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The ties that bind
Almost Homeless’ musical connection run deep

They say blood is thicker than water. Well, it seems it’s also more musical than water. Often you hear of offspring and relatives of musicians becoming musicians themselves, from immensely musical families like the Wainwrights, to Lennons Julian and Sean, to many more acts on a local level.

Fall River’s Almost Homeless falls into that category, and in a pretty big way. Fred Fitzgerald, Bill Pacheco, and Matt Leduc are first cousins first and a melodic power trio second. They’re also the third generation in the family to play onstage together. You see, their fathers and grandfather were in a band together way back in the ’70s. You might guess this whole music thing, this whole inexorable force of being onstage together, is in their blood.

Fitzgerald (bass, vox) and the boys are also celebrating the release of their debut EP, appropriately titled Cousins. Billed as " original music for original people, " it’s actually as close to classic rock (the jammy side of classic rock) as you’ll hear these days, with guitar solos (courtesy of Pacheco), tuneful vocals, and simple, pounding drum tempos (Leduc). They like to bring it up, take it down, break it down a bit, and change things up, as on songs like the closing " Right Now " and " Distant Days, " a lighter-waving ballad. It may not be as original as the band might think, and it could swing a little more on the rhythm end of things, but it’s inspired and played with lots of enthusiasm, as you might expect from any young band with music in their veins making their inaugural CD.

Almost Homeless will take on the competition in the Battle of the Bands at Jarrod’s this weekend. They’ll be playing on Saturday (the 17th). Cal (508) 222-8878.

LADIES’ NIGHT. Six months ago, Mary Bue moved from Duluth, Minnesota to Providence, which makes a lot of sense to us. Isn’t that what Bob Dylan did back in 1960? Not the Providence part, of course, but Zimmy moved out of his native state to take his guitarin’ folk songs on the road. Oddly enough, Bue doesn’t cite her hometown hero as an influence, choosing instead more recent songwriting talents like Elliott Smith (RIP), Jeff Buckley, Tori Amos, and Jeremy Enigk (who, incidentally, just formed a band called the Fire Theft, and made a great record of the same name.) Anyway, Bue is corralling the vast repertoire of original piano and vocal songs swirling around in her head, songs with subject matter ranging from the thoughts of a conflicted fish to her " Seasonal Affective Disorder Song, " about the onset of winter in Minnesota and how it steals precious daylight hours. Bue’s songs are detailed and articulate, paying close attention to human interaction and nature, and they give voice to emotion and spirit through imagery and metaphor. Mary has opened for fellow Duluth band Low and for the prolific revolutionary songwriter Stuart Davis. Welcome her.

Rose Polenzani will accompany Bue on this night. The Boston-based songwriter, one of a quartet of women (including Erin McKeown) who emerged with Voices On the Verge, is intense, funny, dark, poetic, and romantic, with lyrics that can at first bathe you in peaceful radiance, warm you with sanguine humor, then slice you deep with hurt. Her voice is breathy and distant, but also intimate, with the immediacy of a secret-teller. Unfortunately, she hasn’t had a new album in a while, but if you’re looking for some new edgy folk music, don’t hesitate to get that Voices On the Verge disc.

Kristin Cifelli is also from Boston and has enjoyed a rapid rise. Her 1999 debut, Silver Bowl, earned a Boston Music Award nomination. Her voice is distinct and memorable, full of intensity and passion. Together, Mary, Rose, and Kristin, should make next Wednesday (the 21st) at AS220 a really cool nighttime ride for fans of adventurous acoustic music. The show starts at 9 p.m. and costs $6. Call 831-9327.

STUDIO TIME. After a hiatus of several months, Benny Sizzler finally went into Sound Station 7 with Tom Buckland to pound out some bass and drum tracks. They’re tracking guitars and vocals at home on Pro Tools (hope they don’t piss off the neighbors!) and will go back to SS7 for mixing, also with Buckland. In a few months, ideally, Gail and her snortin’ bucks will have their five-song project ready to roll.

The Slugworth boys are sweeping a few extra streets and scrubbin’ a few extra floors these days to scrape up the down payment for CD duplication for the follow-up to their tres impressive last effort, Elevate. The invigorated band plans to make a full-on push in terms of gigs and other promotion in 2004. The five-song EP with a working title of 45 Gallup is ready to roll — it just needs a bit of mass manufacturing.

WANDERING EYE. There’s an amazing show going down on Saturday at Jake’s. It begins with the debut of a Johnny Cash tribute band called Cashin’ It In. The band stars Chris Daltry and members of the Blackstone Valley Sinners and Dirty Truckers. Also clocking in that night will be the Stumbleweeds, with a rootsy mix of covers and originals. Mike Fewdale of the Speed Devils, Dana Stewart of the Amazing Crowns, Lynn Lenker (formerly of the Country Bumpkins), and the versatile Dennis Kelly, local guitarist/riffmeister/ madman, will steal your hearts if you let ’em. And don’t be surprised if you hear a little Patsy Cline from these greasers. The show starts at 10 p.m.

Beyond Blonde is busy with a gig on Thursday (the 15th) at Jarrod’s, on Saturday the (17th) at Grumpy’s Pub in Falmouth, and next Friday (the 23rd) at the Steel Horse Saloon in Portsmouth. So BB groupies now have something to get excited about.

On Friday (the 16th) at Cats in Pawtucket, Half Head Promotions presents Superunkown, the Soundgarden/Audioslave tribute, with Absynthe opening. It’s a 21-plus event, starts at 9 p.m., and costs $5. Pick up a free Absynthe 10-song demo as a souvenir, no?

On Saturday, Greg Abate will bring jazz to the Stagecoach Tavern in downtown Chepachet, right on Route 44. Abate is fresh off a European tour and should be blowin’ pretty hot stuff out of that sax. Marty Ballou (bass), Greg Wardson (piano), and John Grieco (drums) will attempt to keep pace.

Seems like folks can’t get enough of Smokestack Lightnin’. This week the first party’s down at the Narragansett Café in Jamestown on Friday, then at Judy’s Bar and Grille in Warwick on Saturday, and next Wednesday at the Hi-Hat in Davol Square.

Christopher Monti, with percussionist Edward DeMille, will perform at AS220 on Friday. Chris, also of the Killdevils, released his debut CD Swampland Flowers at the beginning of 2003 on CMO Records and will be playing mainly his own compositions, flavored with calypso rhythms, country blues, rock ’n’ roll, and folk. He’ll share the bill with Mark Mandeville and the Brands and Dan White. The cover is $6. Go to www.christophermonti.com for more information.

Send me your music news so I can publicize your gigs! Big.daddy1@cox.net.

Issue Date: January 16 - 22, 2004
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