Watermelon Wednesdays 2015

Celebrating 16 Years of the Finest Acoustic Music of All Genres
At the West Whately Chapel near the intersection of Conway and Williamsburg Roads
(Click HERE for directions. All shows are on Wednesdays and begin at 7.30 pm (except as noted). Online Tix highly recommended and will be available beginning May 4!)

Pat Alger Jim Rooneyand Chris Brashear: Pat Alger is the songwriters' songwriter. His songs have been recorded by The Everly Brothers, Brenda Lee,Peter, Paul & Mary, Nanci Griffith, Dolly Parton,Livingston & James Taylor, Don Williams, Kathy Mattea,Hal Ketchum, Trisha Yearwood, and Garth Brooks. As an artist he has recorded 3 solo albums, and as a writer he has had over 20 chart hits and 8 No.1’s. Pat was the 1991 Nashville Songwriters Association International Songwriter of the Year and the 1992 ASCAP Country Songwriter of the Year. Other awards include the 1998 NSAI President’s Choice award and heis a two-time winner of the CMA Triple Play Award for 3 #1s in a year. In 2010 Pat was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame. Jim Rooney is a Grammy-winning producer of such folk luminaries as Nanci Griffith, John Prine, Iris Dement, Hal Ketchum, Tom Paxton, Tom Rush, and Peter Rowan, to name a few. He managed both the Newport Folk and Jazz Festivals as well as Club 47 and ran the famous Woodstock recording studio, Bearsville Sound Studio, for Albert Grossman. He played for years in a duo with legendary banjoist, Bill Keith. As if that weren't enough, Pat and Jim will be joined by vocalist and multi-instrumentalist, Chris Brashear, a founding member of the band Perfect Strangers, along with Jody Stecher and former Bluegrass Boys Bob Black and Forrest Rose. He was a sideman in Robin and Linda Williams' Fine Group. He has several recordings to his name. A tad younger than Pat and Jim, Chris makes the timeless repertoire of American traditional, country and folk music shine. Together this trio will move you through the years, tears, and joys of great American songwriting, singing and playing. Buy Tix Here May 28


Peter Blanchette and Friends! If there were a Local Hero for the Arts, Peter would certainly be one of the first. His musicianship, composition, creativity and playing have given the valley a bountiful musical harvest for many years. He'll be coming back to the Chapel after too many years away. I'm looking forward to his return! Buy Tix Here June 3
Tim Kliphuis and Don Stiernberg: They're back!!! Two gypsy jazz swing virtuosos will take to the stage.  Tim for the fourth time; one of only two Watermelon four-peats, and if you’ve heard him before, you understand why.  Tim is the heir to Stephane Grappelli.  These two will truly swing.  My thanks to Andrew Lawrence of Django in June for letting me bring these two headliners to the chapel. Buy Tix Here June 17
Barnstar: Barnstar makes their Watermelon debut a double-header with shows at 4pm and 7.30pm. I'm keeping this one short. Two shows should say it all: Barnstar is one of the most entertaining musical acts I've ever seen/heard. Charlie Rose (banjo), Zachariah Hickman (stand-up bass), Mark Erelli (guitar), Taylor Armerding (fiddle) & Jake Armerding (mandolin); they all sing. They're kind of like The Beatles playing Bluish Grass on steroids. Tix for 4pm show. Tix for 7.30 show. June 24
Martin Hayes: Native of East County Clare, Ireland, six-time All-Ireland Fiddle champion, Martin Hayes will be conducting an afternoon workshop followed by an evening concert. Don't miss this wonderful opportunity to experience the purity and lyricism of the Irish fiddle as played by one of Ireland's legendary interpreters! Come to learn and/or come to hear this extraordinary musician!Workshop Tix Here and Concert Tix Here July 8
Della Mae: It's about time that an all-woman band achieves a status in the Bluegrass world commensurate with any of the all-male ensembles. Della Mae is now a headliner at festivals across the country. Della Mae infuses a woman's perspective and sensibility into the Nashville/Bluegrass grain with a power and edge that sets them apart. Compelling songwriting, vocal harmonies, and instrumental mastery: Celia Woodsmith: vocals, guitar; Kimber Ludiker: fiddle (two-time national fiddle champion), vocals;Jenni Lyn Gardner on mandolin, vocals; Courtney Hartman: guitar, banjo, vocals. Oh, did I mention they were a 2014 Grammy nominee for best Bluegrass album. Just in: the 7:30pm show is sold out, so I've added a 4pm show!!! 4 pm Concert Tix Here and 7.30 pm Concert Tix Here July 15
The Claire Lynch Band: Claire Lynch is a pioneer who continually pushes the boundaries of the bluegrass genre. She was the 2013 Female Vocalist of the Year for the International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA)(her third such award), a 2012 recipient of the United States Artists Walker Fellowship as well as two GRAMMY nominations. Recently, at the 2014 IBMA Awards, she received two trophies: "Song of the Year" and "Recorded Event of the Year." Dolly Parton credits Claire with "one of the sweetest, purest and best lead voices in the music business today." I would add that her songs often blend meaning into the lyrics that set them apart from much of the Bluegrass songbook. Then there's the band: Mark Schatz on bass (IBMA bassist for the last two years, Bryan McDowell fiddle and other (instruments), and Jarrod Walker mandolin/guitar. And they sing!
Buy Tix Here!

