Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Gang Who Could not Shoot Straight, Part Three....

WUMB, licensed to the University of Massachusetts, Boston, is "Boston's NPR music station."

The good people who run the Facebook fan page "Fans of Folk Radio WUMB" (subtitle: "we listen to WUMB so you don't have to") are reporting WUMB's music director gleefully admitting he only recently became aware of artists he has approved for the tightly controlled playlist.  OK, new artists come onto the scene every day, what's the big deal?  Mike (Merenda) and Ruthy (Ungar Merenda) were founding members of the highly successful folk rock band The Mammals, who themselves have visited the WUMB studio (see station photo below).  Furthermore, the current WUMB events calendar associates them with the Mammals.

This causes one to wonder, what value does a music director add when he is out of touch with the music scene?  WUMB has a very tightly controlled playlist.  Wouldn't the Boston-area music community be better off if WUMB management granted their "on-air personalities" the freedom to produce their own program content and to eliminate the music director position altogether?  That would also allow the station to return thousands of taxpayer dollars to the Commonwealth.


I feel like Jon Stewart exposing Fox News.

At 3:30pm this afternoon, WUMB's Music Director, John Laurenti, stated "That was "Covered" from Mike and Ruthy's debut album, "Million to One".  They just popped onto my radar about a month ago".

A month ago?  Where has he been hibernating for the past 10 years?

The Mammals have visited the WUMB studio!

The Mammals visiting the WUMB studio.

Photo source - - note the "folk radio" logo on the bumper sticker.  Now it's only a matter of time before this photo is scrubbed from the website, but not before the faux pas was uttered and the image captured.

Mr. Laurenti must know Mike and Ruthy are members of the Mammals, witness their current "on-air music calendar" listing -

Below, are listings for musicians, arts and cultural events in the greater Boston area, A link to each venue is included to confirm show times, for additional artists, or for more information.
You can find those and more listings here
You can also find out more about many of the coffeeshouses in the greater Boston area through the Boston Area Coffeehouse Association.
To submit your listings, use the "Calendar Submissions" link under the Calendar + Events menu above.
Listings for Mon Sep 27, 2010 - Mon Oct 11, 2010
  Wednesday September 29, 2010
Mike & Ruthy (from The Mammals) The Lizard Lounge Cambridge , MA 6:30 pm 617-547-0759 Venue Web Site

Maybe the state should pay to send John to more conferences so he can become better acquainted with the musicians he plays.  Better, maybe the state should withhold funding the MD position and direct station management to free the program hosts to produce their own shows.

Mike and Ruthy's discography (not including the Mammals)

   Million to One
The amazing new CD featuring all originals with full band.

   Waltz of the Chickadee
Sparse arrangements and meaningful lyrics with lots of fiddle and banjo.

   The Honeymoon Agenda
Great covers and originals with emphasis on love and harmony.

Beautiful songs, simply arranged.

   Election Day
Rockin' originals with full band.

   Trapped in the Valley
Mike's original batch of indie-folk-pop gems.

Ruthy's sings country, jazz and folky originals with family and friends.

This is not the first time WUMB has dissed a notloB Mammal.  In 2008, when notloB presented Chris Merenda and Adam Sweeney at the Loring-Greenough House, WUMB placed the event listing on its secondary "community" calendar their standard policy for artists not approved for weekday airplay.

Monday, September 27, 2010

America's Great Outdoors: Creating the Next Generation of Environmental Leaders

In the true spirit of our founder, Pete Seeger, Clearwater's Power of Song youth and the Urban Farmer's League of Newburgh, NY carried forward the passion and energy from the America's Great Outdoors Initiative listening sessions held this past August in the Hudson Valley to create a unique music video. The youth worked together to write new verses to Woody Guthrie's "This Land is Your Land" to voice their policy recommendations to President Obama. Clearwater partnered with Our Hudson Tomorrow and the Electronic Music Foundation to support their efforts and produce this video featuring these young leaders. 

