“Kick It Off, Wichita” by the Franklin County Sweethearts is out NOW! This is a 4-track ep of classic country covers Tom LeBeau recorded, featuring the virtuoso pedal steel playing of Doug Beaumier. Listen to it here ❤
Summer 2018 has treated us well. Tommy LeBeau and I have kept busy playing parades, restaurants, outdoor events, private parties, and yesterday, a wedding!
Our next gig is this Wednesday (7/11) with the Sweethearts in Angel Park in Williamsburg, MA. We’re hoping for good weather, so bring a blanket, or a chair, and a picnic! Just in case of rain, our rain location is the nearby Williamsburg Grange Hall. Music is from 6-7:30pm.
Well, howdy folks! It sure has been a busy Springtime.
We began the month with a Rosie, Tommy, and Doug trio show at Hardwick Winery – our first time playing outdoors this year! A week later, Tom and I played two Mother’s Day events, a party at Eddy Pond Nursing Home in Auburn and a brunch at Shaker Farms Country Club. This past weekend we performed at two different events in support of Kate Albright-Hanna for State Rep – a duo set on Saturday at the Chester on Track Parade, and a trio set Sunday at Thomas Memorial Country Club in Turners Falls, MA.
As Tommy and I are doing more and more of our gigs with Doug Beaumier on pedal steel, we’re still scratching our heads trying to come up with a band name for our trio. We’ve come up with several good ones – but none have really stuck. I suppose it’ll come to us at the right moment.
On Friday the 18th, I went to Child’s Memorial Park in Northampton with photographer Nick Borges to take some new promotional photos. He did a beautiful job.
Just in time for the busy month of April: I finally have physical copies of my CDs for sale! Five original tunes on a cd for those sunny day drives in the warmer months ahead. Pick one up at a gig near you 😃
This weekend Tommy and I head to Westfield to play Shaker Farms Country Club for the first time Friday evening, then Saturday we’ll be doing a full band show with the Franklin County Sweethearts at the Rendezvous in Turners Falls!
On April 13th, I’ll be opening for Lexi Weege and the Wondertwins for their monthly residency at New City Brewery in Easthampton, MA (makers of fine ginger beer). I’ll be playing a 45 minute set with Tommy LeBeau on guitar, AJ Del Negro on bass, Doug Beaumier on pedal steel, and Mike Benoit on drums.
The following Saturday, Lexi and I return to our favorite honky-tonk, the SAC in Shutesbury, MA for a duo set (that may develop into a four-piece by the end of the evening…).
On Sunday the 15th, Tommy and I play our monthly afternoon set over at the Hardwick Winery. We’re hoping for some warm weather so we can finally play outside!
Saturday, April 21st, I’ll be traveling to Otis with the Big Gunz to play loud rock n roll for the folks at the beautiful Knox Trail Inn. A great spot to go out for drinks, dinner, and a big ole dance floor.
Tommy and I finish off the month with a trip to Bennington, Vermont, one of our favorite destinations, on Saturday the 28th. From 1-3pm we’ll play some new original songs and old favorites at the South Street Cafe and Bakery.
That wraps it up for the month of April, folks! Happy Spring 🌷
This month kicked off with a full band show at Luthier’s Coop with the Franklin County Sweethearts: Lexi Weege, Tommy LeBeau, AJ Del Negro, myself, Mike Benoit, and Doug Beaumier on pedal steel. It was a joy to play with such a fine group of folks for such a lively audience! We’ll be back at Luthier’s with the full band on Friday, June 1st.
We got a few videos, here’s one of us doing an old Marty Robbins tune:
On Saturday, Tommy and I returned to our beloved haunt tucked away in the woods, Hardwick Vineyard & Winery, for an afternoon of sangria and duets.
We’ll be back again with the duo on Sunday, April 15th & Saturday, May 5th.
Next Friday night (3/16) Tommy and I will be performing at Chester Common Table from 6:30-9:30PM. Come join us for dinner, drinks, and live music!
Then on Sunday, March 25th from 3-6pm, I return to Fort Hill Brewery in Easthampton – home of some great beers and a newly renovated stage I’m excited to try out! I’ll have both Tommy LeBeau on guitar and vocals as well as Doug Beaumier on guitar and pedal steel joining me for this one! We’ll be serving up a generous helping of honkytonk classics. (P.S. This venue is super dog-friendly! Plz bring your dog!!)
We’re finishing out the month of March up in the Green Mountain State. On Saturday, March 31st from 7-9pm Lexi, Tommy, and I will be performing an acoustic dinner set at Superfresh! Organic Cafe. This spot has some really tasty and healthy treats and nestled in charming downtown Brattleboro.
We’ve got exciting things lined up for this month. Four gigs. an interview, recording, and video projects are all on the agenda for February. Winter has always had a way of slowing me down, but this one feels different.
