Saturday, December 31, 2011

The “Public Broadcasting is…” giveaway

As you may know, Congress completed work on the final funding bill for FY 2012 last week. Included in this bill is level funding of $445 million for public broadcasting through the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB).

WUMB receives 13% of our annual budget for our programming and operations from CPB and it would be very difficult for us to operate without this money. So, we are very grateful to both the President and Congress for their support of public broadcasting…in addition to our listeners who provide support for nearly 50% of our needed revenue each year!

While our listeners may understand, Congress is largely unaware of the importance of a music station such as ours to the community unless someone takes the initiative to let their congressperson know. WUMB has joined 170 Million Americans for Public Broadcasting - a project that is bringing public radio & public television stations together in a national, grassroots effort to rally the support of the 170 million Americans who watch, use public media each month. Many of our listeners already participate. You can learn more about this campaign at:

Through January 16th, the 170 Million Americans campaign is engaging public broadcasting audiences in a fun giveaway aimed at further growing the public broadcasting network. Listeners (and viewers) are being invited to submit photos of themselves, their families, their friends, their pets - whatever inspires them - along with a sign declaring what public broadcasting is... to them.  

We’d like to encourage you to participate in this celebration of ‘what public broadcasting is…”
For more information about the giveaway visit:

If you would like to send us a copy of the photo also, you can email it to

Thanks for your support over the past year. Best wishes for a healthy, happy and prosperous New Year.

~ Pat Monteith, General Manager

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Greetings from the Holiday Road!

I hope all is going well for you, that the holiday season is embracing you with a special feeling of warmth for today and optimism for the future.

We sure get inundated with images of how the season is supposed to be.  And if that makes people get into the season by doing random acts of kindness just for the sake of it, let's have more of that!  But the gap between the Imagery and the difficulty of Reality also make the holiday season a time of extreme depression for too many of us.  That can be from economic hardship.  It is hard to receive the benefits of giving...when there isn't much sugar plum fairy dust left after giving to the bills. 

This time is also difficult on those who spend it far from home (sometimes we call them "Holiday Orphans").  During the holiday season, that can mean more than geography.  That means being separated from family, friends, and associated memories.   Music certainly brings that point home, doesn't it?  After all, music reminds us of times and people we went though those times with.  Joni Mitchell's "River" used to make me badly miss friends in California I had worked with.  In-jokes on some of the LeeVees Hannukah Rocks album make me feel like I am in my parents' living room with the rest of the family--even if they are 3,500 miles away.  No doubt you have your own favorites that exert a poweful pull this time of year. 

Then there are people who invite the "Holiday Orphans" in.  They may be friends.  They may be people who have a local business that practically acts as a community gathering place.  They are anyone who says, "we know (or know of) of a number of people who are far from home for the Holidays...let's have them over."  You feel an extra pang when images of people in Holiday activity are all around, while you are not fitting into the loop.  For the "Holiday Orphan," getting invited to a dinner is about far more than a meal.  It's getting to participate in that whole sense of welcoming.    

Now that is the Holiday Spirit.

A toast to you, the Holiday Hosts, who have made the season better for others
(and to those who have done that in the past for this wanderer...).   

Happy Hannukah, Good Solstice, Merry Christmas!

Happy Holidays to you all.

- Perry Persoff

Friday, December 23, 2011

Albums you may have missed in 2011

I love it when people tell me that there’s “no good new music”. What a crock. That statement literally makes me laugh because there’s tons of it, you just have to dig a little bit. I think 2011 was an amazing year for new music…we were lucky to get great releases from established artists as well a plethora of brand new artists. In no particular order, here are some of the albums that blew me away for 2011 and should make some great listening if you missed them.

Jason Isbell & The 400 Unit Here We Rest. Jason is a guitar player, singer, and songwriter formerly in The Drive By Truckers. This is his 3rd album with his band The 400 Unit.

Sarah Jarosz Follow Me Down. The second album from this amazingly young and talented artist. How do you follow up a stunning debut? You top it with songs featuring players like Bela Fleck, Jerry Douglas, Stuart Duncan Dan Tyminski and Shawn Colvin.

Gillian Welch The Harrow & The Harvest. Always the perfectionist, Gillian took eight years to craft this beautiful and haunting album.