July 29

St. Petersburg Quartet: Besides folk, jazz, bluegrass, old-time and swing, my other favorite genre is classical, and this year we have it in spades! As a reviewer for the Washington Post put it, "You might think that discipline, passion and impetuousness inhabit different universes, but the St. Petersburg String Quartet has morphed the three into a powerful musical persona." World class, literally! Thanks to Matt Stamell for this one! Their program will be: S. Tsintsadze, 5 Jewish Folk Songs; S. Prokofiev. String Quartet N.2; and P. Tchaikovsky. String Quartet N.2. Buy Tix Here! August 12
Karrin Allyson: Karrin is the other four-peater, and I'm already looking forward to her five! One of America's best jazz vocalist; a treasure trove of the American Songbook and much more, right here in downtown West Whately. What a world!
  Buy Tix Here!
August 19
Tony Trischka and Bruce Molsky: The good and bad things about today's music scene is that I can book artists like Tony and Bruce for small, intimate concerts in this little, out-of-the-way venue (I know, I could say that about everybody who plays here, but it just occurred to me as I write this). Tony and Bruce are leading "voices" of today's resurgence of traditional American music; it's not a stretch to say that they are two of the primary inspirations for this increasingly popular genre. They are both teaching at the epicenter of Americana roots music: Berklee College in Boston. In my opinion Tony and Bruce are national treasures of traditional music. I'll stop gushing, and let you buy your tickets. It's a real pleasure to have them back to Whately and, especially, to have them back together!
  Buy Tix Here!
September 9
Mike Barnett and Jake Jolliff. Mike grew up in Nashville and by his mid-teens had already recorded his first album and secured a regular spot touring with bluegrass legend Jesse McReynolds and the Viriginia Boys. He has gone on to tour and record with David Grisman, Jonathan Edwards and Tony Trischka. Jake has won the National Mandolin Championship in Winfield, KS as well as the RockyGrass mandolin contest. Jake was a member of the groundbreaking newgrass-pop quintet Joy Kills Sorrow, and he has performed with the David Grisman Quintet, Ronnie McCoury, Chris Thile, Ricky Skaggs, Joe Craven, Bryan Bowers, Tim O’Brien, and the Irish super-group Solas. (Note: this concert originally included the Bee Eaters. Unfortunately, they will not be performing at this time as previously advertised. If you bought a ticket for the show especially wanting to see the Bee Eaters and would like a refund, please contact me by email via the ticket site accessed via the link immediately below. My apologies for this last minute change!)
  Buy Tix Here!
September 23
Archie Fisher and Garnet Rogers: The 2015 season finale features two of the brightest stars of Canadian and Scottish folk traditions. Archie knocked me out with his 1976 album, The Man With A Rhyme, which contains what I think is perhaps the most beautiful and lyrical ballad ever written, Dark-eyed Molly. Garnet plays fiddle and guitar, is a powerful singer, and a gifted songwriter himself. This concert is on Monday because when I can book a pair like this I don't quibble about what day it is! Come welcome autumn with this bountiful harvest of wonderful singing and playing!
  Sorry, but this show is sold out.
October 5 (MONDAY!!!)

Advanced tickets will be available online beginning May 1; see links above. It is strongly recommended that you buy advance tix online. For more information call Paul Newlin at 413-665-3741. Note: the facility is now fully air-conditioned!!!

Thanks also to Jim Olsen and Flora Reed of Signature Sounds for their assistance. This series is made possible in part by a grant from the Whately and Masschusetts Cultural Councils Thanks also to our friends at the Luthiers Co-op in Easthampton Florence Savings Bank has also graciously provided support for the series. This series would not be possible at all were it not for the generosity and support of the Whately Congregational Church.
Massachusetts Cultural Council Luthiers' Co-op Florence Savings Bank