Be silent on Christmas Eve night if you want. But when it comes to the last square on the calendar—Dec. 31 and the New Year's festivities associated with it—Penny Burke and her Northampton Center For the Arts (NFCA) organization are bringing the noise: almost six dozen acts simultaneously consuming 20 downtown Northampton venues for upwards of 12 hours, to be precise.
"With so many people having Dec. 31 as a holiday from work, we are really expecting a large turnout this year," the NFCA executive director says of this, the 26th installment of the popular downtown shindig. "With this in mind, we definitely planned a more elaborate parade than usual, plenty of kids' shows and, of course, lots of great music for people to listen and dance to all night long."
Among the choice few that will actually be onstage for the fateful clocktick to midnight will be Shelburne-based singer/songwriter Seth Glier, holding court at St. John's Episcopal Church.
"Obviously, it's nice to be close to home, for starters," the well-traveled troubadour notes of the local engagement, "and for me personally, First Night in Noho is a favorite childhood memory, too."
Glier goes on to say that his Dec. 31 show has the added allure of occurring less than two weeks from the official nationwide release of his new CD The Next, Right Thing.
"I'll definitely be previewing a lot of songs from that at the show," he concludes. "Plus I also have a few Christmas tunes up my sleeve I've been itching to unveil."
While Rick Murnane and his Group Deville officially unveiled their latest labor of love, Public Gardens, a couple of months ago, the singer/six-stringer says that his Dec. 31 surroundings alone have upped the ante for him in terms of anticipation.
"We're always excited to showcase the wares from our new disc," Murnane explains, "but this New Year's, we're playing two sets at the First Churches Sanctuary, and it's such a beautiful, great-sounding space, I'm certain it will be a very special evening indeed."
Tickets for First Night Northampton are $16 per adult if bought by Dec. 30, $20/ day of event, with special discounts for seniors and for children aged 2-10. For more info or to purchase, kindly point your browser to gazettenet.com/firstnight.
Speaking of First Night festivities, Amherst-based reggae faves The Alchemystics are pulling double duty Dec. 31, with two sets scheduled for Union Station followed by a Pearl Street Ballroom show proper with Rubblebucket.
"Where won't we be on New Year's?" says vocalist Force. "Throw in a set I'm supposed to play that same evening with The Problemaddicts at Bishop's Lounge as well, and I'm already tired just thinking about it."
Alchemystics enthusiasts may also be interested to know that Jan. 1, 2011 is the cutoff date for the band's currrent "Gift Raps" promotion.
"I'm offering up a personalized verse from yours truly as a gift this season to five lucky fans," Force explains. "Once the verses are done, we'll post them on our website and send you a copy to cherish for all eternity."
To enter, send your name, the person you would like the verse dedicated to and a simple theme to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Last but not least, a rash of rather happy news from the Roger Salloom camp. Not only has "America's best unknown songwriter" landed two slots on the 2011 Grammy ballot for his recently released CD Last Call, but he reports that he has also been tapped to perform with the world's foremost mandolin player—Dave Grisman—for a recording of Woody Guthrie's "Deportee" that will be used in an upcoming documentary on the immigrant crisis in Arizona. In the meantime, the 2004 bio-doc about Salloom titled So Glad I Made It is set to air on the Documentary Channel Sunday, Jan. 23.
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 06071; fax to (860) 394-4262 or email email@example.com.