Promoting the Promoters
There’s no shortage of ways to spread the word about a concert these days, but it often feels like these digital alerts and reminders and invitations are just inconsequential blips in an endless ether. So despite the fact that the live music game has evolved so much since the heavy days of Bill Graham, or perhaps because of it, the power of a good promoter is stronger than ever. Someone who really knows all the players within a local scene – the venues, the bands, and the local music lovers who make the whole clock tick.
We got a healthy reminder of those players these past few weeks. Andy up at the Wellsville Creative Arts Center runs a fantastic venue/cafe/ceramic studio that has truly become the cultural hub of the entire county. Lucas at the Portland Empire dug what he saw from us the first time we played there last summer even though the crowd turnout was less than stellar, so he made it his mission to bring us back to a full house by bringing in other local acts (the excellent Dark Hollow Bottling Co. and Tricky Britches) and doing a killer job of putting the word out to all the true music fans in the city. And what can we say about the irrepressible and magnanimous flannel clad Will Neils – the promoter/activist/freedom fighter who will tell you about the best month of Jimi Hendrix’s live performance career, the overlooked history of the Basques, and the revolutionary imperatives of all native Mainers, all while breaking down the PA system with you at the end of a raucous night.
This circus we call the music industry relies on contributions from all the clowns, lion tamers, and acrobats out there, so we’ll take this chance to toast the ever rarer ringleader we call the Promoter.
Tags: Dark Hollow Bottling Co., Portland Empire, Roosevelt Dime, The Speakeasy, Tricky Britches, Wellsville Creative Arts Center
The Way Life Should Be
The summer swing continues! We’ve been pin-balling around the northeast these past few weeks, and finally made it up to the sweetest summer state of all – Maine. They’re not kidding about that whole “the way life should be” thing. We played at the newly renovated and reopened Portland Empire right downtown. They’re located right above a great Chinese dimsum restaurant, so you know we were well sated and ready to rock come showtime (the lamb bao were divine). We also stopped by the local NBC affiliate to play a few songs for their “Local 207” segment that will be airing shortly (stay tuned!). Of course, we had to take the obligatory clowning-around-the-news-desk photos (“Stay classy Portland!).
Then we headed up to the more rural environs of North Orland to play a benefit concert for the Bald Mountain Community Center. They’re a pretty new organization set up in a old Grange Hal they’re restoring, and they rolled out some of the sweetest hospitality we’ve ever had. It was so great to be part of a real community event made up of old friends and families, and as much as we love playing the festivals and clubs, it was so refreshing to do something a little more homespun with folks who really pick up what we put down. Much love to Shawn, Brian, Jay, and the whole crew for a splendid time.
We also had the privilege of playing a really lovely concert series at the Southbury Training School in Southbury, CT. They’re an institution that works with adults with intellectual disabilities, and their concerts bring together their students, teachers, patrons, and the town as a whole in a really special way. It was yet another reminder of how powerful music can be in building a community, and it was humbling to see our songs play such a central part in that.
Then back to the Empire State for the Riverlink Concert Series in Amsterdam, NY. It’s a beautiful band shell right on the Mohawk River. Awesome crowd, awesome venue and an awesome way to cap off what’s been an exhilarating but exhausting few weeks. We’ve got a little time off the road for now, but we’re busy planning and scouting locations for our new music video that we can’t wait to share with you shortly.
Tags: Americana, Americana Rhythm and Blues, Amsterdam NY, Bald Mountain Community Center, banjo, Bluegrass, Boogie Woogie, Community, deering banjo, dimsum, Drums, Empire State, gibson guitar, lamb bao, Local 207, Mardi-Grass, Music, NBC, New Music Video, New Orleans, North Orland, Portland Empire, Portland ME, r&b, Rhythm and Blues, Riverlink Concert Series, Southbury CT, Southbury Training School, steamboat soul, Summer, The Way Life Should Be, Upright Bass, Vacationland