“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.
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.
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.
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 ~