Sunday, November 11, 2007

11/17/07: Mare Wakefiled & Dan Gonzalez


The Notlob Parlor Concerts at the Loring-Greenough House presents the best local and touring roots, Americana, newgrass, traditional and contemporary folk and blues artists in unique and unusual settings in the Boston, MA area. The Fall 2007 series continues at the historic Loring-Greenough House, 12 South Street, Jamaica Plain, MA. 02130, Built in 1760, it is listed in the National Register of Historic Places and has been a historic house museum since 1926. Its beautiful period decor and intimate size make it an ideal setting for acoustic music.

Reservations: Reservations are recommended as seating is limited to 40 and most past shows have sold out. $2 off for members of the JP Tuesday Club, seniors and students.

Mare Wakefield,

“Take Me Home is a rootsy, singer/songwriter collection from one of the best we've heard. Four Stars!” Maverick Magazine, UK “At time soft and soulful, at others riotous and rowdy ... Wakefield is a unique and wholly self-evolved performer with that special ingredient” Mark Wehner
Producer/Host of Americana Tonight
Nashville, TN “Mare Wakefield has concocted a mellow, likable country-folk sound on Take Me Home. The opener, "I'll Drive," lays down a backdrop of piano, acoustic guitar and drums that works well with Wakefield's warm vocals. A sad, country-flavored dobro sets the mood for "Pack Up Your Stuff," an emotional downer with a little vocal help from Amelia White. Both songs have strong melodies and, especially in the latter case, unwind at their own pace. Given this pacing combined with low-key arrangements and a simple production (very little reverb, etc.) these songs are imbued with a back-porch quality. Another intriguing quality of Take Me Home is the addition of Nomad Ovunc's piano in the midst of the fiddles and dobros. It's never intrusive as in bad country-pop, but is woven into the texture of "Texas" and "Cold River," adding a nice, unexpected touch. Wakefield is helped along this path considerably by bassist Jim Thacker, drummer Justin Amaral, fiddler Brian Arrowood, dobroist Kim Gardner and several others. These players, whatever their individual histories may be, fall into a comfortable groove here, offering an attractive, spare soundscape for Wakefield's vocals. Things get a bit funkier on "Love vs. the USA," a rockin' bit of gospel complete with a backing choir. Non-pretentious with a mellow, country-folk sound, Wakefield's Take Me Home offers a solid group of songs on its own terms. 3 and 1/2 stars.” Ronnie D. Lankford, Jr.
All Music Guide “Cozy brilliance ... Could she be the merger of Maria McKee, Natalie Merchant, Shawn Colvin and Dolly Parton? Wakefield and her guitar fill a musician's space as if an inherent extension of her soul. There is volume and symmetry that is as untainted as it is simple. This most elegant component is indeed a rare find and decrees strength and depth. Feel this music. It absorbs like thirsty skin. ” Michelle Manker
Louisville Eccentric Observer
Louisville, KY “Take Me Home is Wakefield's fourth album, and her first in four years. She relies on both acoustic and electric arrangements, and even strips things down to one voice, one guitar on "Lullaby." The piano also adds an extra element to many tracks. Take Me Home sounds great, and Wakefield's an expressive singer. ” Sing Out Magazine “The songs, the voice, the band is just plain good! A voice a bit reminiscent of early k.d. lang, poignant story-telling, diverse scenarios. Wakefield’s humor and technique shine from a powerful voice that reaches both ends of the scale.” Nicki Ehrlich
Victory Music Review Magazine “Why you aren’t a national figure already can only be chalked up to the music business. Your voice, the sublime intelligence of your lyrics and production are first rate.” George Maida
Richmond, VA “I enjoyed your album [Factory]. I liked your singing, and the songwriting is unique. I loved the one about the sewing machine... Well done in all” Gail Davies
producer and RCA recording artist
Nashville, TN “More than your typical fly-by-night coffeehouse folk artist [Wakefield is] musically sophisticated, weaving elements of jazz and bluegrass into her compositions. Her lyrics read like stream-of-consciousness short stories. Don’t pass up the opportunity to see her perform.” Cheryl Eddy
San Francisco Bay Guardian
San Francisco, CA Wakefield’s songs are ’old school’ in the best possible way: they have an honesty and directness that nowadays are hard to find. With her lyrics she’s able to make you think and make you smile ... she even managed to reincarnate the Ghost of John Denver -- what more can you ask for?” Ruben Jonas Schnell
NDR (Norddeutscher Rundfunk)
German Public Radio, Hamburg “A wonderful singer-songwriter ... I'm glad the rest of the country can be introduced to her talent.” Martin Anderson
Music Director and Host
