Friday, September 30, 2005

Sarah Borges Wins At Boston Music Fest

Narrows alum, and Taunton and Boston resident Sarah Borges has won the 2005 Boston Music Award for Best Local Debut Album "Silver City."

Some of us at the Narrows believe that Silver City is just plain one of the best albums we've ever head!

That's why she's returning in November.

Congrats to Sarah and her band!

Thursday, September 29, 2005

One Sold Out Show; One Show To Go!

Friday night's Hot Tuna Acoustic show is sold out. Ferget about it, bucko.

However, Saturday night it's Session Americana, a new, edgy concept in making folkie music. It's been described in the latest issue of No Depression magazine as "a musical collective...the cream of the Cambridge/Somerville roots community."

Session Americana has released a double CD called "Tabletop People Volumes I & II," which No Depression says "mixes classics such as a dreamy 'Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star' and 'Froggy Went A-Courting' with serious selections that aren't necessarily for the young, such as the prayerful 'Lighthouse Light.'

Learn more Saturday night at the Narrows!

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Narrows Alums All Over Americana Music Chart

Just so you know that when you come to the Narrows chances are you are seeing performers at the national and international level.

For example, Narrows alums Tim O'Brien, Eliza Gilkyson, Stephen Bruton, Pieta Brown, and Chip Taylor & Carrie Rodriguez have recordings on the current Americana music chart.

See the complete chart by clicking here.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

What the F-- Is That?

So your humble blogger was stumbling his way to the "salle des bains" at the Narrows when he glanced into the studio of abstract oil painter Marcia Sstaro-Cannistraro.

"What the f--," I thought. What is that lunar-module thang, and what is it doing at the Narrows?

It's the "DreamWeaver," which according to the sheet Marcia gave me "is an esoteric marriage of music and sacred geometry." The lunar-module thang is actually a 12-sided copper frame called a "dodecahedron," a word impossible to correctly pronounce.

Within the frame is a mat to help you not only hear but feel the music coming out of the speakers positioned along the top. It's all designed to relieve stress and restore your body's natural flow of energy, "freeing it to return to its natural state of harmony and well being."

Marcia is a trained facilitator, and if you're interested please call her at 508-880-3272, email her at, or stop by her studio when you're at the Narrows.

By the way, the photo above is Marcia with photographer Kris Bartley, who also has a studio at the Narrows.

Please remember to support all our artists. It will improve your life!

Monday, September 26, 2005

It's Curtains!

While we have always loved our stage's view of the Fall River waterfront, the windows have made doing sound for some shows at the Narrows a pain. In short, sound from the performers' monitors bounced off the windows and created havoc aka FEEDBACK.

Also, the windows were a problem for photographers trying to keep reflections out of their shots etc.

So, thanks to our great fundraiser at the Venus De Milo (Thanks board member and Venus honcho Monte Ferris!) we finally had the dough to get these babies.

The curtains, however, can be drawn so we're still able to go au naturale when we want!

Finally, it's curtains for the Narrows!

Narrows Alums On Broadcast Monday Night

Grabbed this off website....I've highlighted those who have played the Narrows:

Don't miss the 4th Annual Americana Honors & Awards on Great American Country(GAC) on Monday, Sept. 26 at 8pm ET and 11pm ET.Check local listings for the channel in your area.

Hosted by Jim Lauderdale and featuring an all-star house band led by Buddy Miller, you'll see great performances by artists including Solomon Burke, Guy Clark, the Duhks, Steve Earle, Radney Foster, Mary Gauthier, Arlo Guthrie, Emmylou Harris, Jamie Hartford, Raul Malo, Todd Snider and Marty Stuart.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Opening Night for Two Area Artists

The opening reception celebrating the art exhibit featuring the photographic works of Carl de Moor and the painting and fabric art of Michele Soares. That's Michele up above of course, in front of one of her gorgeous works. The other is Carl, re-hanging one of his rather wild photos after your humble blogger took a couple lousy shots with him holding the piece.

For more information about when you can view the exhibit, please visit

Congrats to Michele and Carl!

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Buck Owens to Chris Hillman: You're Gettin' It

Performing Songwriter magazine has a great interview with Narrows alum, former Byrd, former Desert Rose band member etc. Chris Hillman.

