Tuned In: Ross Bellenoit, and more

  • The Lucky Shots. Noam Schatz

  • Air Congo

  • Art Garfunkel. Lynn Goldsmith

  • Mike Birbiglia. Evan Sung

  • Ross Bellenoit. —Photo by Brett Wilshe

Published: 5/4/2018 9:33:18 AM

Valley-born but Philly-residing singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist/producer Ross Bellenoit (The Sweetback Sisters, Amos Lee) returns to the area to perform a set of original songs, backed by friends Ryan Hommel (pedal steel, electric guitar), Paul Kochanski (bass) and J.J. O’Connell (drums), at the Luthier’s Co-op in Easthampton on Friday at 9:30 p.m.

“I’m actually up here to be in the pit band for Rock Voices, led by my old PVPA music director/mentor, Tony Lechner,” Bellenoit said in an interview earlier this week. “I’ll come up for a few weeks at a time, a few times a year, when he needs a guitarist for his shows.”

Bellenoit has played sporadic local gigs featuring his own songs, including some dates opening for Mikey Sweet in 2017 and 2016, but for years he’s been touring and keeping busy in recording studios, creating and releasing records like “Eight Track Mind” (2011) and a three-volume EP series called “Home Songs” (2012). 

He outdid himself in 2015, releasing three full albums —“The Wreckage” (rock), “Driving North” (instrumental jazz) and “Invisible Voice” (moody folk). Last year Bellenoit put out an all-covers record, “Future Corpses,” which included unexpected titles by Genesis, Joni Mitchell and Elvis Costello.

He’ll start tracking his next album in June, and he plans to test out much of the new original material at his Luthier’s gig.


Air Congo, a Boston band led by Nathaniel Braddock and inspired by the ’60s/’70s-era Kinshasa/Brazzaville Congolese Rumba scene, plays two sets of retro-Congo dance music at New City Brewery in Easthampton on Friday at 8 p.m., with deejays from Peace & Rhythm spinning underground funk, electrocumbia, Afrobeat and more at 7 p.m. (and between sets, too). Say the concert promoters, “Discover Congolese Rumba! It’s a sweet groove that will have you floating all weekend. Congolese folks get in free!”

Muswell Hillbillies, a local multigenerational collective than began as a Kinks cover band, continues its inspired series of tribute concerts by performing a night of Tom Petty classics and deep cuts at The Iron Horse in Northampton on Friday at 7 p.m. 

Comedian/actor/ writer/director Mike Birbiglia returns to the Valley with his new show, appropriately titled “The New One,” at the Calvin on Friday at 8 p.m.

Bridge of Flowers, Night School, Assembly of Need and Strange Fate team up for a night of local music at the 13th Floor Music Lounge in Florence on Friday at 8 p.m.

Valley bands Angry Johnny & The Killbillies and Colorway play The Buzz’s monthly live music series at Fitzwilly’s in Northampton on Friday at 9:30 p.m.

Art Garfunkel’s vocal cords are legendary (they make an early cameo in his recent book, “What Is It All But Luminous: Notes From An Underground Man”), and they’ll be doing what they do best when Garfunkel takes the stage at the Academy of Music in Northampton on Saturday at 8 p.m.

Saxophonist Fred Haas (from Woodstock, Vermont) is the guest soloist with the Green Street Trio at this week’s Northampton Jazz Workshop show at City Sports Grille inside Spare Time Northampton on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. The open jazz jam session will follow as usual at 8:30 p.m., so bring your instrument or voice and sign up to join in, or just sit back and enjoy the lineup of local talent.

Boston singer/songwriter Tom Burris (Jabbering Trout) and Northampton’s own Dennis Crommett (Spanish For Hitchhiking, Winterpills) play solo sets at the Luthier’s Co-op in Easthampton on Thursday starting at 7 p.m.

The Lucky Shots are the new quartet from drummer/multi-instrumentalist Noam Schatz — the first time he’s fronted a band to play guitar and sing his original songs —and they share a bill with headliner The Capitulators and singer/songwriter Mark Schwaber at The Sierra Grille in  Northampton on Thursday at 10 p.m.



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