WNCW-FM, Spindale, NC “Well-written songs, beautifully sung ... top notch instrumental accompaniment.” Doug Dick
WVGN, St. Thomas, Virgin Islands “An arresting collection of folk pop... So immediately accessible it risks getting overplayed.” New Times
San Luis Obispo, CA “Your new recording is so excellent it was moved up to heavy on our playlist.” Liz Wise
KLCC, Eugene, OR Wakefield is Oregon cafes, small town Texas and twangy Nashville rolled into one. Her guitar and vocals ache in all the right places ... She resembles an early Billy Bragg, you'lll want to be in the front fow at her next concert.” Cranky Crow Music Reviews “Reminiscent of Dar Williams, conjuring up the ghost of Johnny Cash. Her voice is sweet without being saccharine, familiar without sounding like anyone else, and extremely pleasing to the ear ... The fiddle drew me in, the story line kept me from leaving.” Theresa Hogue
Corvallis, OR “Unbridled tenacity pours out of her. Through her songs she evokes a passion for music and life on the road.” Ashland Daily Tidings
Ashland, OR “Rootsy, country-tinged folk ... [Take Me Home] showcases Wakefield's talents beautifully.” Vanessa Salvia
Eugene Weekly
Eugene, OR “Sweet voice, sensitive lyrics ... with a hint of twang.” John Larson
Tacoma Weekly
Tacoma WA “Introspective and intelligent mix of contemporary folk and Americana.” Jeff McDonald
Cascade Arts and Entertainment
Bend, OR “Refreshing and versatile.” Mail Tribune
Medford, OR Wakefield wins over audiences with her Gillian Welch-like voice and intelligent lyrics.” Santa Cruz Sentinel
Santa Cruz, CA “A beautiful merging of the simplicity of the best folk and country music with all of the complexities of human relationships ... The combination of desire and resignation that comes through on the title cut is particularly moving. I'm actually looking forward to my commute to work tomorrow, so I can listen again!” Mark Stepakoff
Boston, MA “Folky enough to rock a coffee shop near you, rural enough for her to perform the songs at a state fair.” Cooper Lane Baker
Weekly Planet
Tampa, FL “Introspective yet very much alive...there’s a lovely sense of the upbeat, even in Wakefield’s most brutally personal moments.” Andre Hagestedt
Statesman Journal
Salem, OR “Mare is sultry, cozy and funny; her voice slips somewhere between sweet maple sugar and cognac. Mare’s songs are personal but not agonizing; intimate, but not ponderous. She seems to hold a laugh behind even her more serious lyrics--a laugh and another lighter step.” The Arcata Eye
Arcata CA “Wakefield has a clear, energetic and confident voice that bounces off the band’s thick walls quite well and even holds humor.” The Rocket
Seattle, WA “Sweet and clever folk-pop.” Willamette Week
Portland, OR “Good--I liked Wakefield’s mix of humor and angst.” Bob Doran
North Coast Journal
Eureka, CA “You are sooooo f*cking talented, beautiful, funny. Why aren’t you on tv?” audience member “Tender songs and a clear voice.” The Oregonian
Portland, OR “Expressive vocals & poetic writing.” The Daily Triplicate
City, CA
“Back by popular demand.” Tacoma Weekly
Tacoma, WA “Wakefield’s voice can snake through a venue like an invisible conga line, grabbing listeners and pulling them along with a well-placed rhyme or pointed insight.” The Register-Guard
Eugene, OR “Stirring vocals.” San Francisco Bay Times
San Francisco, CA Wakefield...was the surprise hit of the show. She...delivered a strong set...and stuck around to sing harmony with just about every performer on the bill. She has a beautiful voice, endearing stage presence and writes...with humor.” WOW Hall Notes
Eugene, OR “Her original songs blend humor and insight about everyday events...with tenderness and strength. Wakefield’s laid-back performance style instantly put the audience at ease, making her shows feel like a circle of friends rather than a concert.” Tanya Igancio
The Source
Bend, OR “[Wakefield’s] folk and pop songs are steeped in the everyday with humor and poignant insight.” Auburn Journal
Auburn, CA “Mare’s stronger playing [on Factory] is matched by her maturing voice. The notes come out easy...she’s enjoying herself.” Aria Seligmann
Eugene Weekly
Eugene, OR “Each song draws the listener in to a sort of sacred communion with the band...Wakefield opens her world to the listener, as each songs evolves into a charming story.” Rebecca Shala
The Daily Barometer, Corvallis, OR

"No one really looks like Barbie, so come to the table and eat!" So goes the chorus to the song "Barbie" by Mare (pronounced "Mary") Wakefield. As a teenager, Wakefield struggled with an eating disorder, an experience she chronicles in the song. "Barbie" is humorous and deceptively light-hearted, but girls everywhere responded. "Because of that song, I got my first taste of fan mail," Wakefield recalls. "Girls sent me alternatively-proportioned Barbies in the mail, girls wrote asking about my struggle and detailing their own. This was the first time I truly realized the power a song could have."

