The rain did not let up all week, but by Friday morning the weather was looking up, and it was a beautiful day for the Meeting House Stage. Watching this event grow month by month has been an absolute pleasure. We have so far raised almost $1000 in much needed funds for the Rindge Historical Society, and it’s truly wonderful to have live music again at the Meeting House.
Since none of the other musicians signed up for the opening slot, I started things off playing three of my own songs, “These Are The Hard Times”, “The Vasectomy Song”, and I finished up my set with “Let’s Play One More Round”. Ken Durand was up next, and played his song “Laura Bridgeman”, followed by “I Can’t Work Out Today Blues”. Then he brought his brother Dan up on stage, and they did a beautiful tune about the Underground Railroad, with Dan providing very nice harmony vocals.
After Ken’s set, Peigi Chace and Steve Rapson took the stage. It was Peigi’s first time on our stage, and Peigi is the twenty-fifth different person to perform at the Meeting House over the past five months. They opened with a song Steve wrote called “Hold Them Close”, and then played a Dave Frishberg tune called “Quality Time”.
John Papp was next on our stage. John and his wife Ursula, who featured for us in March, will be returning again to feature at our show in June of next year. He started things off with “Bad Dream Blues”, a song he learned from Dave Van Ronk. After that he did a spoken piece called “In the Garden”, about his childhood in Brooklyn and his family ties to music. John finished up with a classic Hokum song called “Yas, Yas, Yas”.
Then it was time for our feature performer, Jerry Wile. Right from the start, I was blown away with Jerry’s performance. He opened with the Bill Monroe tune, “Blue Night”, and followed it up with “The Ballad of St. Anne’s Reel”. After that, Jerry played a Shawn & Chad Lane song called “Between The Rows”, a great choice for a Father’s Day weekend.
Following that were a couple of Jerry’s own tunes, “This New Hampshire Home”, which is one of my favorites, and one I hadn’t heard before but really liked a lot, “Don’t Tell The World”. The song “Alabama Jubilee” was next, and then Jerry performed Chuck Berry’s “Memphis, Tennessee”. He followed that with another of his own songs, “Where Are You Now”, “Cash on the Barrelhead” (by the Louvin Brothers), and then he finished off his set with the Stanley Brother’s Classic, “Man of Constant Sorrow”.
Mac Cole was next, and opened with the Woody Guthrie/Lee Hay’s Classic, “Goin’ Down That Road”. Next he played “Jack-A-Roe”, and he finished up with humorous song that’ I’ll need to do a bit of research on in order to learn the title. Mac is host of the legendary Worcester Open Mike, Folk’n’A.
Jon Roper and Deb Northway were next. This was their second time performing at the meeting house, and we’re looking forward to next May, when they will be our feature. They opened with a song I think John wrote, that might be called “When I Go To Baltimore”. I’ll update this article as soon as I can verify the information. After that, they did a very nice version of “The Dutchman”, with the audience providing backing vocals for the chorus. They finished up with a song made famous by Gene Autry, “Ridin’ Down the Canyon”.
Doug Farrell, who will be featuring for us next month with his band Decatur Creek, was next, and played a very nice three-song set of his own material; “Florida 1935”, “Lookin’ In”, and “Last Call”. Doug hosts The Round Room Coffeehouse in Mt. Vernon. Next month will be a great show, and the first time we’ve had a trio as our feature act.
Steve Tamulonis, the host of The Living Room Coffeehouse in Mason, followed Doug. Steve opened with the Grateful Dead’s “Ripple”, followed that with Paul Simon’s “50 Ways to Leave Your Lover”, and finished up with a really nice solo instrumental piece on his cajón. Rick Beausoleil followed Steve, and played a George Jones tune, “Beggar to a King”. Then he played a classic tune called “That Lucky Old Son”, and finished up with one of his own compositions, “We Gotta Give a Damn”.
Bob Goodwin, who will feature for us this December, closed out the evening with Guy Clark’s “Randall Knife”, “Florida Didn’t Work Out”, which is one of his own tunes, and then he played us out with “Rufus and Beverly”, by Mark Graham (one of my wife’s favorites).
No good open mike is a one-man show. There is no way this open mike could even exist without the generous and capable work done by Al Le Febvre, Karla MacLeod, and Elisa Benincaso. They arrive early, clear the room, and do the set-up. After the show they break down the room, clean everything, package up the left over food, and put the room in order. Every month Al helps me load and unload sound equipment and set up the stage area as well. I’d be completely lost without their hard work and commitment to volunteer each and every month.
In addition, we have some of the tastiest homemade food to be found anywhere. Special thanks go out to the folks who brought such a bounty of wonderful treats. Ken Raymond, Ursula Papp, Karla MacLeod, Elisa Benincaso, and Craig Hoyt. Can’t wait to taste what’s in store next month.
Important Note: Next month’s Meeting House Stage will be held on July 19 (the third Friday of the Month rather than the second Friday). Our feature will be Decatur Creek, a trio featuring Doug Farrell, Steve Dionne, and Jack Carlton. For more information, check out our Calendar.