Mount Moriah self titled. A group that was new to me from North Carolina blending traditional and indie folk sounds. Great stuff.

Tinariwen Tassili The story behind this band is as good as their music. The members came together in the southern Sahara, and were forced into involuntary military service under Ghadaffi.

Laura Marling A Creature I Don’t Know. The third album from this (again) very young and talented singer songwriter. Her confidence soars on this album.

Ryan Adams Ashes & Fire. Ryan returns to his classic singer-songwriter with a touch of country vibe.

Robert Ellis Photographs. Robert is 23 years old and already a veteran of the Houston music scene. His new album is a concept piece…the first half of the album is more singer-songwriter/folk based while side two is his ode to the classic country he grew up with.

The Civil Wars Barton Hollow. Joy Williams and John Paul White’s stunning debut.

The Head & The Heart self titled. Another great debut by a young band from Seattle infusing folk with up tempo elements.

There were so many other great releases from bands and artists that you just knew were going to be good….Red Molly, The Jayhawks, John Hiatt and many more. These were the albums that really floored me, so if you missed them…give them a listen! Feel free to leave a message about the albums that really wowed you too!

Happy New Year, and here’s to hoping 2012 is as good as 2011 (at least in terms of music!).

- Jay Moberg

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Community Partnerships

WUMB has recently launched two new community & campus partnership programs by piloting a Harmonica workshop for nearly three dozen students at the Dever-McCormack School in Dorchester, and with the UMass Boston GoKids Wellness program (in photo).

The workshops, which teach elementary and middle school students how to play harmonica helps to address the growing body of research which suggests that students who are exposed to music at an early age and who learn to play an instrument do better academically than do children without music education. Learning to play harmonica also has health benefits, since the required diaphragmatic breathing has shown to improve lung-functions in pediatric patients with pulmonary disease. Students were given harmonicas to use during an initial, hands-on, learn-to-play class and took them home with instructions about how to continue play.

Nationally-recognized harmonica player and singer-songwriter, Trina Hamlin (, who also teaches at the WUMB Summer Acoustic Music Week ( was brought in to help design the workshop, and to spend 75 minutes teaching the students in each class, the basics of how to play.

While a bit hesitant when they first picked up their harmonicas, the students quickly learned to play various rhythms by 'sucking' and 'blowing' the harmonica, and accompanied Trina on several songs before the sessions were over.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Need your ideas for Xmas music on HW61R

By now, you’re probably aware of an earlier Blog about our Christmas/Hanukkah 24/7 music channels at, and have noticed more and more seasonal offerings creeping into the weekly music mix as well.

But, the holiday season is not over and I need your valued input regarding Christmas music for Highway 61 Revisited on Saturday mornings from -.

This weekend (17th) I've got everything from the Letterman to Simon & Garfunkel and from the Chambers Brothers to Commander Cody.

Next weekend (24th) I've dug up a rare Christmas single from Leon Russell, we've also procured Christmas music from George Harrison, John Fahey, Johnny Cash & NRBQ to name but a few...can you think of any from that era I've overlooked?

- Albert

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Which Side Are You On?

We could write an entire Blog about the history of "Which Side Are You On?",  that iconic song written by Florence Reece in 1931 and covered by many including Pete Seeger.  Instead of that, I want to tell you about Ani DiFranco's new album of the same name. 

“Which Side Are You On?” is Ani's first album of new material in just over three years, and she includes a radically (and I mean radically!) reworked rendition of this iconic song. Ani calls Pete Seeger her "elder" and her "father in folk and political song".  Even though Pete made his interpretation of this song over five decades ago, it remains as relevant as ever today. 

You'll be hearing Ani's new version on WUMB very soon, and I'd love to get your thoughts on the song.  Oh and by the way, Pete even plays a little bit of banjo on the song himself. You'll have to listen closely, but Pete even does a little harmonizing on it as well. 

