For the Sake of the Song is a Boston-based concert series and traveling roadshow which features an ever-changing mixture of some of the Northeast’s best songwriters and bands, collaborating to perform music from and inspired by their greatest influences. The series, which takes its name from the classic Townes Van Zandt song, delivers the intimacy and energy of great late night jam sessions as well as an illustrative peak into the songwriting process of a wide range of contemporary artists.
The musicians taking part in this tribute are Patrick Coman, who founded For the Sake of the Song, The Meadows Brothers, Amy Fairchild, and Jenee Halstead.
Patrick Coman is a fixture of Boston’s vibrant roots music scene as a performer, organizer of the New England Americana Festival and For the Sake of the Song series, and as the host of Local Folk on Boston’s Americana radio station, WUMB. Coman has made much of his six years in the Northeast, but it doesn’t quite yet feel like home. An Okie from just north of Muskogee, Patrick grew up under the spell of his hometown’s famed Tulsa Sound. Equal parts red dirt, blues, rock, soul, and country.
The Meadows Brothers
The Meadows Brothers’ (Ian, 23 & Dustin, 21) distinct brand of roots music draws inspiration from a huge list of influences, combining folk, blues, country and rock ‘n’ roll into what the Boston Globe calls An engagingly twangy sibling sound all their own. Known for their blood harmonies, unsweetened songwriting, expressive guitars and bluesy harp, the brothers have played hundreds of shows all over their native New England, the Midwest and Great Lakes regions, and down the Eastern seaboard while continuing to hone their craft. Their last album release, Wont Be Troubled, demonstrates the brothers’ keen ability to really rock in addition to the more mellow harmonies that they most are noted for. Sean Lynch (WSBU) says: With vivid storytelling, each track becomes a journey to a different place. The guitars feed off each other and the vocals pair together perfectly during the harmonies.
Amy Fairchild is a multi-award winning songwriter living in Boston, MA. Right from the start of her musical career in Northampton, MA in 1996, this roots-pop beauty garnered high honors revealing a talented songwriter who deftly gets to the heart of the matter. She won the Lilith Fair Talent Competition in 1999 and took home a top Kerrville Folk Festival prize in 2001. She continued to bring home honors with the release of her 2002 record, “Mr. Heart” (produced by Adam Steinberg) including The John Lennon Songwriting Competition, Maxell Song of the Year and the Billboard World Song Competition. Dave Marsh said, If there still was a recording industry, this would come out on a major label and would be such a big hit you’d be sick of her by now. Not many people make records this good. With 12 years between recordings, in June 2014 she released her self-titled third record to the acclaim of the best music writers including the legendary Steve Morse. Amy shows no signs of taking her foot off the gas as she’s just released her fourth record, “Nobody’s Satellite” (April 2017) again produced by Steinberg. Mike Greenblatt in The Aquarian Weekly says this, “When singer/songwriter Amy Fairchild released her impressive 2014 self-titled cd, it was so good that I fell in love with her immediately. Nobody’s Satellite is even better. Twenty years in she’s just reaching her near-brilliant stride.”
If you detect something expansive and mysterious in the music of Jenee Halstead, a freedom that owes no debt to place and time or even genre you understand where she’s coming from. And where shes headed … deeper into the essence of the song.
Her evolution from folk singer to ethereal rocker mirrors her journey from the West Coast to the East. As a youngster in Spokane, Washington, Jenee followed the lead of hippie parents and explored music freely. She heard something in it all from medieval choral works, to Led Zeppelin to Dolly Parton and it tugged at her, even as she earned her degree at Gonzaga.
To build on her personal, almost-secret songwriting, Jenee moved to Boston, where the seeds for many of her influences were planted. While Berklee College of Music was part of the allure, the academic approach turned her off, and away. They make everybody use a laptop, Jenee says, lamenting that mechanical method. I thought, Bob Dylan didn’t write Blowin in the Wind on a laptop! I don’t need this.
As it turns out, all she needed was a few nights with the working musicians in Cambridge’s basement Bohemia, Lizard Lounge and an introduction to Patty Griffin, with whom she startlingly shares a vocal quality and artistic bent. Patty Griffin was a complete revelation, Jenee says. It just opened up a whole new world to me. … Patty Griffin gave me permission to just write.
And write she did. It took just over a year for Jenee to record and release a debut album, The River Grace, and, with it, claim an Emerging Artist award at the 2009 Falcon Ridge Folk Festival. Indeed, the stylings on that debut made her a darling of the folk scene and won plaudits from Telluride and Mountain Stage. But, much like her coast-to-coast journey, Jenee Halstead’s evolution through her following three albums has been nothing short of revelatory