Though "Barbie" came out on Wakefield's first record (Girlfriend, 1997), she's never forgotten that lesson. Four records and nine years later, Wakefield still strives to impact her audience through song. Residing in the wide-open spaces between contemporary folk and alt-country, Wakefield tells her stories. Her latest release, Take Me Home, guides listeners on a journey from cross-country road trips to home-sweet-home, from failed relationships to forever love. Songwriting alternates between starkly autobiographical ("Lullaby," "Take Me Home") to flights of fiction ("Leroy," "You Don't Know"), but always Wakefield alights upon a universal truth.

With a voice that's been called "Oregon cafes, small Texas towns and twangy Nashville rolled into one" (Cranky Crow, Seattle WA), Wakefield is gently carving out a name for herself, her music, and her stories.

Mare’s CDs, Girlfriend (1997), Factory (1999), One Day's Drive (2001), and Take Me Home (2006) are receiving airplay on folk, triple A and non-comm radio stations nationwide and in Canada, Australia, and Europe.

Dan Gonzalez,

It's rare to find this marriage of smart social commentary with great music, but Gonzalez has done just that, fair and Square.

- Performing Songwriter

Public Square [the album] is excellent.

Rob Reinhart - Acoustic Café

...[a] literate topical balladeer.

Scott Alarik - Boston Globe

Boston singer/songwriter Dan Gonzalez released Public Square in June, 2006. Gonzalez's second full-length album features his newest songs in their purest form. Public Square has received wide acclaim, including recognition on Rob Reinhart’s nationally syndicated Acoustic Café program. The album was also chosen as a top 12 "Do It Yourself" album by Performing Songwriter magazine.

Dan Gonzalez has been called the "future of the singer/songwriter" and a "masterful solo performer" (reviews, Since winning the top songwriting scholarship at the Berklee College of Music in 2003, Dan has played venues such as Club Passim, the Berklee Performance Center, and the Bitter End. His music has received radio play on radio stations across the country, including Mix 98.5 Boston and WUMB 91.9 Folk Radio Boston, and has been featured on NPR's All Songs Considered.

In addition to performing and writing, Dan has initiated the Columbus Day Gift Project. This project raises funds through the sale of Dan’s song, Columbus Day. All profits from the sale of the Columbus Day single are gifted to Rethinking Schools, an organization committed to education for social justice. For more information on the Columbus Day Gift Project, please visit

• Finalist--2007 Telluride Troubadour Contest
• Finalist--2007 Wildflower! Performing Songwriter Competition
• Finalist--2007 Rose Garden Coffeehouse Performing Songwriter Competition
• Runner Up--2007 Singer/Songwriter Awards
• Semi-Finalist--2007 Starbucks Music Makers Competition
• Honorable Mention, 2007 Lyric Writer Awards
• Performing Songwriter Magazine Top 12 DIY album for Public Square, November, 2006
• “One to Watch" Rob Reinhart’s Acoustic Café, August, 2006
• Honorable Mention, Rocky Mountain Folks Festival Songwriting Contest, 2006
• Radio Crystal Blue “Future Star, 2006
• Winner, Lizard Lounge Open Mic Challenge, December, 2006
• Feature, NPR’s All Songs Considered, May, 2004
• Honorable Mention, American Songwriter Magazine Lyric Competition, 2004
• Scott Benson Scholarship for Songwriting, Berklee College of Music, 2003
• Winner, Berklee College of Music Songwriting Competition, 2003
• Winner, Berklee College of Music Performer/Songwriter Contest 2003

Notable venues played…
• Telluride Bluegrass Festival (Telluride, CO)
• Club Passim (Cambridge, MA)
• Tupelo Music Hall (Londonderry, NH)
• Berklee Performance Center (Boston, MA)
• Nameless Coffeehouse (Cambridge, MA)
• Me & Thee Coffeehouse (Marblehead, MA)
• Rose Garden Coffeehouse (Mansfield, MA)
• Bitter End (New York, NY)
• Knitting Factory (New York, NY)
• Johnny D’s (Somerville, MA)
• Canal Street Tavern (Dayton, OH)
• Wilbert’s (Cleveland, OH)

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