Sounds Local: All Cooped Up concert will send winter packin’
This year, the All Cooped Up Concert will take place at the Great Falls Discovery Center, 2 Avenue A, Turners Falls, on Saturday, April 5, at 7 p.m. In this file photo, members of the Franklin County Musicians Cooperative — from left, Stephanie Marshall, Pat LaMountain, Russ Thomas and Jennie McAvoy — perform at the Greenfield Energy Park.
Recorder file photo
It’s hard to believe that this year marks the 10th anniversary of the Franklin County Musicians’ Cooperative, more commonly known as the Coop. In case you aren’t familiar with this organization, the Coop consists of a diverse group of local musicians who represent a wide variety of genres: folk, country, rock, zydeco and about every other style you can think of. One of the goals of the Coop is to help make Franklin County a hub for live music and it has accomplished this by holding weekly concerts at the Energy Park in Greenfield every summer since 2004.
The Coop also holds a yearly “All Cooped Up” concert, which is celebration of the end of winter and also serves as a way to let loose some of that pent up energy through song as we welcome the arrival of spring. In addition to celebrating spring, the show serves to showcase the talents of some of the Coop musicians and is also a benefit to support the live music at the Energy Park.
This year, the All Cooped Up Concert will take place at the Great Falls Discovery Center, 2 Avenue A, Turners Falls, on Saturday, April 5, at 7 p.m.
Included in the evening’s lineup will be old favorites like Russ Thomas, who plays a humorous brand of folk music, and Joe Graveline, a longtime area musician who will offer up his interpretation of various classic songs. Then there is Pat & Tex LaMountain, who mix it up with their blend of American standards, swing tunes, folk, rock, bluegrass and country. Roland LaPierre, is another long-standing Coop member and he brings a touch of twang to his rock-and-roots songs.
This show will also feature Jennie McAvoy, a folk chanteuse with a beautiful voice and a repertoire that includes traditional American, Scottish, Irish and English music. The quartet known as Small Change, which utilizes a washtub bass, will certainly win over the crowd with its acoustic swing music. Sue Kranz, a relative newcomers to the Coop who is a flutist and singer-songwriter, teams ups with guitarist Ben Tousley to perform songs from various traditions, including Latina, Irish and Jewish.
There were are a few names is in the lineup — Charlie and Dez, Fritz and Gail — that I did not recognize, so I had to turn to Thomas, a founding member of the Coop and one of the organizers of this show, to get some details.
“Charlie is Charlie Conant, who has been a Coop member since about 2006, I believe, first as a member of the Conway Traditions, then as a frequent collaborator, especially as an excellent guitar and Dobro player. He is a good singer and songwriter,” wrote Thomas in an email exchange.
“Dez is Desmond Burke, who has played around the area for a long while and is a respected songwriter, also a member of the Conway Traditions.”
The Conway Traditions was a band that evolved out of informal jam sessions that were held at the Conway Inn. Some of the band members later formed the bluegrass band Seven Mile Line, so expect a good ole rootsy sound from Burke and Conant.
Thomas also explained that Fritz and Gail are Cyn Fritz and Gail Hegemen, from the jam-rock band Strawberry Afternoon, a band that is relatively new to the Coop. The two women will be performing as a duo for this appearance.
And that brings us to Michael Orlen who joined the Coop a couple years after it had formed and has been an active member ever since. He will perform at All Cooped Up with his partner Christine Orlen; the duo perform as Orlen and Gabriel.
Orlen can trace his musical roots to the Boston music scene where he performed back in the late 1960s and early 1970s. During that time, he worked as a solo musician and as part of the popular acoustic rock trio Home Free. Orlen describes his music as drawing on his extensive knowledge of 20th-century folk, blues and ragtime.
Thomas also mentioned that there could be some additional Coop members, as well as some surprise guests at the show.
Thomas added there might be a formal celebration of the Coop’s 10th anniversary once the concert series begins, but the group really haven’t gotten that far in its planning. The focus now is on the “All Cooped Up” show and after that, the group will concentrate on the summer schedule for the Energy Park which it hopes to release in May.
Admission to this show is by suggested donation of $5 to $10, but no one will be turned away.
Madison on the Avenue
It looks like Turners Falls is the place to be this weekend. Before taking the stage at the Discovery Center on Saturday night, Orlen and Gabriel will be part of triple-bill that will perform at Madison on the Avenue, 102 Avenue A, Turners Falls, on Friday, April 4, at 6 p.m.
“This is a new venue for us,” explained Orlen. “Madison on the Avenue is an antique and art store that has decided to have entertainment at least once a month.”
Also performing will be Bruce King, who plays a mix of material written by western Massachusetts songwriters as well as contemporary folk and blues songs. Rounding out the lineup is Caleb Wetherbee whose repertoire includes sensitive ballads, country-blues tunes and material in the vein of Fats Waller.
Admission is free.
Early-bird tickets go on sale for the Green River Festival
Early-bird tickets for the Green River Festival went on sale on this past Tuesday, April 1. This year’s festival will be held on Saturday, July 12, and Sunday, July 13, on the grounds of Greenfield Community College.
Early Bird tickets cost $59.99 for the weekend. There are no single-day early-bird tickets available. They will be on sale only at www.greenriverfestival.com, at The Signature Sounds office, 32 Masonic St., Northampton, or by calling 877-987-6487 to receive tickets in the mail.
As reported in this paper a couple of weeks ago, this year’s festival is being presented by Signature Sounds of Northampton. Previous festivals were presented by the Greenfield Chamber of Commerce with Jim Olsen of Signature Sounds serving as the talent buyer for the festival.
In its first order of business, Signature Sounds has decided to slowly unveil the lineup this year, revealing artists each day via its Facebook page, Twitter account and a live announcement on WRSI 93.9 the River each morning. This process began on April 1 and will culminate on April 15.
The first band announced April 1 is Josh Ritter & The Royal City Band, which performs Sunday, July 13.
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