Sounds Local: Heavenly harmonies
It looks like Franklin County’s own Americana trio The Boxcar Lilies, has a tradition in the making as it plays its second annual post-Thanksgiving show at the Iron Horse Music Hall, 20 Center St., in Northampton, on Sunday, Nov. 25, at 7 p.m.
For this show, the Lilies — Katie Clarke (guitar and banjo), Stephanie Marshall (guitar, washboard) and Jenny Goodspeed (guitar, ukelele) — will be backed by a full band that includes Jim Henry of Shutesbury on guitar, dobro and mandolin, Paul Kochanski of Westfield on bass and Rick Mauran of Greenfield on drums. Carrie Ferguson of Northampton will open with a set of her folk-pop compositions.
The Boxcar Lilies’ members have been making music together since 2009, and have won over listeners from the Pioneer Valley and beyond with a sound that incorporates folk, country and bluegrass and is marked by the trio’s heavenly harmonies.
“It’s been an amazing year for us,” said Clarke. “We traveled as far as Memphis for an Official Showcase at International Folk Alliance and numerous trips to D.C. and New York.”
The band is just beginning work on the follow-up to its 2011 debut disc “Heartwood.” The upcoming album is being produced by Lorne Entress (Lori McKenna, Catie Curtis, and Mark Erelli) and recorded at Chris Rival’s studio in Reading. Rival has produced Peter Wolf and Eilen Jewell among others. There will be a full band on board for the album, including Mauran and Kochankski, and it will also feature such instrumental additions as dobro and pedal steel.
“We expect to keep the sound solidly Americana with a contemporary feel,” Clarke explained. “The record will have eight or nine originals and a couple of covers that we have, as we love to say, ‘Lili-fied.’ The record also takes in new directions. There is a song co-written by the three of us and we have two a cappella numbers, including one written and beautifully arranged by our own Jenny Goodspeed.”
Clarke added that the Lilies are thrilled to be working at Rival’s studio. “It is a converted barn with tons of old wood contributing to a very warm sound and tone.”
The Lilies are launching a Kickstarter campaign to help finance the new album. The way this works is that fans contribute financially to the making the of the disc and donations are rewarded with incentives that range from an advance download of the album to a private concert, depending on the level that one gives. To learn more about this campaign visit
www.kickstarter.com and search The Boxcar Lilies.
But if you really want a taste of what is ahead, you need to head to the Iron Horse Music Hall, where you can actually hear some of this new material played by The Boxcar Lilies live. Tickets are $12.50 in advance and $15 at the door. Tickets can be purchased at the Northampton Box Office, 76 Main St., Northampton, online at www.iheg.com or charge by phone at 413-586-8686. Doors open at 5:30 and do get there early to be guaranteed a good seat.
Grand opening of Parlor Room
The other big music news this weekend is that on Saturday, Nov. 24, there will be a grand opening of The Parlor Room, the new performance space operated by the Signature Sounds label and housed in the front room of its new office at 32 Masonic St. in downtown Northampton.
Singer-songwriter Heather Maloney will have the honor of being the first artist to grace The Parlor Room’s stage, performing two shows at 7 and 9 p.m. She will be joined by string rockers Darlingside, which is touring in support of its gorgeous album “Pilot Machines,” which the band recorded while living in Hadley.
This is a lovely, intimate room that can only seat 50, which is why Signature Sounds is hosting two shows each night. The Parlor Room has a stage, excellent acoustics, theater-style seating and is small enough to have the feel of a house concert. Snacks from Woodstar Cafe, which is located next door, and non-alcoholic drinks will be sold.
A singer-songwriter from Turners Falls, Maloney, is the perfect artist to launch the new venue. Her music has a distinct folk-pop blend that is highlighted by her expressive, beautiful voice and her poetic lyrics. Maloney played her first-ever show in Northampton back in 2009 and now tours throughout the country. Her career is clearly on the rise, as evidenced by the fact that Maloney was recently signed to the Signature Sounds label. She will release her self-titled album for the label in February 2013.
Maloney will be performing with her band — bassist Ken Maiuri and drummer J.J. O’Connell, both well known musicians on the local scene.
Maloney and Darlingside teamed up for a Watermelon Wednesdays at the West Whatley Chapel this past summer and it sold out, so I would recommend getting tickets in advance for this one. They are $15 and available at www.signaturesounds.com or by calling (413) 665-4036.
If still available, tickets will be sold at the door.
Also lined up for The Parlor Room on Saturday, Dec. 1, is Joy Kills Sorrow and Margaret Glaspy. Winterpills will perform on Dec. 21 and Miss Tess and the Talkbacks on Dec. 29.
Zydeco Connection CD release show at Winterland Saturday
There will be a CD-release show for Zydeco Connection at Winterland, 76 Hope St. in Greenfield, on Saturday, Nov. 24, at 8:30 p.m. The Greenfield-based band will be celebrating the release of its first-ever album “Xqueeze Me,” a disc that finds the band putting its own spin on a collection of classic Zydeco tunes from the likes of Clifton Chenier and Geno Delafose. So, put on your dancing shoes and get there early for free Zydeco dance lessons that will begin at 8 p.m.
Admission is on a sliding scale of $5 to $10.
Sheryl Hunter is a music writer who lives in Easthampton. Her work has appeared in various regional and national magazines. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org