Wednesday, June 8, 2011

We can confidently say that you could throw a dart at the Iron Horse calendar next week and hit a bulls-eye regardless of where it lands.

Carrie Rodriguez, Brooke Brown Saracino on Thursday, June 16th at 7PM 

Hailed by Lucinda Williams, recruited by Alejandro Escovedo, and nurtured by Lyle Lovett, singer-songwriter Carrie Rodriguez has rapidly emerged as one of the most compelling new voices on the roots-rock scene. She is a refreshingly honest singer, decidedly unflashy in her warm, direct alto—none of the baby-bird coos, old-hag warbles, or precious-me little-girl affectations so common in female Americana artists these days. Instead, she can bring subtlety and power with equal, winning effect. Her  journey from teenage violin student to collaborations with Chip "Wild Thing” Taylor and others has landed her at center stage and her solo career is blossoming beautifully. Local singer songwriter Brooke Brown Saracino will likewise charm you silly.

Elizabeth Cook, Leslie Stevens on Friday, June 17th at 7PM 

Elizabeth Cook, the youngest of 11 half-brothers and sisters, grew up in rural Florida where her musician parents met while playing in local country bars. She is a relentless performer, touring worldwide, including well over 200 performances at The Grand Ole Opry. Cook currently hosts , Apron Strings, weekday mornings on Sirius XM’s Outlaw Country channel. Her latest CD, Welder, is the bold declaration of an uncompromising artist unafraid to be exactly who she is. Welder was produced by Don Was (Rolling Stones, Kris Kristofferson) and features guest appearances by Dwight Yoakam, Rodney Crowell and Buddy Miller.

Garland Jeffreys on Saturday, June 18th at 7PM 

Brooklyn’s Garland Jeffreys met Lou Reed in college before The Velvet Underground formed. He played guitar on John Cale's 1969 debut solo album Vintage Violence. (A closet classic if ever there was one.) In 1966, Jeffreys began to play in Manhattan where he explored racially conscious themes, sometimes utilizing blackface masks and a rag doll named Ramon. Once, at Shea Stadium, Jeffreys was enjoying the game and feeling carefree.  He stood to go get a hotdog when a voice shouted "Hey buckwheat, sit down!"  The casual epithet was a jolt and it spurred a number of memorable songs including "Don't Call Me Buckwheat.” We could go on and on about Garland, but not here.

Bill Frisell’s Beautiful Dreamers with Eyvind Kang & Rudy Royston on Sunday, June 19th at 7PM  (Father’s Day)

 Bill Frisell wears glasses, dresses casually and is modest and soft-spoken in person. But instead of stepping into a phone booth to put on a cape, he straps on his trusty Fender Telecaster and strides onstage. Think of Frisell as a master painter who takes traditional American music forms like jazz, blues and folk and melds them into evocative soundscapes. Try to put a label or a frame around his sound and suddenly it becomes a multi-dimensional cubist painting with Frisell grinning out at you like the Cheshire cat.  

Joe Purdy, The Milk Carton Kids on Monday, June 20th at 7PM 

Joe Purdy does it his way. After releasing the critically acclaimed 4th of July last June, a mere five months later the Arkansas troubadour followed up with This American, a pastoral portrait of rich and affecting folk tunes. The decisively DIY Purdy has released nine albums to date. Give or take. His song "Can't Get It Right Today" is used in many baseball games when the visiting team makes a call to the bullpen.

Dave Alvin and the Guilty Ones on Tuesday, June 21st at 7PM (First Day of Summer)

Dave Alvin, a Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter and self-described "barroom guitarist” is one of the seminal figures in California music; a poet and global ambassador of roots rock. Alvin's new studio album "Eleven Eleven,” out on 6/21, the very day he plays the Iron Horse,  is his most driving, electric blues and rock album in years and features a host of musicians Alvin had not recorded with since his days in The Blasters including brother Phil.  "My songs are just like California," says Alvin. "A big, messy melting pot."

Martin Taylor, Peter Blanchette- Wednesday, June 22nd at 7PM 

This past May on BBC radio, Jeff Beck said of Martin Taylor- "I've never seen anything like it. He outstrips all of us [the 'magnificent seven' guitarists] put together." - (Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, Pete Townshend, Jeff Beck, Jimmy Page, Steve Winwood, Peter Green.) Described as "THE acoustic guitarist of his generation" by  Acoustic Guitar Magazine, Martin Taylor's inimitable style has made him the world's foremost exponent of solo jazz guitar playing.  As well as being a true guitar innovator, he is also a master concert performer, dazzling audiences with his solo shows, which combine virtuosity, emotion, humor, with a strong stage presence. Multiple award winning local opener Peter Blanchette is the inventor of the 11-string archguitar and the founder of the Happy Valley Guitar Orchestra.

Tickets for these Iron Horse shows cost less than the typical large pizza and are available at Northampton Box Office, 76 Main Street, 413-586-8686 and online at

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