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Tuned In by Ken Maiuri

  • Rebirth Brass Band

  • Erin McKeown Joanna Chattman

  • Speedy Ortiz

  • Lucy Kaplansky

  • Snail Mail


Thursday, November 29, 2018

Erin McKeown wasn’t allowed to have cable when she was a high schooler in Fredericksburg, VA, but while watching MTV at her best friend’s house, Liz Phair hit the screen, cool and confident, singing at the low end of her range, and it made a big impression: “She offered an alternative to prancing lady-singers who sang about doing what boys wanted in high, girly voices.”

McKeown (above) is one of the enthusiastic participants in Exile In Guyville Night, for which local artists will perform their fave Phair songs at Flywheel in Easthampton on Saturday, December 1, at 8 p.m. Also on the bill are Nanny, Ex-Temper, Julie Cira, and one-off collaborative groups Phairie and Wylde & Unwyze. The “sober space” show is all-ages and wheelchair accessible.

The event is being put together by Tanya Pearson, the founder/director of the Women of Rock Oral History Project, a lifelong Phair fan (she wrote a personal essay about that deep connection for “Bust” magazine), and a musician herself, who said she’s “picking up my guitar for the first time in a year a half, all for Liz.”

“Exile In Guyville” was Phair’s frank and fearless and truly great 1993 debut studio record, now described by many as a “landmark feminist statement.” (“Being emotionally forthright was the most radical thing I did,” Phair has said in interviews.) Pearson was in middle school when she was introduced to Phair’s music by a friend’s older sister. 

“In hindsight, it's kind of strange that I was able to identify so strongly with the songs as a kid, but I think it was more that she had the courage and/or the audacity to talk about taboo subjects or really personal topics. There's nothing vague or cryptic about her lyrics,” Pearson said. “I heard Liz Phair and thought, ‘Wow, she's making music without the mask.’ She was writing and playing these really explicit rock songs without the heavy filter. She's one of the best guitar players on the planet and she does not get enough (or any) credit for that. And she's also one of the best lyricists of all time, I think. She's really like the Bob Dylan of my generation.”

 

Speedy Ortiz, pictured at right, Guerilla Toss and Dump Him make up the ace triple-bill at Gateway City Arts in Holyoke on Friday, November 30, at 8 p.m.

 

Mark Sherry’s Valley Music Showcase, now in its third year, holds its 2018 Finals Competition at New City Brewery in Easthampton on Friday, November 30, at 7:30 p.m. The area bands battling for the grand prizes are Snowhaus (shred-pop from Hadley), The Heavy Calm (progressive rock from Hartford), Old Flame (indie rock from Turners Falls), Tales of Joy (reggae/soul/neo-disco) and Fighting Giants (alternative rock from western MA).

 

Guitarist/composer Julian Lage brings his trio to Gateway City Arts on Saturday, December 1, at 7 p.m.

 

Singer/songwriter Amy Fairchild (7 p.m.), Marc Delgado and Wounded Knee (8 p.m.) and Lonesome Brothers (9:30 p.m.) fog up the front windows with music and fun at the Luthier’s Co-op in Easthampton on Saturday, December 1.

 

Singer/songwriter Lucy Kaplansky, at left, recently released her first solo album in six years, “Everyday Street” — “the most acoustically based, intimate album I’ve ever made,” she said recently — and she’ll celebrate with a release show at The Parlor Room in Northampton on Saturday, December 1, at 7:30 p.m.

 

Ruth Garbus, Bernice, Close Body Talent and Zach Phillips bring you a night of mind-altering songstuff at the Root Cellar in Greenfield on Sunday, December 2, at 8 p.m.

 

Snail Mail (aka Lindsey Jordan, shown at left) has a new record out on the Matador label, “Lush,” and will appear at Gateway City Arts on Sunday, December 2 at 8 p.m. Why Bonnie is the opening act.

 

The Rebirth Brass Band (at left) are the hard-swinging New Orleans legends, bringing lots of groove to heat up a winter night. It’s funky music, made for dancing, and very recommended. At Hawks and Reed Performing Arts Center in Greenfield on Tuesday, December 4, at 7 p.m.

 

Project/Object: The Music of Frank Zappa, with special guests Napoleon Murphy Brock & Denny Walley, perform Bongo Fury and more at the Iron Horse in Northampton on Tuesday, December 4, at 7 p.m.

 

The Threesies (the Paul Kochanski-led all-star crew that only performs songs in ¾ time and other 3-based time signatures) and Jerks On the Loose (fantastic local Roches cover band) team up for a fun night at The Parlor Room on Thursday, December 6, at 7 p.m.

 

The Barr Brothers play Gateway City Arts on Thursday, December 6, at 8 p.m. Starting off the night is the great Toronto band The Weather Station, led by songwriter Tamara Lindeman.