Ani's new album isn’t going to be released until January 17th, but you can purchase an advance copy of the CD on and WUMB will receive 8% of your purchase. Here’s the link:

- Jay Moberg

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Christmas and Hanukkah music 24 hours/day

For some reason we still don’t understand, five years ago (in December 2007 to be specific) we received an inordinate number of calls from listeners about the amount of holiday music we were playing. Some listeners thought we weren’t playing as much Christmas music as we had in previous years, and some were upset because they believed we were playing more Christmas music than ever before. And, others wanted to know why we weren’t playing any Hanukkah music. But, our system with playing both types of holiday music hadn’t changed from previous years!

In order to address some of the listener comments, the following year we decided to create two special internet music channels, one for Christmas music and one for Hanukkah music. This way, anyone who wanted to hear more of either could just visit our web site and listen on-line. We’ve recently re-established both music channels and invite you to tune-in to them whenever you want, 24 hours/day – at home, at the office, or at a party.

On the WUMB Christmas music channel, you can hear a wide variety of your favorite artists from John Prine and Keb ‘Mo to Bruce Cockburn, Shawn Colvin and the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. You can connect to our Christmas music channel at:

The WUMB Hanukkah music channel has a bit more of a traditional sound, but features music by John McCutcheon, Peter, Paul & Mary, Winterbloom, and the Klezmer Conservatory Band. You can connect to our Hanukkah music channel at:

I hesitate to ask this question after the amount of feedback we received 5 years ago…but, how do you think we’re doing this year with regards to holiday music on the radio? Are we playing too much, too little…or just the right amount?

- Pat Monteith, General Manager

Monday, December 5, 2011

RIP - John Lincoln Wright

The music community has suffered a great loss with the passing of New England Country Music Legend John Lincoln Wright on Saturday Night.

Lincoln, as he was known to fans and friends alike, had been professionally involved in music for his entire adult life. In the 1960s was leader of the Beacon Street Union which recorded two major label albums. They were signed as a part of the record company's "Boss-Town Sound" hype when they were trying to promote Boston as the next great "Underground" music city, to rival San Fransisco. These albums remain the most listenable of that era in New England music history.

Though the Beacon Street Union was a typical rock band of the era, Lincoln's heart was always filled with Country Music. He founded the Sour Mash Boys, a group that entertained audiences for decades with Country Music classics and his own wonderful original creations. A skillful band leader, the group became a training ground for younger musicians and there are few Country Music performers working today who do not trace their histories to Lincoln's band, or at least claim him as a major influence. Always a keen judge of talent his nurtured many artist, such as Darrell Scott, who have gone on to national acclaim.

He was always generous with his talents and if a benefit was being planed, Lincoln was always among the first to volunteer. Over the years, his songwriting practically defined what New England based Country Music should, or could be. All of his recordings are filled with songs that speak eloquently of his love for the region.

We will miss his talents, of course, but we will also miss in kindness and grace, his warmth and gentle presence. A true New England legend, John Lincoln Wright, gone from us on December 3, 2011

- Dave Palmater

Sunday, December 4, 2011

RIP Howard Tate and Hubert Sumlin

Music lost two great innovators over the first weekend of December 2011. Singer Howard Tate (above), respected for his late 60’s soul records, including those produced by songwriter Jerry Ragavoy, and Hubert Sumlin (below), Howlin’ Wolf’s playful guitar player who was present on many of the blues icon’s Chess recordings of the mid 50’s and into the 60's.


Both men had styles as distinct as any in their field, and both made sounds that were important parts of an era considered to be a hallmark in American pop music. It’s tough to watch the door physically close on the unredeemable past, but we are luckier still to have the recordings and their stories to keep. Howard Tate and Hubert Sumlin remind us of what it means to be dogged in our pursuit to be true to one’s self; to make and enjoy music for its own sake, on one’s own terms, and to always “get it while you can”.

VIDEO: Howard Tate – “Get It While You Can”

VIDEO: Hubert Sumlin with Sunnyland Slim:

Hubert Sumlin - Wikipedia bio:

Howard Tate – Wikipedia bio:

Jerry Ragavoy – Wikipedia bio:
- Brendan Hogan

Friday, December 2, 2011

Songs about The Halifax Explosion - Sunday night at 8pm

Thursday evening was the annual lighting of the official Boston Christmas Tree, a gift from the people of Nova Scotia in gratitude for the generosity of the people of the city following what is know as The Halifax Explosion.

