Pittsfield-based troubadour Tony Lee Thomas has just put the wraps on his latest EP, Temet Nosce. The title is Latin for “know yourself,” and while Thomas is no slouch in that regard, he knows a lot of other people, too. With Temet, the man who has shared stages with everyone from Arlo Guthrie to Jefferson Airplane in years past appears to have tapped into all their sounds.
“My influences come from a time when your reputation in the music business was based on talent,” he explains of the eclectic nature of his new release. “I feel like I can play what I want to play, be gratified by my music, the creative process, and keep slugging away at it. Whatever happens happens.”
That “Vegas” mentality—coupled with cameo performances by members of Soulive, The Alchemystics, the Tim Eriksen band and more on the EP—have spurred Thomas’ most ambitious studio effort to date.
Despite meandering off into country and even a dash of neo-funk, Temet remains both a cohesive effort and, according to Thomas, a preamble of sorts for a studio full-length yet to come.
This Saturday, March 30, Thomas celebrates the sonic achievement with a special Bishop’s Lounge show in Northampton. For more info on the artist, audio or the auspicious occasion, kindly point your browser to tonyleethomas.com.
In other news, a quick programming note. The Orange Television concert originally scheduled for the Iron Horse (iheg.com) in February had its proverbial plug pulled—as so many the region over did that evening—due to epic snowfall. The “pulp rock” trio with strong UMass ties has secured a makeup date of April 4 to Horse around again. And this time around, piano-pounding punk rockers Low Cut Connie get the opening nod. Tix are $10 in advance, $13 at the door for this 10 p.m. show.
Meanwhile, jam band fans the region over picked up a nice amalgam of positive vibes/exciting news as organizers of the annual Gathering Of The Vibes festival (govibes.com) announced the lineup for what will be the event’s 18th annual installment, July 25-28 at Seaside Park in Bridgeport, Conn.
No less than the likes of Dead-alums Phil Lesh & Friends (featuring John Scofield, John Medeski, Joe Russo and John Kadlecik), The Black Crowes and The Roots were tapped to headline a field of more than 40 performers.
“Our 2013 lineup is a result of sorting through thousands of comments and surveys responses—we hope to deliver an experience that keeps our core fans happy while remaining diverse and current,” commented festival founder Kevin Hays. “It’s a model and approach that works for us.”
Other notables on the bill include ska/punk royalty Fishbone, Willie Nelson offspring Lukas Nelson and more.
Since we’ve ventured down to the Nutmeg State, Hartford’s Bushnell Theater (bushnell.org) has announced a one-night-only engagement with the master of the macabre, Stephen King. The storied spine-tingler will take part in a conversation with WNPR radio personality Colin McEnroe to benefit the continuing educational and preservation activities of the Mark Twain House and Museum. Tix range from $25 to $75, depending on your proximity to the peculiarity, with special meet-and-greet packages also available in the $250 ballpark.
Last but certainly not least, Northampton Arts Council Director Bob Cilman has announced that he will step down from his position this fall. It’s a post he has held since 1989, creating lasting annual events like Four Sundays in February and the annual Transperformance at Look Park along the way. His last day will be Sept. 15.
Though he will be missed in his Arts Council role, Cilman can still be found at his other job—directing the singing group of area senior citizens known as The Young@Heart Chorus. Since Cilman and colleague Judith Sharpe first organized that group in an elderly housing project in Northampton back in 1982, Young@Heart has gone on to tour internationally and been the focus of a major motion picture documentary, to name a choice couple of accomplishments.•
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