He talks about playing Buck Owens' birthday party, his coming face-to-face with the Byrds' "Drug Store Truck Drivin' Man," Skeeter Davis stepping up to the plate when nobody in Nashville would, and more.

Read more by clicking here.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Sorry Charlie & Adios Tampa

As expected, the Hot Tuna Acoustic show at the Narrows for Friday, September 30 sold out. Sorry Charlie!

As you may know by perusing previous entries, your humble blogger has been doing the arts scene in Tampa for a week. But Friday will be my last full day. I'll be missing the show below on Friday night featuring Dr. John at the Tampa Theatre in the business district:

Won't be able to go to any of these metal shows in the somewhat sleazy Latin Quarter of Tampa (but not sleazy enough) known as "Ybor City," where the Masquerade appears to exclusively feature metal bands such as Black Dahlia Murder, Soulfly et. al. Groovy baby. Your blogger digs metal.

Won't be back for the Narrows show Friday night starring Rani Arbo and Daisy Mayhem, but will be back for the art show reception late Saturday afternoon. The word is the art show, featuring the works of Michelle Soares and Carl de Moor, is extremely cool. More about the FREE reception by clicking here.

Farewell Tampa. Maybe return in February.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Big Weekend & Your Humble Blogger Digs the "Family Man" Scene

Friday night at the Narrows marks the return of Rani Arbo & Daisy Mayhem. Rani is a woman, Daisy Mayhem is the band.

Scott Alarik at the Boston Globe, reviewing their CD "Cocktail Swings" back in 2001, wrote:

Her fiddle is at once elegant and sinewy, shimmering with sly wit and mystery. She is, in all the important ways, already a star of the first order.

Late Saturday afternoon we have the free reception marking the art show by Michele Soares and Carl de Moor, both of whom featured over the past couple weeks at this very site--so scroll down baby.
Your very humble blogger hopes to make this reception, since he will have returned from his treacherous and seedy visit to the very bowels of Tampa, FL (sorry about the bowels stuff), where he copiously recorded--sort of an Alan Lomax with a camera--the musical doings at the local folkie/Americana/cool place in Tampa--the only place to play we've heard--Skipper's Smokehouse.

By the way, visit the Narrows website for more info about Rani & the artists.

While your humble blogger managed to get on the guest list the other night (in other words I got in free), Wednesday night, reggae night, I had to pony up "5 large" because my name wasn't on the guest list.

It was a swinging reggae soiree with, for all intents and purposes, an unnamed band (communication doesn't seem to be one of Skipper's strong points) and a decent crowd, who really got into the rhythm. I grabbed this photo of a boy with a toy guitar getting into the sounds his daddy (?) was making:

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Meanwhile Back At The Narrows....

Still trying to reason with hurricane season in Tampa, FLA. I spotted this t-shirt in a window of "Ybor City," a historic area of Tampa similar to the French Quarter in New Orleans. Ybor City, I learned at the official museum, was founded by a Cuban cigar manufacturer who, in the late 1800s, got fed up with the government there and moved his operation to the outskirts of Tampa. It became the top hand-rolled cigar place in the USA and also was a melting pot for Cuban, Italian and other cultures and music.

These days, it's got a sexy streetscape, with bars, stores, a trolley (actually on tracks; not just a bus dressed up to look like a trolley), an "Improv" comedy place, and heavy metal and blues clubs. And places to buy hand-rolled cigars (I'm bringing some back!).

Here's one part of Ybor City I had to photograph:

But life continues at the Narrows Center for the Arts in Fall River. For example, last Saturday we hosted Melanie. One of my deputy photographers, Kris the Metal Queen, snapped this one of Melanie and her son the sideman:

Tuesday night I was once again at Skipper's Smokehouse in Tampa (please see earlier blog entrys). I saw the Chris McCarty Band, which mixes reggae, pop, rock, folk, and soul. I liked them so much I reached my claw into my pocket and found a ten spot to buy their CD "Dreaming in Stereo." Here's a photo of Chris in action:

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Public Art in Tampa/Trying To Reason With Hurricane Season

While your humble blogger awaits photos to be emailed to him from the Fall River Festival of the Arts, he amused himself by continuing with vengence his "trying to reason with hurricane season" visit to Tampa, FLA.

