Ashley Jordan: From street performer to rising star

BY JULIA CIRIGNANO

Ashley Jordan (SUBMITTED PHOTO BY ASHLEY JORDAN)
Ashley Jordan (SUBMITTED PHOTO BY ASHLEY JORDAN)

In 2010, singer-songwriter Ashley Jordan was just one of many street performers in Boston until she released her debut album at only 17 years old. Six years later, Jordan is currently in the process of releasing her fourth studio album titled He’s Crazy and has gained substantial recognition. She has won over twenty awards from radio stations, country award organizations, and magazines, including Limelight Magazine. 

“I started playing the guitar and singing at about the age of 13,” said Jordan. “I started doing open mics in the area and one night I was at Amazing Things Open Mic (in Framingham, Mass.) and the featured performer was a guy by the name of John Gerard. He was an incredible performer — he was so passionate about every song he performed and his guitar playing and songwriting were so meaningful that I had to meet him. I was a shy girl and John was a tough looking guy with tattoos and a mysterious demeanor but I walked right up to him and introduced myself.”

This moment of bravery opened a giant door for Jordan. She ended up working with Gerard for several years and took advantage of every opportunity he gave her. He introduced her to busking (street performing). She met many street performers through Gerard and he helped her become one herself.

“I started doing busking myself on the streets of Harvard Square and that’s really where I learned a lot about performing and writing songs that people wanted to listen to,” Jordan said. “John had a close family friend who had a home studio (Steve Rapson) and John introduced me to him and asked if he would record me. I had already written a bunch of songs – so we started recording them one by one and it turned into an album!”

This was her first experience with recording and it wouldn’t be her last. Jordan continued her story as she talked about her appreciation for the other people and producers who have helped to propel her career.

“At the age of 19, I completed my second album called Liquid Words with producer Don Hooper at his studio called Juke Village Records in Shrewsbury, Mass.,” Jordan said. “Don heard me perform at a festival and said he believed in my music and decided to not only produce my second album but covered all the costs as well. Then when I was 21, I recorded my third album called Nothing In Doubt with Adam Jensen at Night Owl Studio in Boston and the album was funded by my generous fans through a Kickstarter campaign. With my latest album this year, He’s Crazy, I had the honor of recording with Joe Merrick at his Guilty Dog Studio in Marshfield, Mass. The amazing male vocals/harmonies you hear on my newest album are Joe’s voice and he also played many different instruments on my album.  It was really great working with Joe!”

Jordan wrote every single song on her debut album and has continued to make songwriting the focus on all of her other albums.

“Songwriting is as important to me as performing because the songs I write are usually written by me alone and are very personal and provide the emotional connection that goes far beyond performing a cover song,” Jordan said. “I feel strongly about songwriting and feel that there’s a huge difference between an artist who just performs music and an artist who writes and performs music.  It’s just feels like a different level of connection.”

Jordan gave the backstory into the life of a young girl with a passion for writing that turned into a woman with a talent so compelling she was able to make a career out of it.

“I started writing lyrics before I even would call them lyrics,” Jordan began. “They were more poems or thoughts in a journal when I was 11 or 12 years old. I was a very shy child and loved to sing alone but never would perform in front of anyone.  One time my family and some close friends overheard me singing privately in another room and they came running in to hear me. I recall thinking, ‘Oh, maybe my singing is good?’ So I secretly entered a talent show in sixth grade and shocked my parents by marching up on stage and belting out an Avril Lavigne song. The overwhelmingly positive reaction I got was probably what pushed me forward. I learned to play the guitar and suddenly all my journal writing became song lyrics and things sort of moved on from there.”

Now a seasoned songwriter and musician, Jordan has played shows with many big names in country and pop music.

“Probably the most memorable show was when I won a contest to open for Mixfest 2015 by Boston radio station Mix 104.1 and got to open for 40,000 people at the Hatch Shell in Boston,” she said. “I got to hang out with Phillip Phillips and Christina Perri (and more) and it was an amazing crowd in Boston that really responded to my original music.”

“Another memorable show was more recently when Nash Icon Radio asked me to open for Trace Adkins at Indian Ranch in Webster, Mass.,” Jordan continued “First of all, Indian Ranch is an awesome place and Nash Icon Radio in Worcester is an incredible group of people!  I was so excited to share the stage with Trace and what made it even more memorable was that they asked me to do a 45 minute set. That gave me the time to really play full-out to a country audience and I felt like my music was a fit!”

Jordan recently finished her fourth album He’s Crazy. While it is for sale at her shows in CD form, it hasn’t been officially released yet.

“I have some interest in the album and I want to be smart about making the full release,” Jordan explained. “I’ve decided to release one song, ‘Weapon’ and it will be available on iTunes in the near future. The response to my album so far has been incredible. Matt Reid, music director at Mix 104.1 Boston radio, got an early copy and he loved it so much he decided to play every song on the album (he played one song each night for 10 nights) because he said he loved them all and couldn’t decide which ones to play.”

Reid was recently quoted saying, “My favorite album of 2015?  Adel’s 25. My favorite album of 2016, so far? Boston singer/songwriter and Open MixFest 2014 Winner, Ashley Jordan’s He’s Crazy.”

Jordan talked about the surprising way in which her fans of responded to “Weapon,” which is one of her own personal favorites on the album.

“I guess I really love ‘Weapon’ because it resonates strongly with me,” Jordan said. “I actually wrote it about a relationship but people have been coming to me and responding to the song at a whole different level given the violence that has been going on in our country recently. So it’s touched a nerve and I love that.”

Jordan explained why He’s Crazy is different than her previous releases.

“I’ve taken a long time to release it,” she began. “My past albums were completed and it was a rush to get the physical CD in time for the release shows and everything going on. This time I have the album in hand and now I’m sort of sitting on it. I’ve been selling it at shows but I’m waiting for the right time and circumstances to move forward.”

“Recording this album was a different process than past albums because when I wrote the songs I could hear every single instrument and harmony that was going to be in the song,” Jordan explained. “I could just hear it. I knew what I wanted very clearly.”

Along with those differences, He’s Crazy is also far more personal than Jordan’s other albums.

“I think the songs came together more quickly because I had so much material to use given a tough breakup and other things that were going on in my life,” Jordan explained. “It cleanses the soul to write about a crazy ex-boyfriend but that’s not all my last album is about. I also seem to write songs in clusters. I’ll be in a creative mode and songs just flow out of me. Then there will be a quiet time. At any given time I may be working on three or four songs.”

With a life that circulates around her songwriting, it’s a blessing that Jordan finds writing so self-healing.

“It’s like therapy only much cheaper,” she said. “There’s so much emotion behind a lot of my songs that sometimes I can’t record them for a while because I am so emotional when I perform them but I’m not embarrassed about that because the emotional content is what I think people connect to. My songs are honest and I try to tell the truth.”

Jordan also spoke about her recent experience meeting Garth Brooks at the IEBA conference in Nashville.

“Garth Brooks is amazing. He is bigger than life and a total sweetheart,” Jordan exclaimed. “I was in Nashville doing a showcase as part of the IEBA conference which books shows for artists and entertainers at venues/casinos etc.  Garth was being honored and received an award and later they had an incredible show with performances by Randy Houser, Eric Pasley and more. It was a very small and intimate setting and all of a sudden there was Garth just hanging out! He was so cool and I was in awe of him.  I had performed a pre-show for him at the DCU Center some time ago so we had a small connection!”

Jordan said there was one specific moment with Brooks that she will never forget.

“He is such a gentleman,” she said. “An elderly woman who is highly regarded in the industry came into the room and the whole room sort of quieted down. Garth bowed down to her, took off his hat, and she cupped his face in her hands as she walked by. It was so sweet and exactly what I would have expected from him and so cool to see in person.”

Check out Jordan’s newest single “Weapon” which was released in late October on iTunes. You can also keep up with Jordan on her social media pages by clicking on the following links: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube.

 

TJ’s All Star Band Program: Inspiring Young Musicians to become Rock Stars

BY JULIA CIRIGNANO

TJ's All Star Band performs at the Narrows Center for the Arts in Fall River, MA (SUBMITTED PHOTO)
TJ’s All Star Band performs at the Narrows Center in Fall River, MA (SUBMITTED PHOTO)

If you’re an aspiring young musician and ever wondered what it’s like to be in a band or perform in front of a crowd of people, then it’s time to enroll in TJ’s All Star Band Program!

Found by Todd Salpietro, owner of TJ’s Music in Fall River, Mass., TJ’s All Star Band Program functions as a way for young musicians to become genuine rock stars, giving them the opportunity to rehearse and play live with other musicians on a real stage in front of a real audience.

“It took some tweaking along the way but I really feel like the program we have now is special,” said Salpietro. “I think that when people see this they will want to be part of it.”

In 2011, Salpietro had been teaching private music lessons for about 15 years. He enjoyed his work but wished his students could play with other musicians. As a result, Salpietro decided to start the All Star Band Program. Over the years, it has grown and the benefits that members acquire has been better that Salpietro could have expected.

TJ’s All Star Band functions as a way for young musicians to become rock stars. Currently, the band consists of about 18 students who range in age from 10 to 18. The youngest member started playing with the All Star Band when she was only seven. The older band members are around 18. Although there are similar programs and music camps in the region, this one is undeniably different.

“After a year of practicing, these kids live the songs,” Salpietro said. “Now we’re really starting to see the quality in the students of professional players. It’s amazing when you see these kids play you think they’re kids and, ‘aw it’s cute kids are playing,’ but it’s not like that. They are really really that good.”

Salpietro talked about the program and its goals for each student.

“Here at TJ’s Music we promote a performance-based music lesson program where we’re always working towards an ensemble,” he said. “We do three recitals a year for our private instruction lessons and we also do the All Star Band shows.”

The All Star Band used to play three shows a year but recently Salpietro has decided to put on one show a month with the band. Because of this change, the band members are now always working towards a show. There is a steady stream to regular practice and performances in which they learn not only how to perform but also what to expect at a show, how to set up the stage, how to plug in their instruments, etc.

“I just want them to become the best player and the most knowledgeable player that they possibly can be,” he said. “I want them to have the tools that I had to learn on my own.”

Salpietro spoke about the high standards which he holds for his students. He treats them with the same respect he would a musician his own age and expects the same type of respect, commitment, and work ethic from them. He explained that his students work very hard to be as good as they are. They aren’t treated like children who all get participation ribbons but as true, seasoned musicians who have to learn how to accept criticism and grow from it.

The students typically meet once a week and practice with the guidance of Salpietro and four other musicians.

“We meet every Wednesday night from 6 to 8 p.m.,” he said. “We have four music mentors. We have Gary Faria, Joseph Rebelo, Dennis King, and Danielle Hasket.”

Along with the band’s weekly practice on Wednesday nights, they are also allowed to use the practice room whenever it is available. Salpietro rents out the room to other bands to practice but All Star Band members can typically get as many extra hours of practice a week as they would like.

“They can come in and practice any day and they do,” Salpietro said. “It’s really awesome because we’ve facilitated almost a 24/7 place for them to practice with all the equipment there and it’s all top of the line gear.”

After students leave the program, they are fully prepared to join the music world.

“You came here and you learned the tools,” he said. “Everything here that you learned you can go and do a gig with. You know how to set up a stage and prepare for the ensemble. You know how to prepare your song. You know how to conduct a practice. They learn everything here. It’s not just a recital where you learn your parts and play them.”

Salpietro spoke further on what he believes is the most important part of the All Star program. Although this wasn’t his mission when he created the program, it has become a characteristic of the program that he is most proud of – the ways in which his students gain confidence.

“We watch these kids go from telling me that ‘I am deathly afraid to step one foot on that stage’ to their playing every song in the set and they’re absolutely loving it,” he said. “Gaining that confidence and the team building skills to be able to get on stage is so important.”

Members of the All Star Band are all very close, calling this program their family. Salpietro talked about the confidence and team work that these musicians gain from being in the band. While some people may use sports to gain these skills, musicians work together in a band just as a football or dance team.

“This is the dark side. These are the other guys,” Salpietro said with a laugh. “They don’t really participate in that type of stuff. They play in a band. We’ve created that place to be able to go and gain those life skills. These are real deal life skills that they are going to use for the rest of their life and not only playing music but at their jobs.”

Salpietro doesn’t choose to shelter his students from the realities of both life and the life of a musician but he is careful when selecting venues for his students. With musicians as young as ten years old, he is very careful to not subject them to a bar full of drunks or any possibly dangerous situations.

“We play at bars but we usually rent the bar out for the afternoon where the only people drinking are the parents,” he explained. “That’s something that is really important to me. I don’t think at their age that they should be exposed to that kind of thing.”

One venue that Salpietro likes his All Star Band to perform at is the Narrows Center for the Arts, located at 16 Anawan Street in Fall River. Salpietro knew they had made it to a new level when they got invited to play there by the venue’s Executive Director Patrick Norton.

“He invited us to play at The Narrows and it was the best phone call I have ever gotten,” said  Salpietro, who also taught music lessons for both of Norton’s children. “I am so fortunate to have a venue like The Narrows invite our kids to play at. It feels good.”

In fact, TJ’s All Star Band will be playing their next show at the Narrow Center on Sunday, November 20th at noon. Tickets can be purchased HERE.

While the All Star Band typically targets younger musicians, Salpietro is also interested in expanding this age range. Although he has never set an official age cap, he said musicians usually want to go out on their own once they’re around eighteen year old.

Consequently, Salpietro said he would love to host a separate, older group of musicians if he found people who were interested. He said people sometimes have uncomfortable feelings when they learn a new instrument later in life. He would like to be able to create a safe environment for older musicians where they can feel free to explore new instruments, mess up, practice, and perfect their skills.

“When you’re in your 30’s and you’re trying to play an instrument, where do you go?” Salpietro said. “You’re kind of embarrassed. You don’t want to go to an open jam and play the three chords that you know. You want to come to a safe haven like this where we’re all learning and we’re all sharing the same common interest. A place where if you make a mistake, I’m not going to laugh because I just made the same mistake a half-hour ago.”

Looking ahead to the future, Salpietro said he would like to see the program grow.

“I would love to expand things. However, I think I have expanded to the level of what we could financially handle,” Salpietro explained. “If I had numbers of like 30/35 people coming in, we would be able to do a lot more. That’s why I’m trying to build this. I really believe that this deserves so much more than it gets.”

TJ’s Music is located at 347 South Main Street in Fall River, Mass. Visit their website by clicking HERE.

Local musicians share their inspirational stories about health and fitness

BY JULIA CIRIGNANO

Sex, drugs & rock n’ roll. That’s all you need to be a successful musician, right? Not so much. Twenty-first century women know better. In 2016, musicians and humans alike are beginning to realize that a healthy body leads to a healthy mind. Confidence and happiness is created through self-love and respect for your own body. If you are nice to your body, it will be nice to you in return.

Limelight Magazine recently spoke to three female musicians from Massachusetts (Amy Marie, Amanda Lee McCarthy and Erin Elizabeth Ollis) who candidly shared their personal stories about weight loss and physical fitness. These three women took control of their own lives and proved that eating health and exercising actually does work. We also spoke to a personal trainer (Nina McGoff) who offered expert advice for this story.

photo-amy-marie
Amy Marie (SUBMITTED PHOTO)

Amy Marie (of Just Like That)

Amy Marie is singer/songwriter from the band Just Like That. This spring, she won “Female Vocalist of the Year” at the 8th Annual Limelight Magazine Music Awards in April 2016. With raw, honest lyrics, Amy Marie has inspired her fans to be open and honest. She has also inspired people to be physically healthy because she believes physical health leads to one’s mental health.

Amy Marie spoke with Limelight Magazine about her journey in becoming the healthy, happy woman that she is today.

Amy Marie started the interview by talking about her band Just Like That and how being in the band has changed her as a person. Before auditioning for the band, she had had experience as a classical singer yet she didn’t have any experience fronting a rock band.

“I had zero experience in fronting a band and my appreciation and respect for the energy it takes to be a working performer has exponentially increased,” Amy Marie began. “It’s helped hone my communication skills as well since we all know being in a working band is kind of like a marriage and takes a lot of non-verbal as well as verbal discussion to make things really work in a ‘band family’. Because of my bandmates support as well as countless hard working hours performing I most importantly gained the experience I needed as a vocalist and an artist to branch into writing and performing my own music. I credit my experience with Just Like That to helping me find that big part of myself.”

Amy Marie talked about her former writing partner and how he helped her to open up and become the raw, honest musician she is today. She explained how she uses singing and songwriting in a self-healing way.

“I was at first really apprehensive that audiences wouldn’t listen to them as I don’t hold back anything when the lyrics would come out of me,” she said. “Sometimes my lyrics come from really traumatic incidents. Sometimes the songs would be so painful to perform I wouldn’t be able to sing them for months after they were written because emotionally they would be too intense for me. However, eventually I learned letting go of those emotions and just let the songs take on lives of their own really helped me with self-healing. The first song I ever wrote with him, ‘Stay Awake’ saved my life, a few times. Eventually I realized that people like that kind of emotional rawness and confidence to put it all out there when it comes to song writers. So I kept writing.”

Amy Marie explained why she doesn’t believe that staying healthy while being a musician is difficult.

“I think that the choice to live a healthy lifestyle is all about maintaining balance and finding out what your body can and cannot tolerate,” she said. “Do I like to eat healthy and exercise regularly? Yes. Do I always? No, but I know my limitations. Some nights after a late gig I’m starving and the only place that’s open for a snack is McDonalds. Do I enjoy it? Yep. Do I feel it the next day? You bet your ass. I know my body well and know what it needs to get the energy and ‘good’ feeling back so I take a few days and get back on track. Those kinds of nights make me hope that I’ll remember to grab a protein bar to bring when I’m working a gig more than an hour away next time but it doesn’t always happen! Finding time to exercise is hard enough. Working a full-time job, being a mom, as well as working gigs, but somehow I find it because I know that I need to work out a certain amount a week to maintain my weight as well as have the energy level to do all of those fun jobs.”

Amy Marie talked about the specific ways in which she balances her career and healthy body. While she has the additional struggle of being a musician, she also realizes that everyone has a job and life will always get in the way. Everyone has excuses why they can’t work out and Amy Marie explains how she overcomes her own excuses.

“When it comes to working out I try to schedule my ‘rest’ workout days on the days I have gigs,” she said. “My other full-time career is running a gym/personal training studio here on the Cape and I find the best way for me to stay motivated to eat healthy and workout is being held accountable by my members there. They look to me for inspiration and ideas on how to balance ‘life’ with being healthy so I try my best to set a good example.”

Amy Marie has many good tips for musicians and also anybody who is trying to balance a busy schedule with a healthy body.

“Twice a week I do a meal prep and make myself plenty of quick meals to have during the week,” Amy Marie said. “For example I cook three chicken breasts, chop all of my lettuce/veggies for my salads, make a couple cups of quinoa or brown rice or sweet potato. I mostly try to follow a balanced macro flexible diet although I tend to eat the same things pretty often. This keeps it easy, especially when I’m not a very picky eater. Once or twice a week I have a treat like some ice cream with my son or some kind of alcoholic beverage after a gig with my band. Some weeks I have more, some I have less.”

Although eating well is a huge part of in staying healthy, Amy Marie also explained her workout schedule.

“I workout at least every other day but probably about five days a week,” she said. “I switch up my routine every few weeks. Being that I work at a gym, Koko FitClub, my training is very easy since most of the time I follow my SmartTraining protocol that I’ve set up for myself based on my fitness goals with our equipment. However, I like to switch it up with at home workouts that I set up with my trainer. They are quick and very intense and help when I need to shred down the pounds quick. I also love to run outdoors a couple of times a week, it’s very good for the body and spirit.”

Moreover, Amy Marie discussed her journey in becoming the healthy, happy woman she is today. Although she first decided to live a healthier life because she was overweight, she believes that what comes first is self-esteem, self-worth, and self-respect. Once you empower yourself, you can achieve the weight loss you want.

