Sounds Local: Music returns and it’s Just Fine Thank You

  • Just Fine Thank You Band: Becky Lang, Robin Hoffman and David Pratt. PHOTO BY HEIDI KMETZ

  • Whiskey Treaty CONTRIBUTED

For the Recorder
Published: 7/6/2022 11:34:54 AM
Modified: 7/6/2022 11:32:46 AM

February 2020 was the last time music was in the air at the Great Falls Coffeehouse in Turners Falls. When COVID-19 hit in March of that year, the monthly coffeehouse held in the Great Hall at the Great Falls Discovery Center closed its doors. It’s been almost two years and we are now happy to announce that the coffeehouse is back and will re-open Friday, July 8 at 7 p.m., with a show by the Just Fine Thank You Band.

This show is part of the mini-series that the coffeehouse is launching that will also include Trio Mambo on Aug. 12, Artful Codgers on Sept. 9, and Juggler Meadow String Band on Oct. 14.

The Just Fine Thank You Band is the trio of Becky Lang of South Deerfield and Robin Hoffman of Conway on vocals and ukuleles, and David Pratt of South Deerfield on percussion. This ukulele-driven band is the perfect group to re-launch this series as their music, which they describe as “a mix of sass and class,” is a guaranteed good time.

Robin Hoffman’s role as a ukulele teacher (she currently teaches at Downtown Sounds in Northampton) first brought her in contact with Lang and Pratt.

“Becky and I had a fortuitous meeting in 2014 when I was just establishing myself as an ukulele teacher and she had just received a uke as a gift,” Hoffman said in a recent e-mail. “She signed up for lessons, and it wasn’t very long before we were playing and singing together and having a great time.”

“I met Dave around the same time. He took some ukulele lessons to gain some extra-musical perspective, and asked lots of questions,” Hoffman continued. “That speaks to the sensitivity he possesses as a drummer.”

It would be many years before the Just Fine Thank You Band came to be.

“The Just Fine Thank You Band came together in May of 2021, just as we all became vaccinated against COVID!” Hoffman said.

“We had been kicking around some ideas, via Zoom beforehand,” she said. “It was positively glorious to finally be playing and laughing together again.”

“Becky, Dave and I had played together before in the Sugarloaf String Band, which specialized in cowboy tunes,” Hoffman continued, adding that the Just Fine Thank You Band does not adhere to any particular style.

In the past, the ukulele was viewed as a novelty instrument, associated with Hawaiian music and Tiny Tim playing “Tiptoe Through the Tulips.” But in the past decade the popularity of the tiny stringed instrument has soared. More people are playing the inexpensive and relatively easy-to-play instrument and community uke groups are popping up all over the country. In addition, musicians like Jake Shimabukuro have achieved fame playing all types of music on the ukulele, including rock tunes like Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody.” The Just Fine Thank You Band has embraced a similar attitude, feeling that there is no limit to the type of music that can be played on a ukulele.

Some of the music that you’ll hear in their repertoire include “Harvest Moon” by Neil Young, “The Man in the Long Black Coat” from Bob Dylan, “Yes, I have Ghosts,” by David Gilmour and “I Wanna Be Sedated” by The Ramones.

How do they choose their material?

“Just Fine Thank You Band is more collaborative — each of us brings in favorite songs and we don’t consider any genre or time period off-limits,” said Hoffman. “We do consider ukuleles a license to mess around with music! Somehow we ended up with a lot of country, jazz standards, and punk rock. We have a lot of fun.”

The Coffeehouse is located at 2 Avenue A in Turners Falls. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Coffee and refreshments will be available. There is a suggested sliding scale donation of $6-$15, free for children. For more information: greatfallsdiscoverycenter.org or call (413) 863-3221.

The Just Fine Thank You Band will play at The Tilton Library in South Deerfield on July 18. For more information: Justfinethankyouband.com

The Whiskey Treaty Roadshow at Berkshire East

Berkshire East is giving music fans a special treat this weekend when they host a free show with the Whiskey Treaty Roadshow and Holly Mae Brown. This show will be on Saturday, July 9, from 3 to 7 p.m. and is the ski resort’s way of kicking off their summer music series.

The Whiskey Treaty Roadshow is a collaborative group where all five musicians write and sing. They were formed in Greenfield back in 2012, and most of the members have roots in the hilltowns of Franklin County. The music they play is a foot-stomping brand of Americana, rock, and roots-folk music. Check out the band’s full-length release “Band Together” or their recently released EP “Recovered” which is a collection of cover tunes.

Their live shows are always high-energy, fun affairs. The opening act will be country singer Holly Mae Brown of Charlemont.

There will be dozens of Adirondack chairs available, but you are welcome to bring a blanket or your own chairs. Food and beverages will be sold, so no outside food or alcohol is allowed.

For more information: berkshireeast.com

Shelburne Falls Porch Music Festival returns

The free show at Berkshire East isn’t the only music happening up in the hilltowns this weekend. On Sunday, July 10, beginning at 1 p.m., the third annual Shelburne Falls Porch Music festival takes place throughout Shelburne Falls. The concept of this event is similar to that of Good Music Make Good Neighbors which was held in Montague in June. It is made up of local musicians and other types of performers on various porches around the area. You can stroll around the village and check out all the talent, all while getting to know your neighbors. It’s the spirit of community that makes this such an engaging event.

The Shelburne Falls Porch Music Festival was started in 2020 by Dorothy Stano-Bennett, who at the time was 13 years old. The idea was to help people cope with the isolation of COVID-19 lockdowns by getting out of their homes and enjoying some live music. That first festival was a success and is now returning for its third year.

There are 13 participating porches and some of the performers include folk musician Lui Collins, comedian Paul Bennett and Americana trio Orlen, Gabriel and Avery.

There will be an after-party with Root Fiyah at Floodwater Brewing Co. in Shelburne Falls at 6 p.m.

For more information, including a map of participating porches and schedule of performers, visit: shelburnefallsporchfestival.com.Sheryl Hunter is a freelance writer who resides in Easthampton. Her work has appeared in various regional and national publications. She can be reached at Soundslocal@yahoo.com.

Sheryl Hunter is a freelance writer who resides in Easthampton. Her work has appeared in various regional and national publications. She can be reached at Soundslocal@yahoo.com


Jobs



Support Local Journalism

Subscribe to the Greenfield Recorder, keeping Franklin County informed since 1792.


Greenfield Recorder

14 Hope Street
Greenfield, MA 01302-1367
Phone: (413) 772-0261
 

 

Copyright © 2021 by Newspapers of Massachusetts, Inc.
Terms & Conditions - Privacy Policy