Sounds Local: She Said heads to the Root Cellar in Greenfield

  • She Said will perform Saturday at the Root Cellar in Greenfield. Contributed photo

  • The Stone Coyotes will perform at the Root Cellar in Greenfield on Saturday, Dec. 16. Contributed photo

  • Sheryl Hunter

For The Recorder
Friday, December 08, 2017

“You reach a point in your life when you think ‘what the heck, let’s do it!’” said Margaret Fitzpatrick, the keyboard player in the Shelburne Falls band She Said. Fitzpatrick of Hawley was explaining what motivated a group of 50-something women to form a rock band. Something they had absolutely no experience doing.

The six members of She Said all had strong backgrounds in music and the arts, loved playing music and were looking to have some fun.

“We were like, ‘What have we go to lose? Let’s go for it,’” said Fitzpatrick about the band.

And go for it they did. Now, they are having a great time and making some headway on the local music scene, as well.

“We really enjoy playing, and then we realized that we could get serious about it,” said Fitzpatrick.

She Said started taking root a couple of years ago, but didn’t formally settle in as a band until last year. For a band just starting out, they have landed quite a few gigs. They have played at venues like Underdogs Lounge in Shelburne Falls, the Ashfield Lake House in Ashfield and Hawks & Reed in Greenfield where they opened for Roomful of Blues. They also appeared at Jeff Fest and were part of the Pride celebration in Franklin County.

On Saturday, She Said will make its debut at the Root Cellar in Greenfield at 8 p.m.

Fitzpatrick said that her wife Tanya Bryant, who plays guitar in the band, and Bryant’s sister Tory O’Dell, who plays rhythm guitar, grew up in a musical family and had always wanted to have a band and play out. Fitzpatrick, who played classical piano growing up, also liked the idea of playing in a group.

“You form bands when you are young or when you are older, said Fitzpatrick with a laugh. “In, the in between years, you are too busy worrying about what you should be doing.”

For Fitzpatrick, the in-between years were spent establishing a career in the restaurant world. She has owned various restaurants and catering businesses over the years, and she and Bryant own Underdogs Lounge in Shelburne Falls.

Some musicians came and went before they settled in with the current lineup. They found bassist Nina Rossi of Turners Falls through a Craigslist add, and a friend recommended drummer Gail Hegeman of Greenfield, who is also the drummer for the local Dead tribute band The Dead Collective. Hegeman, the one musician who had previous experience working in a band, recruited her partner Cynthia Fritz to handle percussion. All of the band members sing, which results in some powerful harmonies.

This lineup clicked and She Said was officially born. From the start, She Said was clear on a couple of things — they knew that they wanted the lineup to be all women, and they also did not want to be a cover band.

And if they weren’t going to do covers, that meant that these women had to get on board with the songwriting. And, they did just that — putting together a collection of original material that includes topical songs like “Refugee” and “Piece of Peace,” which would become an integral part of the band’s repertoire.

“We are encouraging everyone to put themselves out there, and then we work collaboratively on the arrangements for the song” said Fitzpatrick.

And with six members in the band, they are also bringing a wide range of influences to the table. As a result, She Said’s sound is a diverse one that includes blues, rock and jazz.

“Our music is a real mixture — it goes from being a lit bit punky to classic rock, and actually leans more toward a softer indie rock sound,” said Fitzpatrick. “There is a bit of country flair in some of the songs that Tory writes, whereas I kind of do songs that lean a little bit more toward jazz and swing.”

It’s a sad fact that even in 2017 all-female bands are in the minority, and when you factor in that the members of She Said are middle-aged, it’s obvious that She Said has a few obstacles in its path. But Fitzpatrick said that the band has not encountered any resistance when it comes to booking gigs.

“Everyone has been great and they seem to like what we are doing,” she said.

Next up for the band? They are currently doing some recording and plan to release an EP that will be distributed at their shows. And they are always looking toward more shows — including the chance to perform outside of the Pioneer Valley.

“That’s the fantasy for sure!” she exclaimed. “But now we are just taking it one step at a time and trying to keep it in the vein of being professional and fun.”

Admission is $7. DJ Nikos will follow with a 10 p.m. show.

The Stone Coyotes at the Root Cellar

Talking about women in rock, we should mention that “the First Lady of Rock,” Barbara Keith, will also be taking the stage at the Root Cellar soon. The Stone Coyotes, the Greenfield rock band on which she handles vocals and guitar, will be at the Root Cellar on Saturday, Dec. 16, at 9 p.m. The band, featuring Keith’s husband Doug Tibbles on drums and his sons John Tibbles on bass/guitar and Doug Jr. on guitar, last played a show in May when they held a CD release show for “Sally In the Doorway” at the Iron Horse music Hall. Being that the Tibbles’ brothers live in California, Stone Coyotes shows have become rather rare, especially hometown shows in Greenfield. While they don’t perform a lot, the band is always working, albeit long distance. It has already done some recording for its next album, which it hopes to release 2018.

This show is a triple bill that will also include country group Dez Roy and Jenel Muno — The Stone Coyotes will play first.

Admission is $10. Advance tickets for the Root Cellar can be purchased at: rootcellarbar.com. The Root Cellar is at 10 Fiske Ave. in Greenfield.