America's Great Outdoors:
  Creating the Next Generation of Environmental Leaders

Pete Seeger and Sarah Armour

Given Clearwater's role on the river and its powerful youth leadership programming, we helped organize youth from New York City to Albany to participate in AGOI August 5th listening session. The result was inspiring. The youth session was undeniably passionate, with over 300 youth arriving in Hyde Park to contribute their ideas and concerns about the environment. 
Clearwater is proud of its passionate young leaders who attended this session and who aspire to make a difference in our country. We applaud their determination and leadership in making our communities better places.

Andrew McKnight

notloB Folk Concerts

Andrew McKnight

Nationally-acclaimed singer/songwriter and guitarist Andrew McKnight celebrates rural America, weaving his masterfully crafted songs, humorous stories and poetic drama into a musical soundscape sketched with shades of Appalachia, tasteful slide and jazzy blues, feisty anthems, and rustic folk.

“Stretching across the landscape of American folk music is a highway paved by Guthrie and Dylan... now Virginia native Andrew McKnight takes his turn smoothing down the blacktop"
(Top 12 DIY selection, Performing Songwriter)

"With a voice reminiscent of Don McLean, McKnight traverses from old-time Appalachian tunes to contemporary folk and blues, all backed up by his dead-on guitar playing"
(The Boston Globe)

"The skillful songwriter's interest in history is revealed in songs such as the Civil War ballad "The Road to Appomattox" and the soldier's elegy "Wind Whispers Your Name."...he avoids stridency by crafting vignettes told from the point of view of those in pain and keeps dourness at bay ... He also works in true folkie tradition, updating lyrics to classic material such as "Worried Man Blues" or reworking Robert Johnson's "Crossroads" to place himself mano-a-devil."
(The Washington Post)

Andrew's website & Facebook

Here’s a video of “Dancing in the Rain" (celebrating the family farm) from a public TV concert in Florida last year
... and Andrew's version of “Crossroads”, from the same show 
... and Andrew's environmental river anthem “The Other Way” from Bob Crownfield’s Studio Session Live show in Hopkinton MA.
... and a free download of Andrew's track for the Still Moving Mountains CD.


Friday, October 1
A benefit concert / hoot benefit for RESPOND
Unity Church of God
6 William Street (corner College Ave., near Davis Square)
Somerville, MA
Suggested donation $5-10+, all proceeds go to Andrew and the project.
Doors and potluck dinner 6:30
Concert 7:30 - 9:00
Hoot / open sing 9:00-10:00

RESPOND’s Mission

Respond, Inc. partners with individuals, families and communities to end the serious public health issue of domestic violence. Respond strives to achieve its mission through prevention, intervention, advocacy and direct services that promote safe, healthy relationships.

Sunday, October 3
norfarG House Concerts, Grafton, MA
Suggested donation $10-15 - all proceeds go to Andrew.
Reservations are required - notlobreservations at gmail dot com
Doors 5:00pm
Pot luck dinner 5:30-6:30pm
Concert 7:00pm

Upcoming notloB concerts

Date Venue Artist Genre URL
10/07/10 GCTV Whalebone Farmhouse Folk / Americana
10/21/10 GCTV Chuck Williams Folk
10/21/10 GCTV Michael Troy Folk

10/27/10 LGH David Rovics  Folk
11/05/10 UCG   Guy Mendilow Band World
11/06/10 LGH Tony Bird African Folk
11/11/10 GCTV Debra Cowan Traditional English Folk


UCG   Unity Church of God, Somerville

GHC Grafton house concert

GCTV Grafton Community Television

LGH Loring-Greenough House, JP (website)
(mail list) (Facebook fan page) (blog)

Friday, September 10, 2010

A Crooked Double - Tashina Clairridge & Jefferson Hamer // Tornado Rider

notloB Parlour Concerts and notloB Folk Concerts leads you down the crooked road this coming Friday and Saturday.  Who will show up is anyone's guess.

Tashina Clarridge & Jefferson Hamer - presented by notloB Folk Concerts
At the historic Loring-Greenough House, 12 South Street, Jamaica Plain
Friday, September 17
Doors 7:30
Concert 8:00

Tashina Clairridge

"Tashina is taking her music very seriously to the point where she will make a lasting impact on the people she touches with her talent in the future. She is in music for the right reasons and we as listeners will benefit from it". -Mark O'Connor

Tashina Clarridge has played Fiddle for 22 years - since the age of two. She has performed throughout the western United States, taught hundreds of lessons and works...hops, and won countless awards.

