Doors Open: 6:30 PM
Start Time: 7:30 PM
Born in Miami, during World War II, Chris Smither grew up in New Orleans where he first started playing music as a child. When he heard Lightnin’ Hopkins’ Blues In My Bottle album he was hooked – he couldn’t believe the sound Hopkins got. At first he thought it was two guys playing guitar. His style, to a degree, came out of trying to imitate that sound he heard. In his early twenties, Smither turned his back on his anthropology studies and headed to Boston at the urging of legendary folk singer Eric von Schmidt. It was the mid-’60s and acoustic music thrived in the streets and coffeehouses there. Smither forged lifelong friendships with many musicians, including Bonnie Raitt who went on to record his songs, “Love You Like A Man” and “I Feel the Same. (Their friendship has endured as their career paths intertwined over the years.) What quickly evolved from his New Orleans and Cambridge musical experiences is his enduring, singular guitar sound – a beat-driven finger-picking, strongly influenced by the playing of Mississippi John Hurt and Lightnin’ Hopkins, layered over the ever-present backbeat of his rhythmic, tapping feet (always mic’d in performance).
Cloudbelly is an award-winning indie folk band from Western MA with a sound that is at once intimate and cinematic. The group is fronted by singer-songwriter Corey Laitman, a former member of the NYC antifolk scene and Signature Sounds record label, whose ethereal poeticisms are delivered in a spellbinding voice that tips its cap to Sufjan Stevens and Joni Mitchell in equal measure. Laitman is joined by guitarist and ambient sound sculptor Sam Perry (SVIP), drummer, producer, and sound mangler Nate Mondschein (who often works under the moniker of Best Mann), and bassist/keyboardist/arranger Reed Sutherland (a stalwart of the Western Mass music scene and a gaming music composer by day), whose lush strings thread each Cloudbelly track with a new nostalgic dimension. Cloudbelly’s music has been recognized by the Kerrville New Folk Competition, New Song at Citizen Vinyl, WBUR Tiny Desk Roundup, and Signature Sounds Record Label. The band has played Green River Festival, Arcadia Folk Fest, and Meadowlark Festival, sharing the stage with Bonny Light Horseman, Sean Rowe, Josh Ritter, and many others.