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Wednesday, July 17 2013

Interesting Lineup for 7/25/13 Coop Concert

Adapted from a Michael Orlen press release:

As part of this summer's Coop Concerts series at Greenfield’s Energy Park, from 6:00 to 8:00 PM on Thursday, July 25th,  Russ Thomas, the band Small Change, and duo Orlen & Gabriel will be appearing.  Admission is free and all are welcome.

Russ Thomas is warm, witty, sensitive, articulate, eclectic, versatile, unpredictable, occasionally irreverent and has entertained audiences from California to Switzerland, playing in intimate coffee-house settings and to festival crowds of 8,000. "Patchwork," his CD of original songs reached #1 in sales by local artists for five weeks, according to the Valley Advocate. Garrison Keillor performed Russ' "New Birthday Song" on his popular NPR show. Russ has written and recorded jingles for commercial radio and cable TV and has been active for social causes, performing at the State House in Boston at an affordable-health-care rally and at various events in support of sustainable energy and non-violence. Russ' original work draws from the entire spectrum of emotions, leading listeners often to laugh and cry at successive songs. His goal is to heal, encourage, unite, educate, and entertain, in that order.

In an effort to wallow in obscurity for all these years, Small Change has chosen some pretty obscure tunes, sometimes by obscure artists, including songs written by Al Canali, Small Change singer and guitar player. Diversity in musical tastes has given Small Change a very eclectic mix of music. It all takes on a unique quality when backed by a solid wash tub bass, an instrument that defies dimension (and at times recognition!) when played by Dick Boehmer who gets more out of one string than most get out of four. Song choices happen for lots of reasons. It's all "interesting" - swing, jazz, country, folk, a cappella, and some other genres that defy categorization. Small Change has performed live in just about every venue possible including a television production called "From Folk To Baroque" which aired on PBS in the mid seventies, with violinist/fiddler Marie Rhynes, in a performance for the Mohawk Trail Concerts. Along the way they've also been on the radio and at festivals, bars, and private parties. No matter where Small Change performs, there are always plenty of tunes for every listener.

Michael Orlen is a singer songwriter with roots in the Boston music scene of the late sixties and early seventies. He was a frequent performer at legendary Boston venues including the Sword in the Stone and Turk's Head. He performed alone and later as a member of folk pop duo "Orlen and Gabriel", as well as the popular seventies acoustic rock trio "Home Free". He now lives in the northern Connecticut River Valley in Western Massachusetts, is a member of the Franklin County Musician's Cooperative, and has performed at coffee houses and festivals throughout New England and in New York state. His own songs are confident expressions of optimism with a dose of irony thrown in. He also draws on an extensive knowledge of twentieth century folk, blues, and ragtime music to choose songs that resonate in today's world. His pleasure in performing these songs is obvious and infectious, and his engagement with his audience adds an extra dimension to his shows. At this performance, he'll be joined by his longtime music and life partner, Christine (Gabriel) Orlen.

For more information on the Coop Concerts, click here.