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Sounds Local: Greenfield group organizes cover concerts for worthy cause

  • Music by the pioneering British band, The Kinks, will be covered by local bands during a fundraising show at Hawks & Reed Performing Arts Center on Sept. 27. Contributed photo

  • Mamma’s Marmalade of Northampton kicks off the 34th season of the Wendell Full Moon Coffeehouse on Saturday. Contributed photo

  • HUNTER



For the Recorder
Thursday, September 20, 2018

When you go out to see shows, regardless of the genre, it is a common practice for bands to slip in a cover song or two. After all, it’s fun for band members to put their own twist on an old favorite, and audiences always enjoy familiar tunes.

Covers for a Cause takes the cover song concept a step further, presenting shows where local musicians, who are known for playing original music, come together for an entire night to play the songs of a designated artist or band. These shows are a lot of fun, and also build community as they raise money for deserving local organizations.

Covers for a Cause’s next show will take place on Thursday, Sept. 27, at 7:30 p.m. at Hawks & Reed Performing Arts Center, 289 Main St. in Greenfield. All participating musicians will perform the music of the pioneering British band, The Kinks. Money raised at the show will benefit the Stone Soup Cafe, a pay-what-you-can community cafe that operates out of the All Souls Church in Greenfield.

Performing at this show will be The frost heaves and hales, Stuttering Pigs, Steve Koziol and friends, Chris Scanlon and The Other Guys, Supervised Clinical Trial, and Reverend Dan and the Dirty Catechism.

“We welcome any bands to play three to six songs for each event,” said musician and WRSI disc jockey Emily Baroque of Greenfield, who organizes the Covers for a Cause shows. “We have a fair amount of bands that play every event, but are open to anyone.”

Covers for a Cause was initiated about five years ago when Baroque was performing at a local open mic night. She was covering a song by The Magnetic Fields when her friend, Jamie Berger, asked her if she would like to form a cover band and play a show together. In March of 2014, they got some friends together to play a show at The Rendezvous in Turners Falls, where they covered the music of The Magnetic Fields and raised money for the Greg Ellis Memorial Fund.

In recent years, Covers for a Cause shows have covered Black Sabbath, Harry Nilsson, The Pixies and Leonard Cohen among others, and have raised money for The RECOVER Project, The Literacy Project, Books Through Bars, and The People’s Fund, to name a few.

After taking some time off from overseeing the series earlier this year, Baroque moved the series from The Rendezvous to Hawks & Reed. Since making this move, Covers for a Cause has hosted two shows — one where they covered the music of The Cranberries, and the most recent event was devoted to the music of Tom Petty.

“Often the bands are chosen based on suggestion from local folks, or we pay tribute to musicians who have recently passed away as a way of honoring their music,” Baroque said of the selection process.

The Kinks is a fitting band to cover, with an extensive catalog to choose from.

The band, whose founding members, brothers Ray and Dave Davies, are almost as famous for their feuds as they are for their music, have been in the news this past summer. Ray Davies announced in June that the band is planning to work together again and may even tour. The last time The Kinks performed together was in 1996.

The band is also releasing a 50th anniversary edition of “The Kinks Are The Village Green Preservation Society” on Oct. 26. The album, which was under-appreciated at the time of its release, is considered by some to be one of the best British rock albums ever released.

“I’m totally pumped to cover The Kinks,” said Daniel Hales, frontman of The frost heaves and hales who has participated in nearly all the Covers for a Cause performances. “Ray Davies is one of the greatest living songwriters. I only wish I had the time to learn and cover more than just four songs. They’ve been a total blast to learn.”

The Kinks reunion is probably one of those “I’ll believe it when I see it” events, so if you are looking to hear some of The Kinks’ music, this show might be your best bet. This one promises to be a fun night out and it’s for a good cause.

Admission is by suggested donation of $5 to $50. Doors open at 7 p.m.

Mamma’s Marmalade kicks off Wendell Full Moon Coffeehouse season

If you are a fan of bluegrass music, chances are you spent last weekend at the FreshGrass Festival at Mass MoCA in North Adams. If you weren’t lucky enough to be there, don’t worry — some of the fine local talent that graced the stage at the esteemed festival have shows coming up in our area in the near future.

One of these bands is Mamma’s Marmalade of Northampton, which played FreshGrass for the third time on Saturday and followed that performance with a Sunday afternoon appearance at the Big E in West Springfield. Shows like these are providing the band with the opportunity to expand its audience well beyond our local scene.

On Saturday night, the band will have the honor of kicking off the 34th season of the Wendell Full Moon Coffeehouse in Old Town Hall, 6 Center St. in Wendell. Mamma’s Marmalade, which formed in 2014, plays an energetic mix of bluegrass, old-time and folk music that honors the past while focusing on the contemporary. The coffeehouse organizers report that the band’s shows last year were a favorite that had the crowds dancing the night away, which is why the band is being welcomed back to launch the new fall season.

And what a season it will be. The coffeehouse will welcome She Said on Oct. 27, Old Flame on Nov. 17 and The Green Sisters on Dec. 15.

There is an open mic before each headlining act that begins at 7:30 p.m. To participate, you must sign up in advance at wendellfullmoon.org. Each show is a benefit for a local grassroots cause, and this month, proceeds will be put toward the costs to operate the coffeehouse for the season.

A couple of other FreshGrass alums with shows on the horizon are Pinedrop, the up-and-coming bluegrass band from Brattleboro, Vt., which will open a show for the psychedelic rock band The Edd at The Stone Church in Brattleboro on Saturday at 8 p.m. And looking ahead, the always entertaining Whiskey Treaty Roadshow will perform at Hawks & Reed on Oct. 6.

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.