Sounds Local: Something for the Valley’s country lovers

  • The Nite Caps is Michael Pattavina on upright bass, Betsy-Dawn Williams on rhythm guitar and vocals; Jeff Potter on drums, harmonica and vocals; Rich Sullivan on pedal steel; and Tom Randall on guitar and vocals. Like Pattavina, they all have extensive experience playing in various Valley-based bands. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO


For The Recorder
Thursday, January 11, 2018

This past summer while working in his yard, musician Michael Pattavina of Greenfield contracted Lyme disease. Fortunately, with treatment, Pattavina was able to make a full recovery. The experience, however, left him dismayed about the disease and the different kinds of information available about whether a tick bite is going to lead to Lyme disease.

He knew that he wanted to help raise awareness about this subject, and to educate his fellow country music fans and others who spend time outdoors about the risk of exposure to tick-borne disease. And, being that he’s a longstanding musician here in the Valley, it made sense to accomplish this goal through music.

Pattavina, and his bandmates in the honky-tonk group the Nite Caps, will host a Country Music Jamboree benefit show at the Hawks & Reed Performing Arts Center in Greenfield on Sunday, Jan. 14, at 2:30 p.m.

“The Jamboree will benefit UMass Tick Report, an organization that collects the tick for analysis and determines if, in fact, it is a carrier of a disease. The proliferation of tick-born disease is a new reality of climate change in the northeast,” said Pattavina.

In addition to the Nite Caps, Josh LeVangie and the Pistoleros will perform.

Pattavina, who plays upright bass in the Nite Caps, has been a working musician for over 25 years. Some of the bands he has played in are Boyz of the Landfill, Appalachian Still, Roland LaPierre Band, and the Rewinders. A little over two years ago, he joined together with a group of equally accomplished musicians to form the Nite Caps, who came together because of their shared love of classic country music and their desire to share this music with others.

The Nite Caps include Betsy-Dawn Williams on rhythm guitar and vocals; Jeff Potter on drums, harmonica and vocals; Rich Sullivan on pedal steel; and Tom Randall on guitar and vocals. Like Pattavina, they all have extensive experience playing in various Valley-based bands. Their collective resume includes Girl Howdy, Li’l Bee-Dee & the Doo-Rites, Clean Living, The Zydecats and others.

The classic country and Western swing music that the Nite Caps play is made for dancing, so as part of the jamboree they are offering two-step dance lessons. The lessons, which will be held at 2:30 and 4:30 p.m., are included with the price of admission.

When putting the jamboree together, Pattavina knew Josh LeVangie and the Pistoleros would be the perfect band to have on the lineup.

“The Pistoleros play a lot in Wendell and Shutesbury and feature Jim Henry on lead guitar. As an upright bass player, I have had the opportunity to sit in with the band,” said Pattavina about the five-piece band led by LeVangie of Wendell. If you are a fan of the music of Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash and Merle Haggard, then the Pistoleros are the band for you. The Pistoleros specialize in true blue outlaw country music, and for many listeners this is the music that defines country. And like the music of the Nite Caps, the Pistoleros will have you moving on the dance floor.

“The country music scene in the Valley is small but it is growing, so an event like a country music jamboree is an effort to expand the scene,” said Pattavina. “In addition, country music has a rich tradition of providing music for dancing, and dances like the two-step, Western swing and waltzes work well with country music. This is reason we will be offering dance lessons.”

Pattavina stressed that he wanted the jamboree to be a family affair, so they have made a few concessions to make it easier for all to attend. The show is scheduled early and will wrap up by 8 p.m. Also, admission is free for ages 18 and under.

“The bands both feature killer guitar players, pedal steel players and great vocalists,” said Pattavina. “These are the two best country music bands in the Valley.”

This is a show that country fans will not want to miss out on and it’s all for a good cause.

Doors open at 2 p.m. and admission is $10 at the door for adults. Hawks & Reed is at 289 Main St.

Wooden Fender launches Winter Music Series

The past two weekends have been so cold that it has been hard to find the motivation to leave the house. By now you are probably itching to get out, and if you are looking to shake off that winter funk that’s settling in, then a night of dancing to the rocking sounds of Trailer Park is just what you need. Add a dinner of homemade soup before the dancing begins and you are definitely on the right track.

For the 13th year, Wooden Fender, an offshoot of the Warwick Arts Council, will host a series of four musical performances at the Warwick Town Hall that are guaranteed to clear out the winter doldrums. The series kicks off on Saturday with the show by Trailer Park, the Northampton-based band that features Tom Mahnken (bass and vocals), James Robinson (guitar and vocals), Rick Page and Greg Lauzon (twin tenor saxophones), and Joe Fitzpatrick (drums). They play original music that has roots in the spicy sounds of New Orleans rhythm and blues, and is music that’s designed to make you feel good while dancing the night away.

Before each show in this series, there will be a dinner hosted by a town organization that features good old-fashioned home cooking. For the Trailer Park show, the Warwick Arts Council will present soups, chilies and deserts. The dinner will begin at 6 p.m. and the cost is $5 for adults, $3 for children. Once you are done eating, head upstairs where the music will begin at 7 p.m. Donations for the bands are encouraged.

Also scheduled is a blues night with The Patty T. Blues Band who will perform on Saturday, Feb. 10. The featured meal at this show will be a pizza dinner presented by Trinitarian Congregational Church.

The remainder of the series has yet to be announced. The Warwick Town Hall is on the Warwick Common on Route 78.

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