group Rusty Belle).


Spanish for Hitchhiking, led by guitarist and singer-songwriter Dennis Crommett, appears at the Luthier’s Co-op in Easthampton on Saturday at 8 p.m. Free (though donations are accepted).


Up-and-coming locals Hammydown (aka the garage-pop playground of Abbie Morin) and Workman Song are teaming up for a mini-tour of the Northeast, and they’ll make a stop at The Parlor Room in Northampton on Sunday at 7:30 p.m. An all-ages show.


The latest show in the Pioneer Valley Jazz Shares concert series features the Feya Faku Quartet (led by Faku on trumpet, with pianist John Kordalewski, bassist Carlos Pino and drummer Kesivan Naidoo). The show takes place at the New Africa House at UMass Amherst on Sunday at 7 p.m. A free event.


Masterful jazz bassist Christian McBride brings his new trio Tip City (with pianist Emmet Cohen and guitarist Dan Wilson) to the Iron Horse in Northampton on Tuesday at 7 p.m. 


Tomas Fujiwara & the Hook-Up conclude the latest season of the Magic Triangle Jazz Series at Bezanson Recital Hall at UMass on Thursday at 8 p.m. The ensemble is led by drummer Fujiwara, with Brian Settles on tenor sax, Jonathan Finlayson on trumpet, Mary Halvorson on guitar and Adam Hopkins on bass. The concert is free and open to the public.


In-demand multi-instrumentalist Jim Henry plays a rare set of his own original songs with a group of friends called The Jim Henry Situation (Jon Carroll on accordion, Paul Kochanski on bass, J.J. O’Connell on drums) at the Luthier’s Co-op in Easthampton on Thursday at 8:45 p.m. It’s a free show, though donations are accepted. And, Henry promises, “You’ll be home in time for ‘Matlock.’ ”