WE PRESENT BLUEGRASS EVERY TUESDAY NIGHT AT 8:00 PM Our Tuesday Night Bluegrass Pickin' Party at the Cantab Lounge in Central Square, Cambridge, Massachusetts, gets started at 8:00 pm every Tuesday night. If you come to play bluegrass, you'll find an enthusiastic audience and a slew of great players here every Tuesday night. All players and audience are invited to attend.
ON ANY GIVEN TUESDAY NIGHT, we will have in attendance fifteen and more musicians representing all instruments in the bluegrass family. Open Pickin' before & after the Feature Band is a major part of every Tuesday night.
THE SCENE We are pleased to welcome pickers & singers from near & far. Most players who come to Bluegrass Tuesdays live in Greater Boston, but players from other states & countries sometimes stop by to pick and listen. The level of talent is high, the atmosphere is tolerant, and the music is hot.
ON OCCASION, we are also pleased to welcome touring bluegrass performers, Special Guests, other area & visiting presentors, area & visiting radio DJs, writers, reviewers, & photographers.
PLAYERS The weekly roster is always in flux. Players come to hear and be heard by other players, so the music is almost invariably played at a high level. New bands and personnel line-ups form & reform rapidly in this creative atmosphere. Some higher-visibility entertainers who have played the feature set in years past include the James King Band, Jim & Jennie & the Pinetops, Jim Hurst & Missy Raines, and the Matt Glaser All Stars featuring Tony Trischka on banjo. Barry & Holly Tashian from Nashville with their tight Everly Brothers style harmonies did a great set for us awhile back, and Darol Anger, country singer-songwriter John Lincoln Wright, Peter Wolf of the J. Geils Band, Tom & Ray Magliozzi of National Public Radio's Car Talk fame, guitarists David Grier & Chris Jones, bluegrass/alt-country singer-songwriter Gail Davies, and Rounder Records execs have all dropped by to check out the scene.
NIGHTLY FORMAT Informal pickin' on stage or in front of the stage commences at 8:00 pm. At 10:00 pm, the Feature Band (different every week) plays one 50-minute set. Open pickin' then resumes until 12:45 am closing. I arrive at the Cantab at 4:30 pm to set up sound.
$7 VOLUNTARY DONATION REQUESTED There is no formal Cover Charge on Bluegrass Tuesdays. Instead, I go around with a hat and request a $7 Voluntary Donation from all audience members & players. All proceeds go to the Feature Band.
SOUND SYSTEM We have a reasonably good sound system that rarely explodes. I put up seven mikes (three Shure SM58 vocal mikes and four SM57 instrument mikes) all on boom stands. Your mikes are welcome, although sensitive condenser mikes can be problematic due to feedback. Our 16-channel Mackie board has phantom power. There are four stage monitors and four mains. I run the front of the house in stereo. The stage is somewhat small, but can accommodate a five-piece easily as long as they're all on friendly terms. There are several AC outlets on stage, and direct lines are available although most players use microphones.
We can do LIVE TAPING if you bring a recording device. Left/right RCA plugs from the board out to your device work best.
LOCATION The Cantab Lounge is located at 738 Massachusetts Avenue (the main drag) in Central Square (Cosmic Vortex of the Great Northeast), at the "north" end of Central Square on the "west" side of the street, two doors back from the only 7-11 Convenience Store in Central Square. The 7-11 has batteries for your tuner, plus everything else you'd expect to find in a 7-11. There's also a True Value Hardware store open until 7:00 pm across the street, and gourmet coffee at the 1369 Coffeehouse over there.
PARKING Metered parking is on the street or in two metered lots behind the club. Meters go out of effect at 6:00 pm.
PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION Take the RedLine to the Central Square stop and walk two blocks "toward Harvard Square" to find the Cantab Lounge on your left. The MassAve/Dudley BUS goes right by the door.
PHONE at the Cantab is ( 6 1 7 ) 3 5 4 - 2 6 8 5.
ABOUT THE CANTAB The Cantab Lounge is a multi-racial, multi-generational, beer & shots neighborhood bar. There are no philodendrons in the Cantab, but there is also no cigarette smoke. Cantab staff is down-to-earth. A Central Square landmark for manyyears and a vital gathering spot for the diverse Central Square community, the Cantab presents live music every night of the week and also hosts the Boston Poetry Slam.
WEB SITE The Cantab's web site is www.cantab-lounge.com. There you will find detailed driving directions from all points, menu, monthly entertainment schedule, press & photos. Driving from the north or south is complicated by the Big Dig, so allow extra drive time.
OUR AUDIENCE Our audience is typically in their twenties & thirties. Due chiefly to the efforts of the Boston Bluegrass Union (BBU), the audience for bluegrass music in Greater Boston is large & enthusiastic. The BBU sponsors concerts for nationally known bluegrass bands at the Museum of Our National Heritage in Lexington, MA, and the Joe Val Bluegrass Festival every February, the largest indoor bluegrass festival in New England. Further information about BBU concerts, pickin' parties, and the Joe Val Bluegrass Festival can be found at www.bbu.org.
OTHER AREA SUPPORT We are fortunate to have a wealth of traditional & contemporary bluegrass, newgrass, old time string band, traditional roots & alternative country programming on several area radio stations. Also, Cambridge is the home of Rounder Records, one of the largest independent bluegrass labels in the world. Bluegrass in Greater Boston is also supported by mainstream and alternative press.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS I started Bluegrass Tuesdays in September 1993 with much help & support from the Greater Boston bluegrass community and from Richard Fitzgerald at the Cantab. Thanks also to the Boston Bluegrass Union.
Hope you can visit! Bring your voice, guitar, banjo, mandolin, bazouki, Dobro, fiddle, new songs, old songs, gospel, ballads & barn-burners, and come on down!
In addition to Bluegrass Tuesdays, I also host a Singer-Songwriter Open Mike with a Feature every Monday night at the Cantab. ~ Geoff