Raised in the mountains of northern California, Tashina studied with Megan Lynch and Rob Diggins. Her musical horizons were greatly expanded by frequent visits to Nashville for Mark O'Connor's fiddle camp where she studied with many fiddle heroes such as Darol Anger, Natalie MacMaster, Buddy Spicher, Matt Glaser, and Mark O'Connor. She is the current Grand National Fiddle Champion, a 6-time Grand National finalist, 6-time California State fiddle champion, and 2-time Western Open Grand Champion. Though her contest history clearly distinguishes her as a sparkling clean, studied player in the genre of Texas-style fiddling, it is her enthusiasm for many diverse styles of music that brings such a high level of creativity to her playing.

Tashina has performed at Carnegie Hall as part of Grammy winning bassist Edgar Meyer's young artists concert, and will be touring with Mark O'Connor this fall. She travels and performs throughout the western United States with her brother Tristan, the Bill Evans String Summit, and the contemporary bluegrass outfit, Due West. Together Tashina and Tristan have taught many lessons and workshops and have instructed at Mark O'Connor's Strings Conference for the past 5 years.

Jefferson Hamer

“…sounds like a forgotten Gram Parsons release suddenly discovered….”
-Marquee Music Magazine

Jefferson Hamer started performing on music-club stages around Boulder, Colorado in the late 90′s, where he was immersed in the thriving bluegrass and jamband scene. He toured constantly on the national circuit, first with his original acoustic trio Single Malt Band, and later in the electric country-rock outfit Great American Taxi. After a decade spent living and working in the West, he moved to New York, seeking a broader audience for his original songs. As a newcomer to the big city, he found his way to the traditional Irish and Appalachian Old-Time sessions of lower Manhattan, where his ear, voice, and acoustic guitar playing earned him a seat alongside the fiddles, banjos, and pints of stout. His musicality reflects this breadth of influences, and his own songs echo the distilled melodies and lyricism of British, Irish, and American traditional music. In addition to his own full-band and solo shows, which are often flogged to life by unaccompanied electric guitar, he plays and sings with a decorated roster of performing artists including Anais Mitchell, Kristin Andreassen, Tao Seeger, Tashina Clarridge, and Laura Cortese. His 2004 release “Left Wing Sweetheart” earned a 4-star review from Marquee Music Magazine, who wrote it “sounds like a forgotten Gram Parsons release suddenly discovered.”

The artists' websites:

Suggested donation $12- at the door; $10 if reservation is made at least 24 hours in advance and Tuesday Club members. Addition of a $1/person “preservation fee” that goes to the LG House.

The Jamaica Plain series is in addition to larger concerts presented at the Unity Church of God in Davis Square, Somerville.

Additional information about this and other notloB concerts can be found at the and/or by joining the mail list at or by sending an email to

Reservations recommended – notlobreservations (at) gmail (dot) com

See other notloB Parlour Concerts at


TORNADO RIDER - presented by notloB Folk Concerts
at the Unity Church of God, 6 William Street (Davis Square), Somerville
Saturday, September 18
Doors 7:30
Concert 8:00

A tornado will be descending upon Davis Square on Saturday, September 18, will you be there to ride it?
Tornado Rider is a magic band of otherworldly sneth-glee. Hardly a band, actually, more like an explosive imaginary experience above the clouds which you flew to on a mystical melody-carpet. Made up of equal parts raging pack of hyenas, effortlessly gliding haw...k, buffalo stampede, and over-excited puppy, Tornado Rider is an unforgettable experience that will dramatically increase your quotient of joy. Add to that the fact that all this colorful electric dynamite power comes from just 3 people playing cello bass drums and singing, and you have the makings of a champion. 3 champion sneth-animals rolled into one: a singular burrito of victory named Tornado Rider.

Featuring Rushad Eggleston, cellist/creator, who graduated from Berklee on full ride in 2003, and traveled the world with Darol Anger and Crooked Still. Tornado Rider is the ultimate expression of Rushad's rambunctiously melodic power-potential.