On the morning of December 6, 1917, a French cargo ship, overloaded with munitions bound for the war in Europe, that had taken refuge in Halifax Harbor, collided with another ship and caught fire. The resulting explosion which leveled much of the city, was the largest man made explosion in history eclipsed only by the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima. It is still the largest accidental man made explosion ever.

Enough time elapsed between the collision/fire and the explosion that many people had gone to their windows to look when the blast hit. Many not killed outright were blinded by flying glass. As it was a cold morning many stove that had just been relit were tipped over by the concussion causing fires that raced unchecked through the city. An overnight storm left the city streets unnavigable by the horse drawn fire wagons and the fires burned much of the city that was not destroyed by the blast. .

When word of the explosion and resulting fires reached Boston, relief trains were immediately dispached. Many doctors left their posts to ride north. As the trains from Boston eventually met trains carrying wounded out of the city, the trains slowed and doctors jumped from train to train to care for the evacuated wounded. Within days a massive benefit concert was held at Symphony Hall and much of the relief for the city came from the Boston Red Cross and the Massachusetts Public Safety Committee. This is the reason that the people of Nova Scotia give a Christmas Tree to the people of Boston every year.

This Sunday evening on Downeast Ceilidh (8 PM) Marcia Palmater presents songs about the explosion including one about Vince Coleman, a heroic telegraph operator who stayed at his post and stopped incoming trains from entering the danger area, thereby saving hundreds of lives but losing his own.

This is the Canadian Broadcast Company page about the event:

Thursday, December 1, 2011

30 Grammy categories were eliminated

The Grammy nominations are out and I'm pleased to see that many of the artists you hear on WUMB were considered worthy of nomination. You can find a complete list at

I am, however, disturbed that as part of their decision to eliminate 30 categories, they seemed to have rolled what has previously been two categories into a single Best Folk Album category. In the last few years there has been a Contemporary Folk and a Traditional Folk category and while it was sometime confusing seeing which album ended up in what category, it was at least a chance to honor folk artists who were not primarily songwriters (they did the same thing in the Blues Category).

I think I can sum up my problem with this by asking if Pete Seeger had a new album this year, would it have had a chance in the current Best Folk Album category? You tell me. Am I way off base on this?

Here are the list of nominees for Best Folk Album:
  • Barton Hollow — The Civil Wars
  • I’ll Never Get Out Of This World Alive — Steve Earle
  • Helplessness Blues — Fleet Foxes
  • Ukulele Songs —  Eddie Vedder
  • The Harrow & The Harvest — Gillian Welch
- Dave Palmater

Monday, November 28, 2011

Harry Belafonte visits WUMB!

One of the most warm and gracious individuals who has ever visited the WUMB studios dropped by a few days ago with hardly any advance notice. Known to some as the “King of Calypso” -- singer-songwriter, actor and social activist Harry Belafonte is our guest for this Sunday’s Commonwealth Journal program.

In town to talk about his new memoir “My Song,” Mr. Belafonte had quite a bit to say about his influences growing up. “I have sought to alter the profile of poverty, but I have never chosen to leave it. So much of me resides there. So much of me was shaped by the environment of poverty. All of the nuances of my earliest years, the formative years, my adolescent years were shaped by the streets of Harlem and the mountainsides of the rural life in Jamaica and the Caribbean and West Indies where my mother was born.”

He also spoke about other things that shaped his life. “When you get the best riff from an improvisational moment in jazz nothing is more embracing, nothing is more fulfilling, nothing is more overwhelming than a good improvisational jazz moment. In a way my life has been like that. So many things came my way. I sat in so many sections of life filled with endless harmony, and to sit in the midst of that, and to play the chords of experience that came my way was really quite a fulfilling experience. That experience led me to all of the things that shaped what I was to do in life. It led to music. It led to art. It led to activism.”

You can hear the interview with Harry Belafonte this coming Sunday night at on WUMB’s Commonwealth Journal program. Above, Mr. Belafonte is shown after his interview with one of our newest Commonwealth Journal hosts, Barbara Lewis, Director of the UMass Boston Trotter Institute for the Study of Black History & Culture.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

What are you doing New Year’s Eve?

