A “Glorified House Party”

By on Apr 20, 2017 in Interviews |

For a performance venue like “The Word Barn” in Exeter to fly under the radar — as it seems to be doing — is pretty remarkable. Makes me wonder if that’s how it was planned to be, on the hush-hush, a slow build into something special. Then again, the place was packed last Saturday night. People staring down from the upper level, listening from the yard through the large windows, from the seats and stools inside, getting knocked backward by the beauty of Sean Rowe’s monstrous voice and ninja finger moves on his guitar. What the owners, Ben and Sarah Anderson, are providing for the region’s art community is quality creativity at an honest price. Set in a barn attached to a house off Newfield Road, tucked so quietly close to the road — we drove past the entrance four times heading to the show — this is the ideal place to visit if you...

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 |

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 |

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...

Memphis Bound

By on Jan 29, 2017 in Interviews |

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...

Let Low Lily Set The Tone

By on Dec 7, 2016 in Interviews |

I figure, the best way to listen to the traditional folk trio, “Low Lily,” is lying flat on your back, staring up into the blinking branches sparking off the ornaments on your Christmas tree. Get your head right under that tree. Fire up a glass of red, find those old thermal pajamas, lock the kids in the basement and turn up the volume. Not too loud now. Go easy. Low Lily will set the tone. Listen to Flynn Cohen pick that mandolin — slow and steady and well studied in the craft. Feel the pulse of your fingertips as Liz Simmons sings a ballad or two about old world Ireland. Lissa Schneckenburger will fiddle you right into a trance before the brass of New Orleans comes calling. But, if you haven’t bought a Christmas tree yet or only itch in thermal, then simply come down to New England College in Concord this Friday night and hear Low Lily for yourself. The show...