Witness Tornado Rider’s magically costumed theatrical parade of showmanship, musicality, athleticism, and humor, you will be transported to another dimension, and you WILL be entertained!!!

Rushad Eggleston - Cello, Vox
Graham Terry - Bass, Vox
Scott Manke - Drums, Vox

notloB website

notloB Facebook

Public info / reservations

SUGGESTED DONATION: $12 at the door; $10 if reservation is made at least 24 hours in advance and to UCG members. 50 seats will be set aside for student rush @ $5.

notloB website

Note: Due to the Loring-Greenough House's 250th anniversary, the parking lot will be closed to all except handicap parking.  There is a large public lot behind Blanchard's, just down Centre Street.

notloB Facebook

Public info / reservations
Other upcoming concerts
Friday, September 24 UCG Ben Powell Band
Wednesday, October 27 LGH David Rovics 
Saturday, November 6 LGH tba
Saturday, December 4 LGH Julie Metcalf and Mariel Vandersteel

LGH = Loring-Greenough House
UCG = Unity Church of God (website)
(mail list) (Facebook fan page) (blog)

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

notloB Parlour Concerts Presents Jenee Halstead & Robby Hecht

Jenee Halstead
"You'll hear strains of Emmylou Harris ..."
Meredith Goldstein - Boston Globe

A year-and-a-half removed from the release of her debut full-length The River Grace, Hollow Bones is a bold step forward for someone years ahead of her time. With a relentless and renewed spirit Halstead has a firm grasp on her abilities, never once pushing her limits. Much of the credit for said maturation goes to time spent in the band The Broken Blossoms, an experience that she freely admits led to her maturation as a songwriter. "Being in the Broken Blossoms was an important part of me growing as a songwriter, it allowed me look to the future and figure out what I want to do. In the end, I realized I had to hone my own voice in songwriting and continue telling great stories."

Utilizing a roots backdrop once again, Hollow Bones draws heavily on the strengths of its session players, including guitarist Lyle Brewer, harmonica extraordinaire Jim Fitting, fiddle player Julie Metcalf and lap steel veteran Adam Ollendorf. Recorded live in producer David Piper's studio, the EP has a defined sense of intimacy and timelessness that allows its charms to leap from the speakers. Opening cut "Damascus," has a well-worn, earthy sentiment that seems primed for AAA charts. Halstead's full-bodied alto, give the song's arresting narrative a sense of conviction that is felt immediately. "Good Lookin' Boy," builds on the momentum of "Damascus," but carries it forward. "La Luna Roja," spins a yarn that is both poetic and undeniably romantic. On the album closer, the swampy "Banks of the Mississippi," she melds a story that seems plucked from a Faulkner novel.

Now in her fourth year in Boston, Halstead, a Washington State native, seems supremely comfortable and firmly established in her new locale. Hollow Bones has the confidence and professionalism that seems certain to propel her into the national spotlight. Make no mistake about it, the release of Hollow Bones is the emergence of a bona fide talent coming into her own, and the unwavering sense that she won't be Boston's secret for long.

Robby Hecht
“A beautiful, soulful voice…” –Jeff Coffin, Dave Matthews Band

The music of Robby Hecht represents a return to the early 70s golden era of acoustic pop where thoughtful, well-crafted lyrics were blended with timeless melodies to impact mainstream music and culture. His 2008 debut album Late Last Night, produced by Lex Price (Mindy Smith) and mixed by Roger Moutenot (Yo La Tengo, Josh Rouse) features an impressive list of guest performers including Mindy Smith, Jeff Coffin, Thad Cockrell, Jill Andrews of The Everybodyfields, John Deaderick (Patty Griffin), Andrea Zonn (James Taylor) and more.

Raised in Knoxville, Tennessee, Robby first began writing and performing while attending The University of Wisconsin-Madison, developing and pairing his soulful voice and unique finger-style guitar. After spending time living in Paris and San Francisco including a period fronting the band AllDay Radio, he eventually returned to his home state, settling in Nashville.