This New Year’s Eve – UMass Boston’s WUMB will partner with two other local colleges and First Night Boston for a great concert on Saturday, December 31st.

Suffolk University has donated use of the newly renovated 184-seat Modern Theatre, which opened last fall. The Berklee College of Music will present alum Liz Longley. And, WUMB will air a live broadcast of Liz’s show at the Modern from .

Liz is a recent graduate of the Berklee College of Music and is already showing signs of becoming the next acoustic breakout artist. In 2010, Liz received first prize in the BMI John Lennon Scholarship competition, grand prize in the International Acoustic Music Award contest (among 9,000 entries) as well as the Chris Austin Songwriting Award. She also appeared at the Newport and Rocky Mountain folk festivals. In 2009, Liz garnered first place in the Rocky Mountain Folk Fest Songwriter Showcase, and was co-winner of the Mountain Stage New Song Contest, among several other honors.

Whether you come and watch the show live, or decide to enjoy it from the comforts of your own home on WUMB, it’s sure to be a great way to bring in the New Year.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Patty Larkin wins by 1 vote!

Earlier this week, Dave Palmater asked which artist's recent on-air interview would you like us to repeat for today's Live at Noon. The poll has ended and Patty Larkin won by one vote over Slaid Cleaves! Vance Gilbert came in third, followed by Catie Curtis and Dala. Did you vote?

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Giving Thanks 2011

The season of brightly-colored falling leaves and frosty mornings is with us once more, and all of us at WUMB would like to express our deepest thanks to our listeners and donors over the past year. A lot of hard work goes into keeping WUMB on the air day in and day out, including all the technical and behind-the-scenes stuff you don’t hear on the air. Every time you tune in and enjoy what we have to offer or discover something new…makes all the effort worthwhile!

Best wishes for a wonderful Thanksgiving Day from all the staff and volunteers at WUMB.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Pick this weeks Live at Noon!

While we may be cruel enough to ask performers to sing at the crack of noon (might as well be 5 in the morning to most) we're not cruel enough to ask anyone to do it on the day after Thanksgiving. That's why we'll rebroadcast a pervious Live at Noon, or other In Studio Interview this Friday. The problem is "Which one?" There have been so many great ones just over the last few months we couldn't decide so we're turning to you. Help us pick this week's Live at Noon encore by voting in the poll at the right of this page. Thanks!

-Dave Palmater

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Thoughts on the Top 100 Countdown

It really is pretty amazing that year after year, no matter how much our audience grows, many of the same artists continue to show up time and time again on our annual Top 100 list.

Comparing this year’s Top 100 list with the one from five years ago in 2006, both Bob Dylan and Cheryl Wheeler have a strong command of the #1 and #2 positions.  In the top ten of both lists are artists like Nanci Griffith, Joni Mitchell and John Prine.  There were also strong increases with Brooks Williams, Cliff Eberhardt, Eva Cassidy, James Taylor, Mark Knopfler and Red Molly.

Eight names show up on the list this year for the very first time: Amy Black, Brendan Hogan, Brother Sun, Danielle Miraglia, Mumford & Sons, The Civil Wars, The Decemberists and The Head & The Heart.  Those who seem to have dropped off the list completely include: Ani DiFranco, Great Big Sea, Girlyman, Lyle Lovett, Maura O’Connell, Pierce Pettis, The Neilds, The Wailin’ Jennies and the Weepies.

One of our listeners remarked he couldn’t believe The Beatles only came in at #120.  And another – Bill – wrote, “I was disappointed that there was nary a mention of Jack Hardy, who, as you probably know, passed away this year.  Jack contributed to the contemporary folk scene(s) in so many ways.  He nourished the careers of a number of people on the list – Cliff Eberhardt, Lucy Kaplansky, Shawn Colvin and Christine Lavin immediately come to mind.  There were more.  Jack's Fast Folk project also recorded a number of other people on the list.  More importantly, at least to me, and what people seem to not appreciate, Jack was a great, great songwriter.  I find it sad that so few seem to have noticed, particularly in this the year of his passing.  I realize that the list was chosen via audience participation, so you WUMB’ers have little to do with the contents.  But I felt compelled to bring up Jack's name, as it would be nice if someone, somewhere in the folk community would some day give Jack his due.”  Here’s a tip of the hat to Jack Hardy!

