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FILE - In this Feb. 18, 1985 file photo, Jill St. John, right, with Robert Wagner, center, and Rod McKuen, left, attend a party for "Night of 100 Stars II," in New York. McKuen, the husky-voiced "King of Kitsch" whose music and verse recordings won him an Oscar nomination and made him one of the best-selling poets in history, has died on Thursday, Jan. 29, 2015. He was 81. (AP Photo/Rene Perez, File)

Rod McKuen, mega-selling poet, performer, dies at 81

Thursday, January 29, 2015

NEW YORK — Rod McKuen, the husky-voiced “King of Kitsch” whose avalanche of music, verse and spoken-word recordings in the 1960s and ’70s overwhelmed critical mockery and made him an Oscar-nominated songwriter and one of the best-selling poets in history, has died. He was 81. McKuen died Thursday morning at a rehabilitation center in Beverly Hills, California, where he had …

Project Rehovot presents a concert for a cause

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

For more than 20 years, volunteers from the Jewish Community of Amherst have been lending a helping hand for an educational and social cause nearly halfway around the world. Project Rehovot, as it’s known, is dedicated to helping young immigrants to Israel build a secure footing in their new country; through art projects …

Ken Maiuri’s Clubland: This ‘Moment’ has staying power

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Drop the needle on drummer Makaya McCraven’s fantastic new album, “In the Moment,” and the sounds of Chicago surround you — the ambience of a live concert, conversations burbling in the background, and the experimental spirit that runs in the city’s musical blood, whether jazz, rock or hip-hop. The record’s 19 tracks flow …

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Music-industrial complex reveals this year’s models

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Imagine trying to guide the Mississippi River through a beer bong. That is, in essence, what the 2,000 voters for the Grammy Award nominations, announced Friday, attempted when considering the torrents of music up for their scrutiny. Stretched across platforms, services, labels, apps and websites, the flow of …

Rockin’ at the preschool: Award-winning musician brings his tunes into the classroom

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Back in 2000, musician Nick Deysher was on his way to an interview for a job as a preschool teacher when he decided to grab his guitar and take it along. Good decision. Deysher, now of Leeds, got …

Ken Maiuri’s Clubland: Fiddling fun with Katherine First at the Parlor Room

Thursday, December 4, 2014

What’s the difference between a violin and a fiddle? Local musician Katherine First has her favorite answer to that question: “A fiddle is fun to listen to.” Fiddling and fun go hand in hand for the classically trained …

Weekend planner — Clubs: Katherine First and the Kitchen Party

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Katherine First and Kitchen Party showcases up-tempo Celtic/traditional music by way of fiddle, banjo, guitar, penny whistle, djembe, song and step dancing. After years of making Happy Valley audiences even happier with their rhythm and energy, the band …

Ken Maiuri’s Tuned In: Fun and games at Luthiers Co-Op

Thursday, December 4, 2014

The thermometer is dropping — ’tis the season where some people ask themselves, “Why do I live in New England?” and stay indoors. The warm and welcoming Luthiers Co-Op in Easthampton is offering a more social way to …

Advance bookingsPVB’s ‘Nutcracker’; John Waters Christmas; and more

Thursday, December 4, 2014

The Nutcracker — Pioneer Valley Ballet performs Fri., Dec. 12 at 4 and 7:30 p.m.; Sat., Dec. 13 at 1 and 4:30 p.m.; and Sun., Dec. 14 at 1 and 4:30 p.m., Academy of Music, Northampton. Dec. 12: …

Forever young, NBC’s ‘Peter Pan’ live and aloft

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

NEW YORK — The boy who refused to grow up: It sounds like men today in this youth-obsessed culture. But nearly a century before his name found its way into pop psychology, Peter Pan was born as the …

Bill Cosby resigns from Temple’s board

Monday, December 1, 2014

PHILADELPHIA — Bill Cosby stepped down as a trustee of his beloved Temple University following renewed accusations that he had drugged and sexually assaulted a string of women over many years. The 77-year-old entertainer has been a high-profile …

Ken Maiuri’s Clubland: The Woman Songwriter Collective: All for one, one for all

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

One strong way for a new band to get the word out is to use an audio business card, aka a CD. The Woman Songwriter Collective has one fresh-off-the-press, ready to share with the world, as member Christa …

Steve Pfarrer’s Best Bets: Signature Sounds anniversary concerts; Tracy Grammer and Jim Henry at the Parlor Room

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

IT WAS 20 YEARS AGO TODAY As of Tuesday, there were still tickets available for three of four Thanksgiving weekend concerts at Northampton’s Academy of Music, presented by Signature Sounds to celebrate the label’s 20th anniversary. From folk-blues troubadour Chris Smither, to alt-bluegrass pickers Crooked Still, to the …