“In 2011, I was an overweight, miserable human being with no self-esteem, a very inaccurate body image and very unhealthy lifestyle,” she began. “Up until that point, I had never learned to take care of myself as I spent the majority of my time taking care of others (I became a mother at 20 years old and have three beautiful children). This led me down a very dark path of self-destruction to try and make myself happy. The truth was that happiness was never anyone else’s responsibility but my own. To get to this point I had to hit rock bottom. I realized that the only thing that was truly in my control was two things: what I put in my mouth and how I moved my body.”

“What I realized during that time is that everyone has a set of skills, talents and qualities they can offer to other people that can either help, inspire, motivate or make them have an overall sense of wellness,” Amy Marie continued. “You can make others happy without sacrificing your own happiness just by being yourself. I found these qualities about myself at that time. When I started to take control of what I put in my mouth and how much I moved, I started small: ‘eat less, move more’ was my policy.”

Eventually, Amy Marie started noticing a difference in her body.

“When the weight started dropping off (I was my heaviest at 247 pounds) and others saw me diligently working at it, it became infective and others started following me and asking for advice,” she said. “This accountability has become one of my strongest motivators to stay in shape and continue the healthy lifestyle I’ve adopted.”

Amy Marie concluded with a few more tips for anyone struggling with their weight.

“Anything is possible if you want it bad enough,” she said. “Having a solid support system is essential for any lifestyle change as well as the belief that you are capable and worthy of your own attention and respect. Making time for yourself and your health is as essential for your new physical self as your emotional and mental health. Learn to embrace a healthy relationship with food and fake it until you make it. Even if you hate exercise with a passion, do it anyway and tell yourself you love it. Eventually it becomes habit and before you know it you’re teaching a Zumba class and preaching the benefits of quinoa. It happens.”

Amanda McCarthy (PHOTO BY ATHEL ROGERS, SUBMITTED BY AMANDA MCCARTHY)
Amanda McCarthy (PHOTO BY ATHEL ROGERS, SUBMITTED BY AMANDA MCCARTHY)

Amanda Lee McCarthy 

Amanda Lee McCarthy is a singer/songwriter from New Hampshire. She has released two EP’s consisting of all original music. While her music is mostly pop, she also incorporates alternative, rock, country, indie, and blues. McCarthy has won many awards including “Singer/Songwriter of the Year” by Limelight Magazine in 2013.

McCarthy recently spoke with Limelight about her new lifestyle. She explains how she balances the life of being a busy musician with keeping a healthy body. McCarthy acknowledged that staying healthy is hard for a lot of people but it’s especially difficult for musicians due to their chaotic schedules.

“I definitely think there is a challenge that comes along with staying healthy, especially with me in particular,” McCarthy said. “I am on the road driving to gigs very often and when I am at my busiest, it feels as though I live in my car. Not having a lot of time to prepare healthy meals, I used to find myself constantly in the drive thru line at McDonald’s, Dunkin Donuts, etc. It took a lot of discipline to snap out of that habit and choose healthier snacks and meals when I am on the run.’

McCarthy talked about her personal journey towards the happy, healthy woman she is today.

“I was personally very unhappy with my body and my appearance,” she began. “It really clicked with me when I started performing with my band members as opposed to only playing acoustic shows. I realized that always having my guitar in front of me was almost like a safety net and a shield to hide the parts of my body I was insecure about. It made me nervous to really open up and perform to the best of my ability when singing with my band.”

Once McCarthy realized she was unhappy with her appearance, she made a change. Her first step was eating healthier. She went pescatarian for a while and eventually settled on a diet that she was happy with.

“I’ve lost almost thirty pounds and feel much more comfortable on stage now,” she said. “It’s much easier to let loose and get into the music without being so insecure about my appearance, and even off stage, my confidence in my body and myself has skyrocketed.”

McCarthy talked about the strategies she uses to stay healthy while actively pursuing her musical career. She started by talking about the black hole of snacking. Although snacking can be one of weight loss’s biggest enemies, McCarthy explained some ways in which she snacks in a healthy way.

“All gas station marts, in addition to junk food, offer granola/energy bars, trail mix, nuts, peanut butter crackers, (most offer) bananas, and many more great options if you are hungry and need a snack,” she said. “If you feel the need to munch on something, I highly recommend Harvest Snaps. Also, Dunkin Donuts offers their DDSmart menu which has some healthier options lower in fat and calories. I also really enjoy ProSnax snack packs, which I have seen available in both Walmart and Hannaford’s. My final advice, if you have an early start to your day, is to wake up even 20 minutes earlier and eat breakfast at home as opposed to grabbing something on the run. Not only is it better for you but you save money as well!”

Eating well is the most important challenge for someone trying to lose weight but so is working out. McCarthy said that she wishes she had more time to workout but can only fit in some formal walking workouts since she is also a full-time mom to a beautiful two year old daughter. For musicians, or anybody with a busy schedule, McCarthy recommends making diet changes the priority, especially at first. She also recommends switching things up and keeping your diet interesting so you don’t stray.

“I know it’s so tough to balance the on-the-run lifestyle with healthy lifestyle choices,” McCarthy began. “My best advice, especially with food and snacks, is to mix it up. When I eat the same things, I find myself craving a default to a cheeseburger or a bacon filled breakfast sandwich. Mix up your snacks: granola bar one day, fruit the next, nuts the day after. Meals: Don’t just eat salad. Include different vegetables, rices, and a variety of protein. Even if you don’t eat meats, you can find great amounts of protein in fish, beans and avocados.”

McCarthy also spoke about the connection between a healthy body and a healthy mind.

“For me personally, having a healthier body led to me having a healthier mind but it was because of an unhealthy mind that I had an unhealthy body with unhealthy habits,” she said. “However, I’d say that a healthy body can lead to a healthy mind quicker than the other way around. All it takes is the inspiration to start, willpower to avoid the cravings, and the courage to stick it out until you start to see a difference in your body. From there, the inspiration is natural and will carry you through to whatever your own personal health goal may be.”

Erin Ollis ( (PHOTO BY SYDNEY ROSE PHOTOGRAPHY, SUBMITTED BY ERIN OLLIS)
Erin Ollis ( (PHOTO BY SYDNEY ROSE PHOTOGRAPHY, SUBMITTED BY ERIN OLLIS)

Erin Elizabeth Ollis (of Thirty 6 Red)

Erin Ollis is a local singer/songwriter born and raised in central Mass. She is both a solo artist and country singer in the band Thirty 6 Red. With a passion for music and also fashion, Ollis told Limelight Magazine about her journey in becoming the confident, healthy woman she is today.

Ollis has joined Thirty 6 Red two years ago, and since then has grown both as a persona and as a musician.

