WUMB April Program Guide

Baseball’s Back/Hanging Out At The Local Music Corner

Happy Spring at last – and welcome to our new (and renewing) members and contributors to WUMB!!!

Baseball is allllllmost here as I write. If you want to have a “Baseball is Back “party, here are some music sources for you. Dan Bern has an album of 18 baseball songs, Doubleheader, which was released in 2012. He played 16 of the songs in a July 4th show that year at…the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY. Of course, there is Baseball’s Greatest Hits Vol’s 1 & 2. Vol 1 includes Steve Goodman’s strangely outdated “Dying Cub Fan’s Last Request.” But even after 2016 ended 108 years of Northside Chicago pain, Steve Goodman’s song still tugs at the heartstrings. Of course there is John Fogerty’s comeback song “Centerfield.” Baseball has ever been a metaphor for life. John McCutcheon adapted the vehicle of Baseball for his Sermon On The Mound in 2008 (four years after Curt Schilling performed his at Fenway…). The first of the Bootleg Series (Vol 1-3) from Bob Dylan includes a song for the legendary pitcher Jim “Catfish” Hunter. And Chuck Brodsky has those two Baseball Ballads albums – with a third on the way – covering some of the most surprising and obscure stories in Baseball history. The Philadelphia native will be inducted into the Philadelphia Jewish Sports Hall of Fame in April.

That said, let’s head to the corner…

The Local Music Corner

Think of late-night TV talk shows. You know how they have dynamite house bands whose talented individuals are hidden from the spotlight? Saturday Night Live, Jimmy Kimmel, Stephen Colbert, James Corden, etc. Their house bands brilliantly back up musical guests every show. Can you imagine a “house band” made up from the Boston music community? One will be working the premiere of a series at the Shubert Theatre on April 9th. It’s a series called FARMS – the Folk And Roots Music Series. Headlining will be Rodney Crowell. Also on the bill are Brandy Clark and the North Mississippi Allstars; plus Hayley Reardon. Local drummer/producer Marco Giovino is the music director of this series. You know him from Robert Plant’s Band of Joy project…and multiple musicians in Boston. Joining Marco in the house band for this event will be Duke Levine (Dennis Brennan, Peter Wolf…and many others), Jesse Williams (The Love Dogs, Susan Tedeschi…and many others), Charlie Giordano from The Vinyard (Rosanne Cash, Bruce Springsteen…and others); also Nashvillian Russ Pahl (recent albums by Yola, The Milk Carton Kids, The War & Treaty, Dan Auerbach…and seemingly 1/5 of the WUMB playlist). The MC will be Chuck McDermott, whose Boston credits go back 40 years. So this is the opener of the series. That’s quite a start. We’ll look forward to more.

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Circle April 18th on your calendar for our next 3rd Thursday at The Burren show. What a coup we have for you. The clown prince of many hats and multiple catchy melodies will do the honors: Chandler Travis. The Chandler Travis Philharmonic in particular. How will they all fit on that stage? So many of Chandler’s songs are that combination of fun, sometimes loony…and profound. You might recognize Chandler from the many community benefit shows he annually takes part in. And now he’ll do our series. Did I mention how much fun this will be? For a good intro to all things Chandler, check out Bocce & Bourbon: The Comfortable Songs of Chandler Travis & David Greenberger. It is a tremendous record. And Backward Crooked From the Sunset by the Chandler Travis 3-0 was one of my favorite albums of 2018.

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Tom Bianchi has been an essential part of the Boston music scene for a long time now. As a musician, a club booker, and a sound guy, he’s connected to and helped out many an artist along the way. He’s been a key part of our 3rd Thursday at The Burren series. But Tom’s also got his own band, the Baker-Thomas Band. They are like Boston’s hidden party band – a singing lead bass player (Tom) reins in an 11-piece band as they turn every show into New Year’s/Mardi Gras Eve. Belated congrats to the Baker-Thomas Band on their 10th anniversary playing every Thursday night at Toad in Cambridge.

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Thank you to Liz Frame & The Kickers for bringing in Spring with a rousing show for our 3rd Thursday At The Burren series on March 21st. It was nice of Liz to chat with me on the air for a bit only 20 minutes before they went on stage. Someone we forgot to mention in that on-air chat was Liz’s daughter, Caitlin Frame. According to Liz, Caitlin is the rising star in the family. Caitlin plays bass and is touring worldwide with the group The Drums. Find her at https://soundcloud.com/frame-music. Check out her bass work on “What You Gonna Do When I Go” on the latest record by her mom, Liz Frame & The Kickers’ Sparrow In A Shoebox (the riff of the title song has taken up residence in my head since the show).

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February’s 3rd Thursday at the Burren performer Grain Thief has returned to their former residency, playing the Front Room of the Burren on Wednesday nights. The things you miss that are right by your nose – if not in front of it – I did not realize that they have been playing this residency for two years now. On the first night of Spring, Grain Thief had singer/banjo player Owen Miles of the band Cousin Bobby join them on this weekly gig. Owen convinced the guys to try a surprise: a bluegrass version of a somewhat ribald song by Queen. Hey, I don’t want to give it away in case you go see them soon. Their version was a gas…and they’d never played it before. Owen’s group Cousin Bobby sometimes shows up at The Cantab Lounge in Cambridge. Otherwise, Grain Thief is working on songs for a new album.

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That’s all for now – except for what I may have forgotten and will think of at 1:45am tomorrow. Next month, it’s Porchfest Time in Somerville! In the meantime, I hope we can enjoy watching our heating bills shrink!

~ Perry

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