Thursday, February 18, 2010

Making traveling musicians feel at home


Making traveling musicians feel at home

Sarah McQuaid will perform next Thursday in a notfarG  House Concert.

Sarah McQuaid will perform next Thursday in a notfarG House Concert.

Big acts like U2 may stay at the Ritz when on tour, but hard-working talents on the folk scene often need a cheaper - if not free - place to crash. That’s where folk music promoter Jeff Boudreau comes in. When out-of-town performers play gigs at venues such as Club Passim or Johnny D’s, Boudreau puts them up in his Grafton home. In thanks, they perform house concerts in his living room.

“Like any house concert, 100 percent of the donations go to the musician. Having a musician the caliber of a Tony Bird or a Sarah McQuaid play in my living room is payment enough for me,’’ said Boudreau.

Boudreau also runs the not-for-profit notloB (Bolton spelled backward) concert series at public venues across the area, including Newton’s Jackson Homestead. In October, he started the notfarG House Concerts, continuing his theme by using the reverse spelling of Grafton. He has since hosted artists including David Massengill, Marylou Ferrante, and Claudia Nygaard. Furniture is moved out of the living and dining rooms, chairs are moved in, and up to 25 guests are allowed in.

“There’s no amplification; it’s just the musician and his or her instrument and the audience sitting a couple of feet away,’’ said Boudreau. “I like stage concerts with amplification, too. I like both environments . . . but the house concerts offer an alternative.’’

Concert dates arise as opportunities do. Next up is Tony Bird, who performs Sunday at 7 p.m. A Malawi-born musician who began singing out against racial oppression in South Africa in 1969, Bird is considered the Bob Dylan of the antiapartheid movement. Here, he’s known for touring with Ladysmith Black Mambazo in the 1980s. Bird lives in New York City now, and while his sound still lilts with the rhythms of his homeland, his lyrics are sharply pointed at issues we face here.

“I first met Tony in an elevator at UMass in Boston and figured he had to be a musician. He had long hair and a beat-up guitar case held together with duct tape. So I just struck up a rapport with him before I knew who he was,’’ said Boudreau. “It turned out I was talking to the guy they call the father of South African folk rock.’’

Also coming up are concerts with Celtic and American roots singer-songwriter Sarah McQuaid, and country-blues guitarist Andy Cohen.

Occasionally, when demand surpasses the 25-person capacity, the venue will be a nearby location such as the Grafton Historical Society, or an additional house show will be added.

notfarG House Concerts: Tony Bird, two shows Sunday, a matinee and at 7 p.m.; Sarah McQuaid, 7:30 p.m. next Thursday; location provided with reservation. Suggested donation $15. Reserve at,

We want to hear about your upcoming events. Please contact


One minor correction. At the time of the interview it was not known if Lucky 13 would be presented as a house concert or at the Grafton Historical Society as a benefit for same. That has been resolved, it will be the latter. More information soon at (notloB Folk Concerts) & (Grafton Historical Society).

No comments: