Wait, is that…No, it couldn’t be… Do you know we’re surrounded by musical luminaries in the mountains? Our region is home to so many iconic musicians. Here are some of our favs.
By Sean McAlindin
Arlo Guthrie’s larger-than-life 1967 song “Alice’s Restaurant” was based on a friend’s diner in the Berkshires. The folk singer opened the nonprofit Guthrie Center in Great Barrington in 1991. He’s recently resurfaced after three years in retirement, so look out for upcoming shows. The family legacy lives on (his father was folk icon Woody Guthrie) as his daughter, Sarah Lee Guthrie, is now an accomplished folk singer in her own right. Photo by Eric Brown.
Alt-rock icon Natalie Merchant came of age as the frontwoman for 10,000 Maniacs, a group who met at Jamestown Community College and formed the band in 1981. She left the band in 1993 at the height of their popularity and released her debut solo album two years later, Tigerlily, which sold more than five million copies. She’s since retreated from the spotlight to raise her daughter but continues to create. She released her ninth solo album Keep Your Courage in April. It’s a beautiful, powerful, deep and emotive meditation on personal growth, introspection and modern society with the perfect dose of the same infectious melodies she’s always been known for. Photo by Shervin Lainez.
Melissa Auf der Maur
Melissa Auf der Maur is currently writing a memoir that reflects on her time as the bass player for Hole and Smashing Pumpkins at the height of the alt-rock movement. She and her husband now own nonprofit performance center Basilica Hudson. “The rumblings in our youth subculture in the late ’80s and early ’90s was pure magic,” she says. “There was a visceral energy rising out of the corporate hell zone. The common thread was ‘don’t sell out,’ but we watched it all get bought up by Coca-Cola and people died terrible deaths. I find myself asking, what were we fucking screaming about and what can we learn from that now?” Photo by George Holz.
After touring the world with The Replacements, Guns N’ Roses and Soul Asylum, bassist Tommy Stinson decided to settle down in Hudson in 2011. “It seemed like a good place to raise a kid,” he says. “It has a really great sense of community. It’s a pretty fast-evolving little domicile.” Stinson recently released a new album as Tommy Stinson’s Cowboys in the Campfire, Wronger, and is heading out on tour again this summer. He recommends stopping by Spotty Dog Books & Ale to get the lowdown on what’s happening around town.
“You’ve got to stick with the locals here to find out about it,” he says. Photo by Vivian Wang.
American folk rock icon James Taylor lives at the foot of October Mountain and plays at Tanglewood every Independence Day weekend. He moved to Lenox in 2002 to raise his twin boys with his wife Kim whom he met at a John Williams-conducted Boston Pops concert at the storied outdoor venue. How many 75-year-olds not named Jagger do you know that could still sell out stadiums? Photo by Norman Seeff.
Born in Chicago in 1942, Jack DeJohnette grew up in a musical family. Over the course of five decades, the Grammy-winning jazz drummer has played with greats Miles Davis, John Coltrane and Thelonious Monk, to name a few. These days he keeps himself entertained by jamming with other Hudson Valley locals including John Scofield and John Medeski.
Daryl Hall grew up in Chester County, PA and cut his teeth in the Philadelphia soul music scene. As the lead singer of ’70s mega hitmakers Hall & Oates, he scored six No.1 singles including Rich Girl, Maneater and Private Eyes. Almost nine years ago, he opened Daryl’s House, a live music venue and restaurant in Pawling where he hosts a handpicked lineup of amazing music. Photo by Lora Karam.
Pat Metheny is probably the most famous jazz guitarist to ever live, barring Wes Montgomery and Django Reinhardt. He was born in Lee’s Summit, MO and moved to Boston as a teenage prodigy to teach at Berklee College of Music. He’s won 20 Grammys and released more than 50 albums since 1975. His latest LP, Dream Box, came out in June. Photo by Jimmy Katz.