The Beat Goes On: Upcoming music features Young@Heart Chorus; Larry Campbell & Teresa Williams; The Wailin’ Jennys; and more

  • Claire Couture, Pat Wisch and Lee Wilson sing and dance with other members of the Young@Heart Chorus while being filmed in Pulaski Park for an Oct. 30 virtual show. STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

  • Beda Polanco sings and dances in Pulaski Park with other Young@Heart Chorus members while being filmed by John Laprade for an Oct. 30 virtual show. STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

  • Larry Campbell and Teresa Williams, the husband and wife Americana duo, play Hawks & Reed Performing Arts Center Nov. 6. Photo by Mark Seliger

  • The Wailin’ Jennys bring tight harmonies and musicianship to the Calvin Theatre in Northampton on Nov. 10. Wailin’ Jennys website

  • Solo singer and former J. Geils Band frontman Peter Wolf plays the Academy of Music Oct. 30. Photo from Peter Wolf website

  • Chuck Prophet & The Mission Express bring their iconoclastic songs to Gateway City Arts Nov. 3 Photo courtesy Signature Sounds

  • “The King of Slydeco,” Sonny Landreth, brings his Deep South blues to Gateway City Arts Nov. 7. Photo from DSP Shows

  • Versatile pianist Orrin Hatch and his trio perform at the Community Music School of Springfield Oct. 30. Photo from Orrin Hatch website

  • Singer-songwriter Lucy Wainwright Roche plays at Hawks & Reed on Nov. 12. Signature Sounds

Staff Writer
Published: 10/28/2021 5:38:21 PM

After spending months doing remote rehearsals and staging some prerecorded online shows in 2020 and the first half of this year, the Young@Heart Chorus had high hopes of returning to live performance this fall. The elderly singers began in-person rehearsals again in July, and things looked good — until a little problem called the delta variant came on the scene in August.

So Y@H, initially scheduled to perform this month at Northampton’s Academy of Music, has had to return to Zoom-based rehearsals — but the group has also documented its up-and-down journey of the last several months with a new online show, “On Hold!” that will screen Saturday, Oct. 30, at 7:30 p.m.

Longtime Y@H Director Bob Cilman calls the new production a “COVID Documentary Musical,” given how the singers “talk about COVID [which] leads them into belting out songs … just like a musical.” Filmed around town in a number of locations, including Look and Pulaski parks and the Northampton Community Arts Trust, the show features Y@H  performing songs by Johnny Cash, Cream, The Eurythmics, Steve Winwood, Cake, The Pogues and more.

It’s the latest progression for the group in its online shows, Cilman notes, as Y@H has tried to move beyond the confines of Zoom boxes. In April, for instance, they staged a “Cinematographic Concert” in which individual members sang songs accompanied by videos filmed around their homes or other locations.

Saturday’s show is free but is also a fundraiser for Y@H; the goal is to raise $30,000. Visit youngatheartchorus.com to register for the show and make a contribution.

 

Larry Campbell & Teresa Williams, Hawks & Reed Performing Arts Center, Greenfield, Nov. 6, 7 p.m. — You could call them a power couple of sorts, though Larry Campbell and Teresa Williams would surely resist that label. But this veteran husband and wife team have created an impressive musical resume playing on their own, as part of the late Levi Helm’s band, and for other artists including Bob Dylan, Emmylou Harris and Jorma Kaukonen.

Campbell, a multi-instrumentalist known especially for his guitar work, and Williams, a singer/guitarist/actor, released two acclaimed duo albums between 2015 and 2017 that embrace folk, gospel, blues and country rock. The songs on their most recent album, “It Was the Music,” come from a 10-episode film of the same name that follows their travels across the country playing music.

Their rich sound is also built around close harmonies and a deep understanding of American roots music. Writing about the couple’s second album, “Contraband Love,” American Songwriter said Campbell and Williams had “tapped into the dusky spirit of Americana in all of its forms ... and created a unique sound inspired by the past that is spirited, stirring and timeless.”

