“What does she want me to do?
She says that she knows moments are rare
I suppose that it’s true
And on she goes to say I don’t care when she knows that I do.
Well, maybe she has to sing, for the sake of the song.”
— Townes Van Zandt
“For the Sake of the Song”
Every musician can cite an artist or even a group of artists who inspired them to pick up an instrument and start writing their own songs.
Boston-based singer-songwriter Patrick Coman is no exception, so he thought it would be nice to get together with other musicians and informally pay tribute to their musical influences. In the fall of 2009, Coman started hosting concerts at his apartment in Allston, where musicians would come and play favorite songs by artists who influenced their own work. Over time, these little shows became quite popular, to the point that they outgrew Coman’s apartment and they had to move on.
“To celebrate what I thought would be the end of the series, I invited a few previous performers to come together to play Bob Dylan’s “Blood on the Tracks” in its entirety,” said Coman in an email written from the road. “The concert was such a hit that the venue where it was held asked us to continue the series there, which we did for a year and a half before expanding again to our new home venue at Johnny D’s in Somerville.”
These concerts, which eventually took the name “For the Sake of the Song” from the Townes Van Zandt song, are held every month.
Leonard Cohen, Bob Dylan and Neil Young are just a few of the artists who have been honored in these shows. Coman has found that musicians love paying homage to their idols and the audience enjoys hearing interpretations of the songs that they also love. The series is so popular that they are recorded and broadcast as webcasts.
Earlier this year, Coman decided to take the show on the road. On Saturday, June 22, at 7:30 p.m. “For the Sake of the Song Roadshow” will make its western Massachusetts debut when Coman brings the show to Mocha Maya’s, 47 Bridge St. in Shelburne Falls. Coman will be joined by Boston musicians Jenee Halstead, Susan Cattaneo and special guest Jimmy Ryan.
“It has been an exciting process to watch the series grow each year and now we are thrilled to have grown to the point where we take the show on the road,” said Coman, a native of Oklahoma who plays a rootsy brand of folk music.
Coman added that this show will be different in that they are not paying tribute to a specific artist. Instead, each musicians will perform favorite old-time and traditional tunes that have influenced their writing styles. They will play some original tunes as well.
Here is a rundown on who will be performing.
Susan Cattaneo is an established songwriter whose music has been recorded by various musicians in Nashville. She has released three albums of contemporary country music and is also a songwriting and voice professor at Berklee College of Music.
Jenee Halstead is an emotionally charged singer blessed with a beautiful voice. Her latest album, “Raised by Wolves,” was influenced by songwriters like Kate Bush and PJ Harvey and her music leans toward an indie-pop sounds.
Coman, who has made a name for himself in Boston’s Americana scene, is a songwriter of great depth. His debut album “Southern Storms” is full of sad songs of loneliness and regret. He has said that on the album he pays homage to his upbringing in Oklahoma while coming to terms with his new life in the city.
As a special guest, acclaimed mandolin player Jimmy Ryan, who was a member of the alt-country band Blood Oranges and various other groups, will be on hand providing some amazing accompaniment to this diverse group of musicians.
Curious as to what they will play? It should be fun to find out what tunes they choose and to hear them put their own spin on them.
“This is the first time we’ll be presenting a For the Sake of the Song show focusing on traditional tunes — although, of course, all three of the performers have grown up learning and performing some of these songs, explained Coman. “We’ll be playing in the round at Mocha Maya’s so there will be some collaboration between artists, which is always a lot of fun.”
Summer series at Seven Sisters Market Bistro
Last week, we were talking summer music series and this we have a brand new one to tell you about. The Seven Sisters Market Bistro, which is located at the Bison Farm on Route 9 (Russell Street) in Hadley is hosting a summer concert series called “Thursday Night Live” that will run every Thursdays from 6 to 9 p.m. This series will run until the end of September.
The first concert was held last week with the reggae band the Equalities and the music will continue tonight with the honky-tonk sounds of Girl Howdy. Musician Brian Bender is the force behind the series and he has done a fine job of putting together a diverse lineup of first-rate local talent that includes everyone from the Gypsy Wranglers to Who’Da Funk It? to the Gaslight Tinkers. To view the entire schedule, visit the Seven Sisters Market Bistro Facebook page.
The shows are all ages. There is plenty of parking, but bring a blanket or chair to sit on. Food and beverages will be sold on site. In the event of rain, the shows are canceled.
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