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Sounds Local: Patsy Cline tribute band brings country singer’s classics to Greenfield

  • Patsy Clone, a Patsy Cline tribute band with vocals by Sandy Bailey of Turners Falls and Vanessa Brewster of Greenfield, is performing at The Root Cellar on Saturday. Contributed photo/Zac Osgood

  • Kalliope Jones, made up of Alouette Batteau of Shelburne Falls, Isabella DeHerdt of Ashfield and Amelia Chalfant of Northampton, will play an EP release show at Hawks & Reed Performing Arts Center on Friday. Contributed photo

  • HUNTER



For the Recorder
Wednesday, January 02, 2019

Country singer Patsy Cline may have perished in a plane crash in 1963, but her music lives on and continues to win over new generations of fans, even inspiring tribute bands.

Cline had the kind of ache in her voice that pulls at your heartstrings and never lets go. As a result, songs like “Crazy,” “Sweet Dreams,” “I Fall to Pieces” and so many others are classics that sound as fresh today as they did when she first released them.

Singers Sandy Bailey of Turners Falls and Vanessa Brewster of Greenfield are two local musicians with a deep respect for Cline’s music. In fact, it was their shared love of her music that led them to form a Patsy Cline tribute band, called Patsy Clone.

Patsy Clone will appear at The Root Cellar, 10 Fiske Ave. in Greenfield, on Saturday at 8 p.m. The evening’s lineup will also feature Ona Canoa, Marlene Lavelle and Sister Jawbone.

Bailey and Brewster have been friends since they started working together at The People’s Pint in Greenfield about eight years ago. They have a lot in common, in that they are both single moms, juggling jobs and family responsibilities while also working as musicians. Both women grew up in Connecticut and have been writing and performing their own music for years.

As a solo singer-songwriter, Bailey has released two albums of original material. She currently leads her own band, Sister Jawbone, where she writes songs that explore the plight and dreams of contemporary women and wraps her words in a soulful bluesy sound. Meanwhile, Brewster performs under the moniker Old Pam, and her music is a noisy brand of psychedelic folk. There’s nothing remotely country about their respective solo work, yet both women are huge Patsy Cline fans.

“I have been singing Patsy Cline for a long time,” said Bailey, who grew up in a religious household where she sang gospel music at a young age. “Besides gospel, I was also exposed to bluegrass and soul, and I feel like Patsy had the similar influences that I grew up with.”

But it’s not only Cline’s music that Bailey can relate to.

“I feel connected to her life story, what with her being a mom and a musician and going through crazy relationship experiences,” she said.

Brewster feels a connection to Cline, too, but said she was a bit of a late bloomer when it came to falling for her music.

“I’ve always known who she was. When I was a kid, I had a karaoke machine that played ‘Crazy,’ she recalled. “And I always loved to sing, but growing up, I was mostly into musical theater.”

Once in her teens, Brewster’s interest drifted toward punk and noise music, but in her early 20s, a friend played her a song he had written that had a line about listening to “a 45 of Patsy Cline,” motivating her to revisit Cline’s work.

“From that point on, I really got into Patsy and her songs of heartbreak and her husky voice,” she said.

The formation of Patsy Clone came about because Bailey and Brewster loved to sing together and also enjoyed forming short-lived cover bands where they would immerse themselves in the work of other artists. They’ve covered everyone from The Cranberries to David Bowie, with one of their most memorable projects being Fleetwood Whack where they played the music of Fleetwood Mac. Brewster sang as Stevie Nicks and Bailey sang as Christine McVie.

Last summer, Brewster decided it would be fun to start a Patsy Cline cover band. Bailey was on board from the start.

“I love these songs,” Bailey said. “They are perfect, and every woman has gone through this stuff. It’s so plainly spoken and heartfelt.”

Rounding out the band is drummer Eric Dew, guitarist Chris Sella and Tim Dolan on upright bass.

Brewster came up with the clever name, Patsy Clone, as a nod to there being two Patsys, although Brewster does most of the singing.

“I sing about four songs and we do some together, but it’s mostly Vanessa. She has a fantastic voice and is fun to watch,” Bailey said. “It gives me a chance to be the piano player, and work on that side of my musicianship and learn a new genre.”

For Brewster, stepping into Cline’s shoes came easily.

“I love these songs so much, so for the most part, I knew them already as I sing them all the time,” Brewster said, adding that she has a voice that lends itself to sounding like other singers.

This show will only be Patsy Clone’s third show, and it will a special night of music featuring all-female fronted bands.

The evening will also feature singer Marlene Lavelle, who has a beautiful, haunting voice, and the folk trio Ona Canoa. Bailey will be doing double duty as her band Sister Jawbone will close out the night with a soulful, funky set that will feature new material.

Both women are having a lot of fun with this project, but don’t know how long Patsy Clone will continue as they have other interests and want to focus on their own songwriting.

“I think that this will not be a forever thing,” Brewster said. “I think we might take a hiatus and come back. We’ve been talking about getting Fleetwood Whack back together and I want to do Queen really bad. But there’s a lot of talent in this band and it’s exciting, so I think this will always be in the back pocket.”

Tickets are $10 and can be purchased at the door, in advance at rootcellarbar.com, or by contacting the venue at 413-773-3290.

Kalliope Jones to hold EP release show

The Root Cellar isn’t the only place to enjoy some amazing music by female musicians this weekend. On Friday night, the trio of Kalliope Jones will host a CD release show for its new EP “Bubblegum Heart,” at Hawks & Reed Performing Arts Center, 289 Main St. in Greenfield, at 8:30 p.m.

The band — which consists of drummer Alouette Batteau of Shelburne Falls, guitarist Isabella DeHerdt of Ashfield and bassist Amelia Chalfant of Northampton — formed when its members were barely in their teens, having met at the Institute for the Musical Arts in Goshen. Chalfant and Batteau are now seniors in high school and DeHerdt is a sophomore at Wellesley College. These young women aren’t kids anymore, and having heard the EP’s title track, I can tell you they have made major strides as songwriters and singers. And they can really rock!

“The new EP is more instrumentally and musically sophisticated than our previous material, and the lyrics are much more about our own experiences in high school and moving into college,” Batteau wrote in an email exchange. “Overall, the songwriting and storytelling have improved, and the music is more danceable and intimate than it was before. The recording and production are also more layered and lush.”

The trio will host another release show when they open for The Nields at the Iron Horse Music Hall, 20 Center St. in Northampton, on Saturday, Feb. 2, at 7 p.m. As a bonus, if you bring your ticket stub from the Hawks & Reed show to the Iron Horse show, you’ll receive some free merchandise.

Tickets for the Hawks & Reed show are $8 in advance and $12 on the day of the show. Advance tickets can be purchased at hawksandreed.com or by calling 413-774-0150. Doors open at 8 p.m. Trinity Pirrone will open.

Tickets for the Feb. 2 show at the Iron Horse are $17.50 in advance, $20 (cash only) at the door. Advance tickets can be purchased at iheg.com or by calling 413-586-8686. Doors open at 5:30 p.m.

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.