Author: firstfridayconcerts_5z36p3

Jan 5th, 2018: Claudia Schmidt returns to First Friday Concerts with New CD!

CD Release! Claudia is back with new songs, and a new CD.

Hark the Dark is Claudia Schmidt’s 22nd recording in a career spanning almost 45 years of composing and performing. She takes a thematic turn here, offering an homage to the oft-maligned season of the winter. Along with her original pieces, she has gathered some musings of fellow musicians, and thrown in a couple standards. Along with her extraordinary voice, dulcimer, and deluxe pianolin, she is accompanied brilliantly by pianist Miro Sprague, bassist Marty Jaffe, drummer Conor Meehan, and pianist/accordionist Chris Haynes. On Hark the Dark, Claudia is doing what she most loves, weaving genres, moods, and textures in a seamless journey from beginning to end and back around. This disc is best enjoyed as a sit-down musical meditation. Old school. Long-playing. After all, it’s about WINTER! Claudia has never sounded better nor sung with more passion and pleasure. You can find it at her website starting November 1, or at a live concert.

If it were the intention of the creator or creators of this universe to perfectly blend together the night sky with moon and stars, it might have been their intention as well to deliver Claudia Schmidt as their messenger of reminder.

To say that Schmidt is simply a performer with a talent to entertain would be a miscarriage of understatement. Schmidt takes her audiences into her world as easily as the child who discovers the endless universes that exist in a cardboard box.

Claudia Schmidt has been perfecting her craft of performing for almost four decades. It is a quirky and wonderful hodge-podge (her word!) of music, poetry, story, laughter. drama, and celebrating the moment. Work in clubs, theaters, festivals, TV, radio has added depth and dimension, and since she has always included her original work along with very personal versions of the work of others, what you get is a unique look at the world from someone who says what she sees with clarity, humor, and wonder. The San Francisco Bay Guardian said: Schmidt’s shows are a lot like falling in love. You never know what’s going to happen next, chances are it’s going to be wonderful, every moment is burned into your memory and you know you’ll never be the same again.” More succinctly, Garrison Keiilor said “when Claudia sings a song, it stays sung”

December 1st, River Rhapsody with special guests

River Rhapsody is a band based in Western Massachusetts focused on performing original music by their band members and the hidden gems of outstanding Adult Contemporary songwriters (Patty Griffin, Ryan Adams, Jason Isbell, Oliver Wood).
The band runs a range of genres and brings strong vocals and unique instrumentation to the mix. River Rhapsody members include: Tom Knight (Bass, Vocals), Gordon Kramer (Piano, Guitar, Percussion, Vocals), Rob Peck (Harmonica, Vocals), Eric Phelps (Guitar, Piano, Percussion, Vocals), Elijah Rain Phelps (Drums, Percussion). While only 10 years old, Elijah has been playing drums since the age of 3 and specializes in world music percussion (dumber, djembe, cajone).
River Rhapsody has opened for Rani Arbo & Daisy Mayhem, Seth Glier, Reggie Harris, Show of Cards, and other regional and nationals acts and performed at festivals and events throughout Western Mass.
The concert will feature surprise guests from the local music community and a juggling performance by River Rhapsody member Rob Peck.

November 3rd – Show of Cards Band (CD Release) with opener, River Rhapsody

Show of Cards merges an intimate singer-songwriter sensibility with lively band-driven musicianship. The band formed as a Cardozo sibling trio, with singer-songwriter Karen (formerly of Chattering Magpies), bassist Joe (of Cold Duck Complex) and lead guitarist Mike (also of Zikina). Featuring drummer Makaya McCraven, they debuted with Leap Year in 2009  (engineered by Justin Pizzoferrato of Sonelab).  In 2013, Karen and Mike on vocals and guitars joined forces with bassist Garrett Sawyer (of Gaslight Tinkers) and drummer Joe Fitzpatrick (of Trailer Park).