“I couldn’t be happier with how my life has evolved though joining the band,” Ollis said. “I have gained a tremendous amount of confidence and better stage presence. The songs that we perform are a variety of country and rock and, specifically with the rocks songs, I had to completely break out of my shell. My band members knew that I had the potential to break that shell and with their help and guidance, I certainly have.”

As Ollis began to break out of her shell and thrive within the music scene, she noticed one thing that was holding her back. While she wasn’t drastically overweight, she wasn’t happy with the way she was being portrayed as a musician on social media. This pressure was all she needed to start treating her body better by both eating right and exercising.

“I became very disappointed with the way I physically looked in mostly all of the pictures of me on social media,” she said.

Ollis now had the impending pressure of being a touring musician, on top of being a female touring musician. She knew she needed to make a change within her lifestyle but she didn’t know how.

“I then turned to Weight Watchers which really helped me in a positive way,” Ollis said. “Yes, it is a diet plan but it was easy to follow and I became really good at watching my ‘food points.’ I made it a habit to weigh in at their facility every Sunday to track my progress. With the diet came the workout routines. It definitely took time to stick to a specific routine but after a while, it became easier. I stopped looking at it as a ‘diet’ and thought of it more as a lifestyle change.”

Once Ollis committed to her new workout and eating habit she began to lead a far healthier life. Although she doesn’t use Weight Watchers anymore, they taught her how to create a healthy, long-term lifestyle.

“Soon enough people started commenting on my weight loss and it was exciting to tell them how much weight I actually lost,” Ollis said. “I am currently down 39 pounds. I’ve learned how to have more self-control and what I should and shouldn’t be eating. I owe all of my motivation and dedication to Thirty 6 Red. My band members have supported me through it all and without them, I’m not sure what I would be doing today.”

Ollis spoke about how she managed to stay healthy while pursuing her career in music and also her full time job in the Healthcare industry.

 “It’s definitely a challenge to get in a workout when the band travels for shows, so if I can’t fit a workout in, I do make sure that I’m not eating junk food all day long,” she said. “Of course, I will still indulge here and there, but I still have a weight goal for myself and don’t want to lose focus.”

When Ollis does have time to workout, she has a very specific routine. One thing she has also discovered is the benefits to doing all different types of workouts.

 “I try to workout about four to five times a week, sometimes more,” Ollis said. “I do mix up my workout routines because I’ve noticed that from doing the same type of routine, my body stopped showing results. I recently started taking barre classes, which are really fun. I couldn’t walk for about two days afterwards, but it is definitely one of my favorite workouts.”

Over time, Ollis has gotten into a habit that works for her.

“I’m usually up at 5:20 a.m. to workout before I go to work. I found that this is the best time for me personally to workout because it gets me energized and ready for the day,” Ollis explained. “I’ve definitely become a fan of a few of the Beachbody workouts because even though they are about 30 to 45 minute workouts, they are definitely effective. I also belong to Worcester Fitness, which offers great workout classes such as spin, cardio sport and morning pump, to name a few of my favorites.”

 Ollis has great tips for her fellow musicians who struggle with staying healthy on the road.

“If you know that your band will be ordering a bunch of appetizers, be sure to bring your own healthy snacks and keep busy while everyone else is chowing down,” she said. “Whether you’re practicing through your set list for the show or just listening to some new tunes, keep your eye on the prize and stay focused!”

 Ollis is now a new woman with even better fashion.

“After I shed a lot of my weight, I knew it was time for a fashion makeover,” she said. “I ended up connecting with my friend and personal stylist, Danielle Marie. She is also the “fashionista Gemini” behind, A Chic Voyage, which is an awesome site where she shares amazing fashion tips and the latest fashion trends. By answering a few questions for her, she was able to transform me into a more confident version of myself. She taught me that it’s okay to show a little skin here and there and to always dress to impress! With her guidance, I’m now not afraid to wear certain outfits that I was too scared to before the weight loss. She has definitely been an inspiration to me!”

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Nina McGoff

Nina McGoff has been a group fitness instructor for eight years and a personal trainer for four years. She has several group fitness certifications such as Group Fitness Certification, AFAA 2007, BodyCombat, LesMills, BodyPump, LesMills BodyAttack, LesMills Spinning, and MADDOGG. She also has the following training certifications: TRX Suspension Trainer, Personal Trainer, NASM, and TRX Rip Trainer, and is certified as a level 1 Nutrition Coach, Precision Nutrition.

McGoff has a true passion for the work she does and spoke with Limelight Magazine about what inspired her to become a personal trainer and what keeps her passionate about her work.

 “After teaching a class one day, a woman approached me and told me that my class was the best part of her day and that she has been feeling great since attending regularly and I knew right there and then that I wanted to do it full-time,” McGoff said. “I love being part of someone’s journey to a better self.  Helping people fall in love with fitness, that’s inspiring.”

 Many touring musicians struggle with balancing their career and healthy bodies. McGoff spoke about this struggle.

“The challenging schedule is probably the biggest hurdle,” she said. “It’s hard to make healthy choices  when constantly on the road or on the go.  It can be done, but it takes a very conscious effort.”

McGoff had great advice to give musicians struggling with staying healthy while on tour.

“Start focusing on making better choices no matter what your options or situation is,” McGoff said. “If fast food is the only option, ask for a side of fruit instead of fries, chose a bottled water instead of a sugary fountain drink.  Protein bars and drinks can be great on the go options.  Make an effort to hit the hotel gym (if available) or get out and exercise even if it’s just for 15-20 minutes daily when on the road.  A little can make a big difference.”

McGoff loves music and uses it to pump her up while working out. She talked about what she likes to listen to and why,

 “Anything that inspires me to work harder, run faster,” McGoff said. “When I’m running I like anything with a beat that builds up and drops an intense beat for a short amount time, it pushes me to go faster even if just for 10 seconds. And, I love listening to old school hip-hop and reggae when I’m strength training.”

Visit “FIT with Nina” on Facebook by clicking HERE.  This page is loaded with helpful tips on how to eat healthy and exercise regularly.

Hudson Horror Show gears up for December horror movie marathon

BY JULIA CIRIGNANO

Halloween may be over but the Hudson Horror Show is gearing up for 12-hours of horror and cult 35-mm films on Saturday, December 3, 2016, from noon to midnight at Empire South Hills 8 in Poughkeepsie, N.Y.

Now in its sixth year, Chris Alo founded the Hudson Horror Show in 2010. At that time, he planned to host only one show, but because of its enormous success, he has continued programing and hosting this biennial event ever since.

For these movie marathons, people come from all over the Northeast to attend them. Each event is a 12-hour movie marathon where Alo chooses six films to show — five announced movies and one surprise feature. People are also drawn to this event because of the wonderful reputation that the local vendors at the show have acquired, selling a variety of horror-themed merchandise and more.

