Local Favorites Pay Tribute To Alex Chilton
Full disclosure: when I was asked if I wanted to attend a tribute to the late Alex Chilton at Brighton Music Hall, I had to research him because his name was not familiar. As soon as I saw he was in the Box Tops, who had a huge hit with ‘The Letter’, I realized I knew at least the beginning of his career. I did not know he is considered the inventor of indie and alternative rock.
Holly George-Warren wrote the definitive biography of Chilton, A Man Called Destruction: The Life and Music of Alex Chilton, From Box Tops to Big Star to Backdoor Man, and she opened the evening with some readings and reminiscences of Chilton. She was joined for a brief conversation about Chilton by Jody Stephens, the lone surviving member of Big Star.
My interest in seeing this show was the local singer-songwriters who participated, all of whom I had seen perform except one. Assembled by promoter Dino Cattaneo, this was an all-star roster of wonderful singers. Susan Cattaneo, Bonnie Hayes, Ruby Rose Fox, Jenee Halstead, Will Dailey, Dennis Brennan, and Christian McNeill were backed by local Big Star tribute band Sister Lovers.
Susan is a songwriting professor at Berklee College of Music who penned my anthem, ‘Worth the Whiskey’. I have seen her perform in a number of different iterations (soul, country, and country-folk), but for this show she was (as all the others were) singing Alex Chilton songs.
Bonnie is the chair of the songwriting department at Berklee, who I first heard sing ‘Have a Heart’ (which Hayes wrote) with Bonnie Raitt. What an introduction! I enjoyed seeing her on her own.
Ruby Rose Fox wowed me with her sultry voice the first time I saw her. At this show, she not only sang ‘The Letter’ but also one of my favorite songs of all time (which I believe has no connection to Chilton), Procol Harum’s ‘A Whiter Shade of Pale’.
Jenee Halstead was the first singer to take the stage (after Sister Lovers performed several songs) . Her petite stature belies a massive voice with a wide range, and she showed that range beautifully this night.
Will Dailey, a winner of a 2014 Boston Music Award (as is Ruby Rose Fox), is a fantastic singer whose expressive face conveys the emotion of whatever he sings, regardless of whether it is a song he wrote or a cover.
Dennis Brennan is a well-known blues guitarist and singer, and he did both at this show.
Christian McNeill is the only singer I had not seen perform. He greatly impressed me with his soulful voice and emotional performance. Christian has also won Boston Music Awards.
After each singer had a chance to perform solo, Jody Stephens came to the stage. He sang and then played drums for Sister Lovers while the singers returned to the stage in pairs and trios in what seemed more free form.
Sister Lovers was fun to watch as well.
Even though I knew only the two songs I mentioned, I was grateful for the chance to see these fine musicians on one stage, having a great time playing for a small but extremely enthusiastic crowd. I know there were people in the audience who hope this tribute becomes a regular thing. If it does, I promise to get to know Big Star’s music before then!
Ticket courtesy of Dino Cattaneo; all opinions are my own.
Posted on July 5, 2015, in concert photos, concert reviews, music, Uncategorized and tagged Alex Chilton, Big Star, Bonnie Hayes, Christian McNeill, concert photos, concert review, Dennis Brennan, Dino Cattaneo, Jenee Halstead, Jody Stephens, music, Ruby Rose Fox, Sister Lovers, Susan Cattaneo, Will Dailey. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.