A 2008 Grassy Hill Kerrville New Folk Winner, Robby has played folk/roots festivals and venues across the country, sharing the stage with such legendary artists as Richie Havens, Greg Brown, and Patty Griffin, and garnering comparisons to early James Taylor, Paul Simon, and Amos Lee. Like these celebrated artists, Robby Hecht is a unique voice -- one that is stirring, instantly recognizable, and truly original.

-Winner, Telluride Bluegrass Festival Troubadour Contest 2010
-Winner, Kerrville Folk Festival New Folk Competition 2008
-Winner, Wildflower Music and Arts Festival Songwriter Competition 2007
-Winner, Great Waters Music Festival Songwriter Competition 2006
-Winner, Riverbluff Music Festival Songwriter Competition 2006
-Selected, Falcon Ridge Folk Festival Emerging Artist Showcase 2008
-Finalist, Mountain Stage International NewSong Competition 2008

Presented by notloB Folk Concerts:

Suggested donation $12- at the door; $10 if reservation is made at least 24 hours in advance and Tuesday Club members. Addition of a $1/person “preservation fee” that goes to the LG House.

Reservations recommended – notlobreservations (at) gmail (dot) com

See other notloB Parlour Concerts at

Thursday, September 2, 2010

As my friend Emily says,"Hair is overrated."

The email message below was copied from a post to NEFolknRoots dated August 8.  The photo is from today. 

"As my friend Emily says,"Hair is overrated.""

-Anne Feeney

From: Anne Feeney anne
Date: Sun, Aug 8, 2010 at 2:50 AM
Subject: Sad Health News from Anne Feeney ... can you help?
To: peacesongwriter

How much one conversation with a doctor can change your life!

This time last week I thought the next time I'd be writing to you would be with my exciting September news and Labor Day special...

This time last week I thought I'd be in Sweden tonight packing to go to Ireland to meet up with all my wonderful tourmates.

Instead, here I am in Pittsburgh packing to go Shadyside Hospital. On August 3rd, in Sweden, a lung specialist advised me that I have an 11 cm tumor on my lung that is stressing both my heart and lungs in dangerous ways. As terrifying as this diagnosis is, it is in many ways a relief to get an explanation for the
several mysterious and troubling symptoms I've had for the past few months...including increasing fatigue, shortness of breath, terrible coughing, and bizarre heart rhythms.

I could have stayed in Sweden for the bronchoscopy, biopsy and surgery ... my health insurance would have covered everything in Sweden that it covers here.  But even the best case scenario here will involve a protracted recovery period and probably at least six months out of work. It was also hard to think about
being so seriously ill so far away from my children, and my lifelong network of friends in Pittsburgh.

So here I am, at home in Pittsburgh, surrounded by friends and family.

Luckily, Tom Pigott and I have been able to arrange full and wonderful coverage for both the Ireland tours in August. The wonderful Charlie King will be joining the August 10-19th tour, and Tom will be hosting the August 22-31st tour with some of my favorite folks in Ireland. Both tours will continue uninterrupted, but, alas, without me this year.

My friend Jan Boyd has set up a Caring Bridge page for those of you who want regular medical updates on my condition. The URL is ... (The only reason you have to
log in to the site is to keep spam robots from posting stupid messages...) I hope to be posting updates on Facebook as well as soon as I feel up to it.

I'm pretty sure it will be difficult for me to talk on the phone for a while. I would love it if you'd post get well wishes, stories & jokes for me on my guestbook... ... (It's a moderated
guestbook, so what you write won't appear on the guestbook until I read it and approve it--- otherwise I'm pretty sure the guestbook would be nothing but ads for viagra and such..)

This diagnosis has wiped out most of my meager folksinger's savings. I've had to cancel a lot of work that I was counting on, and incurred a lot of unexpected travel expenses. Although most of my medical bills will be covered (now that I've come up with the $6000 in deductibles and copay), it seems unlikely that I'll be able to return to my hectic tour schedule, or any full time work, for several months.

If you want to help me out with what are going to be fairly staggering expenses by folksinger's standards... I'm hoping to find 1000 folks who'll pony up $50 ... I really *don't* want any larger donations ... I don't want anyone to dig deep for this... and if $50 is hard for you to come by, PLEASE don't think about sending me a cent. I know I have enough dear friends who are doing okay that those of you who are struggling shouldn't spend a second worrying about my finances.