In an interview with Limelight Magazine, Alo introduced us to a boy destined to be hosting horror movie marathons.

“I was the first guy to get two VCRs and now I’m the first guy to get a surround sound system,” Alo said. “I was always the guy who was having my friends over to watch movies. Having access to all the different versions of film, I would hunt out rare and obscure movies and trailers. I have always been a big fan of horror and sci-fi so I was always the guy who was presenting movies to my friends.”

As the years went on, Alo’s love for both the genres of horror and sci-fi and his passion for 35-mm screenings grew. He attended many 35-mm movie screenings with his wife Denise McGuigan and one day she said to him, ‘Wow, you enjoy this so much, why don’t you try putting on your own show?’”

Along with the support of his wife, Alo had a friend who has greatly helped him on his journey.

“I had a friend [Tad Leger] who worked for Grindhouse Releasing and specialized in re-releasing films on 35-mm,” Alo said. “So we got together and we put the first show together, thinking that we’ll do it this one time and never do it again, but it was a huge success and here we are 20 shows later.”

Alo is very passionate about screening movies off 35-mm. He finds this type of movie projection very special and nostalgic and many people agree with him.

“I’m an old guy and I’m a nostalgic guy,” Alo began. “I like collecting old comic books and old toys and old posters. So to me, seeing these movies the way they were meant to be seen is very much a nostalgic thing. It’s like playing a record. It might not have the crystal clear sound of a CD. It might have the occasional hop or scratch but the whole thing of putting a record on a turntable and lifting the arm all adds to the experience and the charm of it and to me it’s the same thing as showing movies the way they were meant to be seen off 35-mm film with tons of old school 35-mm drive-in trailers before each movie.”

The Hudson Horror Show brings people from all over the Northeast for their biennial 12-hour horror movie marathons on 35-mm film.
The Hudson Horror Show brings people from all over the Northeast for their biennial 12-hour horror movie marathons on 35-mm film.

Since the first Hudson Horror Show which took place on May 22, 2010, this event has grown and evolved. Part of the event’s continued success is due to their endurance. In 2010, 35-mm screenings were more popular but as many theaters stopped screening in this format, the Hudson Horror Show became a bigger commodity.

“So now, us showing movies exclusively off 35-mm film has definitely grown to mean much more than it did,” Alo said.

Two more changes have also taken place over the past six years which has greatly influenced the Hudson Horror Show. Although the shows are usually hosted at Empire South Hills 8, Alo has also partnered with Alamo Drafthouse in Yonkers, NY, where he occasionally hosts shows. With more accessibility to theaters due to his reputation, Alo has been able to expand his events more and more as the years go on.

“When we started we were in one theater but we’ve grown so popular over the past six years that we actually are in two rooms now in the same theater now,” Alo said, “What we have now is two separate festivals running at the same time and we alternate the schedule.”

This year’s Hudson Horror takes place on December 3rd at Empire South Hills 8 in Poughkeepsie, NY. The films which have already been announced are I Spit On Your Grave (1978), Robocop (1987), The Howling, Death Race 2000, and The Hitcher (1986). There will also be a screening of a sixth surprise film.

These six films will be shown in theaters #1 and #6. Get your tickets soon because theater #6 is already sold out! Both rooms will be playing the same movies just in a different order. You can check out the schedule HERE.

“The lineup I think is really good,” Alo said. “I’m biased but I think some of the lineups in the past were not as strong as this one.”

Along with the announced lineup, Alo spoke about the mystery movie.

“We have a great horror mystery movie,” he said. “I can’t say much about it but it’s definitely a fan favorite.”

Alo talked about the way in which he chooses the films for each event. He said that he likes to focus on variety so there is something for everyone to enjoy whether you prefer the funny horror movie, serious horror movie, sci-fi horror movie, etc.

“I think that’s kind of our niche,” Alo explained. “Other people will program a show where they’re running five zombie movies in a row or five Friday the 13th movies in a row but I think mixing it up makes it more interesting because there will be something for everyone.”

Alo spoke about the struggle he faces when trying to choose movies and then finding them. For instance, he talks about two movies that he hasn’t been able to find which are both fan favorites and a Limelight Magazine favorite.

“I absolutely love the Death Wish movies,” Alo said. “The problem, which is a problem that always plagues us, is we don’t know anybody who has 35-mm film prints of the [first two] Death Wish movies, but if we could find them we would definitely love to run them.”

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At each Hudson Horror Show, vendors sell a variety of merchandise available to anyone even if you don’t buy a ticket to see the movies.

Along with the movie screenings, there will be many local vendors at the show who will be selling a variety of merchandise available to anyone even if you don’t buy a ticket to see the movies.

“We will have about 20 vendors,” Alo said. “The way the theater is set up we have like a double lobby. There’s an outside lobby and an inside lobby. So we fill up both lobby areas with about 20 vendor tables and they sell all sorts of merchandise such as t-shirts, posters, magnets, comic books, action figures, homemade art, art prints, homemade horror related keychains, CDs, Blu-rays, just all sorts of stuff.”

Along with running these successful movie marathons, Alo has also been a successful magazine and newspaper writer for the past fourteen years. He has written for magazine such as Hit Parader, Circus, Metal Maniacs, and Metal Edge, and interviewed many hard rock bands such as Iron Maiden, Black Sabbath, Guns N’ Roses, Slipknot, Disturbed, Rush and Judas Priest.

“I interview bands, do concert photography, and do concert reviews, mostly for heavy metal bands,” Alo said.

Although many of the magazines that Alo has written for are unfortunately no longer published because the internet put them out of business, Alo still writes.

“Now I write for More Sugar Magazine, which is a local entertainment newspaper,” he said. “There is also a magazine in South America that I write for called Roadie Crew.”

Tickets for the December 3rd Hudson Horror Show are just $38.00 in advance and can be purchased HERE.

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JURY FINDS IN TOM SCHOLZ’S FAVOR ON CRITICAL CONTRACT QUESTION IN TRADEMARK INFRINGEMENT- CONTRACT DISPUTE

BOSTON Founder Tom Scholz wins positive jury decision in pivotal contract issue even though trademark infringement claim is denied.

Despite the jury’s failure to find trademark infringement on the claim brought against Barry Goudreau, they found that Goudreau had breached a 1983 settlement agreement, from which he had collected artist royalty payments for 33 years for BOSTON songs on which he had never played.  Goudreau, who had only performed on 2 of the 8 first album cuts, and a few cameo parts on the second, has collected millions in royalties for songs that Tom Scholz had recorded by playing every instrument except drums.

