The Local Music Corner September 2023 – Perry Persoff.

I hope it is a happy start to Fall for you…although we may still get the odd upper 70 degree days here and there into mid September.  New projects and new outlets are on the horizon.  And among the dark economic clouds in the live music scene, there is some open sky.

But there is now a hole in the Boston area music scene as well.

I last saw Dave McLaughlin of Heptunes Promotions in June.  I did not recognize him at first, almost as if something seemed a little off.  Very recently, someone else at the same function told me that he felt something was a little off about Dave that night.   He asked Dave if he was OK and Dave nodded “yes.”  I have just found out that only a few days later…Dave passed away.  Dave booked so many quality shows over the years.  Some were of lesser known artists of quality at small venues.  But he’d also promoted shows by the likes of Richie Havens, The Cowboy Junkies, Richard Thompson, Steve Earle. Given his history in the Boston area music scene, it always felt like a surprise whenever Dave approached me about an artist he was excited about.   After all, he was a stalwart veteran of the scene; I was a relative newbie.  I was happy he knew who I was.

There will be a show honoring Dave on Saturday Sept 16th from 1-5pm at the Stone Church in Newmarket, NH.  Featured performers will include Joyce Anderson & Harvey Reid, Senie Hunt, Aces & Eights, Audrey Ryan, and EJ Ouellette.  Thank you for all the quality shows, Heptunes Dave.  May you bring more great live music on the other side.  Then again, maybe you should enjoy a rest from promoting and booking…and just be an audience member.  You’ve certainly earned it.

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Need a good reason to go to Newburyport?  This weekend (Sept 15-17), the Newburyport Documentary Film Festival will occupy two venues in downtown Newburyport:  The Screening Room and the Firehouse Center For The Arts.  If you are a music buff, one of the films may be right up your alley. Immediate Family looks at a cadre of studio musicians whose names were on the back of too many albums to count throughout the 1970’s and ‘80’s.  People like Leland Sklar, Waddy Wachtel, Danny Korchmar, Russ Kunkel.  We know the stories of the artists on the front of the album covers they played behind:  Jackson Browne, James Taylor, Linda Ronstadt, Warren Zevon, etc.  What about the story of these studio artists?  Immediate Family was directed by Denny Tedesco.  And if that name sounds vaguely familiar, it might be from his father Tommy Tedesco.  Tommy Tedesco was a guitarist in the group of LA studio musicians who were part of multiple landmark recordings in the 1960’s.  They came to be known as “The Wrecking Crew.”  In 2008, there was a film about them called The Wrecking Crew – also made by Denny Tedesco.  So Immediate Family is a film of the next generation of LA studio musicians who as a group behind the groups followed the legacy of the 1960’s Wrecking Crew.

Immediate Family plays Saturday the 16th at The Firehouse. for more info.

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There is a new music festival happening this Saturday Sept 16th.  At least, new to me.  Apparently it is the 15th annual.  Where have I been?  In any case, it is Riverfest at Assembly Row.  This is a music and activities festival between the shiny shops of the Assembly Square Mall and the Mystic River, where Northeast Somerville approaches Medford.  There is an Orange Line subway stop nearby (you might remember that the Assembly Square Mall project came with this).  The Festival will have two stages for live music.  Among the performers are two artists who, besides being great ambassadors of local music, have also become part of the WUMB music camp community.  They would be Rachel Sumner and Kemp Harris.  Also performing will be a group I saw recently while meandering the Boston waterfront, the Gravel Project (not to be confused with The Gravel Pit).  They are very Allman/Tedeschi-Trucks like.  I enjoyed them.

The live music begins at 1pm.

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And how did you spend your summer vacation?  Don’t recoil with bad sense memories from that question.  Dave Herlihy – yes, the former frontman of O Positive – has been gigging out and about and recording.  He has released a five song EP called Postcards From Kindergarten Vol 1 (hence, the scary “what did you do on your summer vacation” line…).  The cover art is from kindergarten students.  The CD also comes with postcards with art from kindergarten students.  Just the same, the music is not for kindergarteners.  Dave performed solo style at a late summer backyard party hosted by musician Scott Daamgard.  Dave’s set was much fun.  He his now back in the studio working on Postcards From Kindergarten Vol 2.

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On the Atlantic/Northeast Roots side of music, keep an eye out for three new singles by EJ Ouellette.  He is one of those performers and recording artists that, when he has a new release, a new show, a new project of any kind, you feel like you learn about where the music came from.  And while your brain is being stimulated, your feet and legs are busy having fun dancing.  EJ is good at that mix.

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And now for some venue news.

I went to Toad the other night to enjoy Danielle Miraglia and her band The Glory Junkies.  It’s been so long since I’ve seen them that I forgot how excellent the individual musicians are.  How many bands have we seen Chris Anzalone do excellent drum work with?  As usual, bassist Jim Larkin made you think, “you mean, bass players (besides Paul McCartney and John Entwhistle) can also sing lead – woah…” Erik White is an absolute  hidden secret of the Boston/New England music scene with his singing and guitar playing.  And of course, Danielle herself isn’t too shabby on that guitar and has a great voice.  More on what’s up with Toad in a bit.  But as we await the fate of Toad, the SHK trio that books Boston Harbor Distillery – Frank Sullivan, Jim Haggerty, and Steve Kitay – are set to start booking live music at another room as of September 21st:  Warehouse XI in Union Square, Somerville.  Judging by my crack Googlemaps skills, Warehouse XI is next to and behind The Independent.  The formal address is 11 Sanborn Court.

But back to Toad, the skinny as of August 30th was that the club will close temporarily on September 16th, with the new owners re-opening…and keeping Toad a music club.  Phew!  Will it have the same name?  Will it still be no cover?  Time will tell.  But if it remains a live music venue, that would be wonderful.

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Thanks for reading until the end!  Thanks for being a part of us at WUMB.  And thank you for your support of the station to keep us able to do what we do – and do it without commercials.  Which reminds us…the annual Fall Fund Drive is one month away.  You don’t have to wait until then if you’d like to contribute now at

Cheers and good fortune to you,