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Hello and Happy March, my friends. March is the month that traditionally signals a return to warmer temperatures, greenery, thoughts of Baseball and such (woops, better hold off on that last one unless you are playing ball yourself, rather than paying sizable bucks to watch the pro’s; hopefully I’ll need to eat those words during this month). Of course, that warmth and greenery stuff usually applies to much of the rest of the country, rather than New England. But March does mean we are closer to the warm weather. Three cheers for that. Ah heck, make it five cheers. The more encouragement the better.
As long as I seem to be on this “positive” kick, let’s start with GREAT news for live music fans.
Toad is back!! Toad is back!!!
Toad, the little club in Porter Square with never a cover charge (but they hope you’ll buy a drink or three) is open again. A couple weeks or so ago, I was surprised to see they had re-opened. Back when the Star Market across the street from Toad was open 24 hours, it was as if part of the ritual of going to Toad was heading to that market after the show. Because…you’d be famished, and that was the only place with food nearby that was open after the show ended at 1 or 2 am. While waiting in the check-out line, you’d recognize faces you’d just seen inside the club, and jabber about the show. True, that Star Market has been closing at Midnight for a few years now. But anytime over these last two Pandemic years I have been there at night, when I’ve looked out into the parking lot and then looked to my right to see Toad all dark…it just felt like something wasn’t right. Welcome back, Toad. And may the Lizard Lounge follow suit shortly.
New music to look out for!
Singer-songwriter (and drummer) Tom Robertson’s project The Remittance Men, which I’ve been telling you about for a while now, is finally going to be unleashed on the world. The album Scoundrels, Dreamers & Second Sons will be released in the US on March 4th, to Europe (where it has been getting radio support) on March 25th. An album release show had been scheduled for May 7th. It has been moved to May 27th, still at The Burren in Somerville. As currently planned, the seating design for the audience promises to be very interesting (and I don’t think that’s because maybe the bandmembers might want to be closer to the bar…).
The album includes contributions from a veritable all-star band of area musicians. Expect to see and hear many of them at the album release show.
Meanwhile, check www.TheRemittanceMen.com and their Bandcamp page for how to get the album. It’s already one of my favorite new records.
Susan Cattaneo’s new solo album All Is Quiet – hot on the heels of the album of her duo project Honest Mechanik with Paul Hansen – is due out on April 8th. But she has released a second single from the album called “Time & Love & Gravity.” She will have a CD release show on March 3rd at The Burren.
He just can’t stop it.
He released a six-song EP in early January. Now on March 4th comes the digital release of a new full-length album from Greg Klyma, Singing For My Life. And for the first time since before 2019 if I am not mistaken, there will be physical CDs to be had. However, due to those same pesky supply chain issues that are currently impacting our groceries, Greg is not sure when the actual CDs will be available. Keep an eye on www.Klyma.com for updates on that.
In the meantime, Greg has just released a new lyric video in anticipation of the album. Called “Bluegrass Moon,” the song features help from Duke Levine, Jim Whitford, Becky Hall, and Jonathan Byrd.
Inspiration for songs can come from many things. It might be something we are excited about, a new discovery, even something we are not happy about. Yes, cruel irony can prove to be very inspirational.
Mark Erelli plans to release a new album this Fall, for which he is running a kickstarter funding campaign. The irony is that his last album was called Blindsided, while this forthcoming album comes off a recent diagnosis that he has Retinitis Pigmentosa. To add to the irony, Mark says the word “blindness” does not show up anywhere on this new album. Per Mark’s newsletter, in the summer of 2020 he noticed during a gig that at a certain point he could not see his fingers on his guitar. The diagnosis came two months and a few doctors later. So he’s been dealing with this privately for more than a year. Fast forward back to now, and he has been doing what needs to be done to carry on with his life and career.
So this is new territory for him personally. It is also new territory in terms of songwriting material. In typically Erelli-esque fashion, through his words about them he sounds stoked about the new songs. The new album will be called Lay Your Darkness Down. He calls it his soundtrack for learning to live with “low vision.” But he insists the album is not about blindness, and that the songs transcend his own personal situation.
I was hesitant to give any of the details about this. So I asked Mark if it was OK. He said that since he’s opened up about it in his newsletter, it was alright for me to write about it here. Learn more about Mark Erelli’s new journey at www.markerelli.com.
Despite this personal hurdle that jumped on top of the Pandemic hurdle, he sounds like maybe some of the joyful 16-year-old of his “Basement Days” could still be knocking around in there. Let’s hope so. Good luck, Mark.
Hope coming off of adversity. That’s something we can take with us until we meet next time.
Be well, be safe, and sing some songs enthusiastically with the windows down…