Live music back on tap in downtown Amherst

  • Soul Magnets bring their horn-heavy soul and funk sound to Amherst for a downtown music series starting July 23. GAZETTE FILE PHOTO

  • The Green Sisters bring their bluegrass, folk and close harmonies to Amherst Aug. 6 as part of the town’s summer music series. GAZETTE FILE PHOTO

  • Singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Eric Lee performs Aug. 6 as part of Amherst’s downtown summer music series. GAZETTE FILE PHOTO

Staff Writer
Monday, July 19, 2021

AMHERST — With progress continuing locally and statewide in beating back the pandemic, live music is returning to Amherst this summer, with four free weekly concerts scheduled to take place on the town Common beginning July 23.

The series, produced by the Amherst downtown BID (Business Improvement District), will bring a range of music to the Common, from jazz and swing to funk and rock and roll, to bluegrass and folk. Six groups and two jazz ensembles will perform on Fridays at 6 p.m. for three shows and at 4 p.m. for the fourth one.

The series also will incorporate two shows recognizing the 40th anniversaries of two local music organizations: the Jazz in July program at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and 93.9 The River/WRSI-FM.

In addition, the concerts series will bring local beer, wine and cider vendors to the Common to sell to concert attendees ages 21 and up with proof of ID. Element Brewing, Abandoned Building Brewery, Artifact Cider and Black Birch Winery will have their fare on hand.

The kick-off concert July 23, at 6 p.m., which will recognize the River’s 40th anniversary, encourages dancing. The featured bands are Bourbon Outfitters, rockers from west of Boston who cover Green Day, The Black Keys, Jackson Browne, Talking Heads and other bands. Following the Outfitters will be the Northampton-based Soul Magnets, a “horn-heavy” nine-piece ensemble that plays a mix of old-school funk and soul and originals.

On July 30, beginning at 4 p.m., an ensemble of Jazz in July alumni will perform, followed by a 7 p.m. set by a Jazz in July faculty ensemble including veteran players Steve Davis, Winard Harper, Jeff Holmes, Sheila Jordan, Avery Sharpe and several others.

The Green Sisters, previous downtown performers, bring their tight harmonies in bluegrass, folk, and Celtic music to the Aug. 6 concert; they’ll be followed by singer-songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Eric Lee, with support from various musical friends.

The final concert, Aug. 13, features Amherst native and Berklee College alum Luke DeRoy playing his original guitar-based songs. Meanwhile, headliners LoudMadLoud (formerly The Saturators), from Brooklyn, New York, bring their Caribbean dance music, which is “soaked in the spirit of the NYC hustle with a splash of Kingston,” according to program notes.

In addition to these shows, the Amherst Community Band will perform in Sweetser Park at 6:30 p.m. on July 17 and Aug. 12.