Saturday, May 21, 2011

You Must Check Out the Yellow Sofa Cafe, Northampton, MA

I'm an unabashed fan and booster of the Northampton's mighty Yellow Sofa Cafe and its live music. The Bluebird Cafe in Nashville has nothing on this East Coast mecca. Every Thursday evening from 7 to 10:30 there is for everyone in the house, the continuous possibility of witnessing sublime and miraculous moments, astonishing to everyone in the room. I haven't seen anything like it since the Cat and the Cream Coffeehouse at Oberlin College in the late 70s, of which much has been written (well--in my journals from the time, probably). Northampton owes a debt of gratitude to Gabriel Moushabeck and family for making this live music venue possible in the heart of downtown Paradise City. Everyone must go there and spend money. If you are anywhere near Northampton, do it this week.  These aren't the 'droids you're looking for. . .divert generous amounts of your extra hard-earned Money. . . to Yellow Sofa Cafe. . .that is all.

I've only seen Star Wars twice, in fact, but I always liked that scene. . .

Here's a peek at some of the open mic proceedings from this week. I love that I got to play this favorite song of mine. To hear it, and the story behind it, click on the picture.

For full screen version, go to:

What an evening (though a classically typical one by Sofa standards). It was innagurated by two 2nd graders from Crocker Farm Elementary School who sang Bill Withers' "Lean On Me" followed by the Beatles' "We Can Work it Out" with poise and charm, not to mention vocal and performing talent, that led one observer to say, "That was amazingly good, not just good for them being 2nd graders. I mean actually, amazingly good." Bluesman Robert Wilfong (Fongster100 on YouTube) played a characteristically scorching version of "Death Don't Have No Mercy." Artistic wildman Azwan played a mashup of David Bowie songs on acoustic guitar, and as always, some of the area's best singer-songwriters including Scott Cadwallader, Laura Titrud and Chris Griffin played original new material better than nearly everything currently slucing through the polluted main river basins and tributaries of American radio.

The evening ended, as has become customary lately, with an everyone-in version of a Bob Dylan song. This time it was, "Million Miles" from the 1997 album "Time Out of Mind" with everyone left in the joint with an instrument getting 12 bars of blues in the batting cage--and some fine players hit 'em out of the park to send everyone home happy.

  For full screen version click on the link below:

We are in the golden era of the Yellow Sofa Cafe, I tell you. Long may it run, but if I were you, I'd plan to be there Thursday at 6:30 to sign up for one of the 18 slots, 'cause the only time guaranteed is right now, now, now, daddy-oh.

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