What are your thoughts on the WUMB Top 100 list from 2011, which you can find at:

Saturday, November 19, 2011

20 Years at WUMB!

It's time to celebrate here at WUMB!  Dave Palmater, our Host of WUMB Music
Mix from Noon until 3 PM has been with us for 20 years, and was honored this
week at the annual "Years of Service" awards by the entire UMass Boston
Dave has been on-the-air in the Boston area for the better part of 40 years,
including WMBR (back when it was WTBS) and even worked briefly with Robert
J. Lurtsema at WGBH-FM.  During his score of years here at WUMB, he's become
a lynchpin in our organization, and a source of never-ending fun.  Once, as
part of a challenge during a WUMB fundraiser (which he obviously lost), Dave
even wore a Scottish kilt to a Member Concert.  He's more careful about his
bets these days.
A regular attendee at house concerts and coffeehouses all around New
England, he frequently vacations by taking in the music scene in the United
Kingdom.  A great admirer of Richard Thompson's performances, Dave can
answer just about any question one might have about Richard's compositions
and career.
We all love having Dave here at WUMB, so help us celebrate his tenure...give
him a call on our listener-line weekdays between Noon and 3 PM (617
287-6919) or send him an email ( with your congrats.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Bill Morrissey Tribute

This Thursday there is a concert to honor the memory and accomplishments of the late Bill Morrissey. This is a wonderful thing with his friends flying in at their own expense to perform. Peter Case, for example, is coming in from the west coast.

There are some things about Bill that I want to remember above and beyond his skills as a songwriter and performer. He was generous, especially with younger artists. This was not only because he was a kind and giving person, but because he understood his place in the musical continuum. I remember one afternoon when a young songwriter, and I won't say who, came into the radio station very excited because Bill had talked to them. But not just talked to them - but treated as an artistic equal. And here's a name I will mention. Ask Mark Erelli about the concert he shared with Morrissey when Bill asked him to sing "Birches."

Bill was one of the funniest people I've ever known. His humor came from his humanity and from his incredible observational skills. The same things that made him not just a great songwriter but a great writer.

Though he would probably have denied it, Bill was a sensitive guy. Every mistake he made in his life, and every harm he caused another, lived like a barbed fish hook in his flesh.

Bill was also incredibly courageous. He fought demons all through his life that few of us can imagine. The demons finally took him, but he battled hard, right to the end. And that is the Bill Morrissey I want to remember.

~ Dave Palmater

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Susie Burke and David Surette this week on Live at Noon

Most of the artists I get to interview on Live at Noon each week are songwriters, but I'm equally intrigued by singers who aren't. Now this is not to say that Susie Burke is not a great songwriter. After all she has songs like "Lucky Stars" and "All of Us" to her credit. But much of her repertoire, with partner David Surette, consist of songs written by others. She casts her net wide, performing everything from traditional songs to those written by her contemporaries like Bob Franke, Chuck Hall and Si Kahn. In the video above, Susie and David perform "Stepping out" at the Elysium Arts Folk Club in 2009 (skip to 1:19 for the start of the song).

This year she and David have collaborated on an album of seasonal music called "Wonderland Christmas." In addition to them playing some songs, and perhaps a tune or two, I'll be chatting with them about all of that Live at Noon this Friday. What would you like to know about Susie Burke and David Surette?

~ Dave Palmater

Sunday, November 13, 2011

The Top 100 Artist Countdown for 2011!

Who ‘just missed’ being in the Top 100? It’s finally here - the Top 100 Artist Countdown for 2011! Join us all this week, Monday thru Friday from 7am-6pm daily, as we count down the top 100 WUMB Artists as voted by our listeners. Each day, nearly every half hour, we’ll do three song sets featuring the artists that you voted for! For the last five years, Bob Dylan was voted #1, and both Joni Mitchell and Cheryl Wheeler ended up in the top five. Will they repeat? You’ll just have to listen all week to find out! You can check out the list of the twenty performers of who barely ‘just missed’ being included in the Top 100 – some by only one or two votes, at:

Saturday, November 12, 2011

The Story of "A Family Affair"

