Tuned In: Musicians in Residence at Forbes, and more

  • Stephen Kellogg

  • Darlingside. Photo by Cameron Gee

  • Thane Thomsen. Photo by Henning Ohlenbusch

  • Japanese breakfast. Photo by Ebru Yildiz

Published: 3/23/2018 9:32:19 AM

At the 1999 Northampton Music Festival, local singer/songwriters Thane Thomsen, pictured ( The Figments, Goldwater) and Henning Ohlenbusch (Humbert, School for the Dead, Gentle Hen) were asked to lead a songwriting workshop. The two friends are bringing back the idea to the Calvin Coolidge Presidential Museum on the second floor of Forbes Library in Northampton on Wednesday at 7 p.m. The workshop is free and open to all ages.

Thomsen — an instructor for The Literacy Project in Northampton since the ’90s — said he and Ohlenbusch plan to utilize the same approach as they did decades before: leading a brainstorming session about the songwriting process, jotting down ideas, and toward the end of the night, playing and discussing a few songs that are “interesting from a songwriting perspective,” he said.

Thomsen began writing his own songs as a senior in high school, circa 1982, with Springsteen, Dylan, Elvis Costello and The Clash as his main inspirations. He remembered the first song he completed — and notated — for a music theory class. “An Introduction to World Affairs” was the name of the song, and Thomsen added, “Fortunately there are no extant documents of that endeavor.”

These days, Thomsen said he’s particularly drawn to political themes, but that “everything is fodder for song — maps, photos, the conservation of mass, Marxism, dividing fractions, mirrors, rivers, extinction, and so on. I tend to eschew trying to write directly about ideas or feelings, though the ultimate goal is to stir ideas and emotions. I’ve just found it more effective and creative to accomplish this in a roundabout fashion.”

The songwriting workshop is part of the library’s Musicians in Residence series, which this season features the roster of Northampton independent label Rub Wrongways Records. Each of the year’s six events will feature live music and informative discussions about different aspects of the life of an active musician.

Dolores O’Riordan, frontwoman/vocalist of The Cranberries, passed away unexpectedly in January, and local musicians Haley Morgan, Bourquensweeno, Steve Koziol, Christopher Cleveland, Vanessa Brewster and others are banding together to pay tribute to her band’s music and raise money for The Franklin County People’s Fund, at Hawks & Reed Performing Arts Center in Greenfield on Friday at 9 p.m.

Genesis tribute band The Musical Box celebrates 50 years of the theatrical British progressive superstars with a performance of the band’s 1973 album “Selling England By the Pound” and a special encore set with songs from “The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway.” Peter Gabriel and Phil Collins themselves have given the group kudos for their faithful reproduction of a bygone era. At the Calvin Theatre in Northampton on Saturday at 8 p.m.

Jazz Massagers (Boston), Tough Age (Toronto) and Basketball James (Northampton) are the latest indie acts to throw down at Lowdown at the Basement in Northampton on Saturday at 8 p.m. sharp. Following the show, as always, is the super-fun soul/garage/Motown/mod vinyl dance night Wooly Bully, starting around 10:30-ish p.m.

Japanese Breakfast, aka the musical world of singer/songwriter Michelle Zauner, headlines a show that also features Modern Lives and Emily Reo at Hawks & Reed in Greenfield on Saturday at 9 p.m.

“Impending apocalypse shouldn't sound this beautiful,” says one critic about the new Darlingside album, “Extralife.” The song “Hold Your Head Up High,” which a band member described as being about the “struggle against inequality and injustice,” is just one of the harmony-filled and emotionally potent highlights of the record. Fans of Crosby, Stills & Nash and Fleet Foxes, take note. The acclaimed band plays the Academy of Music in Northampton on Saturday at 7:30 p.m.

Singer/songwriter Stephen Kellogg, who started his music career right here in Northampton, brings his trio back to town for a show at The Iron Horse in Northampton on Sunday at 7 p.m. Brian Dunne starts off the night.

Local indie rock band Old Flame — a self-described “machine of resistance” — celebrates the release of its new EP “Hush Money” with a concert at The Parlor Room in Northampton on Tuesday at 7 p.m. Kalliope Jones is the opening act.

NYC based trombonist, euphonium player and vocalist Jim Fryer is the guest soloist with the Green Street Trio at the Northampton Jazz Workshop at City Sports Grille at Spare Time Northampton on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. The regular open jazz jam session follows at 8:30 p.m.

 

 


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