Tuned In: The Back Porch Festival

  • The Brother Brothers

  • Molly Tuttle

  • Adrienne Lenker

  • Dead Prez

  • Palehound

  • Chris Corsano and Joe McPhee

  • Miro Sprague and Daniel Rotem

Friday, March 02, 2018

The Back Porch Festival will fill a weekend’s worth of winter days and nights with warm music. It’s the fourth year for the fest, which takes its name from 93.9 The River’s Sunday morning mainstay, The Back Porch radio show, curated and hosted since 1991 by Jim Olsen, president of local record label Signature Sounds. 

Spread between two Northampton venues — the historic Academy of Music and Olsen’s more intimate Parlor Room space just down the street — The Back Porch Festival will present over a dozen acts from the folk, bluegrass and Americana worlds, Friday through Sunday.

Deer Tick (Academy of Music, Friday at 8 p.m.). Anais Mitchell (Academy of Music, Saturday at 7 p.m.), and Del McCoury & David Grisman (Academy of Music, Sunday at 2 p.m.), are the big headlining names, but the rising stars on the various bills are bright in their own right.

The Brother Brothers is the acoustic duo of Adam Moss on fiddle and David Moss on guitar, and they play The Parlor Room on Friday at 7 p.m. Their harmonies are clear and beautiful, and though they get comparisons to the Everly Brothers, there’s plenty of Paul Simon grace in their delivery, too. And as affecting as their songs are on record, experiencing them in a hushed room is even more emotional (“Cairo, IL,” from their “Tugboats” EP, is just one of their songs known to generate some sniffles). Dietrich Strause opens the show.

Molly Tuttle  is part of the Del & Dawg bill on Sunday, and she’s a top-tier bluegrass guitar picker and vocalist. She’s the first woman in history to win the International Bluegrass Music Association’s Guitar Player of the Year award, and that’s only one of many prizes she’s won in this young year. For example, her tune “You Didn’t Call My Name” won Song of the Year at the recent Folk Alliance conference.

Singer-songwriters Courtney Hartman and Robert Ellis once bonded over a love of unique song man John Hartford, and they’ll present a tribute to him at The Parlor Room on Sunday at 7 p.m.

There will also be a live version of Olsen’s Back Porch radio show at The Parlor Room on Sunday from 9 a.m. to noon, featuring special guests and free admission.

For more information, visit signaturesoundspresents.com/back-porch/.

Providence indie-folk faves The Low Anthem have a brand-new album out, “The Salt Doll Went to Measure the Depth of the Sea,” and they’ll play The Iron Horse in Northampton on Friday at 7 p.m. Mega Bog opens.

Adrianne Lenker, the big voice of Big Thief, performs at the Shea Theater in Turners Falls on Friday at 8 p.m. Henry Jamison will start off the night.


The Medicinal Purpose(with guests Darby Wolf, Ilana Morris and Courtney Parker) bring along opening act Tidwell’s Treasure for a night at the Hawks and Reed Performing Arts Center in Greenfield on Friday at 9 p.m.

Political hip-hop duo Dead Prez play Hawks and Reed on Saturday  at 9:30 p.m. Sharing the bill are local hip-hop artists Tang Sauce, RiQQY, Don Lox, DJ Rec and others.

Singer/songwriter Garland Jeffreys has consistently been called one of the the most underrated recording artists of the past 40 years. His quality of writing and singing has always been soulful and honest, from his very first single (1973’s “Wild In the Streets”) to his latest acclaimed album, “14 Steps To Harlem.” At age 74, he’s busier than ever, his voice still full of passion and spiritual grit (Van Morrison and he have some oomph in common). See him at The Iron Horse on Saturday at 7 p.m. Ray Mason opens.

The Abyssmals (Schenectady, NY), and MA-based bands Jubilee and Saurians play the latest Lowdown show at The Basement in Northampton on Saturday at 8 p.m.

 Palehound, fronted by vocalist/guitarist/songwriter Ellen Kempner, appears at Gateway City Arts in Holyoke on Sunday at 8 p.m. Dump Him and Ratboys open.

The long-running duo of Joe McPhee (saxophone and trumpet) and Chris Corsano (drums and percussion) is the featured ensemble for the latest concert in the Magic Triangle Jazz Series (now in its 29th season!) at Old Chapel at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst on Thursday at 8 p.m.

Pianist Miro Sprague and tenor saxophonist Daniel Rotem  team up with bassist Alex Boneham and drummer Roberto Giaquinto for a concert of original jazz  compositions and improvisations. At Gateway City Arts on Thursday at 8 p.m .