As far as physical demands go, no one has ever mistaken making a new CD with, say, entering an Iron Man competition or stepping into the UFC octagon. Still, veteran Valley singer/songwriter Scott Lawson says he isn't taking any chances when it comes to the recording of his latest effort.
In fact, he appears to have completely immersed himself in training: "I am going to be the guest artist for the Wallace Stegner House Dinner in Saskatchewan," he explains. "And I decided to utilize the occasion of my two-day train ride to record my new solo acoustic project."
Hopefully, the Amtrak folks gave him a semi-private car. In any event, Lawson embarked on his sonic sojurn March 3—armed only with a banjo, suitcase and laptop. And he's been chronicling his exploits and experiences in great detail on his blog (returntobigrockcandymountain.blogspot.com)—including the following exchange with Canada's finest when he drove to the border: "A head pops out of the window of the office, and says to me in a stern voice, 'Sir? Could you please get back in your car and drive to the window?' 'Okay,' I reply, feeling like an idiot. I pull up, like I am at a drive-through bank teller. 'Where are you coming from and where are you headed?' I explain the nature of my visit. 'What is this 'artist residency' all about? Do you have any alcoholic beverages in the car? ' 'Just a couple of cans of Guinness.'"
Amazing&the power of Guinness, isn't it? It can create and avoid international incidents on an almost daily basis, it seems. Turns out this border patrolman was a fan of the sacred stout, and as of press time, Lawson had already arrived at his final destination—Eastend, Saskatchewan.
Later that evening, he was scheduled to perform at the 22nd Wallace Stegner House Dinner—an annual ode to the Pulitzer Prize winner who put the sleepy great white Northern town on the international map with his autobiography, Wolf Willow.
Lawson landed the gig largely due to the fact that he has penned—and will perform—numerous tunes based on Stegner characters.
"The plan is to record the dinner performance, too, of course," he says, "then combine that with the train records and eventually release a solo project I will call Return To Big Rock Candy Mountain."
Speaking of returns, pending a successful re-entry into the country, Lawson will make his return to the New England area just in time to man the mic for the Orange Crush show at the Southwick Inn on Friday, March 13. In addition to fronting the popular '80s revivalist band, Lawson is also a member of the local blues/rock power trio The Mambo Sons.
Meanwhile, in the altruistic audio department, no less than the likes of the Easthampton Learning Foundation (ELF) Jazz Band, Fat Soul, Jus Us and The Lynyrd Skynyrd Experience will lend their sizeable talents to the Concert For Cassie, a benefit slated for March 14 at Easthampton High School aimed at raising funds for student Cassie Tessier to help defray the costs of her recent lung transplant. Cost is $5 for students, $10 for adults. Doors open at 5:30 p.m.
Last up… you certainly don't need the luck o' the Irish to find a good St. Paddy's Day bash this weekend. In fact, they seem to be popping up as readily as mushrooms after a spring rainstorm.
Two standouts sure to make the others green with envy? Bo Fitz and the YankCelt Band at Belchertown's Black Moon on March 15 (and several other area appearances) and the Bushmill's-fueled pub-rock stylings of The Big Bad Bollocks at the Iron Horse March 14.
For more information, kindly point your browser to myspace.com/blackmoonjazz for the former and iheg.com for the latter.
Send correspondence to Nightcrawler, P.O. Box 427, Somers, CT 06071; fax to (860) 698-9373 or email Garycarra@aol.com.