Liz Frame & The Kickers are hitting the road at the end of this month. Over the summer they will be hitting some of the more picturesque outlying areas of New England: Plum Island, West Newbury, Portsmouth NH, and Newfields, NH.

Last January 21st, Liz released the new album, Firefly.

I can’t believe I forgot to mention that Heather Maloney has just released a new live album. No Shortcuts – Live at The Academy was recorded live in Northampton, MA (presumably at The Academy Theatre), with her band and a string quartet. It represents 13 years of writing and touring for Heather. Hard to believe that she was supposedly extremely nervous about performing in front of people when she started this journey. Congratulations, Heather.

Ethan Robbins and Ariel Bernstein, better known as the band Cold Chocolate, have released a new album. And I can’t help but think this is really for the fans who have been with them for a while. Over the years, there are many songs Cold Chocolate has recorded with a full band. For the new 10-track album, all but three of the tracks have been previously recorded. But this is the first time they’ve been recorded as a duo. Just by Ethan & Ariel. Not with a full band as recorded before.

And what is the name of this new Cold Chocolate album? Appropriately enough…DUO.

Ethan and Ariel recorded the album in a farmhouse in rural Maine in the winter of 2020. Like many projects started in that period, it’s been a long time in waiting.

Do you like fiddles? Have you ever wondered what a fiddle-based band would sound like…with no fiddlin’? One of the projects that North Shore based drummer Dave Mattacks is part of is the 11-piece band Feast of Fiddles, from the UK. In fact, Dave has been part of Feast of Fiddles for over 25 years. If you don’t know, this is the same Dave Mattacks of Fairport Convention fame. He still goes back and forth to the UK when the music calls.

As you might expect, Feast of Fiddles is a fiddle-enhanced band. At least three fiddlers in the group.

A band side project called P.I.G. has now released an album, No Fiddlin’. It is the rhythm section of the band – ie; Feast of Fiddles without the fiddles. The album includes some originals and many covered favorites. As PIG (which stands for Pretty Interesting Group) and as Feast of Fiddles, bouncing in between styles – albeit within a broad Celtic swath – seems to be a point of pride in the sound.

And what could possibly lead to a project by a fiddle band without fiddles? But of course, the Pandemic. Feast of Fiddles’ tours of 2020 and 2021 were both canceled. I guess those who could record with the technology did just that. Recorded during the pandemic, the album was co-produced by Dave Mattacks with the aid of Mike Barry at Babyland Studios in Medford, MA, and by the band’s Alan Whetton in the UK.

Feast of Fiddles was able to do a UK tour this Spring but for only one show…as there was a COVID outbreak among the staff of that venue. Ugh.

Beyond this, Dave will once again leave his Massachusetts hamlet for the UK come August for this year’s Fairport Convention “Cropredy” festival – hopefully. It was canceled in both 2020 and 2021.

Stay safe and be smart, everybody. Let’s have a great summer.

~ Perry