Getting a ‘Klugh’


David Ortiz had a sudden burst of energy.

In six seasons with the Minnesota Twins he hit 58 homeruns. In one season with the Boston Red Sox he hit 54 home runs.

Ortiz has had a sudden burst of energy this past month as well. He went from hitting no home runs during the months April and only one in May, to hitting seven in June. Ortiz hit a three-run bomb yesterday to beat the Orioles.

Now we know why, and perhaps how, Ortiz has enjoyed these power swings.

Red Sox Nation wears the same black arm band today that Yankees fans have worn since A-Rod, Clemens, Petitte, and Giambi were named in baseball’s steroid scandal. Big Papi has gone from lovable to lamentable.

Say it ain’t so…

Let’s move on to some positive news.


Earl Klugh has had a sudden burst of energy as well.

Before you get any ideas it should be noted that Klugh is not an outfield prospect for the Mets, but a Grammy-winning jazz guitarist playing Infinity Hall on Aug. 4.

“Sudden Burst of Energy” is the name of Klugh’s 1996 release on the Warner Brothers label.

Klugh was a prospect, if not an actual prodigy, for sure, picking up the guitar at age 13 and becoming an instructor just two years later. He was discovered by famed composer Yusef Lateef and has since worked with the greatest jazz performers of our time.

His 2009 release “The Spice of Life,” was nominated for a Grammy as “Best Pop Instrumental Album.”

I’ll admit it. I’m an Elton John fan. Every word the man sang between 1969 and 1981 is engraved in my lil’ ol’ brain and so I am genuinely, happily, truly very excited for Bennie and the Jets.

Led by Massachusetts-born Greg Ransom, Bennie and the Jets have been touring for 14 years, and, yes, they play all that radio stuff, the good (“Levon”! “Funeral for a Friend”!), the bad (“I’m Still Standing”) and the ugly (“Crocodile Rock”). (OK, N.B., I know I’m being harsh. As with all snobs and superfans, I’m protective of my boy EJ, and “hate” on some of his stuff, which is wrong and disloyal of me. Don’t think I didn’t have my time when “Croc Rock” was on repeat for six days.)

These guys play eeeeverything. Obscure tracks like “The Greatest Discovery” (my favorite)

Jam Cruise!

So, right off the bat, I’ll tell you you can basically watch what I’m more or less about to tell you in a video, or you can read about what they say about the band in the video following the video, once you’ve made your decision about the video and the video is no longer the subject of convo. By the way, the video has music AND narration, so once again YouTube has bested … journalism.

Summer’s crazy this year, so soak it up while you can this Sunday, Aug. 2, with these summer-happy beautiful, beautiful, beautiful boys.

Walker Ran With The West Coasts’ Best Bluesmen


What makes a great blues club?

How does a venue earn the reputation and “street cred” to be mentioned alongside those legendary venues in Chicago, Memphis, and New Orleans?

First, you have to book the blues.

Over the next eight weeks Infinity Hall will host nine renowned blues acts, some which are considered the most prominent names in the genre. It all starts on Thursday night with Joe Louis Walker. Walker cut his teeth on the West Coast blues playing with Charlie Musselwhite, Muddy Waters, and Jimi Hendrix.

His apprenticeship also had him crossing paths with John Lee Hooker, a legend who comes to Infinity Hall on August 11. Follow that with performances from Roomful of Blues (Aug, 15), Robben Ford (Aug. 16), Michael Burks (Aug. 20), the Mohegan Sun All-Stars (Aug. 21), Kal David (Sept. 12), Duke Robillard (Sept. 19), and Shemekia Copeland (Sept. 25) and you certainly have enough empirical evidence to suggest the venue caters to the blues.

What else?

Is it intimate? With apologies to Eric Clapton and his mid-90s “From the Cradle” tour, the blues doesn’t work in hockey rinks. Infinity seats 300.

History? It was built in 1883.

Every good blues club has to have a kitchen, and Infinity is no exception. Want a burger with your blues? Check out the menu at the Bistro.

Welcome to Infinity Hall, Norwalk, Connecticut. Blues club.

Hipster Bluegrass (The Good Kind)

While all the other argyle-wearing, eclectic-music-making hipsters are listening to TV on the Radio (or what are the kids listening to these days? Grizzly Bear? What else is Pitchfork telling you to do?), I’ve been listening to the Duhks: hipster music for people who take on qualities of hipsterism but who you won’t see at Look At This F***ing Hipster (.com). (Maybe.)

Anyway, the Duhks are a French-Canadian band (so already they’ve got something on us) and play a kind of jammy, folky, country-y, (occasionally) poppy music, with bluegrass inflections that sometimes sit in the background and other times own the foreground. Having their cake and eating it too? Nah. Check it.

The Duhks are also green-impassioned (www.greenduhks.com) and they’re touring, according to their Web site, “fueling our vehicle with Biodiesel, supporting local organic farmers wherever we go, wearing sustainable eco-conscious clothing, using earth-friendly shampoos, soaps and cosmetics and offsetting remaining CO2 emissions with carbon credits.”

If you’re into Bela Fleck and Tim O’Brien, the Duhks have worked with those guys’ producers and other people — you know, people who rock, jam, sing smart things and go all-natural. Infinity Hall. Aug. 7. Do it.

Off To See Dar Williams…


Why is it that when I see Dar Williams I think “The Wizard of Oz”?

I’ve only recently discovered that Dar’s real name is Dorothy, but I’ve felt this way for years. I’ve seen her several times in Northampton and at The Orpheum in Boston and she seemed to approach those performances in a “we’re not in Kansas anymore” kind of way.

It’s that look on her face when the audience responds to her, as they always do, with a roar of genuine admiration and approval. She always seems a bit startled, overwhelmingly appreciative, and relieved.

The thing about Dar is…she can sing and she can flat out write a great song.

While it may not be September yet, check out the lyrics to “End of Summer.” Fair warning; if the passing of Labor Day has a negative effect on your psyche (as it does mine) then don’t read the lyrics to “End of Summer.” Williams understands teen angst as well as any songwriter alive.

Her recorded covers like Springsteen’s “Highway Patrolman,” and Pink Floyd’s “Comfortably Numb” (which she does play live, this version is with Ani DiFranco) are more stark than the originals.

In concert, Williams can be breathtakingly poignant.

Born in Chappaqua, apprenticed (musically) in Northampton, and now living in Hudson Highlands, Williams has the pedigree to pull off Dorothy-from-Kansas and the demeanor as well. She plays Infinity Hall on Aug. 9 and would be more than honored, a little nervous, and absolutely thrilled if you would join her.