At 10 years old, Chico Colvard shot his older sister in the leg -- and ended up exposing a tragic family secret. Nearly thirty years later as a UMass Boston graduate and now adjunct professor, Colvard sparks a chain reaction in a documentary that exposes previously unspeakable actions in his family and the ensuing confusing reactions by members of his family. I have never been so captivated with, or drawn into a story and interview on any of our previous Commonwealth Journal interviews as with this story. Tune in this Sunday night at 7pm as host DeWayne Lehman talks with Chico about his family and his raw, award-winning documentary “Family Affair.” View a piece of the documentary here: FamilyAffairYouTube

- Pat Monteith

Friday, November 11, 2011

CD Review: Brigitte DeMeyer - "Rose of Jericho"

Quite frankly, I'd never heard of her, but I try to give every one a fair shake. Especially when she has very talented friends. One of the first things I look at on an album is who produced it and where. Not much to go on here. I didn't know the producer and it was recorded in Nashville, and really, what performing songwriter hasn't, or at least wants to. It got really interesting, however, when I got out the magnifying glass and checked the personnel. The band on almost every track included not just Will Kimbrough but Mike Henderson. And if that were not enough, Mike Ferris sings backup, Sam Bush plays on several tracks, and the great pedal steel player Al Perkins even makes an appearance. All of this adds up to an album that is worth trying and, in this case, it pays off well. Her voice is different but engaging, the songs are strong in a kind of Nashville way and, of course, the backup is superb. I'll be interested to hear what you have to say about the album once you've gotten a chance to hear it starting next week on WUMB.

-Dave Palmater

Thursday, November 10, 2011

This week on Highway 61 Revisited

This Saturday (8am-Noon) on Highway 61 Revisited we'll have equal billing for two very important Youngs (forever young if you will), who are both celebrating birthdays: Jesse Colin Young, solo and w/the Youngbloods as well as Neil Young w/his various band incarnations as well as his solo work for the last 40+ years. I'm still putting the show together; do you have suggestions for what songs to play from either?

- Albert O

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

RIP - Terence Martin

We are saddened to learn of a second loss in our music community with the passing of New York singer-songwriter Terence Martin, to pancreatic cancer. Terence shared the stage with many notable performers including Roseanne Cash, Roger McGuinn and Dar Williams. We’ll most remember his performance at the 2006 Boston Folk Festival where he participated in an incredible song-swap of “Songs from the Heart” along with Jesse Winchester and Red Molly. Our condolences go out to the Martin family.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Billie Hocket Passes at age 89

Billie Hockett quietly passed away on Monday, November 7, 2011, at age 89. As far as anyone knows, it is the only thing that Billie ever did quietly. She was a firecracker, a rebel and a fierce defender and promoter of traditional music, most especially Celtic music through her non-profit Music For Robin concerts. Billie gained international renown by bringing top-notch musicians from overseas to perform in the Boston area. Her house concerts in her hometown of Lexington, Massachusetts, were legendary. She could bring in sell-out crowds to hear musicians the audience had never heard of. Billie was curious, knowledgeable and often irritatingly vocal on matters close to her heart. She did not like to do as she was told and always demanded proof before accepting anything as fact. She was loyal to friends and beloved by them. During the past year, Billie fooled her doctors many times by refusing to give in to failing health. The local and international folk community responded to her son’s requests for messages with enough memories to fill a book, which she treasured. Surrounded by devoted family, Billie Hockett said goodbye to this world the way she lived in it: on her own terms.

- Marilyn Rea Beyer

Monday, November 7, 2011

A trip to China changed Abigail Washburn's life

Abigail Washburn has had one of the most unique starts in music.  She had no intention of becoming a professional musician until a trip to China changed that.  Falling in love with the culture there made her reconsider the culture of her own country.  She now blends a unique mix of folk and bluegrass into her music and has released a new album this year called “City of Refuge.”  She’ll be in the WUMB studios this Wednesday at 2pm for live music and conversation with Dave. Has a trip ever changed your life or career?

