Nightcrawler: Striking a Chord

A Green Mountain State-based Americana band is looking to raise some greenbacks for a dear friend in a dire situation. And anyone even remotely familiar with the Vermont quartet The Joinery wouldn’t bet against them in their quest to pack Putney’s 160-seat Next Stage this Sunday, January 19. Or should the Crawler say “wood knot” bet?

The band—comprising bassist/vocalist Colin Blazej, guitarist/mandolin player Chuck Davidson, lapsteel/dobro plucker Andy Foster and acoustic six-stringer John Pozzi—are also master woodworkers who first came to know one another on the job.

As the story goes, after years of toiling side-by-side and sharing informal musical experiences, it became obvious to all four that they shared a common heritage and vision. Not long after that, the band—and its distinct, hand-crafted, finely honed sound—was created.

On paper, The Joinery is off to a particularly auspicious start in 2014 in terms of resume entries like 1) releasing its first full-length album, and 2) performing its first New York City gig earlier this month.

But this Sunday’s hometown show will clearly strike the most powerful, personal chord for them as all proceeds from it will directly benefit their friend Kirsten Jeppesen.

“Kirsten has been battling ovarian cancer and the cost of the surgery and chemo has been great,” Blazej—who first met Jeppesen in 1991 when they worked together for an environmental consulting firm—explains to fans on the bands Facebook page ( “I had the idea of raising money for her expenses by putting on a concert and Next Stage has generously donated the venue and my bandmates agreed to do the show for free. Now we just need one percent of the people she knows and one percent of the people I know to come out and we will overflow the 160 seats at the venue.”

The suggested donation for this show is $10 and, at Jeppesen’s request, in addition to whittling away at her medical expenses, portions of the proceeds will also benefit the Brattleboro Memorial Hospital Cancer Support Group so they can continue the great work they do there as well.

The show starts at 7:30 p.m.


In other news, the Monson Arts Council ( has opened the application process for its annual talent show, Western Mass Performs. Aspiring entertainers must submit their entries—and non-refundable fees of $25—by Wednesday, Jan. 29 to be considered for the auditions on Jan. 30 and Feb. 1.

From there, the field will be whittled down to 24 contestants who will vie for the $1,750 worth of prizes at the show Feb. 15 in Monson’s Granite Valley Middle School.

Each performance must be no more than five minutes in length.

Helping to sift through the veritable sea of talent as judges are none other than Monson’s own actor/singer Erin Greene, Wilbraham-based multi-instrumentalist Jeff Snow, and Kim Starsiak, a dancer/dance instructor from Westfield.

It should also be noted that the talent show is a fundraising event for the Monson Arts Council scholarship, with proceeds going to fund a scholarship for a Monson senior involved in the arts.


Last but not least, while you have your application packets handy, it appears that Geico, the insurance “Lizard King,” wants to hear you sing (or freestyle), and will reward its favorite submissions with cash.

In the Distracted Driving Music Video Contest, Geico is encouraging students ages 14 to 18 to download one of the two original tracks on the website, then author and perform original lyrics that warn of the consequences of texting, eating, grooming and the like behind the wheel.

Submissions must be no longer than 90 seconds in length and uploaded by 11:50 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 24.

The Grand Prize winner will receive $1,500 in cash and two runners-up $500 each. For more information or to submit your entry, kindly point your browser to•


Send correspondence to Nightcrawler, P.O. Box 427, Somers, CT 06071; fax to (860) 394-4262 or email

Author: Gary Carra

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