He's gigged around the region over for more than four decades, appeared on A Prairie Home Companion and graced the stage of the Newport Folk Festival. Now, this Saturday, June 9, Valley veteran Ray Mason returns to his roots, playing a... house party?
"House concerts take public events and bring them into private spaces," explains Julie Beman, whose fledgling company So Many Stars is putting on Mason's show at a residence in the west end of Hartford. "I started doing this in March, 2012 after experiencing frustration trying to find a Hartford venue for Northampton musician Henning Ohlenbusch to play. I have since been contacted by artists from Nashville to New York, and have future house parties booked into 2013 already."
While Mason has never had a problem finding a music hall proper in which to peddle his musical wares—he's been averaging more than 100 live shows a year since the Carter administration—the Haydenville resident says he found Beman's concept instantly alluring.
"A room full of music fans coming to actually listen to you in a small, intimate space—hard to beat that!" he says.
The suggested donation for the Ray Mason house party show is $10 per person, $20 per family. For more information or to reserve your seats now, kindly point your browser to somanystarsmusic.com.
Moving from what many call a dream gig to one that is literally the pits, Paul Newlin checked in to report that the 2012 Watermelon Wednesdays (watermelonwednesdays.com) series in West Whately kicks off this week.
Vermont singer/six-stringer Louise Taylor gets the nod with Canadian-born Ray Bonneville in support. The series continues with Dutch violinist Tim Kliphuis June 13, Deadstring Ensemble June 20, Karrin Allyson June 27, and more through Sept. 19, when the progressive/acoustic trio The Bee Eaters performs the series finale. All shows begin at 7:30 p.m., and in addition to the audio, the $15 admission fee also includes a honkin' slice of melon, of course.
In other news, the ever-altruistic Aaron Lewis has signed on to perform at the St. Jude Concert for Kids, slated for Wednesday, June 13 at the MassMutual Center.
The performance marks the first time the hometown hero has stepped up to a public microphone in downtown Springfield since his multi-platinum band Staind played the venue in January of 2000. Since then, of course, the powerhouse singer has gone on to forge a successful second career in country music. And it is this affiliation that ultimately attached Lewis' considerable starpower to the St. Jude benefit. The June 13 show is sponsored by local radio station Kix Country 100.9 FM and also features Nashville notables Craig Morgan, The Farm and Jana Kramer. Tickets are $27-37 and available at ticketmaster.com A special VIP experience—replete with a meet and greet with Morgan—is also available for $102.
As for the rest of Lewis' summer, he has also inked deals to perform solo at House of Blues in Boston July 29 and the Hampton Beach Ballroom Casino July 31.
Last but not least, Planetoid is set to invade Whiskerz Pub in Easthampton this Saturday, June 9. And just who is this band?
According to their website (planetoidmusic.com), they are our "intergalactic overlords" who have "traveled backwards in time from 3032 to take over our planet with transmissions of face-melting rock."
According to longtime fan/local music notable Crystal Willard, they are a band that "fans of science fiction and aliens will fall in love with...their songs have such a spacey yet rockin' groove to them. And the lyrics, well, let's just say they can't wait for our inferior race's doom."
Western Mass' own Western Massacre opens at 9 p.m.
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