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Watch Amy Black perform at the WUMB Member Concert

Americana singer-songwriter Amy Black recently performed with her band at a WUMB Member Concert. Whether you were there in the audience and want to relive the show, or want to see it for the first time, you can watch her performance of “One Time” via the WUMB Flix & Pix page here:  Visit the same page if you would like information about how to access the one-hour long concert and you are a Comcast Cable subscriber. The entire concert & interview with Jay Moberg is available for free on Comcast’s XFinity On Demand channel through the end of November.


Saturday, November 5, 2011

Joni Mitchell's Birthday

Can you believe it? One of the most influential songwriters of all times, Joni Mitchell turns 68 years old on Monday! Join us as we celebrate Joni’s birthday by featuring her music throughout the decades for a daylong celebration. Let us know what your favorite Joni Mitchell song is, and we’ll try to play it. Joni’s website reports that University of Virginia Professor Eric Lott recently announced he's writing a book about her:

Friday, November 4, 2011

WUMB's Big Read - In the Time of the Butterflies

WUMB has been awarded a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts to conduct the fourth year of a Big Read program in the Boston area. This year we’ll be reading Julia Alvarez’s In the Time of the Butterflies. While the activities won’t be taking place until February-May, 2012, we’re currently in the planning stages to find partner organizations and to design activities to celebrate the book. In addition to giving out free copies of the book, we’ll be holding book discussion groups, showing the movie and having the author in for a lecture/discussion. We need lots of ideas about what else we can do. Last year, as part of our Big Read program celebrating Fahrenheit 451, we held a “Mechanical Hound Construction Competition” and created a four-part radio series of “Four Decades of Banned Music.” A few years ago, with To Kill a Mockingbird, we held a songwriting competition based on the themes in the book, and also held a day-long “Mockingbird Festival.”  Preliminary info about our Big Read program for this year can be found at:  What do you have for ideas about what else we can do this year to celebrate In the Time of the Butterflies?

Mickey Hart Collection

We've just gotten word that the American Folk Center (AFC) at the Library of Congress has just released the Mickey Hart Collection, a 25 album series from the Grateful Dead drummer and world-music expert! In celebration, 10 songs from the project are availabale for FREE download! To download the free songs go to Folkways or Mickey Hart, as for the albums themselves, Christmas is but 52 short days away...

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Tomorrow Live at noon -Alastair Moock.

Alastair Moock's latest family friendly album, These are my Friends, just won a gold medal from the National Parenting Publications Awards (NAPPA) and was also chosen as one of Time Out New York's top ten kids' albums of 2011. What else should I ask him about when he's here for Live at Noon on Friday?

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Vote for the 2011 Top 100 Artist Countdown

The last day you can vote for our 2011 Top 100 Artist Countdown is this Monday, Nov 7th.

For the past five years, Bob Dylan has been #1 and both Cheryl Wheeler & Joni Mitchell have each shown up in the top five. But, there hasn’t been another performer who has consistently made it to the Top Ten! Not Emmylou, not Joan Baez and not even Patty Griffin. Is this the year that Bob Dylan gets dethroned?! Vote today at

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Attention Members! Choose your next giveaway!

Hello loyal Members!

Next week we are letting you choose what you want for our Online Member Giveaway. We have three cd's to choose from. Just vote on the poll to the right of our blog to cast your pick!

If you want the music now, you can buy the albums here:

Ollabelle- Neon Blue Bird

Tedeschi Trucks Band- Revelator

Tinariwen - Tassili

Don't forget to enter this week's Giveaway here [].

-Anita Lee

Monday, October 31, 2011

Mark Erelli at Umass Boston!

Mark Erelli is a man of many parts. His songs have ranged from Western Swing to gentle lullabies. His lastest project is Barnstar, a bluegrass band with Zac Hickman, Charlie Rose and the Armerdings. Mark will be my guest live in the studio Wednesday Afternoon at 2 and I hardly know where to start. What would you ask him if you were me?
- Dave Palmater

New Decemberists' release

It's a mostly acoustic set of six Americana-based songs, recorded around the same time as The King is Dead. The track we were drawn to at this past week's WUMB music meeting was 'I 4 U & U4 Me', a home demo by group leader Colin Meloy. Curious to hear what the 'UMB faithful think...
- Albert O

Check out the album here!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Here is a little tour video of our studios accompanied by a live performance. Enjoy!