WUMB June Program Guide

The Local Music Corner

I hope that the times of preventive action to keep from getting COVID-19 will be over soon, and that everything I write for this particular column will be obsolete as you read it in the hopefully merry month of May.

Last month I thanked all the musicians and venues that have been doing “virtual” concerts, meaning livestreams (or streams from a venue’s archives) over the internet. From this, the wonderful musicians have given us a way to stay connected to the amazing dynamic that is live music. The shows are generally free, with the option for us to digitally “tip” a donation to the performer. The point that hangs over this like a gray cloud hovering above is that musicians are losing their gig income. And of course, the clubs and restaurants that book live music and their workers are losing their income. So this column is dedicated to musicians I am aware of who are not only streaming their performances, but also attempting to help out fellow musicians or venues. I apologize in advance to other musicians who are doing the same that I may not know about. I salute every one of you for your efforts.

Club Passim and its members have been giving performers new and veteran alike a space to play for decades. Passim has a fund called the PEAR fund – as in the Passim Emergency Artist Relief fund. It’s designed to help musicians in the community who are in dire need of financial aid. Part of raising funds for the PEAR is Club Passim’s online “Keep Your Distance” Festival, a series of song videos by musicians who have been connected with Passim over the years. As of this writing, there were nearly 200 videos by nearly 200 musicians (a few of have done two videos). To connect with the Keep Your Distance Fest, go to Passim.org.

Among those musicians participating in “Keep Your Distance” is Jim Infantino. You know him from his group Jim’s Big Ego from years gone by. Jim’s still in the Boston area music community. He has been doing a weekly livestream, generally playing for about an hour. Jim is donating a percentage of his tips to the Passim Emergency Artist Relief Fund. Find details at JimsBigEgo.com.

Another artist who has contributed to Passim’s “Keep Your Distance” festival is Monica Rizzio, who emigrated to Cape Cod from East Texas may years ago. Monica has also been doing weekly livestreams. She calls the shows “the Tune In Shut Down.” Usually they are with a featured guest. In 2014 Monica founded the Vinegrass Music organization, a non-profit music production company that has an annual music festival, primarily of Cape Cod musicians. Not only are the Tune In Shut Down shows designed to give exposure to local musicians from the Cape, but Vinegrass has committed $5,000 to Cape Cod Musicians and sound engineers who have lost their gig income. If you can contribute to the virtual tip jar, that’s where your money will go. For more information, start with Monica’s facebook page, www.facebook.com/MonicaRizzio, or her website, MonicaRizzio.com.

Will Dailey – yes, he’s also contributed to Passim’s “Keep Your Distance” Festival – has been streaming performances from home. He calls it his Isolation Tour. Will has a goal of raising money to help venues (and their workers) that have over the years given musicians a place to play. He has also posted a previously unreleased song on his website to raise money to help musicians out of work. www.WillDailey.com

Bill Janovitz had been doing a monthly residency at The Burren. Now he has been hosting weekly virtual happy hours, streaming performances from his basement. Each week he raises money for different organizations. These have included local music venues, health care organizations, programs for the homeless, and musicians relief organizations such as the Boston Musicians Relief Fund set up by musician Jim Haggerty, as well as Sweet Relief which has aided music industry workers and musicians in need for decades.

Even organist Josh Kantor has been jumping in. He is losing work both as a touring musician for hire and…as the organist at Fenway Park. Josh – who has played live in-studio at WUMB – has reportedly been playing live just about every day from his home, taking music requests from fans, and encouraging them to make donations to local food banks.

To all these musicians and the many I am not aware of who are doing something similar to help others during this extraordinary time, I say this (probably in an acoustic style): For those about to stream we salute you!

Take care, be well, be smart, be nice, and spread humor when/where you can. Thanks for reading.

Hang in there,

~ Perry

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