Nightcrawler: Getting Benched, rockers unite for rail trail and Alzheimer’s benefit, Kansas’ David Ragsdale

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Most folks remember Gary Biardi as a man whose love of the outdoors was rivaled only by his passion for music.

This Sunday, Sept. 27, no less than two dozen of the Valley’s most local notables — including Mark Schwaber, Alex Meisner, J.J. O’Connell, and Jeff Turcotte — will assemble at Easthampton’s Millside Park to crank out an afternoon of tuneage in Biardi’s honor. The fruits of their sonic labor — or more precisely, proceeds raised through $10 ticket sales — are earmarked for two wrought iron park benches that will be emblazoned with Biardi’s name and adorn Easthampton’s Manhan Rail Trail, a place he enjoyed so much.

Biardi’s partner, Elaine Wood, “asked me to play the first memorial concert for Gary last year, and I was more than happy to as he was such a supporter of local music,” says Scott Lawson Pomeroy, who is best known for his work with Orange Crush and Mambo Sons. “This year, I put my own band together to play it and wrote a whole set worth of originals to boot.” Pomeroy’s fledgling pet project, Red and The Rockets, is rounded out by Rick Murnane, Marianna Wood, and Chuck Vath.

For more information on the Gary Biardi Memorial Concert, call Elaine Wood at (413) 303-8060.

In other assorted acts of altruistic audio, Dirty Sweet Boutique and ATC Audio — owned by the husband/wife team of Tony and Claire Caliento — have organized an Alzheimer’s Music Marathon Benefit for Sunday, Sept. 27, as well.

“We are doing this in honor of people we know who have suffered with the horrible disease,” says Claire of the event, which is going down 1-6 p.m., at the Knights of Columbus in Enfield, Connecticut.

“We’ve worked with so many bands over the years, and we reached out to them on Facebook to ask who would be willing to donate some time and we were just overwhelmed with the response,” adds Tony.

Among those include classic rockers American Standard, local rock/new country coverband Relentless, and Sdrum. Another scheduled act, party rock pros Maxxtone, signed on for more personal reasons.

“I’ve known Tony and his family for two decades,” notes Maxxtone axe-man Pete Maserati. “And in my own family, my grandmother is presently in hospice care after unsuccessfully battling this disease for the past few years. She’s not expected to live out this year. My grandmother played piano since she was a young child, but can’t remember now. No one should have to see their loved ones fade like that.”

Visit the Alzheimer’s Association Music Marathon on Facebook and click “Shop Now” to purchase tickets; $20 per person.

Last, but not least: David Ragsdale IS in Kansas forevermore — or at least, fairly regularly since 1991. He admittedly was not strumming the violin for classic rock’s “wayward sons” during their salad days circa 1973, however. And that’s a chronological fact that would certainly preclude him from being involved in a documentary about the band’s origins like, say, recently released Miracles Out Of Nowhere.

“Right?” laughs Ragsdale in his exclusive chat with the Crawler. “I didn’t even know if I was going to watch it. But I’m telling you, you don’t even have to be a Kansas fan to enjoy it and be inspired by it.”

Kansas will be performing at The Big E in West Springfield, Saturday, Sept. 26. It will mark the third time the band has played the greater Springfield area this year.

“It’s becoming a stronghold of sorts, isn’t it?” Ragsdale jests at the observation. “But it really is such a great music area and I am really excited about the Big E.”

“So you’re familiar with our great state fair?” the Crawler countered. “Perhaps I’ll catch you grabbing a post-show Maine baked potato?”

“Maybe,” Ragsdale says. “But if you were a betting man, you’d be better off putting your money on the beignet booth just to the left of the stage.”•

Send correspondence to Nightcrawler, P.O. box 427, Somers, CT 06071; fax to (860) 394-4262 or email garycarra@aol.com

Gary Carra

Author: Gary Carra

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1 Comment

  1. You guys need to put captions on images, otherwise they’re meaningless. Who’s the woman holding the fiddle?

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