Sounds Local: Love Crumbs and Cloudbelly collaborate on powerful new music, NFT

By SHERYL HUNTER

For the Recorder

Published: 05-17-2023 3:03 PM

It’s been two years since the indie folk-rock band Love Crumbs released any new music, and now the wait is finally over. The band, which features Michael Dubuque on guitar, Ali McTavish on vocals and Scott Wolfram on bass, will release a new single, “Vacant Dream,” on Friday, May 19. They will celebrate the release with a show at the Parlor Room in Northampton, Saturday, May 20, at 7:30 p.m. This show will be a co-bill with singer-songwriter Sandy Bailey of Northfield.

“Vacant Dream” was written by Dubuque of Greenfield, who writes all the material for the band. It is the follow-up to 2021’s “Ellipses.” The song deals with addiction and the pain and struggle of loving an addict who can’t beat the illness. It’s a highly personal song in that Dubuque wrote it about his relationship with his brother.

In a different move for the band, the song is sung by Corey Laitman, who records and performs under the moniker Cloudbelly.

“When it came time to record the song, Ali wasn’t getting the exact right feels on the vocals, and I was doubtful about my capacity to sing it on the record, and I was glad I didn’t because my voice is only so-so,” said Dubuque in a recent phone conversation.

He turned to Laitman, who he first heard sing a few years ago when Cloudbelly performed at Pulaski Park in Northampton. From the start, Dubuque was impressed with Laitman’s talents as a writer and singer. Over time, the two have done some collaborating and have become close friends. Dubuque knew that Laitman had the perfect voice to deliver this song. He was right.

“Oh, before we know/ You were swallowed, swallowed/ Oh before we know/ In sorrow, sorrow,” Laitman’s smooth voice captures the pain that runs through these words without weighing them down. The song starts out with a gentle melody strummed on acoustic guitar and builds to include a shimmering electric guitar and drums. The music here supports but never overwhelms the vocals at the forefront.

Eventually, McTavish joins in to add her raspy voice to these powerful lines: “I may never hear your amends/ You may never make it right/ You may never know my kids/ You may never know my wife/ We may never get to talk/ On that old swing set/ Down by our parent’s house/ Like we did when we were kids.” It’s a powerful and poignant song that brilliantly captures an experience shared by so many.

Dubuque is pleased with the way the song turned out.

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“Corey’s voice is incredible, and for them to agree to sing on songs that they didn’t write, I think, is a big nod and really beautiful,” he added. “It feels like the best song we’ve done.”

It is also one of his most personal songs, and he expects his writing to go more in that direction. “I think, in general, I am getting away from songs that are more hook based and trying to be more vulnerable,” he said.

“I’m proud of the song and how it came out, and it’s a special song for me. I hope that people who have had the experience of loving an addict will be moved.”

The new single isn’t the only big news in the Love Crumbs world. The band recently signed a deal with the record label Gala Music, a very new and different type of record label.

“Gala is a cryptocurrency, and they have their own music label/platform that makes NFTs out of music and artwork,” explained Dubuque. NFT stands for “non-fungible token” and is a data file stored on a type of digital ledger called a blockchain, which can be sold and traded. Gala released 90 NFTs of the band’s song “Ellipses,” and these sold for $100 each and sold out in less than a minute.

The. “Ellipses” NFTs then moved onto the secondary market, where people purchased them for twice as much.

For those of us with little knowledge of the cryptocurrency world (that would be me), this notion of NFTs can be hard to wrap one’s head around. What exactly is one getting with a digital purchase? “A single song combined with digital art makes the NFT,” explained Dubuque, who is also learning about this new way of selling music. “One of the things is that NFTs are unique and can’t be replicated.”

One clear thing is that people who are into NFTs are very into them, and it’s proven beneficial to Love Crumbs as it has exposed them to a new, very supportive community.

The artists on the Gala label, which is home to some big names like Snoop Dog and Kings of Leon, make money with their recorded music, something that the popularity of streaming has made almost impossible except for big-name acts.

Love Crumbs signed a five-song deal with Gala Music and retained their publishing rights.

“I know a lot of people who are signed to labels that don’t get this kind of financial support; just being paid to any degree to make independent music is beyond a dream,” said Dubuque, who added that the funds generated from the Gala deal will allow Love Crumbs to record a full-length album. The band has already begun work on this next project.

The NFT for “Vacant Dream” will be released about a week after its traditional release date of May 19.

The band looks forward to releasing “Vacant Dream” to the world and to playing it at this show, where they will be joined by Cloudbelly. This will be an acoustic show.

Sandy Bailey of Northfield will be the co-headliner, performing a set of her soulful rock music. She will be joined by Monte Arnstam on drums, Marc Seedorf on bass and Nate Thorn on guitar. Look for her to play some songs from her upcoming album, “Daughter of Abraham.”

Bailey also promises to deliver some exciting news at this show, so don’t miss out. You can also catch Bailey performing at this year’s Green River Festival.

For tickets, visit parlorroom.org. The show begins at 7:30 p.m; doors open at 7 p.m.

Suds and Songs kick off in Montague Village Store tonight

Tonight, Shea Away Presents will launch its summer music series, “Suds and Songs,” at the Montague Village store at 5:30 p.m. The series, which is co-sponsored by the Montague Cultural Council, pairs music with beer tastings. “Suds and Songs” will take place on the third Thursday of every month, starting now and running through September. The shows will take place from 5:30 p.m to 8 p.m. There will be a cash bar and food from the grill available. Kids are welcome to attend.

Tonight’s show will feature the aforementioned Cloudbelly paired with Howler Brewery. This performance will feature Corey Laitman and their musical partner, guitarist Sam Perry.

Future shows in the series include June 15, Big Destiny paired with Building 8 Brewing; July 20, The Bitter Duo with Berkshire Brewing; Aug. 17, Anbassa Duo with White Lion Brewing; Sept. 21, Vimana with Artifact Cider.

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.

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