We here at the Insider would have been happy with games, goodies and bargains, but, oh no! You folks downtown went and outdid yourselves with lots and lots of music. Because we’re sooooo busy shopping and eating, we sent our summer intern, John Bergeron, to interview a few of the bands. But the bands were busy, too, so good ’ol resourceful John used e-mail instead.
Here’s what some of these fine musicians had to say:
Born and raised in New Hampshire but with a heart from Nashville, Jimmy Lehoux has been making country music for the masses since he was 9 years old. He was named youth male vocalist of the year at age 16 by the New Hampshire Country Music Association. He has shared the stage with acts like Charlie Daniels, Molly Hatchet and Little Feat. This lifelong musician is passionate, and it shows in his adoration of his fans and his heartwarming lyrics.
See Jimmy Lehoux on the main stage, Thursday at 8 p.m.
When did you first discover country music, and what were your biggest influences? I was very young when I discovered country music. I can remember my mom and dad always listening to old classics, but my grandfather was my biggest influence. He has played fiddle for many years and he was always fun to watch. I can still remember learning how to play guitar, and he would sit with me and play his fiddle. To me, at the time, I was sitting in front of a legend, and I can still feel the sweat in my palms just trying to impress him.
Do you see yourself as an inspiration to other country musicians in New Hampshire? I would not really consider myself to be an inspiration, but what I do try to do is be a role model. Whether it is in the music industry or just in life, I feel I have been blessed in so many ways, and it is up to me to pass on what I do in a positive light.
What can the crowds expect when you’re onstage? I feel very fortunate to have been asked to play the main stage at Market Days. We played here many years ago, it was a blast doing it, and I am sure this time will not be any different. The crowd can look for an upbeat show that has something for everybody.
John had to go do a bunch of intern-y things, so we other Insiders jumped in to interview Carl Smith, the band leader of Concord-based Club Soda. Smith and a rotating cast of three talented sidekicks have been playing gigs around the state since 1972.
See Club Soda belt it out on the main stage on Friday at 8:30 p.m. Here’s what Smith told us:
What type of music do you play? We’re basically a classic-rock band, a lot of crowd participation, everything from clapping to actually singing. We have a very charismatic female vocalist. She does not hesitate to go into the crowd.
Do you have any real crowd pleasers? We do “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” and “Man I Feel Like a Woman.” They’re well-known songs, and people are in the mood to party, especially at the events we play. Vocally, we really go out of our way to mimic the songs that we’re playing. We also take a lot of pride in our vocal harmony strength.
Thirty-seven years is a long time to run a band. What keeps you going? My father played saxophone in big bands for almost 40 years. I feel obligated to carry on my father’s musical legacy
Says John: The Grift is the band you know but haven’t heard yet. The Gift has shared the stage with bands like Dispatch and Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, and has been on radio stations across the country. Lead guitarist Clint Bierman co-wrote a song for the “Shrek II” soundtrack. This will be the band’s first Market Days appearance, but it’s a regular act at The Barley House. It will be playing the main stage on Saturday at 7 p.m. More from Bierman:
How and when did this project get started? The band started April 7, 1999, with a rehearsal in Fort Wayne, Ind. We then immediately did a Northeast tour. Moved to Coloardo for three years. Then moved back to Vermont. Three of the four of us are Middlebury College graduates, so we moved back to Vermont. Love it here. Done over 1,300 shows in 28 states and four countries.
Is the band a full-time venture, or do you guys have day jobs? The band has been a full-time gig now for six years.
What does music mean to you, and where do you find your creativity? Music to me is an all-encompassing way of life. It is a pursuit, a mystery, a friend, and enemy. Like a great dog. Always there unconditionally. I find creativity in playing with other people. The give and take and the “conversation” that music allows is very inspiring.
What is the basic muse for The Grift? The basic muse for The Grift is hard to pin down. We do so many genres and so many songs. Basically, this means we can be inspired by anything. Our original tunes are what we call “funk-rocktronica.” We love everything from The New Deal, to Death Cab, to The Beatles.
What can the crowds expect?
That’s a good question. Many times, we don’t know what to expect. There is an element of improvisation. There is a showcase of great songwriting. And we play kicka** covers, songs you wouldn’t imagine us to play. One thing is for sure, we play many different genres, and we always have a great time playing. Looking forward to coming to Concord!
Mr. Nick and the Dirty Tricks
When Nick David’s old band, Mr. Nick’s Blues Mafia, broke up two years ago, he quickly found himself another act: Mr. Nick and the Dirty Tricks. While new to the scene, the band has already created a buzz on the New England music scene with its energetic live shows and crowd-pleasing antics. The blues runs through this quartet’s blood. See them play Friday at 7 p.m. on the main stage. Here’s what David had to say:
How did you guys get started? The name for the band came up one night at a club in Hyannis, Mass., called Harry’s Blues Bar. We were joking around about getting go-go dancers for our shows. We were trying to figure out what we would call them when someone suggested the name The Dirty Tricks. We all laughed, and when the dust settled I said . . . “That’s a great name for a band.” That was that.
What were your biggest influences when you first discovered this style of music? Well, this “style” of music was the first music I remember being introduced to. One of my first memories is sitting on my dad’s knee while he played guitar and sang “Fishin’ Blues.” Some of my biggest influences have been Howlin’ Wolf, Junior Wells, Muddy Waters, Jimmy Rogers, Little Walter, Louis Jordan, Ray Charles, James Cotton, George “Harmonica” Smith and Robert Cray.
Mr. Nick and the Dirty Tricks have become something of an institution on the New England club scene. Do you hope to become nationally recognized, or is this just a part-time gig? I’m along for the ride whatever it may be. I’m happy being able to make a living as a musician. If I can get to a point where I make a good living at it, that would be great.
Should the crowd members bring out their zoot suits? We don’t care what you wear as long as you’re there to have a good time!
We weren’t able to get interviews with all the bands because, well, there’s a lot of them. Be sure to read the schedule to discover even more bands.