The holiday season brings with it a host of great concerts

  • Roger Salloom Contributed photo

  • Crooked Still Contributed photo/Flora Reed (Signature Sounds)

Published: 11/28/2019 6:00:23 AM

Happy Thanksgiving. The holiday season officially kicks off today and with it comes all the traditions we have come to love, including a host of musical events that cycle through every year. So, as you embark on your plans for this busy time of year, do take some time to enjoy some of these holiday shows.

One of these shows occurs this weekend when Roger Salloom returns to Hawks and Reed at 289 Main St. in Greenfield on Saturday at 7 p.m. for his annual holiday show. Salloom is a seasoned singer-songwriter whose shows feature enjoyable folk-rock tunes sprinkled with between-song stories. He will be joined by a stellar backing band and, as always, will have a special guest with him. When he started these shows, the guest was usually his pal, Charles Neville, but this year he will be joined by singer Ptah Brown. 

“Soulful, jazzy, bluesy with a preacher’s zeal to heal her listeners,” said Salloom about the singer, whose music has been described as “defining the heartache of blues and the hope of gospel.” 

Brown has an impressive background — she has toured the world and has performed with artists like the Wailers, Patti LaBelle, John Lee Hooker, George Clinton and many others. She has also sung backing vocals for the likes of Aretha Franklin, Melba Moore and Peter Tosh.

Salloom first connected with Brown when he was performing on Cape Cod. 

“Some years ago on the Cape in Wellfleet, she sat in with me,” Salloom explained. “She has done more of this in the recent past, but this year she really hit me — that is who she was as an artist and an honest person.”

Salloom, who was the subject of the documentary “So Glad I Made It: The Saga of Roger Salloom, America’s Best Unknown Songwriter,” continued: “Brown is also slick with the jazz, blues and R &B. I was struck by how she was totally devoted to singing and trying to heal people through her singing.”

This past summer, Brown joined Salloom for his 36th annual free concert which was held at Glendale Ridge in Southampton. Salloom said she won over the crowd with her powerful, heartfelt vocals — she is sure to do the same when she takes the stage in Greenfield. 

 “She is a profusely, positive and loving performer. She makes people feel good, in short,” said Salloom.

Salloom, whose career took off during the heyday of the 1960’s San Francisco music scene, is currently taking baby steps toward making a new album. He doesn’t play a lot of local shows but always make a point to play in Greenfield each year. His warm, laid-back style makes every show feel like a house concert.

Audiences connect to his honest songs like “(Gotta Get) Out of Worcester,” which he wrote early in his career, and more recent fare like the political tune, “Don’t Let My Country Wash Away.” (That song has over 30,000 views on Facebook). Being that this is a holiday show, we can expect to hear his topical and relatable holiday song about families getting together that is called “Talking Christmas Blues.”

“In these tough national times, I want my music to heal and my words to be truthful,” Salloom stressed about his performance.

If you looking for the perfect way to wrap up your Thanksgiving weekend and get a great start to the holiday season, head to Hawks and Reed on Saturday night. Tickets are $15 in advance, available hawksandreed.com, and $20 on the day of the show. For more information call 413-774-0150.

Crooked Still at the Shea Theater

Looking for an early Christmas present for that special someone, or maybe a special treat for yourself, look no further than tickets to Crooked Still’s upcoming concert at the Shea Theater in Turners Falls. The progressive bluegrass group will play at the Shea on Tuesday, Dec. 10 at 7 p.m. and will be joined by opening act Lula Wiles. 

Crooked Still is one of the leading and most innovative bands on the acoustic music scene. The group formed in 2001 in Boston and consists of vocalist Aoife O’Donovan, banjo player Gregory Liszt, double bassist Corey DiMario, cellist Tristan Clarridge and fiddler Brittany Haas. Right from the start, the trio received acclaim based on its impressive technical skills, strong songwriting, unique instrumentation and energetic live shows. 

The band released five albums and one EP on the Signature Sounds Recording label. The band’s 2006 album, “Shaken By A Low Sound,” remains one of the finest in the genre and is an example of the way the band took bluegrass music in an exciting new direction. (Signature Sounds re-released this 2006 album on a deluxe Vinyl set last year.)

The band has toured heavily, playing at festivals and in theaters. In 2011, the group’s members decided to go on hiatus so they could refuel and explore other projects. Aoife O’Donovan, in particular, has achieved success with the group I’m With Her. That trio, which also includes Sara Watkins and Sarah Jarosz, recently received two 2020 Grammy nominations for the song “Call My Name”.

Since the hiatus, Crooked Still shows have been few and far apart. The group’s most recent appearance was at the 2017 Fresh Grass Festival at Mass MoCA in North Adams and this current tour only has a handful of dates, so we are very lucky that they are coming to Turners Falls. 

The fact that they will be joined by Lula Wiles makes this show all the better. Lula Wiles is a rootsy folk trio from Boston that is gaining attention in the Americana world. The group’s latest album, “What Will We Do,” wraps lyrics dealing with contemporary life in a traditional Americana sound. The group also has a new single that’s worth checking out called “It’s Cool” that takes a look at the world of modern dating.

Seated tickets are $40 in advance and $45 at the door. Standing room only tickets are $30 in advance and $35 at the door. Advance tickets can be purchased at signaturesoundspresents.com or by calling 413-341-3317.

Green River Festival Pre-Sale Party

Another annual holiday tradition is when Signature Sounds puts early bird tickets for the Green River Festival on sale for one day only. This Saturday, Nov. 30, you can head down to the Parlor Room at 32 Masonic St. in Northampton and purchase advance tickets for the 2020 festival (which will be on July 10,11 and 12) at the low price of  $99.99 for a 3-day weekend pass and $149.99 for a 3-day weekend pass with camping. This is the lowest price that tickets will be sold and this sale runs only on this day. Tickets must be purchased in-person at the Parlor Room from noon to 5 p.m.

Signature Sounds makes this one-day sale day a party, so there will be live music, refreshments and reduced merchandise available all day at the Parlor Room. A free screening of Martin Scorsese’s “The Last Waltz” will take place at 7 p.m. at the Academy of Music in Northampton. There will also be live performances screened from the Green House Stage at the Green River Festival featuring Michael Franti, Deer Tick, Eilen Jewell and other festival favorites.

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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