The phrase “ton of bricks coming down” comes to mind whenever the Obvious finally arrives to the Clueless.  Yes, cue the “Captain Obvious” and Homer Simpson “D’Oh” references for yours truly.  Not long before starting to write this, it occurred to me that the root word of Festival is festive.  Apologies to Homer Simpson, maybe that should be “Duh!”

For the music and town culture fan, the last couple of weekends have certainly brought the festive out of the Seattle-esque gloom of our New England spring weather.  One of my favorite things about the transition from winter is the sense of people coming out of the woodwork as the weather warms.  Crawling from our Winter & chilly Spring bunkers to mingle out on the streets.  Enter the town music festivals and street fairs!

The last Friday and Saturday in April saw the Town & The City Festival in Lowell.  While I did not feel the buzz on the street, the five or six venues I went to were all well attended by folks who were definitely buzzing.  Then the first Sunday in May brought the 38th annual Mayfair to Harvard Square for a variety of live music – and gloriously long lines for food vendors.  The weather cooperated fully for Mayfair, which was all outdoors (the Town & The City Festival venues were indoor).  And now for the second Saturday in May…it’s the return of Porchfest to Somerville!  You walk around your neighborhood with live music spilling out to the street.  Twenty five more communities will have Porchfests throughout the summer, picking up on June 3rd with Newton, Medford, and Dorchester.  The full Porchfest schedule is available online at

While I love these town music fest’s and street fairs, it is also exciting to see the bigger annual music festivals also unveiling their plans.  The Green River Festival just released its performance schedule.  It is loaded with artists you’ve heard on WUMB, local and otherwise.  A few highlights:  The Wood Brothers, Eilen Jewell, Mark Erelli, Bridget Kearney of Lake Street Dive, Alisa Amador, Sierra Ferrell, Donna The Buffalo, Little Feat, Jon Cleary (of Bonnie Raitt’s band for many years), plus many more.  The show’s only about a month away:  June 23-25 at the Franklin County Fairgrounds in Greenfield, MA.

And of course, it’s no longer Memorial Weekend without the Boston Calling Festival, May 26-28 at the Harvard Athletic Complex.  Along with the national names who will be performing, will be local artists Ali McGuirk (who with her band at the Town & The City Festival was sly, spunky, and just outstanding), Alisa Amador, and GA-20.

Last week, Quincy MA folk-punk roots rocker Jesse Ahern released a new single for his forthcoming album Roots Rock Rebel (the full album will be out in September).  A highlight for his Spring was not only opening a number of shows for the Dropkick Murphys in Europe…but opening for them in Boston during their St. Patrick’s week run.  Jesse is currently on the road opening some shows for the Violent Femme’s on their 40th anniversary tour.

Keep your eyes out for a few live appearances from Chris Hersch in his many incarnations:  a couple shows with Celia Woodsmith, with his own band The Moonraiders, and with his other band Say Darling (also featuring Della Mae’s Celia Woodsmith).

A couple notes before I go about the Town & The City Festival that was April 28 & 29 in Lowell.  Jimmy Ryan & Donna Sartanowicz – aka The Nocturnal Adoration Society – put on a great set there.  There are some solid songs on their debut album, which they had been working on piece by piece for about three years. You can check it out at  Jimmy’s also doing a couple of shows soon with his band Wooden Leg, including one with the always jolly Los Goutos (and their three or four lead singers) at the Boston Harbor Distillery.  Details at

Bill Janovitz & Warren Zanes were very engaging reading from their new books on Leon Russell and the making of Bruce Springsteen’s Nebraska, respectively.  How engaging were they?  They made me miss Robin Lane’s show at another festival venue.  We plan to have Bill in studio at WUMB very soon.  Keep your eye on…

Finally, a big thanks to David Wax, Suz Slezak, and Alec Spiegleman of the David Wax Museum.  What a pleasure they were to interview back on May 4th.  Then they put on a festive show indeed that night at Somerville’s Arts At The Armory.

Whatever else I wanted to tell you about, I’ll remember at 1:45am.  Doesn’t it always happen that way?

Take care and thanks for enjoying and supporting live and local music.  Be well.