REVIEW: Karen Grenier’s “Crazy” Love CD

October 11, 2011 5:00 am0 comments


altFor some reason love songs never really go out of style. Since the beginning of songwriting history, love has been a favorite topic for musicians and Karen Grenier is no different. Her pleasant singing voice, rhythmic energy, and straightforward approach on her latest CD Crazy Love make for an uplifting soundtrack to your daily commute, a get together with friends, or as you go about your day.
The tracks on this CD are overwhelmingly up-tempo, free of angst-ridden tirades or mournful ballads that only serve to make a bad mood worse. Grenier’s approach is bright, light, and soothing.
If Grenier’s message isn’t abundantly clear from her musical style, she includes a written statement on the inside of the CD cover that speaks volumes about what you will find on the album: “Crazy Love is a collection of songs inspired by love. We experience love in moments. We find it in the ups and downs of life; in absence and in togetherness, in joy and in pain. Mostly, we find love in the ordinary. Love is serious and silly, difficult yet simple, rational and crazy, personal and communal. It is freely given and freely received. Love is part of the journey, part of us, when we are open to each other.”

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Q & A with Whit Smith of Hot Club of Cowtown

October 4, 2011 5:00 am0 comments

By Steve Desroches It’s not often that the music of Austin, Texas, makes its way up to our region, but Payomet Performing Arts Center is capping off its season of incredible, eclectic music programming with the western swing/jazz/indie band Hot Club of Cowtown. As it turns out, this Texas trio [...]

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The Ballad of Larry Beau

September 28, 2011 2:58 pm0 comments

There is a certain magnetism to Provincetown that deeply pulls at those looking for a new life, to create without restraint, or to simply rest at the end of the road after a long and hard journey. It’s that energy that has drawn thousands of artists and writers to town, and perhaps it is that same force that blew the Pilgrims off course from their intended destination near the mouth of the Hudson River, bringing the Mayflower to what is now Provincetown Harbor.
It was aboard the Mayflower in Provincetown Harbor on November 20, 1620, that Susanna White gave birth to a baby boy, the first child born to the Pilgrims in the “New World.” She named him Peregrine, a name that means “one who journeys to foreign lands” or “wanderer.” It is then indeed appropriate that it’s here in Provincetown that Declan Burke was introduced to Peregrine White, at least the memory of him some 400 years later. Both wanderers, both destined to become part of the mythologically tinged fabric of Provincetown.

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I Scream, You Scream, We All Scream for Billy!

August 16, 2011 5:00 am0 comments

altBilly Hough was living in New Orleans and had joined a punk band called Surrender Dorothy not long after being part of a folk duo called Anubis in the late 1980’s. He didn’t like his voice, especially when compared to the hard edge his band mates had in their performance arsenal. He needed to rough it up; he needed to take some sandpaper to the smooth musical style he was used to.
“I would go home and listen to Nirvana and Janis Joplin and I screamed along to toughen up my voice,” says Hough. “I learned to scream.”
Those screaming sessions clearly paid off. The multi-talented Hough, along with bass player Sue Goldberg, are tearing through their sixth season of Scream Along With Billy, a cabaret night of rock and roll.  The two close friends created, and continue to produce, an intimate, raucous evening of music and stream-of-consciousness monologues.
“It all happened by accident,” says Hough, as to how Scream Along got its start in 2006.
Hough began playing the piano at the Porch Bar at the Gifford House at the invitation of bartender Bobby Blinn and manager Gregg Daniels. Performing several nights a week at the Gifford House, which he still does, was a risk for a rock and roll musician in a piano bar. In the beginning, Hough wasn’t exactly popular with the crowd at the Gifford House, he notes. But Daniels stood by him knowing that he would catch on, something Hough is grateful for, which is why he says the Gifford House is like a second home to him. When Blinn moved over to work at Enzo, he and manager Jen White offered Hough a performance slot. Not wanting to compete against himself, he decided to create something completely different.

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Anything Can Happen

5:00 am0 comments

altShe’s coming to Provincetown as a special and unexpected treat: Ana Gasteyer was scheduled to appear at the Art House but had to cancel because of scheduling conflicts with a new sitcom, and Christine Ebersole graciously agreed to appear in Ana’s place in the Art House Broadway series this summer. And the Art House couldn’t be more pleased. 
    “I am over the moon that Christine Ebersole is coming to Provincetown to play the Art House,” says producing artistic director Mark Cortale. “This is a dream booking for our Broadway at the Art House series, and I am thrilled that this new series has attracted such major talent so quickly. Seth Rudetsky, who hosts the series, says that Christine will be singing incredible songs and that she’ll also have hilarious stories to share.”
The woman whose show the Los Angeles Times described as a “tour-de-force … one of the most vivid performances” is arriving in Provincetown for two shows, August 20 and 21, and the time to get tickets is now.
So what is her favorite among the pieces she’ll be performing? “I have no idea,” she laughs. “I don’t even know what we’ll be doing, yet!”
Christine Ebersole is taking it all in stride, the same way that she’s taken most of her career. It’s a spectacular one, covering Broadway, off-Broadway, movies, and television. She won her second Tony Award for Best Leading Actress in a Musical, as well as virtually every Off-Broadway award, for her “dual role of a lifetime” as Edith Beale and Little Edie Beale in Grey Gardens. The critically acclaimed musical was nominated for a total of ten Tony Awards, including Best Musical, and the CD recording of the show was nominated for a Grammy Award.  

