Sounds Local: Summer sound track
If you are looking to find the perfect summer sound track, then you may want to consider these recently released CDs by some local favorites and one from an up-and-coming group from Boston. Whether you favor crackling fiddles or jangly guitars, you are bound to find something here to add to your musical library. And if you like what you hear, you are in luck because all of these artists will be playing the Pioneer Valley in July. These CDs can purchased at the artist’s website, on iTunes or at Turn it Up! stores located in Montague, Northampton and Brattleboro.
“Dear Mark J. Mulcahy
I Love You”
Mark Mulcahy, (Mezzotint)
It’s been eight years since we last heard from Mark Mulcahy. The Springfield resident, who was the lead singer of the influential ’80s band Miracle Legion, took some time off in 2008 after the death of his wife. For his first album after this break, he teamed up with Henning Ohlenbush of Northampton and some other local musicians to create the kind of smart pop music he’s been making for years. The 11 tracks here are catchy yet unconventional in their structure and lyrical content. Mulcahy writes outside himself, writing of Leo’s drug deals on “Everybody Hustles Leo” or ruminating on a suicide on “Where’s the Indifference Now?” But this isn’t a grim album. On the contrary, Mulcahy brings a sense of playfulness to this work, reminding us how great it is to have him back.
Mark Mulcahy will celebrate with a CD release show at the Iron Horse Music Hall, 20 Center St. in Northampton on Saturday, July 13, at 7 p.m. Tickets are $12 and available at the Northampton Box Office, online at www.iheg.com or charge by phone at 413-586-8686.
“This World Oft Can Be”
Della Mae (Rounder)
Della Mae is an all-female quintet from Boston that, like its the Luminars and the Punch Brothers, blends traditional sounds with a modern-day songwriting sense. “This World Oft Can Be” marks the ladies’ debut for Rounder and is already earning them widespread acclaim. Most of the songs here are deeply rooted in bluegrass and are anchored by the award-winning fiddle playing of Kimber Ludiker and strong vocals of Celia Woodsmith. “Letter From Down the Road” is the only traditional tune and, even in this case, Della Mae wrote the lyrics. Most of this material was written or co-written by Woodsmith, who proves that she knows here way around a melody on songs like the fiery “Empire.” In addition, all five women are accomplished instrumentalists and blend their voices beautifully. This is a band to keep your eyes on.
Stephen Kellogg, (Elm City)
Stephen Kellogg lives in Connecticut, but he launched his career while living in Northampton. For the past 10 years, he has been touring with his band The Sixers, but last year the group decided to take a hiatus and he is now back as he started, working as a solo musician. Taking its title from Dickens’ “David Copperfield,” the CD’s songs range from breezy folk of “Lost and Found” to more elaborate fare like “Thanksgiving,” a song that opens with a choir and also features a string section. Kellogg is most at home singing matter close to his heart, be it eulogizing his mother-in-law on “Ingrid’s Song” or expressing his fears on “I Don’t Want to Die on the Road,” a song that lists all the musicians who did just that.
Stephen Kellogg will host the first annual SK BBQ on Saturday, July 13, at 2 to 7 p.m. in a to-be-disclosed location on the river in Hadley. The barbecue will feature food and music by Kellogg and friends. Tickets are $50 adults, $25 kids and are available at www.stephenkellogg.com. The location will be released on the website and sent to ticket holders one week before the concert.
The Boxcar Lilies,
For their sophomore release The Boxcar Lilies — Jenny Goodspeed, Stephanie Marshall and Katie Clarke — enlisted producer Lorne Entress (Lori McKenna) and a host of local musicians to create a disc that’s brimming with a sweet, country sound. The members of The Lilies are known for their trademark harmonies and these shine brightly on the title track and an a cappella cover of James Taylor’s “That Lonesome Road.” But the strong point of the album is the way it showcases the band’s growth as songwriters. Clarke’s energetic “Lightnin’,” which opens the disc, and Goodspeed’s “Good Fortune” are good examples of the fine song writing you will find here. “Sugar Shack” has reached No. 2 on folk radio charts, a testament to the trio’s growing popularity.
The Boxcar Lilies will perform on the “Local Hero Stage” at the Green River Festival on Sunday, July 21, at 1:30 p.m.
Cold Satellite, (Signature Sounds)
Cold Satellite is the project of local musician Jeffrey Foucault and Lisa Olstein, an acclaimed poet who is the associate director of the Masters in Fine Arts program at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. Olstein provides the lyrics and Foucault writes the music. “Cavalcade” is an electric guitar-driven rocker. This is a full-band album and the band includes drummer Billy Conway (Morphine) and David “Goody” Goodrich on guitar. Think early Rolling Stones with a touch of country on the side and you get a sense of what you’ll hear on this disc. This is a disc for people who like their roots music loud.
Cold Satellite will appear on the Main Stage of the Green River Festival on Saturday, July 20, at 1:50 p.m.
Advance tickets for the Green River Festival are $65 for single day passes and $90 for the entire weekend. Tickets can be purchased at www.greenriverfestival.com or at the Franklin County Chamber of Commerce, 395 Main St., and World Eye Bookshop, 156 Main St., both in Greenfield and Elmer’s, 396 Main St., Ashfield.
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