April 26, 2013

When Things Go Right

Took a few hours last night to go see Robin Lane at Whole Foods Glastonbury.

Now, I last got to see Robin Lane perform around 1981. I was a student at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) which had a pretty decent rotation of musicians and performers in my four years there. Robin Lane and the Chartbusters was a regionally hot, on the verge of breaking through kind of group, along the lines of Blondie or The Pretenders. I picked up their self titled debut album on vinyl, which followed me around for many years, until one final vinyl purge (everything went except for Springsteen and the Roches - strange bedfellows to be sure). But a few years back I picked this album up on CD.

Thinking back, I spent many hours with this album cued up on the turntable, figuring out the chords and the riffs. I must have worn that record out because to this day I still remember the lyrics and I bet if I spent a moment, the chords and riffs are still in my fingers. It was perhaps my first experience of connecting to a local musician / band that is perhaps not on the national scene, a habit that has lasted throughout my life.

Here's Robin Lane and the Chartbusters  at the Rathskeller (aka "The Rat") in Boston, a venue far cooler than the WPI gymnasium.

So, Robin Lane came to Whole Foods. She's been off the grid for many years, but has a new project called  Song Bird Sings, subtitled "Healing Trauma One Song at a Time". Their mission:
It is Songbird Sings mission to transform those silenced by domestic violence enabling them to give voice to their experiences and emotions through songwriting and creative collaboration in a safe, enjoyable, and structured environment. To help participants to learn inner strength and resilience as they come to trust themselves, and others, while building support systems between those with a shared history of trauma.
It was such a pleasure seeing and hearing Robin. She lives in Western MA and plays house concerts and small gigs, and I hope I'm able to attend (or perhaps even held to arrange) one in the future. She did a mixture of old rockers and newer, folkier numbers, as well as some songs from the A Woman's Voice album. (which I picked up at Whole Foods but the CD was not in there.....grumble). Abetted by bass player John Pfister, a couple of Whole Foods percussionists (Callem and......?) and multi-instrumentalist Jeff Chen from Them Damn Hamiltons (on keyboard), she was...in a word, delightful.

Here's Robin in the 21st century:

It was a wonderful look back into my past, fondly remembering my misspent youth. Robin and I - we are aging well. As a bonus, my fellow Guinea Pigs Sandy and Dan dropped in for a listen - it was sweet of them to come share the music and my passion for this particular artist.

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