WUMB May Program Guide

White Owls at the Fallout Shelter

Like many WUMB listeners, I believe deeply in the importance of celebrating and supporting live local music. We have often lamented the closing of music venues around Boston and in other towns. 

But it’s just as critical that we acknowledge new venues and laud great local shows.

I was fortunate to be in the audience on July 19, 2019, when Dennis Brennan and the White Owls performed their gritty set of blues covers and originals at the Fallout Shelter in Norwood, Mass., a nicely appointed joint not far from Boston.

Brennan and his band—guitarist Tim Gearan, lap steel guitarist Steve Sadler, bassist Jim Hagerty, and drummer Andy Plaisted—perform every Monday night at Toad, in Cambridge.

But seeing the band in a completely new setting was an unexpected pleasure. Although the entire concert was captured for video in a multi-camera shoot, the White Owls retained their usual casual spirit and rollicking group ethos as they tore through tune after tune before a capacity crowd and an online audience. (All of the Fallout Shelter concerts are recorded and can be watched on demand, too.)

After the show, the venue’s head honcho, Bill Hurley, interviewed the band (as he does after every concert at the nightclub), and there was one comment from Dennis Brennan that I found particularly enlightening.

Hurley had just asked Brennan about the music that lit him up when he was young, and he talked about how the radio stations of that day provided him an education.

“You’d hear Wilson Pickett, and right next to that, you’d hear Buck Owens,” he said. “That surely doesn’t happen anymore.”

Well, that sounded like a challenge to me.

And, so, because I’m a huge Dennis Brennan fan, because that sequence of artists sounds great to me, and, well, because I have a radio show, I have a programmed a set of Buck Owens and Wilson Pickett tunes back to back for my August 11, 2019 show, the day before what would have been Buck’s 90th birthday.

Thanks, Dennis, for the idea, and thanks, White Owls and the Fallout Shelter for a great night of music.

~ Rob Hochschild

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