Tuesday, August 2, 2011

“Buckner’s Bolero” and “Chin Music?” It’s The Baseball Project: Steve Wynn (Dream Syndicate), Peter Buck (R.E.M.), Scott McCaughey (Young Fresh Fellows), and Linda Pitmon (Steve Wynn’s Miracle 3). They step up to the plate at the Iron Horse on Friday, August 26th at 7PM. Boston Red Sox feature prominently.

 "It's weird that a Yankee fan like me would end up writing more about the Red Sox, but tragedy just makes for better songs and stories than a litany of successes." Steve Wynn

What happens when your band's debut album is a run-scoring hit with both music and baseball fans? If you're The Baseball Project, you grab some friends to fill out your bench, take batting practice by writing songs for ESPN and deliver a strikeout pitch with Volume Two: High and Inside. The new album from  the Baseball Project (l-r above: Peter Buck, Scott McCaughey, Linda Pitmon, Steve Wynn. Click photo for high res) is another winning collection of songs about the game's greats that will be pleasing to those who love America's pastime -- and fans of intelligent, melodic and fun rock.  The Baseball Project makes their Northampton debut on Friday, August 26th at 7pm at the Iron Horse Music Hall.

High and Inside is a collection that sees the quartet deftly mix witty lyrics about baseball players past and present with a sharp melodic sensibility and engaging choruses. "Fair Weather Fans" describes the band's widespread allegiances to the Giants, A's and Mariners for McCaughey, the Dodgers and Yankees for Wynn, and the Twins and Yankees for Pitmon. Yet the team most represented on High and Inside is none of those -- it's the Yankees' rivals the Boston Red Sox. McCaughey imagines a world where Bill Buckner's legacy wasn't tarnished by a groundball in "Buckner's Bolero." Wynn sings of a different tarnished legacy in "Twilight of My Career," which explores the glorious but sordid post-Sox career of Cy Young Award-winning pitcher Roger Clemens. And "Tony (Boston's Chosen Son)" is a violin-driven piece that recalls Bob Dylan's Desire as it honors late beloved Boston player and announcer Tony Conigliaro. Wynn admits, "It's weird that a Yankee fan like me would end up writing more about the Red Sox, but tragedy just makes for better songs and stories than a litany of successes."

The new album features contributions from Death Cab for Cutie's Ben Gibbard, Los Lobos' Steve Berlin, The Decemberists' Chris Funk and John Moen, Yo La Tengo's Ira Kaplan and The Hold Steady's Craig Finn.

The Baseball Project was born out of McCaughey and Wynn discussing their love of the game over dinner and drinks a few years ago. "It finally took flight at the R.E.M. pre-Hall of Fame induction party in New York," Wynn remembers. "Everyone was happy. The wine was flowing, the food was incredible and spring training had just started. Scott and I talked baseball until most of the party guests had cleared out. And we actually remembered it the next day." 

And here is a special message from The Baseball Project's Steve Wynn:

"If our first tour of the year last March was dubbed the "Spring Training Tour" and then was followed in May and June by the "Regular Season Tour," it only makes sense that the end of the Summer would have to bring -- drum roll, please -- the "Pennant Race Tour." Yes, The Baseball Project is hitting the road once again and this time our endless barnstorming will take way up to the tippy-top of the Northeast and then down the Atlantic Coast. Peter will be back at First Bass (sorry, couldn't resist) and we'll be hitting new cities this time around and a few old favorites as well.

Come out and see us mix and match from our three albums (a veritable dynasty!) and be dazzled and surprised as we toss in some odd choices from our mutual back catalogues as well as some oddities from our various record collections. Anything can (and will) happen when the four of us get together. After all, we're kicking into high gear to make sure that we make it to the post-season."
- Steve Wynn

Tickets for the Baseball Project with support from Winterpills at the Iron Horse in Northampton on Friday, August 26th at 7:00 PM are  available at Northampton Box Office, 76 Main Street, 413-586-8686 and online at IHEG.com.

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