You could send a check to me:
Anne Feeney
2240 Milligan Ave
Pittsburgh PA 15218

or you can send a donation via Paypal to If you're not sure how to do that... there's also a "donate" button you can click about 4 inches down on the right hand side of ... clicking on that "donate" button will also allow you to make a safely encrypted online donation.

I'll have a lot more to say and share about health care... especially the amazing Swedish health care system, when I'm not so tired.  I hope that you'll spread the word to any of our friends that may not subscribe
to the Fellow Travelers' Advisory.

As I'm wandering around the sweet little house I get to spend so little time in, I keep finding boxes and boxes of thank you cards that I have purchased and never mailed. My heart overflows with gratitude to all of you for your daily work for justice, art and truth - for your steadfast support of the many projects I've brought to you in the past... I am so honored to call you my friend.

Many of my oldest and dearest friends are gathering here with me at the house to help me prepare for the coming ordeal. I cherish them, and you, and hope to be in touch with all of you soon.

Anne Feeney - Buy CDs!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

(Mostly) Northeast Folk/Roots/Bluegrass/Cajun/Celtic Festivals Over The Labor Day Weekend

Hurricane Earl will, at best, skirt the New England host.  Plan accordingly.

From the source: "As accurate as we can maintain it. Email suggestions/corrections to Program & performers subject to change, always verify with the festival."

  End     Festival   URL         Genre   City   State   Performers
NorthEastFolknRoots  Discussion #
9/3/10 9/5/10 Rhythm and Roots Festival Cajun, Zydeco, Blues Charlestown RI 9189 "New England's hottest festival of roots music and dance!"
9/3/10 9/5/10 North Branch Bluegrass Festival Bluegrass Bridgewater Corners VT 10375 "Your Staycation Destination For Labor Day Weekend Every Year"
9/3/10 9/5/10 39th Annual Delaware Valley Bluegrass Festival Bluegrass Woodstown NJ 10643
9/4/10 9/5/10 Bennington Irish Music Festival Irish Bennington VT 10657 Musical acts will perform a unique blend of musical styles and genres, including standard Irish jigs, reels and ballads, folk, world, classic Celtic as well as the more contemporary Irish rock.
9/4/10 9/6/10 Newport Waterfront Irish Festival Irish Newport RI 10658
9/4/10 9/4/10 Open Road Music & Arts Festival Eclectic Worcester MA 9835 Open Road is Worcester’s first sustainable and earth-friendly music and arts festival. The festival will take place September 4th, 2010 at Institute Park. On top of the great live music, there will be an eclectic variety of cuisine, many local artists and vendors, family-friendly activities and much more. Live music kicks off at 11:00 am and will proceed until 6:00 pm.
9/4/10 9/7/10 CDS/FAC Labor Day Weekend at Pinewoods Traditional Plymouth MA 10049 Our staff this year features: Will Mentor, leading American dance; Marcie Van Cleave, leading international and English country dance; Barbara Pixton, leading instrumental workshops in international music; Ray Rosenstock, leading vocal workshops in international music; Bob DeLuca, leading intensive morris dance workshops Our musicians: American dance - Anadama (Amelia Mason, Emily Troll, and Bethany Waikman) English dance -Pat MacPherson, Vince O’Donnell, and Patrick Yacono
9/4/10 9/4/10 Hudson Valley Green Festival Roots, Americana Staatsburgh NY 10233 The Hudson Valley Green Festival is a one-day music, alternative energy, food & beverage festival that will bring more awareness to the Hudson Valley, improving out quality of life through a greener, eco-minded approach to sustainable living.
9/6/10 9/6/10 Bread and Roses Festival Folk Revival Lawrence MA Bread and Puppet Theater Grupo Fantasia Alastair Moock 10659 Over 25 consecutive years, the Bread & Roses Heritage Committee has celebrated Lawrence's ethnic diversity and labor history by organizing an annual Festival on Labor Day in order to honor the most significant event in Lawrence history: the 1912 Bread and Roses Strike.