Friday, October 23, 2020

23 October - Hotel Massachusetts

THIS WEEK'S COMMUTE
M: Iggy Pop - Instinct
T: Beastie Boys - Ill Communication
W: The Rolling Stones - Let it Bleed
F: (Various Artists) - Hotel Massachusetts

Locals learned this week that the Sierra Grille restaurant in Northampton is closing. The significance of this is not just a sad fact for those of us who loved to dine there, but also because the Sierra occupied the space formerly known as The Baystate, a now-legendary music venue hereabouts (the building was once the Baystate Hotel).

I did not move home to the Valley until the scene there was well underway, and was never much a part of it. In fact, I can count on the fingers of one hand the number of gigs I attended there. But the place looms large in area history, and I inevitably became friends with many who were immersed in the Baystate goings-on. When this CD was released, I was pleased to be a part of its production. Not musically, no. But I did all the hand lettering of the liner notes, as well as the titling on the face of the disc itself.

The Sierra kindly re-opened the former performance space on Thursday nights, calling the series "Reanimate the Baystate," and featuring many bands who'd graced the space in its heyday, as well as new acts. With the Sierra shutting its doors, the future is obviously uncertain as to whether or not the next tenant there will make a space for music. Let us be hopeful.

Friday, October 16, 2020

16 October - Playtopia

THIS WEEK'S COMMUTE
T: Mark Knopfler - Sailing to Philadelphia
W: Jeff Beck - There and Back
F: Playmates - A Traveller's Guide to Playtopia


This Friday's CD: Jim Weeks, previously mentioned in these electronic pages, was also involved in this project. So was Mike Flood, a great guy who has also played many of the Transperformance events I've performed at over the years. Eric Payne rounding it out. Face it, it's a great big music family here in Western Mass, and we're all connected somehow. Playtopia was one of the few acts I actually saw at the now-legendary Baystate venue in Northampton. Fun stuff. Loud. But who are they here? Playmates? Or are they a guide unto themselves, Playtopia? There are no surviving internet links, sorry. I guess you had to have been there. But look, I have a CD.

Friday, October 9, 2020

9 October - John Lennon

THIS WEEK'S COMMUTE
M: Simple Minds - Glittering Prize
T: David Gilmour - About Face
W: Jimi Hendrix - Valleys of Neptune
F: The Beatles - Rubber Soul


Yes, okay. Fridays are supposed to be CDs by friends of mine. But today would have been John Lennon's 80th birthday, and I wanted to hear his voice. John met Paul the year I was born. I was watching Sullivan the night The Beatles made their USA debut. And I had just got back from band practice when I heard the news John had been murdered. Today I'm celebrating his life, not its sad end. John's music has enriched my time on Earth. If that's not a friend, I don't know what is. We all shine on. All across the universe.

Friday, October 2, 2020

2 October - We Still See You Now

Today is release day for a new single: We Still See You Now. The beginnings of this song came to me in 2017, the week my friend J. Scott "Bow Bow" Brandon left this earthly plane much too early. It's dedicated to Bow and to any other absent friends all of us have lost along the way.

Wednesday, September 30, 2020

30 September - Wednesday Friday

This week is gonna be a bit different. Wednesday is my Friday, and the real Friday is my birthday, which I'm taking off. Friday is also another Bandcamp Friday, and I'll be releasing a new single on that fine platform from the comfort of my cozy studio. So no commute CD by a friend this week. But I hope you stop by on Friday, click the link to the new song, and download it. Maybe toss a buck or two in the virtual jar. I did mention it'll be my birthday, right?

THIS WEEK'S COMMUTE
M: Pink Floyd - Animals
T: The Rolling Stones - Sticky Fingers
W: Ramones - It's Alive

Friday, September 25, 2020

25 September - Scott Lawson Pomeroy

THIS WEEK'S COMMUTE
M: Marc Bolan /  T. Rex - 20th Century Man
T: Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers - Greatest Hits
W: Frank Zappa - Apostrophe (*)
F: Scott Lawson Pomeroy - Black Sheep Son / Saskatchewan

Got a double disc in the car today. Scott Lawson Pomeroy is an all-time favorite musician, a great friend, and one of the finest frontmen I've ever worked with. We've done a ton of different types of show together over these past many years - different setlists, different lineups, always a blast. You name it, from one-off duo dive bar gigs to showcase events and the annual Transperformance fundraiser, we've been there, done that. But adding to all of this, Scott is also a top-shelf songwriter, and this collection proves it. Go forth. Click the link and see why for yourself.

Friday, September 18, 2020

18 September - I B Sometimes

THIS WEEK'S COMMUTE
M: Jethro Tull - Aqualung
T: Aerosmith - Toys in the Attic
W: The Rolling Stones - Black and Blue
F: I B Sometimes - Your Paradise

This Friday: I B Sometimes was a recording project of my friends Ernest Senecal (who wrote the songs and was lead vocalist) and Jim Weeks, the wizard of Cloud Cuckooland Recording Studio. I've worked with Jim many times, as far back as the earliest Group DeVille CDs, and learned a lot about the recording process from him. Anyway, I loved what these two gents put together each time they released something. There was talk at one point of putting a live band together (with yours truly in the lineup) to perform some of the material, but this never came to pass. A favorite song (one of many) on this particular record is Every Now and Then, which reminds us "Every now and then the good guys win. Every now and then." 

Friday, September 11, 2020

11 September - Lonesome Brothers

THIS WEEK'S COMMUTE
T: The Rolling Stones - Beggar's Banquet
W: Captain Beefheart - Safe as Milk
F: Lonesome Brothers - Pony Tales

The CD in the car this Friday finds Ray Mason making another appearance, but this time it's along with Jim Armenti, with a favorite album from their long-running collaboration as the Lonesome Brothers. Some folks call this alt-country. I just call it good music. Great playing, great songs, and a hometown Pioneer Valley vibe that makes the Lonesomes a well-loved regional act. I've shared many a bill with these guys, and it's always a blast.

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

2 September - Out Out

THIS WEEK'S COMMUTE
M: Led Zeppelin - II
T: Peter Gabriel - Us
W: Out Out - Or

Wednesday is my Friday this week. The CD in the car today is a fave by Mark Alan Miller, whose musical project Out Out is a massive whirlwind of electrical machines, complex beats, wise and insistent lyrics, and assembled industrial brilliance. Or is the instrumental precursor to the vocal album, Deepsound, and is included as a second disc on that release. Today seemed like just the day for it.

You'll notice the commute playlist this week is three records with two-character titles. I assure you this was unintentional. It just happened that way.

Friday, August 28, 2020

28 August - Span of Sunshine

THIS WEEK'S COMMUTE
M: The Who - Who's Next
T: Elbow - The Take Off and Landing of Everything
W: David Bowie - Ziggy Stardust
F: Span of Sunshine - This Must Be The Present

This Friday: Steve Koziol writes all the songs for Span of Sunshine, and our shared appreciation of the band XTC is wonderfully evident in the ones on this record. Steve can actually capture that sort of madcap atmosphere much better than I ever could (trust me, I've tried and failed numerous times). There are whimsical turns of phrase, and delightful shifts in the structures of each tune that bounce between harmony and intentional discord all at once. Fun stuff. Span of Sunshine isn't copying another band, but the soul of its influence shows - gloriously.