The Beat Goes On: Two supergroups come to Northampton: Plus, groovy music and a tribute in Turners Falls, and more

The “supergroup” Fantastic Cat, made up of four songwriters who range between Americana, country, and rock, comes to The Parlor Room tonight, Nov. 17.

The “supergroup” Fantastic Cat, made up of four songwriters who range between Americana, country, and rock, comes to The Parlor Room tonight, Nov. 17. Image from Parlor Room website

Say Darling  brings its mix of blues, rock and country to the Parlor Room Nov. 25.

Say Darling brings its mix of blues, rock and country to the Parlor Room Nov. 25. Image from Parlor Room website

Instrumental masters Toubab Krewe will blend rock, African rhythms, folks strains and more at the Shea Theater in Turners Falls Nov. 17.

Instrumental masters Toubab Krewe will blend rock, African rhythms, folks strains and more at the Shea Theater in Turners Falls Nov. 17. Photo by Kenneth Appelbaum/Toubab Krewe website

A tribute show to honor the late Greg Dibbles, right, the drummer for Valley roots rockers The Stone Coyotes, takes place at the Shea Theater Nov. 25.

A tribute show to honor the late Greg Dibbles, right, the drummer for Valley roots rockers The Stone Coyotes, takes place at the Shea Theater Nov. 25. Gazette file photo

Electric fiddle, bagpipes, and a rock beat: That’s the sound of Mia x Ally, who come to The Drake in Amherst Nov. 22.

Electric fiddle, bagpipes, and a rock beat: That’s the sound of Mia x Ally, who come to The Drake in Amherst Nov. 22. Image from Mia x Ally website

Indie rockers Rubblebucket, seen here at the Green River Festival in 2021, come to Northampton’s Academy of  Music Nov. 18.

Indie rockers Rubblebucket, seen here at the Green River Festival in 2021, come to Northampton’s Academy of  Music Nov. 18. Photo by Paul Franz

Singer-songwriter Carolyn Walker will be at Luthiers Co-op in Easthampton Nov. 18 along with three other acts.

Singer-songwriter Carolyn Walker will be at Luthiers Co-op in Easthampton Nov. 18 along with three other acts. Image from Carolyn Walker website

Identical twins singing and playing folk: The Clements Brothers come to The Divine Theater at Gateway City Arts in Holyoke Nov. 18.

Identical twins singing and playing folk: The Clements Brothers come to The Divine Theater at Gateway City Arts in Holyoke Nov. 18. Image from The Clements Brothers website

Valley singer-songwriter Seth Glier, who has a new album, “Everything,” due out in January, will be at Hawks & Reed Performing Arts Center in Greenfield Nov. 25.

Valley singer-songwriter Seth Glier, who has a new album, “Everything,” due out in January, will be at Hawks & Reed Performing Arts Center in Greenfield Nov. 25. Gazette file photo

By STEVE PFARRER

Staff Writer

Published: 11-16-2023 2:22 PM

When “supergroups” first formed in the 1960s after rock stars from different bands teamed up with one another — Cream, Blind Faith, and CSNY were among the first — some became known more for their battles of superstar egos and didn’t stay together long.

But a supergroup can also be made up of musicians who find a genuine new outlet and camaraderie by joining forces. Two of them are coming to The Parlor Room in Northampton this week.

Fantastic Cat, which plays tonight (Friday, Nov. 17) at 7:30 p.m., is made up of four New York-based songwriters who may not be household names but have built successful careers: Anthony D’Amato, Don DiLego, Brian Dunne and Mike Montali (the last is the lead singer of the rock band Hollis Brown).

Now, aside from creating an entertaining cover for their debut album — the band members all sport goofy feline masks — Fantastic Cat has collaborated on some energetic music, which Rolling Stone calls “a wildly satisfying collection of folk-rock, country, Americana, and good old rock & roll.”

With the musicians taking turns at songwriting and lead singing, and swapping instruments on each other’s tunes (and on a cover of Warren Zevon’s “Keep Me in Your Heart”), Fantastic Cat offers a variety of textures but also a sense of cohesiveness; they seem to have a great time playing together.

As DiLego said in an interview last year when the band released its first album, “The Very Best of Fantastic Cat,” the goal of making the record “was simply to have fun ... it was a refreshing experience, and because it wasn’t weighted down by a record deal or career expectations, there was a very loose vibe in the room and no egos.”

Another supergroup headed to Northampton, this one with Boston roots, is Say Darling, which is fronted by singer Celia Woodsmith and ace guitarist Chris Hersch. Woodsmith is part of the bluegrass band Della Mae; Hersch, a graduate of Boston’s New England Conservatory of Music, has gigged with multiple bands, including the alt country rock band Girls Guns & Glory.

