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Shirley Massachusetts - Information and Local Guide to the Town

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Johnny Nicholas
When it comes to Americana Roots Music and especially the Blues, the late great Stephen Bruton knew what he was talking about. Those who knew him knew that he always got to the point. His description of his long time friend and musical comrade in arms is succinct and quite a heady compliment, but then, Johnny Nicholas is an amazing talent.

For four decades Johnny's consummate musicianship and vocal skills have graced live music scenes across the country and abroad. He has toured, performed and recorded with many true blues and Americana Roots Music legends including: Mississippi Fred McDowell, Robert Lockwood Jr., Johnny Shines, Big Walter Horton, Roosevelt Sykes, Nathan Abshire, Robert Pete Williams, Eddie Taylor, Billy Boy Arnold, Hound Dog Taylor, Johnny Young, