Out of the spotlight: Sexual assault lurks in the Pioneer Valley local music scene
Jul17

Out of the spotlight: Sexual assault lurks in the Pioneer Valley local music scene

Author’s note: This article discusses sexual assault and trauma and includes personal stories from victims of sexual harassment, assault, and rape. The Pioneer Valley is unique for its thriving and diverse music scene with dozens of venues and hundreds of local musicians. Groups like the Pixies, Dinosaur Jr., and Staind all got their start in the area in the 1980s and 1990s. In 2015 online music magazine Pitchfork declared that...

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9/11 memorial made from Twin Towers I-beam to be unveiled in Springfield
Jul11

9/11 memorial made from Twin Towers I-beam to be unveiled in Springfield

A memorial to first responders who gave their lives saving others on Sept. 11, 2001, that includes a large section of steel salvaged from the World Trade Center in New York City will be a installed at the soon to be renovated Riverfront Park on West Columbus Avenue in Springfield by Sept. 11. A special preview of the monument was given to local elected officials, police and fire department heads, media, and others on July 10 at...

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A chat with medieval folk rocker Candice Night of Blackmore’s Night
Jul10

A chat with medieval folk rocker Candice Night of Blackmore’s Night

For more than two decades medieval folk rock duo Blackmore’s Night has been performing its unique blend of rock meets medieval folk on authentic period instruments. The band is led by husband and wife duo Ritchie Blackmore (formerly of Deep Purple and Rainbow), who plays guitar and an assortment of medieval stringed instruments and lead vocalist Candice Night, who also performs woodwind instruments. Ahead of the band’s upcoming...

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Wellness: Harnessing the Power of Communication
Jul05

Wellness: Harnessing the Power of Communication

The goal of speech-language pathology is to give patients back the power of communication, which can be empowering not only for adults, but for children as well. “They’re incredibly empowered,” said Rick Carpenter, a Northampton-based speech-language pathologist who has been treating children ages 2 to 10 years old for the past 26 years. “Contrary to that, when you don’t have that ability it creates anxiety and ultimately a feeling of...

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Pick of the Day 7/1: Klezperanto at Hawks & Reed
Jun29

Pick of the Day 7/1: Klezperanto at Hawks & Reed

Boston-based Klezperanto takes traditional klezmer music and adds its own twist, introducing a variety of genres  to the mix such as Colombian big band music, funk, surf rock, and covers of TV theme songs from 1970s cop shows. I had the opportunity to speak with band leader/clarinetist Ilene Stahl and she sold me on going to her show at Hawks & Reed Performing Arts Center on Sunday. The melange of influences should get you...

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Pick of the Day 6/30: Cajun Dance Night at the Root Cellar
Jun29

Pick of the Day 6/30: Cajun Dance Night at the Root Cellar

The Root Cellar is hosting a cajun dance night this month featuring two local bands. The first is Les Taiusts from Western Mass and southern Vermont, an old school electric Cajun dance hall band, followed by fiddle due drive group Terrible Mountain String Band. The Root Cellar is at 10 Fiske Avenue in Greenfield. Doors open at 7 p.m. and music starts at 8. $10.

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The CDs You Gave Me: Colorway’s ‘These Are The Days’ will give you hope for humanity
Jun28

The CDs You Gave Me: Colorway’s ‘These Are The Days’ will give you hope for humanity

Northampton-based pop rock trio Colorway embodies the spirit of summer on its new nine-track record, “These Are The Days,” with inventive shredding guitar solos and catchy earworm melodies that for better or for worse promotes a simple message of peace, love, and understanding. These Are The Days by Colorway The album opens with the title track, an upbeat rock tune with an XTC-ish drumming intro from Riley Godleski (drums/vocals)...

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O Cannabis: From stigmatized weed pipe maker to artisanal marijuana glass blower
Jun27

O Cannabis: From stigmatized weed pipe maker to artisanal marijuana glass blower

Chris Hubbard has been crafting artisanal glass pipes for marijuana smokers with his Florence-based business Akame Glass for more than a decade and thinks the stigma against weed-related glassblowing is shifting, and his industry is starting to be legitimized by the larger art world. “Before the world considered us artists, we were drug paraphernalia makers,” he said. “Now that weed is legal. They’re like, ‘Oh, you’re an artist.’ I’ve...

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Pioneer Valley Project and Stop & Shop union partner to host job fair for Puerto Rican families displaced by hurricanes
Jun27

Pioneer Valley Project and Stop & Shop union partner to host job fair for Puerto Rican families displaced by hurricanes

A partnership between grassroots activism group, the Pioneer Valley Project, and UFCW Local 1459, a union that represents workers with regional grocery chain Stop & Shop, yielded potential job opportunities for local Puerto Rican families displaced by Hurricane Maria during a job fair at the Clarion Hotel in West Springfield on June 26. “[UFCW Local 1459] is a member of the Pioneer Valley Project and we brought up the issue of a...

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Valley Advocate Q&A with Klezperanto – klezmer, surf, funk, Columbia big band music, and cop show themes all in one
Jun26

Valley Advocate Q&A with Klezperanto – klezmer, surf, funk, Columbia big band music, and cop show themes all in one

Klezmer music is by its nature a joyous high energy form of music, but what do you get when you add in Mediterranean melodies, Romanian surf tunes, covers of cop show theme songs, and a funk groove? You get Boston-based band Klezperanto.  They’re set to play Hawks & Reed Performing Arts Center in Greenfield on Sunday, July 1 at 7:30 p.m. Virtuoso clarinetist Ilene Stahl, who founded the group in 1998 with accordionist Evan...

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In bid for seventh term, Mass. Secretary of State William Galvin clarifies his history of support for same-day and automatic voting
Jun22

In bid for seventh term, Mass. Secretary of State William Galvin clarifies his history of support for same-day and automatic voting

Massachusetts Secretary of State William Galvin, who is running for his seventh term in office after serving in the position for more than two decades, is facing a challenge from Boston City Councilor and Democratic opponent Josh Zakim, pushed back on the notion that he has been slow to embrace expansive voting policies such as same-day registration and automatic voter registration during a visit to Amherst on Thursday, June 21....

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Fresh off Democratic endorsement, Secretary of State challenger Josh Zakim visits Northampton
Jun19

Fresh off Democratic endorsement, Secretary of State challenger Josh Zakim visits Northampton

Josh Zakim, a Boston City Councilor and a Democratic candidate for Massachusetts Secretary of State, visited the Northampton farmers’ market this afternoon alongside Mayor David Narkewicz, speaking with customers and vendors about how he plans to implement progressive changes to the election system in Massachusetts if elected. Zakim, who said he considers himself a progressive, was endorsed by Boston Mayor Marty Walsh as well as...

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New mixed use building at North Square coming to Amherst Mill District next year
Jun15

New mixed use building at North Square coming to Amherst Mill District next year

By the summer of 2019, Amherst will have a new mixed-use development of 130 low to moderate income apartments and eight to 10 new spaces for businesses at North Square in the community’s Mill District. A groundbreaking ceremony for the development took place with local and state officials on June 14, including a rare visit from Gov. Charlie Baker, who said funding for the project was partially made possible by MassHousing Partnership...

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North, South, East, West: More rail coming to Springfield
Jun13

North, South, East, West: More rail coming to Springfield

Tuesday afternoon at Union Station in Springfield, Gov. Charlie Baker announced increased rail connectivity in the city’s future. Going north and south, there will be a pilot program beginning in 2019 for passenger rail service that would run twice a day from Greenfield and make stops in Northampton, Holyoke, and Springfield and connecting with Connecticut rail services to go to New York City and back in a single day. As for...

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Gov. Baker announces expanded Western Mass north-south rail service, money for east-west rail study
Jun12

Gov. Baker announces expanded Western Mass north-south rail service, money for east-west rail study

Tuesday afternoon at Union Station in Springfield, Gov. Charlie Baker announced a pilot program beginning in 2019 for north to south passenger rail service that would run twice a day from Greenfield and make stops in Northampton, Holyoke, and Springfield and connecting with Connecticut rail services to go to New York City in a single day. “We’ve reached a deal with Connecticut to expand the passenger rail service on a...

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Pick of the Day 6/12: David Keenan at the Iron Horse
Jun12

Pick of the Day 6/12: David Keenan at the Iron Horse

David Keenan is a 23-year-old Irish folk songwriter with poetic lyrics who has been described as “not just another lad with an acoustic guitar; the sound of Tim Buckley and Brendan Behan arguing over a few jars, while Kavanagh deals Dylan a suspicious hand of cards, and Anthony Cronin and Jack Kerouac furiously try to scribble it all down.” If you like your folk music symbolically imbued with spiritualism with a dash of poetic...

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Confronting Childhood Abuse as an Adult Writer
Jun11

Confronting Childhood Abuse as an Adult Writer

When Lisa Zarcone was 11 or 12 years old, she came home to find her home a hot 90 degrees and her mother smoking on the sofa. She turned down the thermostat and her mother attacked her with a meat tenderizer, violently hitting her more than 20 times. She had bruises on her back that lasted for more than a month. Now, Zarcone, a 52-year-old Springfield resident, is the Massachusetts national ambassador for the National Association of...

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Folk and blues legend Chris Smither on songwriting, Chuck Berry, and living in the Pioneer Valley
Jun11

Folk and blues legend Chris Smither on songwriting, Chuck Berry, and living in the Pioneer Valley

Over the course of his more than 40 year career folk and blues guitarist and singer-songwriter Chris Smither has released dozens of albums and hundreds of songs.  He was a part of the Cambridge folk music scene in the 1960s where he first got his start and is also a local celebrity now residing in Amherst. Smither will return to the 2018 Green River Festival in Greenfield this summer on Sunday, July 15 and also recently released his...

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Activists protest ICE office in Springfield in response to 1,500 lost in ICE custody
Jun06

Activists protest ICE office in Springfield in response to 1,500 lost in ICE custody

A group of more than 30 activists affiliated with the Pioneer Valley Workers Center and Mass Jobs with Justice protested outside the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Office at 1550 Main St. in Springfield on June 6 in response to children being separated from their parents through deportation. The group marched seven times around the building, an action known as a Jericho Walk, which is inspired by the Biblical tradition...

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O Cannabis: Local cannabis start-up Treeworks aims to have something for everyone
May31

O Cannabis: Local cannabis start-up Treeworks aims to have something for everyone

A new start-up cannabis business called Treeworks is taking a grassroots approach to the burgeoning legalized marijuana industry in Massachusetts by working out of a home kitchen to develop a line of locally sourced products, including cannabis oils, edibles such as gummies, tinctures, topicals, and cannabinoid infused Kombucha. Treeworks is the brainchild of three Pioneer Valley residents in their mid-to-late 20s – Timothy...

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The CDs You Gave Me: Uncluttering the genre tropes with magic realism and psychedelia
May30

The CDs You Gave Me: Uncluttering the genre tropes with magic realism and psychedelia

When you think of a psychedelic rock band, you don’t tend to think about uncluttering the gutter spouts or other mundane tasks , but Greenfield-based alternative psych-folk band, The frost heaves and hales, does just that — marrying everyday tasks with a dash of magic realism. The band’s newest six-song extended play (EP), Uncluttering the Gutter Spouts, released on May 12 brings together an eclectic mix of genres from a classic rock...

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Gardening the Community to open first ever farm stand in Springfield this Saturday
May29

Gardening the Community to open first ever farm stand in Springfield this Saturday

Springfield-based nonprofit, Gardening the Community, which practices urban gardening in the Mason Square neighborhood and hosts programs teaching youth about urban agriculture, will host a grand opening for its first ever farm stand at 200 Walnut Street this Saturday, June 2 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. Ibrahim Ali, co-director for youth and programs with Gardening the Community, told the Valley Advocate the farm stand has been four years...

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Nonprofit art space, Looky Here, to have art thrift shop, lectures, music, and workshops in Greenfield
May25

Nonprofit art space, Looky Here, to have art thrift shop, lectures, music, and workshops in Greenfield

A nonprofit art space called Looky Here at 28 Chapman St. in Greenfield will feature everything from tarot card readings to instrument building classes as well as a thrift shop for art supplies. Looky Here is slated to have its grand opening on June 24 at 9 a.m. Hannah Brookman, president of Looky Here, told the Valley Advocate the nonprofit’s mission is firstly to serve as a community-oriented creative reuse store offering art...

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Cummington resident Jasper Gardner awarded Valley Advocate scholarship for Juniper Summer Writing Institute
May23

Cummington resident Jasper Gardner awarded Valley Advocate scholarship for Juniper Summer Writing Institute

Jasper Gardner, a 35-year-old Cummington resident who has worked as a farmer and carpenter in the Pioneer Valley, was recently awarded the 2018 Valley Advocate scholarship to the Juniper Summer Writing Institute at the University of Massachusetts Amherst for his creative nonfiction writing. The Juniper Summer Writing Institute takes place from June 17 to 24 and brings together more than 100 poets and writers to learn, write, and share...

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Blame Cadence on the Valley Advocate Sessions Stage
May18

Blame Cadence on the Valley Advocate Sessions Stage

Blame Cadence is a one woman chorus of looped soulful a cappella pop. Watch Blame Cadence’s full Valley Advocate Sessions performance in the video below. Interview with Blame...

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Today: Thirsty for Fair Wages mixes activism with milkshakes and margaritas
May17

Today: Thirsty for Fair Wages mixes activism with milkshakes and margaritas

The Pioneer Valley Workers Center, Jobs with Justice, and RaiseUp Massachusetts will host Thirsty for Fair Wages on Thursday, May 17, from 6 to 8 p.m. at 20 Hampton Ave. #200 in Northampton, with a tagline of “all work and no play can make the fun of activism fade away.” The event will feature milkshakes, margaritas, and a potluck dinner in addition to a kickoff signature gathering for $15 minimum wage and paid family...

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Holyoke-based granola business features blends of local bands
May16

Holyoke-based granola business features blends of local bands

Maple Local Granola, a Holyoke-based granola business that uses locally-sourced ingredients, has released different blends of granola inspired by local bands such as indie pop group, And the Kids, as well as bluesy Amherst-based art rock band Old Flame. Tony “Tonez” Hall, co-owner and manager of Maple Local Granola, told the Valley Advocate he introduced the idea of creating flavors inspired by local bands to co-owner Erin...

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Large scale hydroponic greenhouse Wellspring Harvest to open in Indian Orchard, Springfield
May15

Large scale hydroponic greenhouse Wellspring Harvest to open in Indian Orchard, Springfield

A new state-of-the-art hydroponic nonprofit 15,120-square-foot urban greenhouse called Wellspring Harvest at 121 Pinevale Street in Indian Orchard aims to offer fresh produce at wholesale prices year round. Fred Rose, co-director of Wellspring Cooperative Corporation, told the Valley Advocate the nonprofit’s mission is to create a network of worker owned cooperatives in Springfield as a way to create jobs in low income...

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How realistic is single payer in Massachusetts? A state Rep. and an activist to hold discussion at Odyssey Bookshop
May11

How realistic is single payer in Massachusetts? A state Rep. and an activist to hold discussion at Odyssey Bookshop

The Odyssey Bookshop in South Hadley will be hosting a discussion between Deborah Levenson from Western Mass Medicare for All and State Rep. John Scibak  (D-South Hadley) on May 22 from 7 to 8:30 p.m. about the prospects of creating a single payer health care system in Massachusetts. Jon Weissman, the event’s organizer and a member of Western Mass. Medicare for All, told the Valley Advocate the event is part of the...

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Northampton councilors chide mayor over lack of transparency in panhandling group
May11

Northampton councilors chide mayor over lack of transparency in panhandling group

Northampton City Councilors Alisa Klein and Maureen Carney released a joint statement on May 9 that’s critical of Mayor David Narkewicz’s Panhandling Work Group for the lack of representative from panhandlers in the group and a recent online study regarding panhandling in the city. In the co-statement, Klein and Carney, who are members of the City Council’s Committee on Community Resources, (CCR) stated they object to the...

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Senate President declines Northampton Mayor’s request to extend nomination paper deadline following Rosenberg’s resignation
May07

Senate President declines Northampton Mayor’s request to extend nomination paper deadline following Rosenberg’s resignation

Northampton Mayor David Narkewicz spoke with Massachusetts Senate President Harriette Chandler on May 6 requesting that the state extend the nomination papers deadline by two weeks for the Hampshire, Franklin and Worcester District following the sudden resignation of Sen. Stan Rosenberg on May 4, but Chandler declined due to the precedent this would set for state election laws. Kevin Connor, a spokesperson with the senate president’s...

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Valley Advocate Q&A with YouTube star and political song parodist Randy Rainbow
May04

Valley Advocate Q&A with YouTube star and political song parodist Randy Rainbow

Randy Rainbow achieved Internet stardom with his series of political spoofs and song parodies satirizing mainstream media and conservative leaders such as Donald Trump through green screened mock interviews and now he’s set to bring his unique brand of song comedy to the Calvin Theatre in Northampton on May 18. Rainbow spoke with Valley Advocate staff writer Chris Goudreau about his upcoming performance and speaking truth to power...

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Northampton Mayor David Narkewicz pledges to support protections for undocumented immigrants
May02

Northampton Mayor David Narkewicz pledges to support protections for undocumented immigrants

Northampton Mayor David Narkewicz pledged to stand by undocumented immigrants in his city during a May 1 press conference on the steps of Northampton City Hall and promised to support initiatives such as allowing undocumented immigrants to vote in local elections. “I will work with our City Council to try to send a ‘home rule’ style petition to the Legislature to see if we can get the ability at local elections to allow...

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From the Palace to the Parlor Room: Celtic fiddler Jamie Laval on playing for Dave Matthews, Queen Elizabeth
May01

From the Palace to the Parlor Room: Celtic fiddler Jamie Laval on playing for Dave Matthews, Queen Elizabeth

American Celtic fiddler Jamie Laval is world renowned for his unique approach to traditional Scottish music by adding virtuosity and a contemporary ear to ancient reels or jigs. Laval will be performing in Western Massachusetts on Sunday, May 13 at the Parlor Room in Northampton. Laval spoke with Valley Advocate staff writer Chris Goudreau about his passion for Celtic music, performing on a Dave Matthews record, and getting to play...

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Students continue to call for meeting with Smith & Wesson CEO to discuss urban gun violence
Apr30

Students continue to call for meeting with Smith & Wesson CEO to discuss urban gun violence

Students from Springfield and Boston gathered alongside local faith leaders and grassroots organizers held a second protest on April 27 against Springfield-based gun manufacturer Smith & Wesson after activists called on the company meet with them to create a dialogue about ways to end urban gun violence, and were met by silence. Local students want to meet with P. James Debney, CEO of Smith & Wesson, and delivered an initial...

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