Sounds Local: Two great shows
On Friday, Patty Carpenter will be backed by a group of accomplished musicians for a performance at The Rendezvous, which will also include spoken word and poetry.
On Saturday, nationally known recording artist Livingston Taylor will be performing at Wendell’s Full Moon Coffeeshop.
Singer-songwriter Patty Carpenter of Guilford, Vt., has been entertaining area audiences for many years now. You may know her as a solo jazz singer, or as a member of the genre-blurring Dysfunctional Family Jazz Band. You may also know her dance band Patty and the Cakes. Carpenter works with a variety of musicians and dabbles in different musical styles. When she performs at The Rendezvous in Turners Falls on Friday, Jan. 17, at 8 p.m., she will be backed by an accomplished group of musicians that includes Jon Weeks on percussion, saxophone and flute, Texas Wheeler on guitar and Jeremy Gold on violin. There will also be spoken word and poetry provided by award-winning poet Verandah Porche.
Carpenter, who plays keyboards in addition to singing, said this show will be a mix of traditional and alt-country tunes, some originals and a bit of jazz and blues.
“My friend Wheeler is coming up to join us from Brooklyn,” Carpenter said. “He is a Texas guitar guy who moved to New York City many years ago to study Brazilian music. The fiddle player, Jeremy Gold, is quite gifted, and Jon Weeks weaves his magic. He will play a conga, a flute, a sax, or a shaker, all with ease and talent — and all on one tune if the spirit moves him.”
Carpenter added that this group has infrequently performed together as a foursome but that she has a strong musical connection with each of them.
While fans of local music may not be familiar with Wheeler and Gold (who is from Guilford), that is not the case with Weeks, who has worked in many local bands, most recently with Viva Quetzal, an Andean fusion ensemble, and Satinwood, a band that specializes in cover tunes from the 1970s and 1980s.
Carpenter studied jazz at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst with Archie Shepp and Max Roach. She also cites women artists — from Joan Baez and Roseanne Cash to Billie Holiday and Carmen McRae — as great influences. Carpenter divides her time between Guilford and New York and works with various combos, including her own aforementioned bands Patty and the Cakes and the Dysfunctional Family Jazz Band, which includes her daughter Melissa Shelter, her ex-husband, Scott Shetler, and her son, Travis Light.
Carpenter’s most recent album was the Dysfunctional Family Jazz Band’s 2009 release “Come Over.” For this project, she teamed up with Porche, a longtime friend and poet who also lives in Guilford. The two met over 40 years ago while living in neighboring Vermont communes. Since the release of “Come Over,” they have worked on various projects, including “Waves in the Woods,” a song about hurricane Irene that is being used in a Vermont film about the flood. Carpenter said they have “a load of new songs” and are deciding when and how to release them.
Porche describes her performance styles as “intimate, interactive, accessible and quirky,” which should nicely complement this music.
And if that’s not enough to entice you, Carpenter pointed out that it’s an early show and they promise to keep the volume down.
Admission is free. The Rendezvous is located at 78 Third St. in Turners Falls. For more information, www.rendezvoustfma.com or 413-863-2866.
Livingston Taylor at Wendell Full Moon Coffeehouse Saturday
Livingston Taylor comes from one of music’s most successful families. His brother James Taylor is a five-time Grammy winner and a bona fide folk-pop superstar. His siblings Kate and Hugh are also singer-songwriters and his brother, Alex, who died in 1993, was also a musician. Then there is Ben and Sally Taylor, the children of James and Carly Simon, who are currently making their own way in the music world.
While Livingston Taylor’s work may have been eclipsed by his successful older brother, he has forged a solid career of his own and has released over a dozen albums. He tours constantly and also teaches at Berklee College of Music in Boston.
He has long enjoyed a strong following here in western Massachusetts and just wrapped up two shows at the Iron Horse Music Hall in Northampton, where he performs annually during the holidays. He released a live album, “Snapshot: Live at the Iron Horse,” in 2009.
He will return to the area for an appearance at the Wendell Full Moon Coffeehouse on Saturday, Jan. 18, at 7:30 p.m. There will be no open mic for this show, but singer-songwriter Carrie Ferguson, who just released a new album titled “The List of Whales,” will open.
The coffeehouse usually presents local musicians but, according to Frank Citinio of Full Moon, they had such success when they brought in Tom Rush last year that they decided to bring in another nationally known artist.
Livingston Taylor, 63, who divides his time between Watertown and Martha’s Vineyard, is a natural performer who is extremely at ease on stage. After all, he teaches performance at Berklee and has even written a book on the subject. Accompanying himself on guitar or piano, he sings in a voice slightly reminiscent of his brother James Taylor and sings songs of love, family, friendship and faith. While some of his songs will tug at your heartstrings, his shows are also full of laughter.
In a recent interview for the online show “On Canvas,” Livingston Taylor said that he takes the pulse of the audience to decide where a show will go. You can expect him to include a cross section of his own material, including songs off his latest release, “Last Alaska Moon” from 2010. He will likely throw in a few covers, such as songs like Paul McCartney’s “Blackbird,” or even a show tune, such as Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “Oh What a Beautiful Morning.” And, you should expect to hear any number of his humorous stories between songs.
Livingston Taylor has the knack of making every concert feel like a house concert and his homey style should work especially well in the intimate Full Moon Coffeehouse.
The Wendell Full Moon Coffeehouse is located at the Wendell Town Hall, 6 Center St. The show starts at 7:30 p.m. Admission is a sliding scale donation $10 to $20 (cash only) at the door. Proceeds benefit Orange Friends of the Library. Coffee, nonalcoholic beverages and desserts will be available for purchase. For more information, 978-544-5557 or visit www.wendellfullmoon.org.
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