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New tricks (and treats)
The Dino Clubís Oscar-worthy Big Screen Wide

This weekend, the curtain rises on the Dino Clubís second disc, Big Screen Wide, the sequel to the bandís acclaimed debut, Hey! Drink Up. And like Hey!, which was a collection of songs addressing the peaks and valleys of the barfly existence, the new album is also conceptual in nature, this time about the silver screen ó Hollywood, baby.

"Iíve found that when you write about a theme," says Cutler, explaining the notion behind hewing to a concept, "that itís easier because you have margins to work within." In fact Dino Club collaborator and co-lyricist Scott Duhamel is the resident film critic for Providence Monthly magazine (and a former NewPaper scribe). "Plus, weíre all pretty interested in the joy of movies and moviemaking, so we thought it made a lot of sense."

Going pretty far back around town, Cutler and his friends, Emerson Torrey, Mike Tanaka, and Bob Giusti, have all been able to find joy in the very act of making music. In legendary local bands the Schemers, the Raindogs, and Rash of Stabbings, the members of the Dino Club have all learned what it takes to get around the block in the music business and, by the sound of it, theyíre currently wearing their experience (and their confidence) like badges.

"This band is going really well right now," says Cutler, with just a trace of hesitation. Now a father of a 12-year-old boy and a software pro up in Boston, he has more than just music on his mind. "Yeah, weíre old guys ó I mean, I donít feel old ó but we still think thereís a chance to do something with this whole music thing. Maybe thereís a spot for old geezer rock in the world."

Not that Big Screen Wide sounds anything like geezer rock. Itís full of that classic melodic pop-rock sound, and rife with the kind of songwriting craft weíre accustomed to hearing from the musicians in the group. "Lee Marvinís Eyes" and "Golden Boy" kick things off with a handful of engaging, jagged chords, and then the band lays back on a comfy bed of mid-tempo pop, best heard on "Bigger Screen" and "Misery." Throughout the record, there is a fine attention to detail, from impeccable bridges to spot-on vocal harmonies. The choruses on certain tunes ("The Trailer") drag a bit and the guitar track on "Character" feels like the Stones on codeine. But quibbles aside, the songs are beautifully assembled and eminently hummable.

"I donít know where itís going to lead," says Cutler. "Weíre very serious about the band, but then again, anything that has to do with music is serious to me. Weíre not 20-year-old kids, but we try to make the greatest album in the world every time out."

And rest assured, the geezers can still kick it live. "Nowadays, I hardly drink and do any hardcore partying," Cutler admits. "So, not to sound too corny or anything, but I really get off on the music. Maybe I donít leap as high, but Iím playing better than ever and I think the band feels the same way."

The Dino Club will celebrate the release of Big Screen Wide on Saturday, April 30 at the Green Room, with Mustache Ride and Signal to Noise. For information, contact 580-1769 or visit the bandís website at www.mcutler.com

Folktown. This weekend thereís big doings out in the wilds of Foster. The Swamp Meadow Community Theatre (SMCT) will premiere Folktown: The Story of the Fifth Mary, a play written by Robert Hollis in collaboration with musicians Aubrey Atwater and Elwood Donnelly. Billed as "folk music meets Shakespeare," Folktown tells the story of a young girl who learns to trust the song in her heart to lead her through lifeís twists and turns. The story is told through music, dance, puppetry, and artistic staging. The work was written around the stories and music of 22 traditional American and Celtic folk songs, which will be performed by the esteemed Atwater and Donnelly.

In a press release, Hollis stated, "I hope to provide cast, crew, and audience with an in-depth folk music experience and to help preserve the tradition and stories inherent in the music. I ultimately wanted to create a story that provided a role model for my daughter. Audiences will laugh, cry, and even get angry, but will leave feeling uplifted and empowered."

The show will run from April 29 to May 8, with shows on Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m. and on Sunday at 3 p.m. Performances will take place at the Captain Isaac Paine School (160 Foster Center Road, at the junction of routes 6 and 94) in Foster. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for students and seniors. Call 397-4740 or e-mail swampmeadow@fosteringArts.org for more information. Information and tickets are also available online at www.swampmeadow.org.

Wandering Eye. Of the Hour has a show tonight (Thursday, the 28th) at the Century Lounge, opening up for Equal Vision artists the Snake the Cross the Crown. The show will start at 9 p.m., and tickets are $10. OTH is just wrapping up their new album, titled Entropy, which should be released independently in the middle of May.

The Gobshites are opening for Black 47 at the Call on Friday (the 29th). The band has just released their debut CD, When the Shite Hits the Fans, which includes their interpretations of punk rock songs about drinking performed as Irish pub singalongs. Sounds like a party!

Also on Friday, the Spurs, New Englandís self-proclaimed "Kings of Western Swing," ride into town to headline the Century Loungeís monthly twang-Americana series "Your Roots Are Showing," hosted by roots-rockers Lucky 57. Two Timiní Three will also perform.

You can catch local star Kim Trusty on Saturday at Stone Soup Coffeehouse. The show begins at 8 p.m. at the Pawtucket Boys & Girls Club Arts Center (210 Main Street, Pawtucket). Tickets for this special event are $10.

On Saturday, the Blackstone River Theatre (549 Broad Street, Cumberland) presents an evening of acoustic blues and folk with Ken Lyon and his most excellent band. Lyonís voice has always ranked among the finest on the American blues-folk scene and his musical history includes albums for Epic, Columbia, Decca, and others. If thatís not enough, Lyon is currently celebrating 43 years of performing music. For reservations or information, call the BRT at 725-9272. There will be an opening set by John Thibodeau. Admission is $10.

Also on Saturday, thereís a hot hot hot benefit for the Mount Hope Learning Center, hosted by the Swinginí 88s. The lineup includes Eight to the Bar kicking things off at 1:30 p.m., followed by Roger Ceresiís All Stars and Johnny Juxoís dance-happy Topcats. DJ Swing Daddy takes it from there. It all goes down at Brightridge Hall in East Providence. Call 455-8875.

Another benefit, this one for the Steel Yard, is also happening on Saturday. Itís called "Good Food, Fun, Friends and Festivities" and it kicks off at 7 p.m. Su Casa, Eric Fontana, and Gavin Castleton will be providing the tunes for the benefit of the new space, which "offers arts and technical training programs designed to increase opportunities for cultural and artistic expression, career-oriented training, and small business incubation for residents of Rhode Island," as they declare on their Web site. Call 273-7101 or go to thesteelyard.org.

E-mail me with your music news at big.daddy1@cox.net.

Issue Date: April 29 - May 5, 2005
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