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Glamour Puss

5:00 am0 comments

altFrom the very beginning Space Pussy was a Provincetown phenomenon.  Founded in the early 1990’s, the band’s formation was an answer to the dearth of rock music in a town saturated with dance music and disco. Carrying on the glam rock tradition of David Bowie, the New York Dolls, and Lou Reed, Space Pussy struck a cultural nerve in Provincetown, bringing something new to town to fill a long-standing void.
“I think for a long time gays felt afraid of rock and roll,” says Ryan Landry, founder of the band. “When Space Pussy started, even though it’s not a gay band, it also was meant to show that rock and roll has always had a gay component.”
In the early part of that decade, Landry planted the seeds for the trio of creations for which he is now famous: Showgirls, his satirical plays, and Space Pussy. 
“He came into the store I worked at, at the time and said ‘Sue, do you want to be in a band called Space Pussy’,” says bassist Sue Goldberg. “I said, ‘Sure.’ He didn’t even know what instrument I played!”

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Ladies and Gentlemen, Charo!

August 14, 2011 5:00 am0 comments

altHer full name is María del Rosario Pilar Martínez Molina Gutiérrez de los Perales Santa Ana Romanguera y de la Hinojosa Rasten. But you can call her Charo.
A global musical and comedy sensation, Charo is one of the most recognizable entertainers in show business: with her thick Spanish accent, her glittery outfits, her comedic timing, her buoyant sex appeal, as well as her mastery of flamenco guitar.
“I am so happy we are living in a musical time where people understand and appreciate Latin music and classical music,” says Charo.
Born and raised in Murcia, Spain, Charo, whose name is short for Rosario, studied flamenco and classical guitar with Spanish virtuoso Andrés Segovia. Her talent and passion for the guitar was apparent early in her life, but so too was her naturally funny ways.  So while it was her musical abilities that first got her noticed, it was her dynamic personality and fun-loving manner that propelled her into superstardom. Charo made her American television debut in the mid-1960s on The Today Show, followed by multiple appearances on Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In.  Not only was a television star born, but so was Charo’s famous catch phrase “cuchi-cuchi.”
“I always love music, but cuchi-cuchi catch on,” says Charo in her famously thick Spanish accent. “So I say, ‘I going to get rich on ‘cuchi-cuchi.’ It survived. But I always say I want to play flamenco, but because of my accent people think I say ‘flamingo.’ But now my dreams come true.”

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From Beethoven to Brubeck

August 4, 2011 7:10 pm0 comments

The Cape Cod Chamber Music Festival Returns To The Outer Cape.
“It’s amusing, really, when you think of it,” says Elaine Lipton, executive director of the Cape Cod Chamber Music Festival. “We have no building… but we have three pianos!”
That’s hardly surprising: from its inception 32 years ago to this summer’s festival, the organization has been about access, about opening up venues all over the Cape so as to offer the best in chamber music to the most people. Pianos are, indeed, more important than concert halls!
One of those pianos is a Steinway in the First Congregational Church in Wellfleet, where four of this year’s concerts will be held; another one is at the Provincetown Art Association and Museum, which will host one concert. And all of them sound well worth attending!
“I’m very excited about this year’s festival,” continues Lipton. “We have some extraordinary young performers bringing the absolute best in chamber music—the kind of music that you expect to hear in New York and Paris and Tokyo – right here to us on the Cape!”

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A Night at the Opera

July 28, 2011 5:22 pm0 comments

There is a distinct possibility that when you read the headline to this story, your mind automatically thought of stuffy, arrogant, and noticeably plump opera singers and an even stuffier, pretentious audience. But David McCarty, Artistic Director of Cape Cod Opera says the idea that opera is something only for the rich, the self-designated “cultural elite” is simply not true.
“Most [opera composers], like Shakespeare, wrote for the people,” he asserts. “I believe the really great composers wanted their work heard and wanted it understood by the people that surrounded them, the people of their day,” he says.
“If that’s true, then what about the exorbitant ticket prices?” you might protest. Again, McCarty has an answer to that perception problem – the Cape Cod Opera is coming to Provincetown and if you want the best seat in the house, it’ll cost you no more than $25.
This is all part of the mission of Cape Cod Opera, which makes its Provincetown debut on Monday, August 1st, after entertaining audiences in other parts of the Cape for close to two decades, including 15 years of fully staged operas.

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Lori Michaels Reaches Out

May 19, 2011 7:00 am0 comments

Lori Michaels makes the stage sizzle. Named one of Curve Magazine’s seven Entertainers of the Year in 2008, Michaels has been tearing up the dance floor and breaking hearts all over the country.  Michaels returns to Provincetown, one of her favorite places to perform, this time for Single Women’s Weekend. [...]

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