Ken Maiuri’s Tuned In

  • Photo courtesy of Samirah Evans

  • Photo by Chris Mortenson Photo by Chris Mortenson

  • Carlisle Evans Peck

  • Rainy Day People

  • Brian Dickens

  • The Growlers

Published: 9/5/2019 4:59:52 PM
Modified: 9/5/2019 4:59:42 PM

Vocalist Samirah Evans and Her Handsome Devils pay tribute to legendary jazz singer Nancy Wilson with a show at the Iron Horse in Northampton on Saturday, September 7, at 7 p.m.

Evans — who will be joined by pianist Ben Kohn, saxophonist Michael Zsoldos, drummer Conor Meehan, guest vocalist Ethel Lee, and a surprise guest bassist — first heard Nancy Wilson on the radio when she was a preteen. Evans had been digging artists like The Fifth Dimension and Diana Ross and the Supremes, but as she said in an interview last week, “Nancy had something different that touched me deeply. It must have been her class and sass together with her sultry, soulful, and bluesy approach to telling a story.”

“I never imagined I would become a professional singer presenting Nancy’s songs on stage to an audience,” said Evans, who chose to perform “Save Your Love For Me” (the sublime opening track on Wilson’s classic 1962 album with Cannonball Adderley) for her first TV appearance when in her twenties. Evans lived in New Orleans for many years, and while singing in the city’s clubs, she often performed one of Wilson’s signature songs, “Guess Who I Saw Today,” because it was a total crowd pleaser, she said. “Like Nancy, I have always liked to ham it up.”

Evans had a radio show on New Orleans station WWOZ, and when Wilson came through town in the early ‘90s for the city’s Jazz and Heritage Festival, it was a dream come true. “You better believe I had a front and center seat to witness Nancy Wilson live for the first time, and was in the position to escort Ms. Nancy off the stage,” she said. 

Evans has a photo (at left) of their meeting, and in the picture, Wilson is holding a copy of Evans’ first recording on cassette. “She signed and left a note of encouragement on it. I felt like the luckiest girl in the world. Nancy was and always will be my first and foremost inspiration.”


The Doug Hewitt Group plays classic rock, instrumentals and jazz covers onboard the Lady Bea tour boat, departing from Brunelle’s Marina in South Hadley on Friday, September 6 at 6 p.m. sharp. Kids 3 and under can attend for free (maximum capacity is 49 passengers, so arrive early).


Donna the Buffalo hail from central New York state, but the band has long been a touring machine, taking its groovy roots/zydeco music across the land since the late-‘80s. Led as always by co-founders Tara Nevins and Jeb Puryear, the band appears at Hawks and Reed Performing Arts Center in Greenfield on Friday, September 6, at 8 p.m. Opening the show will be the local duo of Lily Sexton (Mamma’s Marmalade) and Max Wareham (Sun Parade, Cousin Moon).


Singer/songwriter Carlisle Evans Peck will be at Gateway City Arts in Holyoke on Saturday, September 7, at 8 p.m. Kimaya Diggs starts off the night.


Rainy Day People is a trio that performs the music of Gordon Lightfoot and Jim Croce, and the band plays the Iron Horse on Sunday, September 8, at 7 p.m.


Western MA singer/songwriter/guitarist Brian Dickens plays his autobiographical folk/rock/ punk/blues songs as the featured guest at Matt Silberstein’s weekly open mic at The 413 in Easthampton on Monday, September 9, at 7 p.m.


California rockers The Growlers have a new record on the way (“Natural Affair”). The title track (which is also the lead single) sounds a little like The Strokes with some yacht rock vibes. The Growlers take the stage at Pearl Street Nightclub in Northampton on Wednesday, September 11, at 8 p.m. Pinky Pinky opens.


Toney Sea (Miranda Brown), The Journals Kept and The Original Cowards play the latest “Reanimate the Bay State” show at the Sierra Grille in Northampton on Thursday, September 12, at 10 p.m.

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