In January, Grammy-award-winning country music legend Marty Stuart brought his Fabulous Superlatives band to The Egg in Albany. Before the show, Stuart explained to WAMC how he conceptualizes the rich narrative of country and his role in it after a decades-long career. He has been inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame and worked with heroes like Johnny Cash, who was his father-in-law for a time, and Lester Flatts.
“The old great songwriter Harlan Howard, when asked to describe country music, called it three chords and the truth,” Stuart told WAMC. “Hank Williams said, I can sum it up in one word: Sincerity. My wife, Connie Smith, says it’s the cry of the heart. So, I agree with all those things. But you’re right, it’s the stories. Ken Burns and I agree, it’s the stories that make country songs and country music kind of set apart. And somewhere along the way, I guess it was a self-appointed mission, I thought the traditional end of country music is slipping away. And it just kind of became a self-appointed mission for me to jump in, grab it, claim it, preserve it, promote it, and further it. I love having a voice in that. I love having a voice. Especially at this point in my life, I think I’m one of the people that is kind of a bridge between, you know, the past of country music and the future. I love the position.”
Dead and Company – the current incarnation of the Grateful Dead formed in 2015 – was slated to appear at SPAC this year on its summer tour. It proved to be the only cancellation of the 20-date run after a medical emergency forced the band to ditch the July 6th date. Despite that, WAMC caught up with percussionist Mickey Hart to get an insight into how he uses light waves collected from deep space in his sonic experiments highlighted during the improvisational “Drums/Space” portion of the band’s concerts.
“In the beginning, there was noise, and noise, it begat rhythm, and rhythm begat everything else,” Hart told WAMC. “13.8 billion years ago, the blank page of the universe exploded, and creating stars, the planets, the sun, the moon, the Earth, and us. So, this vibratory universe is where we came from. We are made of vibrations, we are embedded in a vibratory universe, we are multi-dimensional rhythm machines, really, at play in the universe of rhythm. So now we’re able to go back- Well, almost to the Big Bang, 13.8 billion years ago, but we go 400,000 light years this side is as close as we’ve gotten to the original downbeat, beat one, the beginning of time and space. So, I’m now able to take those kinds of sounds and sonify them. We call it sonifying, taking the light, the radiation, which, you can’t hear sound in a vacuum. So, when a star explodes or there’s some kind of activity up there, the sound separates from the light. The light comes through, the sound can’t travel in space. So we take that light, turn it into sound, and then use that sound in our compositions.”
Hart’s Planet Drum project released a new album “In The Groove” over the summer. Dead and Company will make up for its lost 2022 SPAC show with two appearances there on its final tour June 17th and 18th.
In August, Pittsfield-based Barrington Stage Company named the successor to departing founding artistic director Julianne Boyd: Associate Artistic Director of the Shakespeare Theatre Company in Washington, D.C. Alan Paul.
“He’s a fantastic dramaturg,” Boyd told WAMC. “So he knows how to mold and shape new plays, which was important to us. And he’s also been very involved in the Washington, D.C. community, and I think that that’s really exciting. And someone said to me, he has your joy. He’s a joyful person. That’s important for our theater to have somebody who wants to spread the joy of what we do.”
Boyd stepped down September after almost three decades leading BSC.
In November, Becket dance center Jacob’s Pillow announced that a $10 million grant from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation will allow for the rebuilding of the Doris Duke Theatre, which burned to the ground a year prior. Executive and Artistic Director Pamela Tatge said that the gift is the largest in the Pillow’s history, and will cover a third of the cost for the new space — a space for which she has grand ambitions.
“You might have an artist who wants to be in a space where they have a 360-surround sound for the audience to experience, and maybe the audience is not going to be in fixed seating, maybe it’ll be an immersive experience where there is sound and projection all around them,” said Tatge. “Maybe this is an experience that will actually, in the building of the work, bring artists into the space through live streaming or audiences into the space through live streaming and shift where an audience member is, an artist is. Maybe it will use motion capture technology. It will have the basic fiber infrastructure so that we can put in the appropriate equipment to serve what the artist wants to create.”
The new Doris Duke is expected to open in 2025.
Wilco’s Solid Sound festival returned to MASS MoCA in May, and contributed to a change in North Adams: paid downtown event parking for future events in the city.