Tuesday, December 29, 2009


They're a-lookin' for a home, They're a-lookin' for a home.

There are several venues around town that bring in bands as "artists in residency", usually for a month but sometimes more. Possibly the longest running residency was Tim Gearan, who had an amazing decade-plus run at Toad. That's Billy Beard (at left), who may be one of the most frequent performers at the Toad/Lizard residencies.

I could say something like Residencies are better than beer. But, since you can get beer at these shows, you don't have to choose. And it doesn't get much better than that.

Residencies are good for the artists, who can work on their repertoire, while gaining new fans and having fun at the same time. They're good for the venues and most obviously they're good for fans. It's a Win-Win-Win for all involved.

Here are some of the current and past residencies of note. If you know of others, feel free to let me know.

   White Owls (Dennis Brennan blues) followed by 
   Jen Kearney and the Lost Onion (Latin/funk) @ Toad
   This is a great double-bill. White Owls is Dennis Brennan's blues group. Dennis sings and plays harmonica. They go on around 8pm til about 9:30. The great think is that you can catch the show even on "a school night". Jen Kearney and the Lost Onion are a lively latin, funk group and go on at 10pm. They sound great and get the crowd going. Mondays at 8pm. Free

    Members of Morphine @ Atwoods Tavern
    Members of Morphine (aka Elastic Waste Band) are two original members of Morphine: Dana Colley (electric baritone sax, vocals), Jerome Deupree (drums), with Jeromy Lyons (electric guitar, 2-string slide bass, vocals). They do Morphine songs and covers. I've heard they are great. Wednesday at 10pm. Free

    Jimmy Ryan and Hayride! @ Lizard Lounge
    Jimmy Ryan and Hayride! will be doing a January residency at Lizard Lounge. Wednesdays at 9pm. $7 cover
    Tim Gearan Band @ Atwoods Tavern
    The Tim Gearan Band rocks the house at Atwoods every TGIF. If you haven't yet been, you need to go. ' Nuff said. Fridays at 10pm. $5 cover

    Tim Gearan session @ The Burren
    Tim Gearan's Americano Session (not to be confused with Session Americana, of course!) include local players Sean Staples and friends. I haven't been yet, but I believe this is an acoustic show and they do originals and covers of rootsy rock songs. Sundays at 7pm. Free

    Sea Monsters @ Precinct
    The Sea Monsters are a group including Jesse Dee, Christian Mcneill, Lyle Brewer and guests that vary by week. Sundays at 10pm. $5 cover

Club info:
Past residencies of note:
  • Bill Janovitz, Sat nights @ Toad
  • Session Americana, Tue nights @ Lizard
  • Cassavettes and Mia Dyson, Tue nights @ Toad
  • Todd Thibaud, Tue nights @ Toad

Saturday, December 26, 2009

New England Americana Festival

The 4th annual New England Americana Festival (formerly Alt-Country Extravaganza) will be held Thu, Feb 25 through Sat, Feb 27. The three nights will be rockin' at Church of Boston, which has hosted the event for the last two years.

Confirmed bands for this year: The Bean Pickers Union, The Rationales, Bryan Pero and the Tired Horses, The Bees Knees, Golden West Motor Lodge, Odessa Rose, Dave Sammarco Band, Kingsley Flood, Three Day Threshold, Girls Guns and Glory, The Autumn Hollow Band

I'm very happy to see that the Alt-Country Extravaganza live on with a new name and and what looks like a great line-up, including some members and friends of the Boston Music Scene at No Depression.

They are also looking for a few more bands. For more info or to submit your EPK, see http://www.ourstage.com/marketplace/gig/JSTVGOAGDPIB

More info:

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Members of Morphine

Early to bed and early to rise makes a man or woman miss out on the night life...

Members of Morhine (aka The Elastic Waste Band) are doing a Wed night residency at Atwoods Tavern through February (at least). Yes, that Morphine.

I had heard great things about these shows and had seen Jeremy Lyons' excellent opening set for Eilen Jewell at Me & Thee. When I finally made it out to see them, they did not disappoint. They rock.

If you're ready for a break from the winter blues, this is a good excuse. An excellent cure for pain, if you will.

Here's an MTV video of the original band, featuring the late Mark Sandman:

Members of Morphine is Dana Colley (electric baritone sax, vocals), Jerome Deupree (drums), Jeremy Lyons (electric guitar, 2-string slide bass, vocals)

Upcoming shows:
  • Wed nights (10pm) @ Atwoods Tavern
More info:

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Tim Gearan Band

Tim Gearan Band has been playing in the Boston area for about 17 years, both solo and with a band. Tim plays rootsy, bluesy rock on electric and acoustic guitar. He recently ended his Monday night residency at Toad in October after an amazing 15 year run. More on that below...

Like Dennis Brennan, Bill Janovitz and Billy Beard, Tim is one of the true Unsung Heroes of the Boston Music Scene. Although his Monday night residency ended, he still plays regularly on Fridays at Atwoods Tavern and Sundays at The Burren. I've seen him play with his rockin' band at Atwoods and they are great!