New year, new gear! Tired of lugging around a massive 88-key Yamaha p-45, I’ve upgraded to a pre-owned 73-key Nord Electro 2 that Tommy found for sale on a gearswap facebook group. I’ve named her Nora. Ain’t she just the prettiest thing?
Tomorrow, Tommy LeBeau and I return to Hardwick Vineyard & Winery to perform an afternoon duo set of oldies and classic country tunes. The event is free, open to the public, and the wines are sublime. Then two weeks later, Saturday the 17th, the duo has our first ever gig at Rapscallion Brewery in Sturbridge, Massachusetts.
This Sunday the Franklin County Sweethearts return to the studio to work on some originals we’ve been cooking up – as well as to continue tracking selections from our vast catalogue of classic country covers. While we’ve been tracking, we’ve also been recording footage of our time together in the studio for a music video.
The Sweethearts have two gigs this month – on Monday, February 12th we’ll be performing at Bishops Lounge. Tommy and Mike won’t be able to join us, so Lexi Weege and I will be doing some tunes “just us gals”, before we’re joined by AJ on bass and our good friend and country music extraordinaire Doug Beaumier on guitar. Music begins around 8:30pm, with the Sweethearts taking the stage ~9pm, and local crooner Greg Hall closing out the evening with his homespun classic country tunes. Lexi and I met Greg about a year ago; she’s worked for him as a harmony singer, and participated in his interview series of local artists. This month, Greg has asked me to be his interviewee.
on Friday, February 23rd, the Franklin County Sweethearts return to the Cambridge House Brew Pub. We had such a great time at our last gig there, we hope to make this a regular spot for us! Last time we played as a trio – to change things up this time we’ll be playing as a four-piece with AJ on bass. Music begins at 8pm and goes til 11 or later.
Last Sunday, Tommy, Lexi, and I met at Tommy’s studio in Worcester to work on some tunes, eat snacks, and try a little impromptu recording. Once we settled in to tracking, it turned into a very productive session. First we recorded a basic live track with vocals: Tommy on drums, Lexi on the Gretsch Rancher acoustic, and me on my Yamaha P-45 electric keyboard, then Tommy set to work adding bass and electric guitar tracks. That very evening we posted the first of five classic country cover tunes, the Carter Family’s “Wildwood Flower”:
The Carter Family has been a huge inspiration for the Franklin County Sweethearts; this tune is one of our favorites we’ve been performing at our live shows. A “video” of the song (just the audio file and a film photo shot and developed by Tommy’s father, Dennis LeBeau) was uploaded to Facebook , and later to YouTube. We hope to return to the studio this weekend and have more tunes to share with you soon.
The Sweethearts, which began as a trio, as of October 2017 have expanded to a full band. Our newest members, old friends AJ Del Negro on bass and Mike Benoit on drums, have settled right in to becoming Sweethearts. We were treated to a delicious spread of food, and were delighted to see good friends, and so many folks dancing and singing along. We couldn’t have asked for a better way to close out the year. Tommy and I will be back at Chester Common Table 3/16 for a duo performance during dinner (6:30-9:30pm).
The Franklin County Sweethearts have two dates booked this month:
This winter, in lieu of heavy gigging, I’ve been spending a lot of time rehearsing new material, and with my record finished, beginning to write and arrange the next batch of original songs (listen to my first ep I released 12/13/17 here). Today at the studio in Worcester, Lexi, Tommy, and I recorded basic tracks with live vocals for a collection of classic country cover material. We hope to share the final results soon.
Spring and Summer will be here before we know it! With that in mind, I’ve already begun booking for the warmer months. Need a solo, duo, or a full band for your private event, business, party, or wedding? Email firstname.lastname@example.org for booking.
Tom LeBeau and I have been hard at work creating the “Pauline” album.
We recently invited our friend Josh Allen to 5 Front Studios to track his cajon (a box-shaped percussion instrument that he built himself and proudly decorated with sweet Star Wars stickers). Josh is the percussionist for the Franklin County Sweethearts, and occasionally Tom and I will borrow him for a set of our own, so we wanted to feature him on the record. Josh is also a photographer who is based in the Pioneer Valley. He has worked with us and many other fabulous local artists since first moving here from Ohio!
While we make steady progress tracking for the album, I’ve also been experimenting with album artwork ideas. I used cutouts from my sketchbook and found pieces to create the first very basic prototype front and back cover design for the album.
These were taken on my phone at my kitchen table, just to get a feel for the basic layout:
1st prototype of the front cover of the “Pauline” album.
1st prototype of back cover
Pauline as a waitress “serving coffee in a restaurant”
~ Based on a sketch done one morning over breakfast
at Charlie’s Diner in Spencer, Massachusetts ~