Sounds Local: Whiskey Treaty Roadshow’s big Black Friday show

  • Following an incredibly successful year, The Whiskey Treaty Roadshow will perform Friday, Nov. 25 at Hawks & Reed Performing Arts Center in Greenfield. They promise to raise the roof of the venue as a way of saying thanks to the fans who were with them from the beginning.  PHOTO BY BILL WRIGHT

  • Whiskey Treaty Roadshow’s David Tanklefsky and Billy Keane holding the New England Music Award for Roots Act of the year, which they won on Nov. 16. CONTRIBUTED

  • Singer-songwriter Sandy Bailey of Northfield will open for The Whiskey Treaty Roadshow at their Black Friday show. PHOTO BY MIKE PIRELLI

For the Recorder
Published: 11/23/2022 3:49:54 PM
Modified: 11/23/2022 3:49:43 PM

Tomorrow is Black Friday, and for many people that means heading off to the malls and enduring long lines and overzealous shoppers. A much more enjoyable way to celebrate the day after Thanksgiving is to head to the Black Friday Party at Hawks & Reed Performing Arts Center in Greenfield and revel in the music of The Whiskey Treaty Roadshow and Sandy Bailey.

This show is notable for the Whiskey Treaty Roadshow – Tory Hanna, Greg Smith, Chris Merenda, David Tanklefsky and Billy Keane – as the band are wrapping up a successful year. They have come out of the pandemic with the band intact and are back to doing what they do best: playing live. That alone is cause for celebration, but last week it was announced that the band won the New England Music Award for Roots Act of the year.

This award, determined by fan votes, is a huge honor for the band. The competition was stiff, especially since New England cities like Portland and Boston have huge music scenes. Four other local acts, including Poor Monroe and Mamma’s Marmalade, were also nominated in this category. Treaty members Tanklefsky and Keane attended the award ceremony held in Foxboro on Nov. 16 and accepted the award for the band.

“It was definitely an unexpected honor,” Tanklefsky said in a recent email exchange. “We were really excited when we found out we were even nominated a few months ago just because we were in the company of so many great artists, many of whom we consider good friends. When they announced our name at the awards ceremony, Billy and I just looked at each other in surprised joy.”

In addition to celebrating the big award, this show also doubles as a homecoming show, because Hawks & Reed is where it all began for the group.

It was Labor Day weekend in 2012 when event planner Susie Hanna hosted the Whiskey Treaty festival at the Arts Block (now Hawks & Reed). The goal of the event was to showcase four musical groups, all oriented towards danceable blues, folk, rock and Americana, with all the musicians having roots in the hill towns of western Massachusetts. The festival also celebrated whiskey and offered a variety of whiskey-drink specials.

The festival was a huge success. Everyone had such a great time that the musicians decided to form a band and take it on the road and play a few shows in other venues (hence, the band’s name). It took off from there. All of the band members are singers and songwriters, making the Whiskey Treaty Roadshow special as each member brings their unique style to the mix. You’ll hear rock, roots music, and Americana when the Whiskey Treaty Roadshow is in the house.

Since becoming a band the Treaty have played countless shows, released a full-length album, and were the subjects of a documentary. They have watched their fan base grow with each passing year.

Whiskey Treaty Roadshow only have two more shows scheduled for 2022, and the Hawks & Reed show is one of them. The other will be a special holiday celebration at the Egremont Barn in Egremont on Dec. 17. The Barn is proving to be a special place for the band. In March they spent a week at this location working on new material while also filming a documentary and recording and filming a live show.

“In the next few months, our focus is on finishing up and putting out the live album, but we’re definitely discussing what it would look like to record a lot of the Barn material in a studio setting,” said Tanklefsky.

In addition to the New England Music Award, this past year the band were honored with the Berkshire Community Action Council’s Volunteer Leadership Award for their “Recovered” live stream, which raised about $13,000 for out-of-work service workers in the Berkshires during the pandemic. The recording of “Recovered,” a collection of cover songs, is available to purchase at thewhiskeytreaty.com

The band also held its first ever Treaty-curated music festival, Mountain Day, at Bosquet Mountain in Pittsfield. About 800 people attended the festival.

“We had talked for a long time about putting on our own music festival and we always said if we did it, it would have to be something that represents the best of the Treaty: great music, but also giving back to and highlighting the people in our communities doing impactful work,” said Tanklefsky. “So this first year blew away our expectations in terms of ticket sales and interest and was really like a proof of concept that the interest is there. Now we’re really thinking about how to grow it so it’s something people come back to every summer and look forward to.”

The upcoming year is looking to be a busy one for the Whiskey Treaty Roadshow, but now the focus is on the Black Friday show where the band promises to raise the roof of the venue as a way of saying thanks to the fans who were with them from the beginning. The Treaty will be joined by Josh Chaplin on bass and Connor Meehan on drums. Singer-songwriter Sandy Bailey will open.

Bailey, of Northfield, recently completed mixing her new album, which at this time does not have a release date. She wrote the material at the encouragement of singer-songwriter Mary Gauthier, whose songwriting workshop Bailey attended in Nashville. You can hear some of these new songs on Friday night.

“We’ll be sharing the stage with the great Sandy Bailey who has a couple of awesome Greenfield musicians in her band who have played with the Treaty and have been involved in various projects with us – Monte Arnstam on drums and Marc Seedorf on bass,” said Tanklefsky. “It’ll be a real reunion, which is what the day after Thanksgiving is for!”

Doors open at 7 p.m. and show is at 8 p.m. Tickets are $20 in advance and $25 at the door. Tickets are available at hawksandreed.com or by calling 413-774-0150.

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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