A wide range of contemporary American musicians, from folk, alt-country and rockabilly to garage, punk and psych-folk bands, are scheduled to perform this summer at Chesterfest, a new Americana music series presented by Chesterwood, a site of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Chesterfest will kick off on July 11 at 6:30 p.m. with singer-songwriter Mikey Sweet, who is returning to Chesterfest for the second year. Local sponsors of Chesterfest include Tune Street, Toole Insurance and Cranwell Resort, Spa and Golf Club.
The concerts will be held at Chesterwood on Friday evenings, rain or shine, from July 11 through August 29. Solo artists perform at 6:30 p.m., followed by bands at 7:30 p.m. The grounds open at 6 p.m.; attendees are encouraged to bring lawn chairs or blankets for lawn seating. Tickets are $10 per person; children under 18 are free. A glass of Wandering Star Craft Brewery beer, made in the Berkshires, is included with adult admission. Homemade snacks from Delicious Traditions and refreshments, including beer, will be available for purchase. More info: http://chesterwood.org/chesterfest-the-new-americana-music-festival-2014/
The full line-up of concerts is listed below.
6:30 p.m.: Mikey Sweet. 7:30 p.m.: The Picky Bastards
6:30 p.m.: Emily Mure. 7:30 p.m.: The Pistolwhips
6:30 p.m.: Niall Connolly. 7:30 p.m.: The Junk Rumblers
6:30 p.m.: Jeb Barry. 7:30 p.m.: Doug Tuttle
6:30 p.m.: Moot Davis for both sets
6:30 p.m.: Bruce Mandel. 7:30 p.m.: The Frontmen
6:30 p.m.: Liz and Jim Beloff. 7:30 p.m.: The Rambling Kind
6:30 p.m.: Alex Smith. 7:30 p.m.: TBA
About the Musicians
Mikey Sweet, July 11, 6:30 p.m.
Sweet is a singer-songwriter who grew up in Western Massachusetts. At the age of 15 he quit school and hit the road, picking up a guitar and learning to sing, he says, on sidewalks, subways, and interstate on-ramps. “Life is just a collection of stories, and we might as well make them our own,” Sweet said. Musical style: Folk/road dog gospel.
For more information: http://www.reverbnation.com/mikeysweet
The Picky Bastards, July 11, 7:30 p.m.
A bluegrass-centric band led by Chris Merenda on vocals and banjo. A staple of the Berkshires’ music scene, Merenda has performed with The Wheel, The Mammals and Arlo Guthrie. Musical style: Bluegrass-centric.
For more information: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZmbuwbymlP4
Emily Mure, July 18, 6:30 p.m.
Another encore performer this year at Chesterfest, Mure, with the help of award winning musicians of both classical and folk backgrounds, has composed an album of “unpretentious, straight-and-true songwriting that draws from contemporary folk, acoustic country and intimate chamber pop” (Direct Current Music). Musical style: Contemporary, folk, acoustic country and chamber pop.
For more information: http://www.reverbnation.com/emilymure
The Pistolwhips, July 18, 7:30 p.m.
Making their Chesterfest debut, The Pistolwhips have been called Albany, New York’s, finest purveyors of garage rock. Get ready for some high-energy rock and roll! Musical style: High-energy garage rock.
For more information: http://www.reverbnation.com/thepistolwhips
Niall Connolly, July 25, 6:30 p.m.
“Deeply Passionate. Engaging songs that are very much in the vein of early Dylan and showcase the strength of his voice and the potency of his words”, said The Irish Independent.
Reminiscent of the sounds of Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen and Wilco, Irish-born and Brooklyn-based Connolly is considered one of the most vibrant, poignant and authentic indie folk artists in New York City. Musical style: Vibrant indie folk.
For more information: http://www.reverbnation.com/niallconnolly
The Junk Rumblers, July 25, 7:30 p.m.
From New Brunswick, New Jersey, The Junk Rumblers combine vintage ’50s rockabilly with a danceable, modern sound. Infectious vocals drive this quartet with campy B-movie swank. Musical style: Vintage ’50s rockabilly.
For more information: http://www.reverbnation.com/junkrumblers
Jeb Barry, August 1, 6:30 p.m.
Barry, who lives in Adams, Mass., has written over 3,500 songs that roam through all styles of music and was named a ‘Songwriter to Watch’ by the Nashville Songwriters Association. He is the lead singer/songwriter in the “hard dirt” Americana group, Pawn Shop Saints, which features edgy, bluegrass-types of songs. Musical style: Hard dirt Americana.