Nothing opens a blog better than a little fish gutting, which this guy above is doing at Ballast Point Park in southern Tampa, minutes from Mac Dill Air Force Base, where central command is located for the Iraq war.

Your humble blogger drove down a beautiful street in south Tampa (Bayshore Drive) not knowing that after about 5 miles it literally runs into Mac Dill. Since your blogger is too old to be drafted, he had little fear of the guards grabbing him and throwing him in uniform.

Of course, six months from now that may be different.

The Florida Manatee has quite a presence in Tampa Bay, so much so that the city put up this sign with the do's and don't's of dealing with this giant, sluggish creature. If you look closely, you'll see that it states that nearly every manatee in the area has propeller scars from colliding with drunken motorboat wackos (ok, I made the drunken motorboat wackos stuff up).

But this blog is not really supposed to be about all that. Since the Narrows Center for the Arts is also a center for the visual arts, I thought it might be fun to see some of the "street level" creations available for free in Tampa.

Here's one fronting the Bank of America Plaza in downtown Tampa. It's called "Solstice" and was done by Charles O. Perry.
Mr. Perry's stuff is also displayed at Harvard University, Dartmouth College and many other public locations as far away as Singapore. Sidebar note: the dude has patents on designs of chairs. Cool.

Learn more about this interesting guy by clicking here.

The other public art I photographed in Tampa is "Family of Man," by Geoffrey Naylor. The work, located not far from where the guy was gutting the fish, is described by the Tampa Museum of Art as "minimalist stainless steel artwork" which "depicts a man, a woman and children."

Geoffrey Naylor was a University of Florida professor who died in 1997. One of his other pieces was purchased by David Rockefeller who put it on display at Chase Manhatten Bank in New York City.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Everybody I've Met from Massachusetts is an A-Hole

"Everybody I've met from Massachusetts is an asshole," the pretty blond woman at Skipper's ticket area told me, after I informed her I was from the Narrows in the Bay State, a venue similar to Skipper's except that we're a non-profit and don't serve alcohol.

I told her that I was planning to do a write up on Skipper's, located at 910 Skipper Road, in Tampa, FLA.

After hearing I don't have a Massachusetts accent (due to my Midwestern upbringing and work in broadcasting), she suggested perhaps I wasn't quite the typical Massachusetts resident.

I assured her that, quite to the contrary, I was, and remain, very much an asshole.

"Is it because of the high taxes?" she queried, in a hoarse voice that was getting hoarsier as she tried to shout over the folkie group on stage, Halcyon, cranked mega-loud.

Yes, of course, it's the high taxes, I replied.

With the preliminary pleasantries now history, I found out her name was Ginny and, though she was working the door, she was not technically a Skipper's employee.

But it was okay, since she'd been hanging out there for twenty years. Possession is nine-tenths of the law, someone once said (maybe a lawyer) and Ginny seemed to see Skipper's as one of her prized possessions.

The wall of posters introducing today's blog shows that the Narrows and Skipper's, while a thousand miles and tons of alcohol apart, have a link. If you look closely you'll see stuff from Narrows' alums Chuck Prophet ("I love Chuck Prophet!" Ginny said, breaking out into his song "You Did," which has something to do with putting the bomp into the shooby dooby bomp), Fred Eaglesmith and Tony Furtado. There was even a poster for Roomful of Blues.

But then the similarities radically end. For example, Skipper's has a rather huge tree in its performance area, which is only partially roofed. The crew of Skipper's, of course, uses the tree to hang posters. I like to think we'd do the same at the Narrows if "super tree" somehow burst out of the firmament and violated our mill building's integrity.

Skipper's, unlike the Narrows, has a bar and restaurant. Not pictured is an ATM in the bar that now occupies a spot formerly home to a telephone that may or may not have been used for dopers looking to score. But that was a long time ago, maybe decades, and the ever-vigilant management apparently took action to stop patrons from abusing the premises thusly. I only bring it up because there's something poetic about an ATM replacing an (alleged) dope phone. Sounds like something in a Jimmy Buffet song.

A word about the Halcyon group, which had packed the place.

They appear to be a regional trio, with a lot of energy, stellar harmonies and a particularly lesbian following. That's why, according to the scuttlebutt I picked up hanging out, the place was doing so well business-wise that night.

