Memorial Day Weekend is one of several unofficial kickoffs to the Berkshire summer cultural season, and this weekend is no exception, with a plethora of classical music concerts, dance performances, pop, rock, country, and folk concerts, and art openings, including Paul Taylor Dance at the Mahaiwe, Rosanne Cash at MASS MoCA, the Amerigo Trio at Tannery Pond Concerts, and Todd and Caroline Mack in a dual father-daughter CD release concert at Dewey Hall in Sheffield, Mass.
Local singer-songwriter and producer Todd Mack and his 13-year-old daughter Caroline Mack will each release new CDs on Friday May 27, with a CD Release Concert at Dewey Hall in Sheffield, Mass., at 7. Caroline Mack’s debut CD, Because of You, introduces a precocious, soulful, funky and hard-rocking singer-songwriter in the vein of such neo-soul singers as Adele and Amy Winehouse. She also demonstrates her stylistic range by covering numbers by Leonard Cohen and Dolly Parton. Mack’s new full-length CD, The Thirteenth Step, is a poignant and heartfelt song-cycle about the travails and triumphs of overcoming addiction.According to her parents, Caroline Mack has been singing since the moment she entered this world. At the tender age of five, upon receiving a boombox karaoke player as a gift, she began putting words and melody lines together and there has been no turning back since. Her debut 5-song CD includes three originals that display an unexpected sophistication for such a young songster. While the hard rocking title track, “Because of You”, employs a lyrical direction that might otherwise be perceived as lighter fare were it not for the in your face guitar riffs and hi-octane vocals, “Goodbye” and “Too Late”, two songs about heartbreak, reveal a razor-sharp insightfulness well beyond that of a thirteen year old. But what jumps out most when listening to the younger Mack’s CD is her voice. Simply put, Caroline Mack sounds like somebody at least twice her age with her rich, full, and soulful voice. Perhaps the best example is the hypnotic cover of Leonard Cohen’s 1984 classic “Hallelujah”. No mere emulation of the inimitable Jeff Buckley version, Caroline makes this song her own with vocals that at once lilt and haunt. If the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, the Mack father-daughter duo may just be the proof in the pudding. For more than 30 years, Todd Mack has been writing, recording, and performing songs that are uniquely his own. His latest effort, The Thirteenth Step, is a theme album of sorts that takes an in-depth probe into the perils of addiction, the first of its kind for Mack and his seventh release overall. “This is the most personal and introspective album I’ve ever written and recorded,” says Mack. “I’ve never felt this exposed on a recording and in a lot of ways this was the hardest album I’ve ever had to make.” The Thirteenth Step employs Mack’s trademark lush production style with swirling guitars, driving rhythms, and thick sonic layers.
Todd Mack is no stranger to the local music scene in the tri-state area and over the past 12 years he has earned a reputation as an avid supporter of other artists as well as for his own music projects. He has produced dozens of CDs by local, regional, and national independent artists at his Off the Beat-n-Track recording studio in Sheffield, Mass., and for the past 10 years has given a voice to indie artists throughout the world on his two nationally syndicated programs, the Off the Beat-n-Track Radio Show and the FODcast.
In 2005, Mack started FODfest, an informal backyard jam which has since grown into an internationally touring non-profit organization whose mission is to strengthen, empower, and educate communities through the universal language of music by producing free community concerts, school programs, and multimedia productions that support its community-building mission. To date, FODfest has performed in more than 75 communities across the U.S., Far East, and Middle East and operates multiple programs locally, nationally, an internationally. It was at a FODfest concert in 2007 at Off the Beat-n-Track that Mack’s daughter Caroline gave her first solo performance at the young age of 10.
Combining the core of the two bands that recorded on their respective CDs, the Macks have been working on a live set for appearances throughout the tri-state region and beyond which will kick off with their CD Release concert at Dewey Hall on May 27. In addition to Caroline on vocals and piano and Todd on vocals and guitar, the band features Rob Sanzone on guitar, Miles Lally on bass, and Jason Schultheis on drums. The father-daughter duo will take turns leading the band, helping out on each other’s songs.
Tickets for the concert are $7 for students, $10 for adults, and $25 for families and include a free CD with admission. Doors open at 6:30 for the 7PM show.