Prior to trial, the judge had ruled that Goudreau may not hold himself out as an original member of BOSTON. Scholz and Brad Delp, who between them wrote all the songs for the first two BOSTON albums and performed over 90% of the tracks heard on those albums, were signed by Epic Records as the only two original members of BOSTON in February 1976. They alone had recorded six demos for Epic, which had included “More Than a Feeling” and “Peace of Mind” with mutual friend Jim Masdea playing the drum tracks.  These recordings won them the Epic Records deal. Goudreau, who was added later to form a live performance band, left the band after just 3 years.  His only obligation under his exit agreement was to limit his use of the name Boston in promoting his future performances accurately as simply “formerly of Boston.” The jury found that he has failed to fulfill that obligation.

Scholz defends the decision for bringing the unsuccessful trademark infringement claim saying, “The critical connection between the BOSTON trademark, BOSTON’s music and the positive values that the band promotes, such as education, nonviolence, and animal protection, reminds us that the integrity of artists’ creative works must not be allowed to be devalued or diminished. The songs that Brad Delp and I created have sustained BOSTON’s success and reputation for 40 years.”

“Trademark law exists not just to protect the rights of those who create, but to preserve the legacy and value of their art. Creative work must always be defended when confronted by infringement or misuse,”  Scholz said, adding, “Any funds I recover as a result of Goudreau’s contract breach will be given to the worthy nonprofit organizations we have supported for many years.”

Scholz and BOSTON have raised and donated many millions of dollars to charities over the past 30 years.

During the trial, Ernie Boch Jr. was implicated by Goudreau’s lawyer who repeatedly questioned why Scholz hadn’t sued Boch, who had run ads attempting to promote his band “Ernie and the Automatics” with misleading ads, CD packaging, and online videos using the trademark “BOSTON” and touting Goudreau as an “original member.”

According to Scholz, “While it is possible Boch misused the BOSTON trademark in an attempt to promote his band, Boch had no contractual obligations with me regarding the wording of his promotions. More importantly, I believe he had been misled by Goudreau as to his role in the creation of BOSTON, and the extent of his involvement in recording the early albums.” Scholz added, “I do, however, object to Boch’s cavalier use of the name BOSTON.  I have worked hard for the past 40 years to make BOSTON synonymous with much higher values than the typical sex, drugs, and rock n’ roll stereotype associated with so many rock bands.”

Most important to Scholz is the ongoing effort to maintain the high standards of BOSTON’s music, to positively influence people’s lives, and to continue to financially support the many worthwhile organizations that depend on BOSTON’s generosity.

“I want to thank the legions of fans who continue to hold BOSTON’s music deep in their hearts. There is nothing more meaningful than the endless support, encouragement and respect from our audience. Their loyalty to BOSTON’s music and message over so many years has made the arduous effort of maintaining BOSTON’s high standards worthwhile.”

Tom Scholz of BOSTON (PHOTO BY KAMAL ASAR)
Tom Scholz of BOSTON (SUBMITTED PHOTO BY KAMAL ASAR)

10 New England musicians share their most memorable gigs

BY JULIA CIRIGNANO

To coincide with our 10th anniversary, Limelight Magazine has decided to post 10 memorable gigs shared with us by 10 local musicians from New England.

From left, The Voice’s Melanie Martinez and Sarah Barrios.
From left, The Voice’s Melanie Martinez and Sarah Barrios. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)

Sarah Barrios

“About a year ago I was given the amazing opportunity to open up for The Voice’s incredibly talented Melanie Martinez at College Street Music Hall in New Haven, CT. I had been following Melanie’s music career and had covered her songs at my own shows, so to be able to share the same stage with her and speak with her was so amazing. I played to 1,200 people and I remember hearing the roar of the crowd as I took my first steps onto the stage and it was insanely epic and so crazy to hear people singing along to my originals as well. I will honestly never be able to forget the feeling, the energy of the crowd that night and how at home Melanie made me feel whilst I was there. It was truly a night to remember.”

Emil Belisle (of Impending Reflections)

“The most memorable gig for Impending Reflections requires a little background into the band to put it into perspective. I (Emil Belisle) am the lead vocalist but have been a drummer for most of my musical career. Also in the band is Dave Taillon, lead guitarist, who has been my musical brother dating back to the mid 80’s. Other members of the band include our sons. I have turned the sticks over to my son, our drummer, Ryan Belisle. Jonathan Taillon, guitarist, is Dave’s son.  At the time on bass was Scott, a close friend of our kids and we consider him family. So you see, we really are a family band.

A few years ago the kids were in a band with Scott at the time and they asked Dave and I if we would jam with them one day. They deemed a generation jam. I don’t think any of us thought it would go beyond this but things clicked. It was in complete mutual agreement that maybe we should attempt to write a few songs and see what happens. What started off as just a jam, turned into Impending Reflections. An organic journey that keeps on getting better!

Our very first gig as a band was very special and memorable for us. Considering we never even thought of playing out when this started. We couldn’t have imagined how special it would actually be until that night we finished our set at The Spot Underground in Providence, RI. To be on stage with my son behind the drums, then to look across at Dave who I haven’t shared a stage with in years and see him playing alongside his son. Well, those are memories no one can ever take away. A feeling that is difficult to put into words and never gets old. It is simply priceless. The night started with a feeling of nerves because we didn’t know how our music would go over with the increasing number of those in attendance that night, including the promoter that gave us the opportunity. You see, our material is different because we are blending multi generations of influences. The crowd at first was looking at us like, what the heck are these two older guys doing with three young guns. Once we hit the stage and put our hearts and souls into the performance, the night got even more special!

The crowd instantly started becoming engaged right from the start and feeding off our energy. They were so supportive and cheering us on during and after every song. Hearing people that we have never met shout ‘That is what I’m talking about’ just continued to raise the energy level. You could feel something special was happening. It was clicking on all cylinders and we were all feeling it! After our set, so many came up to us with several compliments, including the promoter who said ‘You guys are a headlining act’.  It was such a humbling experience for all of us. We are the type of band that sincerely appreciates our fans and give it everything we’ve got for them on stage.”

Paul Horton

“This dates back to 1992. I was in a band called Wafflehouse and we were living in the Mad River Valley in VT. Sugarbush resort had the Ben & Jerry’s ‘One Heart-One World’ Festival going on. We were not a big enough act to secure a spot at the festival but we were booked in town that weekend at a local spot called the Mad Mountain Tavern (now the Local Smokehouse). It was a busy weekend and the place was packed. About halfway through our set, we noticed that Rocking Dopsie and a few of members the Zydeco Twisters had come into the bar. We did a few more tunes and then Dopsie Jr. came up and wanted to sit in. He came up and sang ‘Ride Sally Ride’ and another blues tune. Dopsie Sr. was only 60 but he wasn’t in great health so he watched from the bar. Inspired by the guest appearance, we continued with an original blues tune that we just called ‘the blues.’ After we finished the song, I saw Dopsie get up from the bar and make his way over to the stage. I was hoping he wanted to sit in too. He motioned for me to come to the side of the stage and when I came over he leaned in and said, ‘I just wanted to let you know that you sing pretty damn good for a white boy’ and then he and his entourage walked out of the bar. [It was] such an honor to perform in the presence of such a legend. Dopsie passed away just over a year later. The blues song we performed for him was from then on called ‘white boy blues’.”