The lesbian link was also probably why a patron came up asked me for whom I was taking photos. "Is it a gay or lesbian publication?" the woman asked. "No, just a blog," I shouted back. She told me that she was a photographer too but "always got permission before taking a photo." I mumbled something back about her being a better person than me or that I really wasn't much of a photographer and walked away, pretending I was busy with my equipment (a tiny Canon digital camera). Whatever happened to freedom? I mused, particularly since Skipper's may be gay friendly but it is not a "gay bar."

I got the point, though. And, being from the Massachusetts/Rhode Island area, I appreciated it, too: careful, because some of these women may still be in the "closet." That's why--sensitive blogger I am--I've avoided head-on photos of any patrons, except for Ginny who told me she was married to a guy.

Thanks to Ginny for showing me around, and thanks to everyone I ran into at Skipper's, which is a must-visit if you're into Americana roots music (sometimes still called folk) and you're passing through Tampa.

By the way, this Saturday, after your blogger's plane is "wheels up," Skipper's is celebrating its 25th anniversary. To mark the occasion, I actually reached into my wallet and bought this t-shirt:

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Searching for Americana in FLA

Your very humble blogger skipped the action at the Narrows and the Fall River Festival of the Arts to fly down to Tampa, FLA for a week of trying to reason with hurricane season (thanks Jimmy).

So I grabbed a Southwest flight out of Greene Saturday morning and high-tailed it to Tampa. One of the highlights of the flight (other than taking the photo at 10 million feet above
mother earth and having some guy sitting to my right sniff his nose loudly every 30 seconds for an hour), was to hear a Southwest crew member sing a promotional song about Southwest Airlines, using the melody from the Flintstones cartoon show.

I am staying at the home of my brother, who lives in a gated community. I took this photo out his back door to show you the pond where a "cute little baby alligator lives," quoting my sister-in-law. The gated community keeps nasty people away, but can't do diddley about animals known to swallow dogs.

It's a rugged scene down here, baby.

But the point of this exercise is to check out a legendary venue which a member of the group Chatham County Line told me is pretty much the place to play in FLA.

That venue: Skipper's Smokehouse, located at 910 Skipper Road, Tampa.

Skipper's books many of the same acts as the Narrows Center for the Arts.

But more of that in my next entry, when your "Backstage at the Narrows" blogger goes "Backstage at Skipper's," led by an apparent longtime denizen of Skipper's, and former rock singer, the very lovely (and funny) Ginny.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Bellevue Cadillac Kicks Off Festival of the Arts Weekend

Rock, blues and swing masters Bellevue Cadillac performed at the Narrows Friday night, kicking off the Festival of the Arts Weekend. Up above one of the kids in the audience gets into the act!

You gotta dig those snappy styles the band sports!

Remember, on Sunday the Fall River Festival of the Arts is FREE, and will feature Duke Robillard, The Slip, Susan Cowsill and many more. The shows are in DOWNTOWN FALL RIVER in the streets. Visit for showtimes etc.

Your humble blogger will not be joining you since I am writing this from sunny Tampa, FLA from where I will be reporting for the next week. Nonetheless, I hope to post some photos from Sunday's celebration.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Sarah Borges Ship Starting to Come In

The word we're getting from Sarah Borges' camp is that her song "Daniel Lee" has been chosen as the lead song on "This Is Americana Vol.2," which we're told is available at the counters of Borders bookstores. It only costs $1.98 and proceeds will go to the National Association of Recording Merchandisers Scholarship Fund.

We also learned that Sarah has been nominated for 3 Boston Music Awards including Best Debut Album for "Silver City." She also got a great write up in, which you can only access if you subscribe, and was the talk of Nashville last week at the Americana Music Conference.

Way to go Sarah!!! Great news for this exceptional talent from Taunton, MA.

We like to think that the Narrows played a small role in the Sarah Borges story (the photo is her signing an autograph after a recent Narrows gig).

Quite frankly, your humble blogger believes that "Silver City" may be one of the best CDs he's ever heard. And I'm not kidding.

She returns to the Narrows on Saturday, November 19.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Pre-Show Ping Pong? Why Not?

North Carolina bluegrassers Chatham County Line played their first gig at the Narrows Wednesday night--and we were impressed.

