Tag Archives: MASS MoCA

Johnny Irion and Sarah Lee Guthrie ready to hit the road again

The married music makers open up about new album Wassaic Way, working with Jeff Tweedy and keeping their family life in balance after 14 years of marriage

Sarah Lee Guthrie and Johnny Irion perform atop an artwork in a gallery at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art in North Adams, Mass., during the Solid Sound festival in 2011. (Photo © 2011, Steven P. Marsh)

Sarah Lee Guthrie and Johnny Irion perform atop an artwork in a gallery at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art in North Adams, Mass., during the Solid Sound festival in 2011. (Photo © 2011, Steven P. Marsh)

Alongside a two-lane back road in the Berkshires region of Western Massachusetts sits a solid, simple frame home.

Sited on what appears to be at least a couple of acres atop a hill, its nearest neighbor is farther than you can throw a stone, but not so far as to be out of sight.

The house is far enough from the main highway to provide a peaceful retreat, but with easy access to civilization — whether you consider that North Adams, Pittsfield, Boston or beyond.

The silence — at least outdoors, anyway — is broken only by the occasional animal noise or the air-horn warning and rumble of one of the freight trains that pass through on a regular basis.

Inside, it’s a very different story.

That’s where Sarah Lee Guthrie and Johnny Irion are raising their kids — “counting the cousins, on any given day there are four to six. But normally, two: Olivia’s 11, Sophia’s 6,” Johnny told Will You Miss Me When I’m Gone? in an exclusive interview.

And it’s home base for their business. Downstairs, in a studio-basement-rehearsal space, the married musical duo practice and record their music.

Things are really happening for Sarah Lee and Johnny. They seem like a duo on the verge of overnight success — albeit after one very long and ofttimes sleepless night.

But we’ll get to that in a minute. First, let’s clear up something: While Sarah Lee and Johnny aren’t household names, there’s something about them that rings the bell.

It’s that Guthrie thing, right? Continue reading

Jay Farrar still can’t say Jeff Tweedy’s name

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The cover of Jay Farrar’s memoir, Falling Cars and Junkyard Dogs

 

Uncle Tupelo co-founder Jay Farrar‘s easy-reading memoir, Falling Cars and Junkyard Dogs, came out in March, but it landed rather quietly — at least in my world.

It was only a few days ago that I really became aware of the collection of vignettes by the ultra-serious Farrar. Some of the reviews have been unkind, but that didn’t stop me from buying it and devouring it in a matter of a few hours.

Farrar made great music in Uncle Tupelo, and has continued on a reverential path since the band’s acrimonious 1994 breakup. But that’s not the subject of this collection of short passages from just about every part of his life but the Uncle Tupelo part.

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Os Mutantes played a Maxwell’s farewell show five days after appearing at Wilco’s Solid Sound Festival

The inimitable Sérgio Dias is the founding member who has kept Os Mutantes alive all these years. (Photos © 2013, Steven P. Marsh)

The inimitable Sérgio Dias is the founding member who has kept Os Mutantes alive all these years. (Photos © 2013, Steven P. Marsh)

We’re definitely old enough to have experienced Brazilian rock band Os Mutantes in its first incarnation in the mid-Sixties.

But timing isn’t really everything.

We grew up in a household where listening to rock ‘n roll (aka The Devil’s Music) was, shall we say, not encouraged. And we lived in a community outside of Philadelphia where conformity ruled. And being 11, or so when Os Mutantes started making music, we were at a tender age where that type of pressure was pretty effective in keeping us in line.

Sérgio Dias plays sitar at Maxwell's, Hoboken, N.J., on June 28, 2013.

Sérgio Dias shows off his sitar skills.

On top of everything else, Brazil might as well have been the other side of the moon.

So, all in all, it’s no surprise that we didn’t know anything at all about Os Mutantes — founded by brothers Arnaldo Baptista on bass, keyboards and vocals and Sérgio Dias Baptista on guitar and vocals — until the psychedelic band started its Second Act when it reunited in 2006.

