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Pumpkintown doesn’t exist, but you can experience the imaginary village’s history and soul thanks to multi-instrumentalist Tim Eriksen, whose latest album, “Josh Billings Voyage,” makes the fictional town a very real and vibrant place.
Eriksen fills the record with his idea of Pumpkintown’s multicultural folk music — genre-blurring songs of travel, love, murder, even a version of “Auld Lang Syne” that steps on the distortion pedals for a rousing ending.
Eriksen has created a deeply detailed and humorous backstory of the imaginary town and its music makers through the generations, but he also uses the diverse collection of songs to make a serious point about “the influence of travel and contact on music in small places,” and for all the behind-the-scenes humor, the music itself packs an emotional punch.
“A Thousand Times Adieu” is an album highlight, just an acoustic string instrument, a glockenspiel and Eriksen’s powerful and nuanced voice singing about leaving a loved one to travel e_SSRqcross the sea, “to seek for something new.”
Eriksen brings his Trio de Pumpkintown (in which he’s joined by fiddler/vocalist Zoë Darrow and percussionist/vocalist Peter Irvine) to the Iron Horse in Northampton tonight at 7 p.m.
Boston-based singer/songwriter/fiddler Laura Cortese just this week released her latest CD, “Into the Dark,” which makes beautifully lush use of string sections (and includes a passionate cover of Laura Veirs’ “Life Is Good Blues”). Cortese will celebrate with a release party concert at the Parlor Room at Signature Sounds in Northampton tonight at 7 p.m. Sarah Blacker opens.
Carrie Ferguson shares a bill with Heather Pierson at Mocha Maya’s in Shelburne Falls tonight at 7 p.m.
The Doomsday Ladies, led by vocalist/guitarist/songwriter Tom Shread, appears at the Basement in Northampton tonight at 8 p.m.
Bright Lines and Shangri-Lips team up for a double-bill at the Rendezvous in Turners Falls tonight at 9:30 p.m.
Rani Arbo and Daisy Mayhem play the Wendell Full Moon Coffeehouse Saturday at 8 p.m. An Open Mic will be held first at 7:30 p.m.
Lady Lamb the Beekeeper, aka musician Aly Spaltro, started out small in Maine but has been gaining popularity with each passing year; she now lives in Brooklyn and is getting Jeff Buckley comparisons and rave reviews for her latest album, “Ripely Pine.” See her at the Parlor Room Saturday at 8 p.m.
Leah Randazzo (at left), Sandy Bailey, Jeff D’Antona and the Family Band all play the Arts Block in Greenfield on Saturday at 8 p.m.
Fans of The Band take note: In observance of the one-year anniversary of the great Levon Helm’s passing, local musicians — including Matt Silberstein, Scott Hall, Josh Sitron, Brandee Simone, Roger Knight, Scott Lawson Pomeroy, Peter Sax, Ali Telmesani and many more — band together to play the music of The Band at the Iron Horse Thursday at 7 p.m.
Local band Merchant Bankers celebrates the release of its new CD, playing on a triple-bill that also includes Bring It To Bear and Bunny’s a Swine at the Sierra Grille in Northampton Thursday at 10 p.m.