Of course, their playing was great. But we also like the fact that they think "outside the box." Specifically, before the show the guys set up a ping pong table in the parking area next to the Narrows! They travel with paddles, ball and net and try to find an appropriate table wherever they play. Here are some photos of them in action pre-show:

Of course, all ping pong games must come to an end, and the show must go on!

A group out of Amherst, Massachusetts, The Amity Front, opened the show:

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

RIP Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown

Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown, who was scheduled to play the Narrows earlier this year, passed away on Saturday.

His show at the Narrows had to be cancelled because of his health.

The Providence Journal did a story on Gate's passing in Tuesday's paper, and spoke with Narrows president Patrick Norton:

Patrick Norton, president of the Narrows Center for the Arts, in Fall River, saw Brown numerous times over the years, starting at the 1992 New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. "He was one of the most amazing musicians I'd ever seen," Norton said, citing Brown's ability to play guitar and violin, and leap from country to Cajun to rock to blues to jump music and waltzes.

Norton got to meet Brown a few times over the years and described him as "always a very gracious, gentle man."

Finally, after years of trying, Norton booked Brown to play at the Narrows Center in February of this year. But Brown's health prevented him from making it to the show. "He was just doing fly-ins at that point," Norton said. "He'd just done a weekend in New York, and it was just clear that he wasn't going to be able to do it." Brown, an inveterate road traveler, had been performing while on oxygen for at least a year by that point, Norton says. "He was playing out the string the hard way."

Sometimes, a performer's death can spur a critical reexamination and a popular resurgence. "I hope that's the case with Gatemouth," Norton says, "because he deserves to be heard. . . . He's an American treasure."

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Walking Man

Carl De Moor walks around Boston and creates art with his camera.

We'll see the results at the Narrows beginning September 20.

"My style of shooting consists of long walks around Boston, usually in the mornings on the weekends, during which I simply look around, exploring the streets and alleys, and just responding to the things I find," he said.

"I respond most strongly to objects or scenes with strong elements of design and shape; I seldom photograph people right now, though that may change."

For example, this is a photo of traffic cones:

"For my photography, I use a digital camera (Canon Digital Rebel) to capture the images and Photoshop to process them. My current style is more or less abstract, close up studies of objects I find walking around Boston," he said.

He's new to the photo art business, and hasn't yet quit his day job on the faculty in the psychiatry department at Harvard Medical School and in the clinical research program at Boston's Children's Hospital. He has a B.S. in biology from San Diego State University--though he started there as an art major--and an M.S. and Ph.D. in biostatistics from the University of Washington.

His first juried art show was earlier this year.

This one is called "beer foam and asphalt."

Drink up and come to the show!

Monday, September 12, 2005

Wonderful Wednesday

Believe it or not, we at the Narrows have a bluegrass show this Wednesday night with the North Carolina group Chatham County Line.

With the high cost of oil, etc., one of the ways we keep the price down for our shows (check and compare) is by sometimes bringing in groups that are on a travel day, and really could fit in a show and earn some dough, even at a lesser amount.

Anyway, that's one of the reasons why we sometimes go beyond the standard Friday and Saturday night gigs.

As you may know from reading earlier entries in this blog, Chatham County Line views itself as different from many other bluegrass groups because they write their own material and work to avoid cliches that they feel plague the genre. They see themselves as a "rock mind trapped in a bluegrass body."

Want more info?

You can hear a chat with the band by clicking here.

You can read a review of their latest CD by clicking here.

Hope to see you at the show!

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Photos from Folks Together & MayBees Show

Folks Together had their CD release concert at the Narrows for their new recording "Pilgrims" on Saturday night.

Here are some photos taken by your humble blogger (h.b.).

The pictures feature a semi-group shot with (from left to right) Vincent Pasternack, Rick Bellaire, and Donna and Jeff Olson, leaving out the bass man/singer John Dunn. But we got a cameo of him playing his bass down below, and we couldn't resist getting a shot of Vinnie bearing down on a guitar, left, one of many stringed animals that he's mastered.

A new group, called the MayBees opened the night. Please forgive your h.b. (humble blogger) for any and all imperfections. And feel free to copy these photos and use as you see fit. All we ask is that you credit the Narrows Center for the Arts. The one below is your h.b. doing a freak thang.