Ken Maiuri’s Tuned In: Music happening this week in the Valley

  • Jose Gonzalea and Banda Criolla

  • Kristen Ford

  • Lea Chiara

  • The Original Cowards

  • The Sweetback Sisters

Published: 12/22/2016 12:33:13 PM

“Give the gift of music” a popular ad campaign in the early 1980s suggested, but in the Valley, especially during this holiday season, music does its own giving, with local bands teaming up to raise money for those in need.

Each year around this time there’s a holiday benefit show put together by Dani O’Brien; her 2016 event is titled “Cold Hard Times,” and will take place Friday at 8 p.m. at the 13th Floor Music Lounge in Florence. There’s a $5 suggested donation (for the “water protectors” of Standing Rock) or five canned goods or non-perishable food items (for the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts).

Participating acts include Weird Sleepover (the duo of Philip Price and Flora Reed from Winterpills), The Fawns (featuring the voice and songs of frontwoman Lesa Bezo), True Believers (Holyoke rockers led by Aaron Borucki), The Original Cowards (John Crand’s group with a new album, “Let’s Begin”), Easthampton Savings Band (chance-taking rock gang with in-charge vocalist Jenna Lloyd), New Parents (sprawling ensemble with members of Bunwinkies), Pronoia (from Amherst), Arvella (Easthampton Americana duo featuring Vanessa from The Dire Honeys), Eric Gaffney (an original member of Sebadoh and newer bands Animal Friends and Gracefully Aging Hippie Soloists), The Awful Din (the sonic world of JD Jacobs), Tundra Toddler (Adam Kozak’s experimental electronica), The Big Why (new group with Roger Knight, Jamie Miller and Marc Couture) and others.

The Original Cowards’ Crand said of the Cold Hard Times event, “I think helping out the water protectors at Standing Rock is worthy, as it supports both the rights of the Sioux and the rights of us all to have clean water and a healthy environment. And helping the homeless in our own backyard is always a good thing.” He added that the band will donate half the proceeds of their CD sales at the event to the water protectors.

Musicians usually play some holiday-related songs at the event, and Crand and his band plan to do John Cale’s wonderful “Child’s Christmas In Wales” (but people should expect their version to be “more power-pop/sugar-coated punk” than the orchestrated sound of the original).

Joan Holliday’s Holiday Hootenanny presents “The Sweetback Sisters’ Country Christmas Sing-along Spectacular,” starring the band’s harmonizing and honky-tonk takes on seasonal classics, carols and contemporary tunes, too, with lyric sheets given out to the audience for maximum join-in-ability. The group will offer up plenty of “sass, sincerity and swing” at its two shows at the Academy of Music in Northampton Friday at 3 and 7 p.m.

The “Winter Thang” features Greenfield native Kristen Ford (who performs as a one-woman looper band, singing while playing guitar and drums at the same time), Dan Friel (Thrill Jockey recording artist and western Massachusetts native) and Peace & Rhythm deejays Andujar and Studebaker Hawk at the Root Cellar in Greenfield Friday at 8 p.m.

King Radio (local pop ensemble led by Frank Padellaro), The Lonesome Brothers (“hick rock” supergroup led by singer/songwriters Jim Armenti and Ray Mason) and The 61 Ramblers (led by Jim Joe Greedy) team up for a show at the Luthiers Co-Op in Easthampton Friday at 7 p.m.

Local legends FAT – Peter J. Newland, Jim Kaminski, Mark Pappas, Guy DeVito, William “Benjie” Benjamin and Chet Pasek, with special guest Mitch Chakour – reunite for a concert at the Iron Horse in Northampton Tuesday at 7 p.m. It’s the band’s 2nd annual Pre-New Year’s Eve Celebration, back by popular demand (last year’s gig was sold out).

Shake off the winter blues and end-of-the-year heaviness with a ’70s Funk Rock Vinyl party, as deejays from the local close-knit Peace & Rhythm record label and friends spin hit singles and deep album cuts from the late ’60s to the early ’80s — funky classic rock, groovy psychedelia from around the globe, dance-minded post-punk, Latin grooves and more. “Bring your denim,” they suggest. At The Wheelhouse in Greenfield Wednesday at 9 p.m.

Lea Chiara and The Paper City Picture Show, Tom Pappalardo (of The Demographic) and Arvella play the Luthiers Co-Op Thursday at 7 p.m.




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