The two friends took a break from their other gigs several years ago to work together and have since recorded and toured with some other top New England players. Along the way, Say Darling has won plenty of praise for its mix of blues, country and rock, what the Boston Globe calls “a big, groovable, movable sound.”

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Say Darling comes to The Parlor Room Nov. 25 at 7:30 p.m.

 

The Shea Theater isn’t hosting any supergroups in the next week, but the Turners Fall theater is offering music designed to get you moving.

That starts tonight at 8 p.m. when Toubab Krewe brings its eclectic sound to town — eclectic in this case meaning music that resists easy definition.

The North Carolina instrumental group mixes rock, a variety of African sounds and rhythms, international folk strains and more, and they do it on wide range of instruments: guitar and organ, bass, varied drums, and traditional West African stringed instruments such as the kora.

There is, simply put, a pretty irresistible beat to everything they play.

They’ve toured and lived in different parts of Africa, soaking up some traditional sounds that they filter through their own composing process in a way that, as Afropop Worldwide has written, creates “a new standard for fusions of rock n’ roll and West African music.”

For more straight-ahead rock, you can head to the Shea Nov. 25 at 8 p.m. for a tribute show honoring the late Doug Tibbles and the popular Valley band he was part of, The Stone Coyotes.

The concert, at which some of Tibbles’ artwork will be displayed, will feature a range of veteran Valley musicians, including Steve Sanderson, J.J. O’Connell, Don McAulay, The Unband, Matt Hebert, Alison McTavish and others, all playing the roots-rock tunes of the Coyotes.

Tibbles, who died in Greenfield this past April at 83, was the longtime drummer for the band, the family-centered group that featured his wife, Barbara Keith, on guitar and lead vocals and their son, John Tibbles, on bass.

Though mostly playing locally and regionally, they also toured the country at times; in Los Angeles, they once caught the eye of crime writer Elmore Leonard, who used them as inspiration for his 1999 novel “Be Cool.”

And Tibbles, who designed the artwork for the group’s albums and posters, did a bit of writing of his own. Before turning to music, he’d been a successful TV screenwriter in L.A. for shows such as “Bewitched,” “The Munsters” and “The Andy Griffith Show.”

 

If you’re looking to dance or just throw yourself around to some other careening music, check out Mia x Ally, who come to The Drake in Amherst Nov. 22 at 8 p.m. The Celtic rock duo is made up of electric violinist Mia Asano and bagpiper/multi-instrumentalist Ally the Piper.

Asano, a 2022 graduate of Boston’s Berklee College of Music, studied classical violin for years but now covers a range of music on a seven-string electric violin. Ally the Piper, whose real name is Ally Crowley-Duncan, is also a classically trained musician (from New York) who previously competed in top bagpipe contests in Scotland.

The two musicians, who both have big online followings, joined forces in spring 2022 and have since released multiple videos covering a range of rock, pop and metal tunes, like Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Freebird” and “I’m Shipping Up to Boston” by the Dropkick Murphys.

Now working on their first album, the young duo seem to have mastered the art of presentation for the digital age; you can check out their rock star moves at miaxally.com.

More music on tap

Indie rockers Rubblebucket will be at Northampton’s Academy of Music Nov. 18 at 8 p.m. Dante Elephante opens the show.

It’s a busy night on the 18th at Luthiers Co-op in Easthampton with four performances, starting at 6 p.m. with singer-songwriter Carolyn Walker, followed by songwriter Lisa Palumbo and her band, the funk-flavored Free Range Cats, and bluesman Wildcat O’Halloran.

The Clements Brothers, identical twins from New England who play harmony-rich folk songs on guitar and bass, will be at The Divine Theater at Gateway City Arts in Holyoke Nov. 18 at 8 p.m. Songwriters Charlotte Ouellette and Erisy Watt play opening sets.

Also on Nov. 18: Children’s songwriter Mr. G (Ben Gundersheimer) plays a free show at John M. Greene Hall at Smith College at 11 a.m., featuring songs from his newest album, “We’ll Make Things Better Together.”

The Bombyx Center in Florence has sold out a number of its upcoming shows: Ocie Elliott, the Brad Mehldau Trio, and Josh Ritter (a second show for Ritter Nov. 26 at 6:30 p.m. still had some tickets left at press time). But you can catch veteran singer-songwriter Cheryl Wheeler Nov. 24 at 7 p.m. Kenny White opens the show and also accompanies Wheeler.

Valley singer-songwriter and Grammy nominee Seth Glier, who has a new album due out in January, is doing a three-show residency at Hawks & Reed Performing Arts Center in Greenfield, and he’ll play his second gig Nov. 25 at 7:30 p.m.

Steve Pfarrer can be reached at spfarrer@gazettenet.com.