Nightcrawler: Home Sweet Home

When we last chronicled the exploits of South Hadley native Brian Chartrand, the former Flying Lessons frontman had flown the proverbial coop, heading west to seek his sonic fortunes. And, considering the critical praise and high profile opening slots (including Steely Dan, Michael McDonald and Chris Isaak, to name a choice few) his Arizona-based Ten Dollar Outfit garnered, it seemed the silver-throated six-stringer had succeeded in doing just that.

This Monday, Nov. 23, however, he'll return to the Baystate for an Iron Horse engagement that involves yet another audio endeavor. And while he is quick to note that he has no intention of deserting the Desert State any time soon, Chartrand can scarcely contain his excitement when discussing his "sweet" new gig.

"It's called The Sweet Remains," he explains, "and really, it was a loose-knit group of us that had a strong musical kinship. We started touring and adding members, and soon we all agreed that we needed to make this full-time and the band was born."

Rounding out the trio are Rich Price, a former member of the Geffen Records family, as well as Greg Naughton, an established singer/songwriter in his own right who, as Chartrand explained, has a couple of genetic claims to fame as well.

"Greg's father is the Tony Award-winning actor James Naughton," he revealed. "And a little-known fact—James is also a semi-professional ping-pong player, and proceeds to school us whenever he visits. Meanwhile, Greg's wife is Kelli O'Hara, a three-time Tony-nominated Broadway actress who was last spotted singing 'God Bless America' at game six of the World Series."

Chartrand, Price and Naughton have drawn comparisons ranging from "Wilco meets CS&N" to Guster, Paul Simon and Van Morrison.

The trio plans to utilize the occasion of the local gig to call upon some old friends, including Ethan Shorter from opening act The Mumbles (Chartrand and he were once bandmates in a group called OPM), Will Evans from Barefoot Truth and possibly some of the Stephen Kellogg clan to come join them.

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In other Iron Horse news, acoustic-fueled folk rockers Fancy Trash celebrate the release of their latest studio opus, For The Kids, at the Horse on Saturday, Nov. 21

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At michaelsilverstone.bandcamp.com, an Amherst second grade teacher has posted some 75 songs he has written in the past two years. As impressive as both the caliber of those songs and the sheer output are, however, it is perhaps the backstory behind Michael Silverstone's personal renaissance that is even more remarkable.

Silverstone has already secured his spot in pop music footnotes for obtaining a co-writing credit on Grammy Award-winner/childhood chum Marc Cohn's track "Live Out The String." And when he learned that Cohn had recently been shot in a botched carjacking, the Wildwood Elementary instructor says he felt compelled to reach out to his injured friend via email.

After rearranging some of Silverstone's prose, Cohn reportedly responded by advising his friend to set up a publishing company in anticipation of collecting royalties.

"He turned my letter into a song," Silverstone explains. "And he said, like it or not, you're part of rock 'n' roll now."

According to Silverstone, the entire experience jumpstarted his formerly dormant songwriting career. This Thursday, Nov. 19, Michael Silverstone and Friends perform at Noho's Yellow Sofa Cafe following the open mic.

Lastly… the Independent Music Conference (imc09.com) runs from Nov. 19-23 at the Clarion Hotel in Northampton."

Send correspondence to Nightcrawler, P.O. Box 427, Somers, CT 06071; fax to (860) 698-9373 or e-mail garycarra@aol.com.

Author: Gary Carra

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