WUMB May Program Guide

The Local Music Corner

Lots going on in Boston area/New England music. Let’s take a spin….

There is a time-lapse in music that we who are only listeners are mostly unaware of. It is between when an album is written, then recorded, then released and promoted. By the time we hear it, say, at a concert, it’s been a long time since the songs were first created. And by then the artist may be on to something else, just as we are frothing with enthusiasm over their “new” or most recent album.

A lesson in this came my way on a recent afternoon when I saw Hazel Royer perform, my first time seeing her live. What a band; she was playing with her dad — local bluegrass hero Eric Royer — along with Duke Levine on the mando and Sean Staples on acoustic guitar. Thanks to Randi Millman slapping a copy of Hazel’s debut CD in front of me sometime last year, I listened and grew to really like it. Hazel has a strong voice with a lot of personality behind it. At the end of their set, fanboy me thought “I have to introduce myself to Hazel.” If you’ve heard her debut album, you’ll be happy that she said she wants to make another. I mentioned my enthusiasm for Hazel’s album to Sean Staples. Sean said, “yeah, she’s really outgrown it.” Well, maybe we can’t blame her. The album was recorded in 2016, released in 2017. And now it’s 2019. I have to let the girl grow up…and grow out of this album that I like so much. By the way, Hazel is 18. You won’t believe that when you hear her. I hope she gets to make another album. And a few more after that.

One more note about that show: Do you remember about six years ago or so when Sean Staples lost his voice? What a scare for a musician. Actually the problems started almost ten years ago, in late 2009. Six years ago he did an in-studio interview at WUMB to talk about a show he organized for the program at MGH that was helping him with his voice therapy. While Sean says his voice is not “cured” or back to what it was (he has to take certain measures to sing) he sang lead on a couple of songs in that show and sounded great. What a walking reminder not to take things for granted…


Poor Rhodey. Rhode Island sometimes gets overlooked when people talk about New England…and when talking about the Greater Boston/New England music scene. No worries. Love is coming to its rescue. More accurately, that would be Love Love, the Boston-area band led by husband and wife Jefferson Riordan and Chris Toppin. If you love both beautiful harmonies and songs dark enough for Stephen King, check them out. Chris, she is from Rhode Island. And Jefferson, he has too much fun with their loving ode to things proper and otherwise about the state. The evidence is on last year’s excellent Love Love album Picture, with the song “Rhode Island.” They will be dropping a new EP in May to be called…come on, take a guess…The Rhode Island EP. I wonder if it will have a song about the Pawtucket Red Sox moving to Worcester in 2021. Love Love will be at The Burren in Somerville for a CD release show on May 3rd.


We are fortunate to have so many talented musicians and performers in the greater Boston/New England area. We are also fortunate that we have multiple opportunities to see many of them. Certain musicians have regular residencies every month, week, or bi-weekly. Dennis Brennan, the White Owls (who just released an album), David Johnston, the Tim Gearan Band, Greg Klyma, the Baker Thomas Band (featuring Tom Bianchi), and the Blue Ribbons among them. But lately, Musician Residencies are growing like poppies in The Wizard of Oz!

In March, Susan Cattaneo will wrap her residency at the Fallout Shelter. Christian McNeill & Tim Gearan are performing as a duo Tuesdays in March at Sally O’Brien’s in Somerville (they had done a month of Sundays there in February). Kevin So has returned to the Boston area from Nashville. He is working on an album with a soul vibe. And this month he wraps a monthly residency at Les Zygomates in Boston that started in January. If you couldn’t get enough of Grain Thief, the band who did our February “3rd Thursday” live broadcast from The Burren backroom, they will soon return for Wednesday nights in the front room of The Burren in late March and April.

Speaking of our “3rd Thursday Concert at The Burren” live broadcast series, our next one will be Liz Frame & The Kickers on Thursday, March 21st. Be part of it. They are so much fun. If you are a WUMB member, you’ll get in for half price.

Speaking of WUMB membership, you can contribute to WUMB anytime. But our Spring fundraiser is coming in mid-March — as you probably know. It can be hard from the inside of the radio box to know if we are making an impact or just talking to ourselves. Lately at the “3rd Thursday at the Burren” shows, a number of you have reminded me of something we pride ourselves on: giving the stories behind the songs, artists, or albums. You’ve noted that it’s a big part of your experience listening to WUMB. Or as WUMB member and musician Mike Eigen described it to me, “The Conversation.” That sense of a conversation between me and the radio host was always something I loved about radio growing up. So if you feel we have that at listener-supported, commercial-free WUMB, feel free to spread the word about it. And of course, the music.

Thanks. We’ll see you on the radio and at a show,

~ Perry

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