We’re sorry we missed the band’s First Act, but we were hardly alone among American music fans. And we’re thrilled we didn’t miss the Second Act.

Singer Esmeria Bulgari with Sérgio Dias of Os Mutantes at Maxwell's. (Photo © 2013, Steven P. Marsh)

Singer Esmeria Bulgari with Sérgio Dias of Os Mutantes at Maxwell’s.

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Ticket price for Wilco’s 2013 Solid Sound Festival increases $25 on March 11

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You have less than a week to buy your weekend passes to this great festival before the price goes up

Will You Miss Me When I’m Gone? has told you before, and is taking this opportunity to tell you again: Solid Sound, Wilco’s music and arts festival at MASS MoCA is one of the best music festivals ever. We’ve attended the first two editions and have no intention of missing V3 this year — on June 21-23 at the museum in North Adams, Mass.

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A hint about Wilco and the future of the Solid Sound Festival

As Will You Miss Me When I’m Gone? told you on Friday, Wilco‘s Solid Sound Festival v.3 won’t happen until next year. But in announcing the one-year hiatus, the band also announced that it’ll be performing a benefit concert at the festival venue, MASS MoCA this summer.

While no date for the concert has been announced, you can get first dibs on information and tickets if you’re willing to front some cash to become a MASS MoCA member. (Or you can just keep your eyes on Will You Miss Me When I’m Gone?)

Up to you. But click here for MASS MoCA membership information.

No Solid Sound Festival for 2012 — Wilco skips a year

Wilco's first takeover at MASS MoCa. (© 2010 Steven P. Marsh)

Band plans benefit concert for MASS MoCA instead

Will You Miss Me When I’m Gone? is never happy to be the bearer of bad news. But you need to know that Wilco announced today that the band is taking a year off from presenting the Solid Sound Festival at MASS MoCA, the awesome art musuem in North Adams, Mass.

Jeff Tweedy and his Wilco bandmates have with great success presented the three-day Solid Sound Festival for the past two years, bringing music, art and friends together on the low-key industrial campus in Western Massachusetts.

We’ve been watching since before Christmas for an announcment of the dates of the next three-day music fest. Finally, around 1 p.m. today, came a tweet from @WilcooftheDay listing the long-awaited info:

#SolidSound Update: The next Solid Sound Festival will be held June 21-23, 2013 at MASS MoCA in North Adams, Ma.

2013? Huh? What happened to 2012? Before we could ask the question, almost as if somebody could read our minds, came this tweet:

The 3 day event will take a 1 year hiatus, but Wilco will perform at the North Adams museum this summer in a benefit concert for MASS MoCA.

And when will that concert happen? Came the reply to our unasked question:

not announced yet

Sigh.

Stay tuned for details on why Wilco’s taking a year off and details about the benefit concert at soon as they become available.

Scenes from Solid Sound: Wilco and friends

Wilco (Nels Cline, Jeff Tweedy, John Stirratt and Pat Sansone, from left) on the first night of Solid Sound 2011. (Photos © 2011, Steven P. Marsh)

Will You Miss Me When I’m Gone? got off to a late start for the 2011 Solid Sound festival in North Adams, Mass. So we missed Purling Hiss, the first band of the weekend, on Friday afternoon, June 24.

Sharon and Neil Finn's Pajama Club.

But we made it to MASS MoCA in the Berkshires in plenty of time to catch the two big shows of the day, Neil and Sharon Finn‘s Pajama Club and the headlining set by Wilco, the band that made the festival happen.

The Pajama Club plays fun, no-worries pop. We didn’t know much about the band before arriving in North Adams, but discovered to our joy that the New Zealand band’s drummer is Alana Skyring, who until the beginning of this year was a member of one of our fave bands The Grates from Australia.

Click through to the jump for more photos and words about Night 1 of Solid Sound. And check back soon for photo and words about the rest of the music festival.

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