Music

Nightcrawler: Ten Years Gone

McKeown comes full circle; Kitchell cooks up some string-laden chamber pop.

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Thursday, October 07, 2010
Michael Weintrob Photo
Singer-songwriter Erin McKeown celebrates the 10th anniversary of her debut album, Distillation, at the Iron Horse Oct. 9.

Most would consider concluding a decade-long journey at precisely the same point from whence said journey originated as somewhere between "major disappointment" and "colossal waste of time."

Looking back just prior to her "10-year anniversary" Oct. 9 Iron Horse show, however, singer/songwriter Erin McKeown says that that is exactly what has happened to her in terms of her career. And she wouldn't have it any other way.

"I've definitely come full circle," states McKeown, now a Northampton resident, who has collaborated with Ani DiFranco and appeared on Conan O'Brien and the CBS Morning Show. "I began by running my own label out of a PO box, then I signed with a label and they took care of everything, and I just rose and rose. But the Internet undercut the whole trajectory and profit structure, and I can't say I'm sorry. I'm back to running everything myself, and the way things work now, that is a more sustainable, right-sized way of creating a long-lasting career."

For this Saturday's musical jaunt down memory lane, McKeown will not only perform her debut album, Distillation, in its entirety, she'll do it in the very same dress she sported on the original album cover. For more information or to purchase tickets, kindly point your browser to iheg.com.

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In other news, local siren Sonya Kitchell has only recently reached the age at which she can purchase an adult beverage at any of the countless venues countrywide where she performs. But although this budding artist is still in the early stages of a promising career, she has already managed to reinvent herself—or more specifically, her unique sound—not once but thrice.

Kitchell cut her teeth—and received the lion's share of her training—in jazz. The combination of hard work meeting raw talent seemed to culminate with a 2007 international tour in support of Herbie Hancock. But then an abrupt about-face followed, with the pop-rock approach to 2008's This Storm. And just as the Storm subsided, Kitchell resurfaced earlier this year armed with a collection of gorgeously crafted chamber pop.

"The sound of this EP came from a winter of quiet stillness spent in the snow of Shelburne Falls," Kitchell says of her latest studio effort, Convict of Conviction. "I spent time alone in the house with a piano as my sole companion. I had never really thought of myself as being able to play the piano, but it's amazing what you can do when you set aside time to create and just be with an instrument."

On Sunday, Oct. 10, Sonya Kitchell and the Brooklyn String Quartet will be at Memorial Hall in Shelburne Falls. Rusty Belle opens. For tickets, visit signaturesounds.com.

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Meanwhile, as the Big E folks pack up their loaded potatoes, an Oct. 9 Pearl Street (iheg.com) engagement opening for Fountains of Wayne released a veritable 'spud-gate' of memories for School for the Dead's Henning Ohlenbusch.

"[Fountains'] Chris Collingwood and I were in a band called the Gay Potatoes along with Philip Price and Brian Marchese a while back," Ohlenbusch explains. "It was a pretty fun band, and I'm happy that most of the Gay Potatoes songs live on through albums we've all recorded since."

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Lastly, down in Connecticut, the second annual Silk City Flick Fest (silkcityflickfest.com/index.cfm) may be all about the silver screen, but as administrative director Magda Grover reveals, music has, not surprisingly, proven to be many an aspiring director's muse when it comes to this year's crop of submissions.

"We actually have one documentary, Busking The System, that is all about street performers and subway musicians," she explains. "And we plan on having a local band or two play the Fest as well."

The Silk City Flick Fest occurs Oct. 7-10 throughout downtown Hartford, and the films will be complemented by a series of panel discussions and parties.

Closer to home, see you all in Springfield at Maximum Capacity this Saturday, Oct. 9, for the 2010 Grand Band Slam!

 

Catch the Nightcrawler every Wednesday at 8:50 a.m. on the Steve Cantara Radio Show, WRNX 100.9 FM. Send correspondence to Nightcrawler, PO Box 427, Somers, CT 0071; fax to (860) 394-4262 or email garycarra@aol.com.

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