The Myst in the Patriot Ledger (SUBMITTED PHOTO)
The Myst who were featured in The Patriot Ledger (SUBMITTED PHOTO)

John MacFee

“From 1968-1971, I was a guitar player in a garage band named The Myst based out of East Weymouth. We had gone through a series of Battle of the Bands sponsored by the local Jaycees. Somehow, we had made it to the Mass State Finals held at Ridge Arena in Braintree, Mass. We rehearsed everything with a stop watch because you gained/lost points depending on how timely you were getting on or off stage. We worked our butts off picking the best songs to showcase our broad range of material. I even played trumpet on ‘Love Theme’ from Romeo and Juliet which was a popular movie in 1970. We bought matching white tuxedos and white shoes. As I recall, twenty bands were scheduled for the semi-final round and the top four would be in the ultimate final round. We were positive we’d never make the finals but just the thought of playing that venue with huge Sunn amps just blew us away! While we’re waiting for the judges decisions, we did our own judging and picked the four bands we thought would be the judges pick. We were right on three out of four. When they announced The Myst as one of the top four, I turned around to see my Mother running full-tilt boogie toward me and picked me up in a big bear hug! My Mother was deaf in one ear and not really a fan of rock and roll and I never ever saw her run anywhere in my life but for that one moment I was a big rock star!

We, as a band, were thrilled but we were also in a bit of a jam. We were so sure we’d never make the finals, we had nothing prepared! We hurriedly put together as best a set list as we could and gave it our best shot. Needless to say, we only made it to fourth place. I wasn’t quite seventeen at the time. Kenny and Tigue were fifteen, Skip and Jeff were fourteen. I never really stopped playing. Took some breaks here and there but I’m still at it today. I switched to bass many years ago and played with a lot of different bands over the years. I played a lot of bar gigs, weddings, parties, festivals, you name it. Still, nothing has quite topped that one day in May 1970.”

Hailey Magee 

“My most memorable gig was The Power of Disbelief Concert at lilypad in March 2016. The show was organized by Emerging Boston Area Singer-Songwriters (EBASS) to raise awareness about the gender disparity in the Cambridge music scene. At the time, women only made 16% percent of all performers on Cambridge stages! The line-up featured four stellar local female artists. The house was packed, everyone there supported the cause, and by performing, I knew I was becoming a part of the social movement to make Boston’s music scene more welcoming to all people. It was absolutely amazing.”

Brian McKenzie

“I was playing with my old alt-metal band from Providence, Kilgore Smudge, on a stretch of the Vans Snow-Core tour in 1996 with Sublime and Dancehall Crashers. There were two gigs. One was in Salt Lake City and one in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Well, we were much too heavy and a complete mismatch for this bill and the first night they HATED us! We were getting stuff thrown at us on stage and I would play a chord, pick up a plastic bottle, huck it back into the crowd, play another chord, kick a rolled up ball of trash, and so on. I was actually having fun with it, ha! The second night, was the complete opposite. The crowd went nuts during our set. Huge mosh pit, crowd surfing, the works. There was a line of kids waiting for autographs from us while Sublime was playing their set. It was completely crazy. Lots can happen in 48 hours!”

Jennifer Mitchell (of Jennifer Mitchell Band)

“We played a private party over the summer for a graduation shortly after learning of the passing of Prince. All of us being Prince fans, we decided to add ‘Purple Rain’ to our cover list. We were playing with the weather that day and we knew it was possible we might not play because of rain. We decided to go with it anyway. As we were going through our day, the weather got worse and we decided to end it with ‘Purple Rain’. As we started to play, the sky opened up and it poured like I’ve never seen it. Everyone under the tents cheered us on so we kept going. We played through the whole song, through rain, thunder etc. It was an epic moment and I felt a perfect tribute to Prince.

Moment of Clarity

“The most memorable gig for us would have to be the Foxwoods Battle of the Bands Finals – 2016. The process to get to the finals was grueling as over 100 local New England bands entered and only 20 were chosen to compete. After one round of initial battles and a second semi-final round, the 20 bands were pared down to five and Moment of Clarity was one of those five bands.

The day of the finals, we were treated like true rock stars. All band members and personnel were given lanyards with laminated stage passes. The Foxwoods stage crew met us at the talent entrance and proceeded to move all of our gear to the venue, load it on stage, and assist with any necessary setup. The stage manager told us ‘we don’t care if you are Beyonce or Moment of Clarity; we will take good care of you.’ The audio crew took their time and made sure that everything needed by every member of the band was in the monitors and nothing was forgotten, like our Octapad seconds before show time.

The entertainment staff was amazing and provided us with a ‘green room’, refreshments, snacks, social media coverage and encouragement as we were the youngest performers in the finals.

Finally, taking to the outdoor stage as the final band to perform and seeing over 500 people in the crowd, that was an amazing sensation. Here we were playing at a venue where national acts perform and then to see the crowd rocking out to our music and one of our original songs. It was a moment we will all remember for a very long time.”

Christopher Ruiz (of A Simple Complex)

“Our most memorable gig has to be our CD release party in 2013 for What Lies Ahead: Left Behind Vol. 3. The local music scene in New England is so talented and diverse, we wanted to celebrate more than what we were, so at this particular show, we brought in musicians from around the area to rock with us! Skilled singers like Tajoura Davis, Steve Archambault (Craving Lucy) and Adam Fithian (Prospect Hill) joined our frontwoman Jess [Sierra] in singing one of our tracks, and in turn we performed a cover of one of their band’s songs. We ended the night with a cover of ‘Killing in the Name Of.’ It was a show we can never forget!”

Allison Sigrist (of Gunpowder Gelatine)

“We were asked to play a set at a LARP (Live Action Role Play) event in central Mass. The venue appeared to be a former summer camp which had been converted into a facility for all sorts of LARP events. They host Renaissance Faires and Pirate weekends, etc. This particular weekend was a kind of open-to-all and there was entertainment all afternoon.

First, we enter the main hall where we’re going to be playing and there’s a huge embroidered tapestry with a unicorn on it straight out of a medieval castle hanging at the back of the stage. When we started to play our set was in the early afternoon, our audience consisted of about six people sitting 20 feet away on couches, wearing a variety of cosplay type outfits. We did our thing and packed up. On our way out, I peeked back into the hall. There was now a magician wearing a kilt performing to a packed house. At least we got paid!”

Music and entertainment coverage since October 2006!