by Simon Wainrib
I have always felt that the two poles of my musical interest were on one side the classical scene, on the other side the world of Jazz. Maybe because a New year is about to begin, bringing with it new resolutions and lifestyle changes, I felt that it was time to give a chance and listen to a different sound, the pop/rock that is the music of most of our young people and which I had always neglected because it was not "my" music.
I knew that it was heard week-in and week-out on the small stage of Great Barrington's Club Helsinki, which I had never visited.
The occasion to finally pay it a visit was triggered by a concert given there last Saturday night by our friend Todd Mack, whom I knew as the fellow who did the recordings for the Berkshire Bach Society, but who was also a talented songwriter. With this concert, he was introducing a new CD called "Yonder the Big Blue Holler" featuring ten songs which he and his guitar-strumming group performed through the two hours of the show.
The material ranged from gritty social commentary to gentle statements of love from earthy, twangy, Americana such as the lovely instrumental "How High the Corn," to "Beautiful Angel," Todd's final goodbye to his best friend, the martyred Journalist Daniel Pearl.
The music was full of surprises, underpinned by a constant beat that went from rowdy and hard hitting to mellow and soothing. For me it was an incursion in a new world a music, not the hard rock or the folk idiom which I somehow expected, but a mix of both which I found quite appealing and will surely remember.