This excellent video below by onandoffofmassave documents the last night at Toad on September 28, 2009. I think the little film shows what makes the music community here so special. While it was an end of an era of sorts, it was truly a night of celebration and appreciation. While I did see Tim play that week and since, sadly, I wasn't at his last Monday night at Toad...

The Tim Gearan Band is Tim Gearan (guitars, vocals), Lou Ulrich (bass), Andy Plaisted (drums), Sean Staples (mandolin, vocals), Chris Anzalone (percussion), Scott Aruda (trumpet), Paul Ahlstrand (saxamaphone)

The Sunday Burren sessions are with Sean Staples, Dan Kellar, Eric Royer and Scott Corneille

Upcoming shows:
More info

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Eilen Jewell Band

My life's been my art and I've told it in my songs...

Eilen Jewell Band with Jeremy Lyons at Me&Thee

Eilen Jewell has quite a following in the Cambridge area and I had always heard great things about her and her band. But this was my first chance to see them and Me & Thee Coffeehouse was a great venue. If you haven't been, Me & Thee is a great Friday night music series, held for the past 40 years at the UU church in the beautiful seaside town of Marblehead.

Eilen has a smooth and sultry voice and her country infused songs are great. Her backing band is top notch, including electric guitar, upright bass and drums. I'd put them somewhere between Neko Case and Boston's own Sarah Borges (who they recently toured with).

They played original songs mostly from their excellent album "Sea of Tears" (which I picked up at the show) and their 2007 album "Letters from Sinners and Strangers". Plus, a few choice covers by Them, Johnny Kidd, Yardbirds and Loretta Lynn.


Eilen Jewell Band is Eilen Jewell (vocals, guitar),  Jason Beek (drums, harmony vocals), Jerry Miller (electric, acoustic, and steel guitars), and Johnny Sciascia (upright bass)

They also have a gospel side project called The Sacred Shakers, which adds a few more members on vocals.

We only caught part of Jeremy Lyons' set, but he played some amazing (acoustic) slide guitar. He's also playing in Members of Morphine and we must go see them

Upcoming shows
  • Jan 28, 29 @ Club Passim
More info:

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Dennis Brennan Band

Dennis Brennan Band, Nov 25 at Lizard Lounge

People in the know told me that Dennis was a must-see, similar to what they told me about Tim Gearan (and they were right about Tim). So while I wasn't exactly sure what to expect, I knew this was the show to see and the band line-up looked great; Lyle Brewer (guitar, Sarah Borges), Billy Beard (drums, Session Americana) and Richard Gates (bass).

It doesn't happen all that often, but occasionally a great double-header actually works out. I had already planned to see Sarah Blacker's early show during her residency at Toad. so the plan was to hit the late show down the street at Lizard Lounge. Good plan, but the show was sold-out when I arrived. Luckily I ran into someone at the door with an extra wristband.

Musicians probably hate comparisons, but here are mine... I was expecting more of bluesy/folky sound (ala Tom Waits), but they came out with full throttle rootsy rock & roll. Dennis was dressed in a suit and porkpie hat, reminded me a little of Lyle Lovett or Elvis Costello in demeaner and delivery, but definitely rocked harder. He played left-handed guitar (two electric and one acoustic), each one strung upside-down; similar (I think) to Dick Dale.

The band did two lively sets and were in full swing toward the end, when the fire alarm went off. This took everyone by surprise, especially the band, since it cut off their sound and the lights came on. I think everyone wanted to continue, but since the Cambridge FD had been called, the night was forced to an abrupt end.

Dennis just won a well deserved 2009 Boston Music Award for Unsung Hero, which I think is the coolest honor of them all.

Dennis Brennan Band is Kevin Barry, Duke Levine, Andrew Mazzone, Billy Beard, and Dennis Brennan

Iodine Brothers are Jay Bellerose, Kevin Barry, Paul Bryan, Duke Levine, and Dennis Brennan

White Owls are Mike Dinalo, Steve Sadler, Andy Plaisted, Dean Casell, and Dennis Brennan.

  • Mon: White Owls @ Toad (8pm)
  • Wed: Dennis Brennan Band @ Lizard Lounge (Jan - Jul, 2012)
More info

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Sarah Borges and the Broken Singles

Of all the Boston bands, I've seen Sarah Borges and the Broken Singles the most times. They're a great bands and always put on a lively show. They've also won numerous Boston music awards, been nominated for Americana Music Awards, played SXSW and been featured on NPR. Maybe most importantly, they are a great live band.

In addition to putting on a great show, they also bring some of the best supporting bands. In the past, I've seen them play with Blueheels (Madison, WI), The Low Anthem (RI) and local faves Girls Guns and Glory.

Here's a recent video that will give you an idea...

The first club show that I saw them play was at Lizard Lounge and it's still my favorite place to see them. They are playing and recording live there on Jan 1st and 2nd. I'm very much looking forward to seeing them on Jan 2. Buy tix at http://www.brownpapertickets.com/producer/5804

Sarah Borges and the Broken Singles are Sarah Borges (vocals, guitar), Lyle Brewer (lead guitar), Binky (bass) and Rob Dulaney (drums)

Upcoming shows:
  • Fri, Jan 1 and Sat, Jan 2 @ Lizard Lounge (Live recording)
More info: