By on Mar 23, 2017 in Blog | 0 comments

In one week, I’ll be doing something I never would have imagined I’d be doing, not in 100 years. And I’ve done some things — some good, some wicked, some better left forgotten. But teach a class? That was not on my “Do Before Dying” list. Visit Owl Farm in Woody Creek, Colorado? Yes. Shave my head? One of these days. Interview Springsteen? God willing. But stand before a real class with real students, real people, people that have signed up for this class called “A Look Inside the NH Music Scene?” Well, that’s just weird. When Phyllis Benoit from Granite State College in Concord emailed me in the fall saying that she reads my weekly music column in the Concord Monitor but doesn’t know what I’m talking about half the time, all I could say was, “Neither do I.” Then Phyllis proposed that I teach a class at the...

Smokestack Lightnin’

By on Mar 15, 2017 in Interviews | 1 comment

“It’s not just a pub,” says the owner of Area 23 Pub in Concord, Kirk McNeil. “It’s an experience.” I love that. I like when a pub, a bar, a cinema or music venue strives to be more than just a “get em’ in, get em’ out” type of joint. And for McNeil and his strong-minded, forward thinking, hearty staff of creative people, there seems to be a sense of, not just service, but a purpose, that goes into any working day. And, well, it has worked — big time! Area 23 Pub, located in the Smoke Stack Center on North State Street, has a little bit of everything going for it. There’s the Gonzo flair, inspired by the late, great writer, Dr. Hunter S. Thompson. There’s the creative food, the Korean ribs and Surprise Sandwiches. Then there is the poetry, the cribbage tournaments, rant nights, movie nights, and of course,...

Dark Before Light

By on Mar 8, 2017 in Interviews | 0 comments

I’m telling you, it’s going to be one of those nights down at NEC in Concord this Saturday. I can feel it. No rain, no snow or even fog in the forecast. Perfect weather for kicking around in the new downtown, breaking in the brick. A night built to drink, get fat, then walk it off. But of course, the only way to better that diet of fun is to feast on some heady music. Go ahead, gorge yourself. Let recording artist from Boston, Mark Erelli, spoon feed you into his world. He considers a lot of what most of us have forgotten, processes it honestly, and delivers those thoughts in song without fully understanding what the end game really means. Erelli, 43, plays, sings, writes, and will remind you of the legends — Dylan, Simon, Jackson Browne. And he has this sound, this voice and tone, that works for you, not against you. We all need that. “For a Song” is a...

Music Runs The Game

By on Feb 23, 2017 in Blog, Interviews | 0 comments

Lee Viathan from Manchester loves music. Plays it, lives it, embodies it. One night or three in a row, Viathan, 36, can be seen either popping a brain vessel watching an Extreme Wresting match in Rhode Island or brushing is drums through a set of country/folk tunes at some club in southern New Hampshire. Viathan will admit that music shapes his days, creates an identity and drama in his life while forging friendships and tearing down social walls within this majestic space known as music. Why don’t we let Lee tell you all about it. 1. I see your work playlists on Facebook that you post, and the range of music is wild. You are all over the place. Can you go from a thrash metal song to folk on a dime? Explain how music dictates your dispositions. For the most part as it comes to what I’m going go listen to, my disposition more often than not dictates the music. Its starts...

Worth The Ride

By on Feb 16, 2017 in Reviews, Uncategorized | 0 comments

I enjoy sitting in my freezing cold basement listening to music that other people created. Song after song, over and over again, I drag and rewind, drag and move forward, pondering these creations, these sensations. Some people like to ski or snowshoe. I like to sit in my basement a lot. But for some godless reason, the “Sarah and The Wild Versatile” CD that I was given didn’t take when I popped it in the computer to run it. Just spun round-n-round, aiming at nothing. I spit on the disc, shined it on my thigh, loaded it in slowly again. Still nothing. Frustrated, I pocketed the CD then shouted up to my 15 year old daughter who was embedded in her softly lit fortress, doing her teenage thing. “Let’s get coffee, sweet face!” I said when I reached the kitchen. “We’re going for a ride.” Listening to music while driving trumps any other...

Protest Against Action

By on Feb 1, 2017 in Blog | 1 comment

Forgive me, but writing this is like trying to remove a stripped screw from under a snowy porch in the freezing rain after midnight. Brutal. But that’s what four days in Key West will do to a man if the trip is done correctly, I suppose. Rendered brainless but still dreaming, the wrist keeps turning but the bit just won’t catch. That’s fine. I have the memories of last week still somewhat fresh in my foggy head. All I have to do to think back on the fiesta in the sun is reach under my sweatshirt and peel a line of dead skin from my shoulder blade. Living off island beer and Mahi tacos drenched in cabbage and jalapenos, I spent my time at the end of the scorched earth hiding from the world in the great wide open. While the masses gathered around the globe, pushing back on the new world order known as Trumpsville (formerly called Chumpsville) I decided to get off the...

Memphis Bound

By on Jan 29, 2017 in Interviews | 0 comments

Two minutes into a 2012 Youtube video of “Chicken Wing,” a deep cut Hendrix tune, local blues musician, Arthur James, starts leaning into a Jimi cut solo with his chin up and eyes closed while his fingers doing the unthinkable. Free flying on his custom made pink guitar, James & Northbound have the club in the palm of their hands, mesmerized, transfixed, just as they should be when you’re mind is being blown by a great blues tune. And James, 51 from Warner, can bring the blues from a few directions: country blues, Chicago blues, cotton blues, Dixie, whatever style, James fiercely plays and sings it all. He will be bring that same groove down to Memphis at the end of the month when he competes in the “International Blues Challenge” in the solo category. This is a big deal in the blues world. From all corners of the country, musicians will gather on...

“It’s Evolution, Baby!”

By on Jan 11, 2017 in Blog, Reviews | 0 comments

Sounding like he’s singing from the backside of a hand-cranked phonograph, songwriter Walker Smith opens his new record “Great Divide” with a minute-and-half long intro that could easily take place in a dime store record booth somewhere out in the Great Plains. The subtle crooning of Smith rides shotgun to a beautiful ukulele as the singer paints a picture of what might happen if you “turn your back on the folks you know…the faces start to fade.” Basically, ending up alone, “carving out your memories in alabaster stone.” A strong image set by Smith, who, over the past five years has become a true standout in the NH music scene. His voice is butter, just about as smooth as it gets. He works his tail off to be heard. His lyrics, they’re big boy lyrics, fully realized, bursting with intelligence. To date, Smith, who lives in Concord,...