Many new albums and projects to report about as we head into the last formal weeks of Summer 2022….

Didi Stewart – Associate Professor for Voice at Berklee College of Music, co-founder of the band Girls Night Out in the ‘80’s (which included Patty Larkin and future Love Dogs Allizon Lissance and Mayanna), songwriter and nightclub act lyricist – is at it again. You might remember that in October 2020, she had a music revue for our times past present and possibly future. The music was energizing, the lyrics were at times very pointed…and the whole thing was too much fun to realize that your brain was also being massaged. Didi has just finished a new show. This one is called An Infinity of Stars. Like two years before, Didi has Allizon Lissance setting the pace on the piano. “An Infinity of Stars: first reading of a new musical” will be performed on Sunday night September 11th (oh the irony, right?) at the Unitary Church of Medford at 147 High Street in Medford. The audience is requested to mask up….

A new album from Jim’s Big Ego – ie; Jim Infantino & Company – is just being birthed. Jim reports they have just finished the basic tracks. So there is no release date information yet. But Jim continues to do his “solo in isolation” virtual shows, where he is sharing the occasional new song. Check to stay up to date.

Cody Nilsen and The Wolff Sisters both have new albums and album release shows coming up shortly.

Cody is the guitarslinger who replaced Chris Hersch in the former Girls Guns & Glory, now Ward Hayden & The Outliers. His new solo release carries irony in the title: Living Is Killing Me. If you’ve seen Cody with any of his outfits, you know he can range from sensitive & mournful to high octane rockapunkabilly. And you get all those in the album, plus some radio-ready fare that would make him a good opener for Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers (if only Tom were still here…). Cody’s fellow Outlier Josh Kiggans plays drums on the album. The album release show is Monday night Sept 12 at Atwood’s Tavern in Cambridge.

Only a week and two days before, Cody and the rest of Ward Hayden & The Outliers will be part of a free outdoor show on Water Street in Fall River, at the gates of the city. It’s a Narrows Center for the Arts show, with Shemekia Copeland headlining. Mark Cutler* & The Men of Great Courage open the festivities at 3pm. Ward Hayden & The Outliers will be the middle act. That will be Sunday September 3rd.

Over the last year, the Wolff Sisters have released four new singles. Now it’s time for the full album, Dark River. The album cover art is very nice, by the way. The sisters will have an album release show on Friday September 9th at the Fallout Shelter in Norwood.

*The aforementioned Mark Cutler is part of the very varied collective, Wall of Grass. They include Chris Pahud, Jimmy Ryan, Chris Cote, Susan Cattaneo, Catharine David, Joe Donnelly, and Stu Kimball (about 15 years in Bob Dylan’s band) among many others. Wall of Grass just did a show on August 30th, their Ukranian Pet Rescue benefit. Keep up the good works and the good music!

And the summer music festivals keep coming! September 10th brings us the Steam Kettle Music Festival from Noon to 7pm at Hale Education, Inc in Westwood, MA. Great name, don’t you think? I have no idea what it may mean, but I like the name! Kemp Harris headlines a multiple-stage festival featuring nearly a dozen local bands.

It may not be called a Festival per se, but Porchfest continues to roll on – and finishes up – in September. And a lot of towns will have them! It’s as if the towns’ Porchfesters noticed that the hourglass of summer is running low. Here are the latest:
Sept 10: Belmont
Sept 17: Hull, Milton, Brookline, Plum Island, Swampscott
Sept 18: Sharon
Sept 24: Natick, Melrose, Roslindale, and West Concord

On the horizon: a new full-length album from Samantha Farrell. Over the last year she has been releasing some singles on digital platforms. But possibly in January, she hopes to release a full-length album. Samantha has been working with Will Dailey on this project.

Speaking of whom, Will was among those at Samantha Farrell’s recent show at the Boston Harbor Distillery in Dorchester. And what a show it was. Ms. Sam was in fine voice and nearly giddy spirits. She was clearly overjoyed to be playing live for people, and very happy to be sharing some of the new songs. You know those performers who seem to put up a wall between themselves and the audience; who connect with the way the song is built but have no connection to the audience? That is not Samantha Farrell. Besides her open conversationality, something that made this show so good was the band she had assembled. They let her stretch out a little. You may recognize some of these names from other artists’ album liner notes. The one and only Chris Anzalone and Andrew Stern were on the drums and lead guitar, respectively. Michael Valdez from Amy Kucharik’s band did the excellent keyboard work. On the fluidly funky bass lines was Samantha’s cousin (she said), Carmine I think was his name. I don’t recognize him from other bands…but he sure was good. And then you had a pair of guests in Tim Lewandowski (also from Amy Kucharik’s band) on trombone and saxophonist Mark Zelesky from Chris Hersch’s Moonraiders. They jumped onstage for a few songs.

The combination of great musical talent from players who obviously enjoy playing off each other, and a singer who doesn’t play out that often these last couple of years who is excited to do just that…this is usually a reliable recipe for a terrific night of live music. It sure was in this case.

Until I send this out and then discover something I forgot, that will do it for this look at what’s cooking on the Greater Boston and New England local music scene.

But before I go, I want to send out good wishes to Frank Sullivan. Frank has been an active local music maven for many years. If you’ve been to any good shows over the last ten + years, chances are he’s one of the familiar faces at many of them. Frank is recovering from an accident that has put him through some pain. But it’s not keeping him from booking and attending live music shows. Hang in there and keep improving, Frank. Thank you for all you do for the local music scene.

See you next time. Thanks for supporting local and live local music. And of course, thank you for being a part of us at WUMB radio.

~ Perry Persoff