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Sounds Local

A new talent comes to town

Devlin Miles writes her best stuff here & you’ll want to hear it

With Memorial Day weekend behind us it is time to start exploring some of the summer musical events that make the Pioneer Valley such a special place to live during the warm weather months.

One of the ongoing summer music series is the weekly Coop Concerts, which kicked off last week with a “Coopsters-in-the-round” show that featured many of the Coop members performing together. The Coop members are a diverse group of musicians who strive to promote live music in Franklin County. The series, which runs through September, takes place every Thursday from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Greenfield Energy Park located at 50 Miles St. The music continues tonight with performances by three longtime Coop members — Joe Graveline (singer/guitar stylist), Jennie MacAvoy (traditional ballads) and Roland LaPierre (roots/country.)

Part of what makes the Coop Concerts special is that each concert consists of three different performers of varying musical styles, which provides the audience with a nice variety of music. The shows are laid-back and family friendly events and you need to bring your own chair or blanket and pack a picnic if you like. The concerts are free, but donations are welcome to help cover the cost of operation.

The full schedule is available at www.coopconcerts.org.

Devlin Miles, a member of the Coop, will be performing in the series twice this month and if you have never seen her before, she is definitely worthy of your attention.

Miles and her band will play the Coop Concerts on Thursday, June 13, and on a special Sunday show that takes place June 30 at 6 p.m. Miles’ band consists of local musicians Rick Mauran on drums, Ben Falkoff on lead guitar and Don Rovero on bass.

Miles is an accomplished singer-songwriter originally from Brockton who launched her career in New York City.

She released her debut album, “Autumn’s Fires,” in 2010 and it has received heavy airplay on various digital sites. The song “This Guy” has won various honors, including an honorary mention in Billboard’s World Song Contest. “The Camera Fades,” a song regarding 9/11, has also won widespread praise.

Miles has toured extensively from Canada to Australia and has performed at a number of major music festivals in this country. Her music straddles the line between contemporary country and pop and she has drawn frequent comparisons to Sheryl Crow while her smooth singing voice has been likened to Sarah McLachlan. She describes her songs as being about “love, loss and derelicts,” but the songs on her album show a wider breadth as they range from the whimsical tunes like “Risk,” about an amusement park ride, to the serious “The Extra Miles,” a song that addressees an individual who has lost a loved one to suicide. “There’s mothers and daughters and husbands and wives/Neighbors and friends who suffer through life/ Depression is one thing that eats at our minds/It poisons our thoughts and our will to survive,” writes Miles who is a supporter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

Six years ago, Miles moved to Greenfield and currently divides her time between here and New York

“I write my best stuff here,” she said about living in Greenfield. “I get overloaded in the city and am so grateful for my writer’s haven here. I have found a great community of musicians here in Greenfield.”

Miles credits much of this to fellow musician Stephanie Marshall of the Boxcar Lilies. “Stephanie introduced me to the Coop and to my drummer Rick Mauran,” Miles said. “We really clicked and I have been slowly building my relationships with individual musicians of The Coop. I also look forward to doing some collaborations with some of the artists.”

Miles added that she appreciated the wide range of artists in the Coop and feels she has been exposed to various kinds of music and interesting instruments that she wouldn’t see in the city.

“For example, Small Change with their washtub bass and Barry Wiggins with his hand-crafted Native American flutes,” said Miles. “I wouldn’t say there isn’t someone in New York playing either of those, because you can find lots of crazy things, like a woman who plays a saw in the subway, but I rarely have time to stop and listen.”

The singer is looking forward to getting out there and playing with her band this summer and using these shows to test out some new material, which will appear on a new CD.

“Our main goal is to drum up interest in the new songs and see which ones the fans are responding to and then to record those songs,” said Miles, who enjoys playing with a full band as that best captures how she hears the songs in her head.

In addition to the Coop shows, Miles will perform a solo show as part of Shelburne Falls RiverFest Celebration on Saturday, June 8, at the marketplace at 10 a.m. She is one of many local musicians who will perform through the day-long celebration. Also appearing will be folk musicians David Fersh and Annie Hassett, the Shelburne Falls-based chorus Hilltown Harmony, singer-songwriters Katie Sachs and Wishbone, The Tea Street Band, which plays rock, country and folk, and the Celtic music group Last Night’s Fun.

Miles will also play a full-band show at the Greenfield town fireworks at Beacon Field on Saturday, July 6.

Miles noted that all her shows are free and stressed that listeners only need leave humming a new tune.

Summer music series begins at 1764 Meetinghouse

The 1764 Meetinghouse kicks off their its 2013 summer season on Saturday, June 8, at 7:30 p.m. with a show by the one-and-only “Beehive Queen” Christine Ohlman and her band Rebel Montez. Ohlman, who is the longtime vocalist with NBC television’s “Saturday Night Live Band,” plays a brand of good old-fashioned rock and R&B that will start the summer series off in fine style.

The meetinghouse is located on the common at 26 South Main St. in historic New Salem.

There will be a champagne reception prior to the performance, so plan to arrive around 6:30 p.m. to enjoy this pre-concert party.

Tickets are $15. Advance tickets can be purchased at www.1794meetinghouse.org or at Bruce’s Browser, 1497 Main St., in Athol. Tickets are also available at the door the day of the show. Doors open 30 minutes before performance times.  Tickets are not available by phone. For more information, visit the website or call 978-544-5200.

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 soundslocal@yahoo.com

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