That’s not to mention the bond the two share in performing together, after past years during which they often played separate gigs. As Campbell told the Gazette in a 2016 interview, “Couples working together can be a recipe for disaster. We’ve seen it happen. But we’ve found such a focus with these songs, and after all the time we’ve had to spend apart, it’s just so great … to be up on stage together.”

 

The Wailin’ Jennys, Calvin Theatre, Northampton, Nov. 10, 8 p.m. — It’s been almost 20 years since Canadian singer-songwriters Nicky Mehta, Ruth Moody and Cara Luft played a gig in a Winnipeg guitar shop and the owner suggested they tour together under the name the Wailin’ Jennys. The three did just that, cut an EP, and then Mehta and Moody brought in New York singer and bassist Heather Masse when Luft left the group after a few years.

Since then the Jennys, with a few other supporting musicians, have toured North America, Europe and Australia, released several acclaimed albums, and won praise for a folk-roots sound based on close harmonies, original songs and unique arrangements of work by other artists. Masse, Mehta, and Moody have all continued their solo work — Masse trained as a jazz singer at Boston’s New England Conservatory of Music and has released some jazz records — but their group sound has turned heads, not just their voices but their blend of banjo, acoustic guitar and stand-up bass.

As NPR once wrote of a show they put on at the Newport Folk Fest, “The Wailin’ Jennys are more than just impeccable bluegrass harmonizers; they’re also terrific bandleaders who give their traditional roots music a sense of real reverence. Their harmonies really are unreal — it’s a genuine surprise to learn the band members aren’t related.”

More music on tap

In a career dating back to the mid-1960s, Peter Wolf might best be known for his stint as the lead singer of the J. Geils Band and for hit tunes like “Freeze Frame” and “Love Stinks.” But since the mid-1980s, Wolf has had a successful solo career — Rolling Stone calls his 2002 album, “Sleepless,” one of the 500 best records of all time — during which he’s performed duets with Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Aretha Franklin and many other marquee names.

He comes with his band, the Midnight Travelers, to Northampton’s Academy of Music Oct. 30 at 8 p.m.

Luthier’s Co-op in Easthampton will ring in Halloween eve — and celebrate its 13th anniversary — on Oct. 30 with a costume party and the horn-heavy, funk sounds of Skokazoba and The Quaboag Vibe. The show takes place from 7 to 11 p.m.

Also on Oct. 30, the Orrin Evans Trio — Orrin Evans on piano, Matthew Parrish on bass and Byron Landham on drums — showcases the varied work of Evans, whose music embraces jazz, neo-soul, country and hip-hop. The show is at the Community Music School of Springfield at 7:30 p.m.

From neo-psychedelic rock to country, folk, pop and blues, singer-songwriter Chuck Prophet has created an eclectic body of work, with some of the best song titles around, like “Jesus was a Social Drinker” and “Love Doesn’t Come from a Barrel of a Gun.” He appears with his band, The Mission Express, at Gateway City Arts in Holyoke on Nov. 3 at 8 p.m.

Slide guitar specialist Sonny Landreth, known as “the King of Slydeco” for his unique fretboard technique and Zydeco influences, plays Gateway on Nov. 7 at 8 p.m.

Cuban jazz pianist Harold López-Nussa is joined by Grammy-winning harmonica player Grégoire Maret on Nov. 7 at 7 p.m. at a new music venue, the Bombyx Center for Arts & Equity, located at the historic Florence Congregational Church at 130 Pine St.

Singer-songwriter Lucy Wainwright Roche grew up steeped in music and family drama: Her father is Loudon Wainwright III, her mother is Suzzy Roche (of The Roches), and her half-siblings are Rufus and Martha Wainwright.

Wainwright Roche has put all that background to good work, using strong vocals, wry lyrics and a droll sense of humor to carve out her own musical path. She plays Hawks & Reed in Greenfield on Nov. 12 at 7 p.m.

Steve Pfarrer can be reached at spfarrer@gazettenet.com.




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