For more information: http://www.reverbnation.com/jebbarry
Doug Tuttle, August 1, 7:30 p.m.
In his widely acclaimed 2014 debut solo album, “Tuttle deftly forges a sound that is all his, weaving nebulous jams into masterfully crafted pop gems…While ‘Forget the Days’ is reminiscent of the best Rick Wright Pink Floyd tune, ’‘Turn this Love’ is perhaps the cornerstone of the record; practically pouring out of the speakers. At once hazy and yearning, the tune builds upon melodic organ drones & splashing cymbal crashes before turning into an extended jam that you wish would go on forever.” (Spin) Musical style: Psych-folk indie.
For more information: http://www.spin.com/articles/doug-tuttle-self-titled-debut-album-stream/
Moot Davis, August 8, 6:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
“If Keith Richards, Raul Malo and Dwight Yoakam had a love child, it would be Moot Davis.” (Country Standard Time)
“Moot Davis is primed to be the leader in the new insurgent country music scene.” (Entertainment Today)
Davis has taken the country music world by storm. His fourth album, “Goin’ In Hot” was released in 2014 to continued critical praise. Davis has more than 20 film and television placements, including the Oscar-winning film “Crash” and the horror-hit “The Hills Have Eyes”. Musical style: Country/honky tonk/ Americana.
For more information: http://www.reverbnation.com/mootdavis
Bruce Mandel, August 15, 6:30 p.m.
“Reminiscent of the singer/songwriters who penned the soundtrack of the ’60s and ’70s, Bruce Mandel brews up a coffeehouse sound that’s espresso rich in inspiration and experience. As a vocalist, Bruce comes across as smooth, comfortable and quite likable. As songwriter, he’s a storyteller.” (Singer & Musician Magazine) Musical style: Coffeehouse; guitar and vocals.
For more information: http://www.brucemandel.com
The Frontmen, August 15, 7:30 p.m.
Berkshire-based band The Frontmen, composed of Luke Germain (guitar, songwriter), John Hartcorn (bass), Dan Karp (guitar), and Dana Delarosa (drums), play an eclectic mix of original and classic rock music. Musical style: Classic, eclectic rock.
For more information: https://www.facebook.com/thefrontmenberkshires/
Liz and Jim Beloff, August 22, 6:30 p.m.
The Beloff’s company, Flea Market Music, publishes the world-renowned Jumpin’ Jim’s series of ukulele songbooks. This series includes The Daily Ukulele: 365 Songs For Better Living and The Daily Ukulele: Leap Year Edition, the largest ukulele songbooks ever published. They regularly perform together, including ukulele tours of Japan and Australia. Musical style: World-renowned ukulele duo.
For more information: http://www.reverbnation.com/lizandjimbeloff
The Rambling Kind, August 22, 7:30 p.m.
The Rambling Kind, based in the Pioneer Valley, play a diverse and unique variety of original songs, bluegrass standards, and rocking fiddle tunes. With strong harmonies, skilled instrumentals, and a big repertoire, The Rambling Kind explores new directions for acoustic music while remaining loyal to their bluegrass roots. Musical style: Bluegrass.
For more information: http://www.reverbnation.com/theramblingkind
Alex Smith, August 29, 6:30 p.m.
“Alex personifies the next generation of Adirondack singer-songwriters.”(Chris Shaw, Adirondack Folk Legend)
Smith grew up in the heart of the Adirondack Mountains and has been immersed in folk tradition from a very young age. Promoting a sense of pride in the traditions of one’s culture while at the same time speaking about the issues presented in modern times is the backbone of Smith’s music. He tours and records extensively; both solo and with his band The Mountain Sound. Musical style: Folk/rock/traditional.
For more information: http://www.reverbnation.com/alexsmithmusic
TBA, August 29, 7:30 p.m.
Stay tuned for a great Americana band!
Chesterwood, a site of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, is the summer home, studio and gardens of America’s foremost sculptor of public monuments, Daniel Chester French (1850-1931). French is best known for his sculptures of the Minute Man (1871-75) and the seated figure of Abraham Lincoln (1911-12) for the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC.
Situated on 122 acres in the idyllic hamlet of Glendale near Stockbridge, Mass., the property and its buildings were donated to the National Trust for Historic Preservation by French’s only child Margaret French Cresson (1889-1973). Chesterwood is recognized as both a National Historic Landmark and a Massachusetts Historic Landmark. For more information, visit www.chesterwood.org.