With Something Better (2013), producers Mike and Garrett enveloped Karen’s thoughtful songwriting in the textures, rhythms, and arrangements of musical languages from folk-rock to jazz to West African to classical. Engineered by Garrett at Northfire Recording Studio in Amherst,  collaborators included drummer Sturgis Cunningham, cellist Eric Remschneider (of many acts including Smashing Pumpkins), Jeff D’Antona (keyboards), Zoe Darrow (fiddle) and Tim Eriksen (backing vocals).  

The band is currently completing their third album at Northfire (2017), engineered by Garrett andfeaturing Jeff D (on keys), Dave Haughey (cello) and a guest appearance by Platypus Complex (rapper Casey Hayman). Produced by Mike, One Small Good Thing takes Show of Cards to an exciting musical frontier.

Click here for their website!

October 6th – Dean Stevens and David Dodson


From Jay Mankita: Dean and David are musical friends who I’ve known for a long time. I admire both of them greatly for their guitar skills and their songwriting. They’ll each be playing their own songs, but I know they’ll sing a few together as well. I’ve been told they may also cover a Jay Mankita tune! And I may add a third harmony on song or two. I hope you’ll come hear Dean and David, this is sure to be an unforgettable evening.

Series: First Friday Concerts at Coho
Venue: Great Room at Pioneer Valley Cohousing, 120 Pulpit Hill Road in North Amherst.
Doors open at 7 PM, Concert starts at 7:30.
$10-$20 suggested donation
This is a smoke and fragrance-free venue.
Facility is wheelchair accessible

Here are the details:

For twenty five years Dean Stevens has delighted audiences of all ages throughout the
Americas. An exuberant performer of distinctive
style and wit, he combines an intricate, self-taught
guitar style with a versatile and expressive
singing voice. He has established himself as
a formidable creator and interpreter of a
wide spectrum of songs in English and Spanish.
His own material explores a variety of personal
and social topics, paints sketches of people and
places, celebrates the Earth, and
annoys the narrow minded.

Born and raised in Costa Rica, Dean Stevens
is a lifelong student of Latin America. He
learned Spanish at an early age, and readily
absorbed the musical and topical influences
of the region. He travels frequently to
Central America, and has become known
for his humanitarian efforts on behalf of
refugees returning to their homes
in El Salvador and Guatemala.
Dean Stevens has four highly acclaimed
recordings to his credit. His last release,
“Eyes of Wonder” (Volcano Records),
is a collection of songs in English and Spanish,
with guest appearances by Sol y Canto,
Randy Sabien, Linda Waterfall, and others.

Dean Stevens Website:

Dean Stevens on ITunes

Dean Stevens – Old Man in his garden

Dean Stevens: Let Justice Roll Down

Dean Stevens sings I Am A Dolphin (by Jay Mankita)

Dean Stevens: Cuida El Agua

Dean Stevens: Salmon River

Dean Stevens: Love Comes to the Simple Heart

David Dodson writes great songs that run the gamut of American styles-folk, rock, blues, jazz and country. They cover a variety of topics and range from poignant to hilarious. He plays a mean guitar, tells a good story, sings like a bird, and he’s got rhythm. Who could ask for anything more? He has shared the stage with K D Lang, Bill Staines, Ramblin Jack Elliot, Gordon Bok, Dougie MacLean, The Persuasions, Greg Brown, Joe Ely, Marcia Ball, Sha Na Na, Chicago, and the Flying Burrito Brothers. He was a winner of the “New Folk” contest at the Kerrville Folk Festival.

David Dodson Website:

David Dodson on ITunes:

Links to Videos:
David Dodson sings “Kiss My Butt State

The Pyjama Men by David Dodson

“How Come I’m always so Pissed Off” by David Dodson

Amend the Constitution Song (Overturn Citizens United)

True Believer by David Dodson

I’ve Had it Up To Here With Texas

Mary Kate Got the Guy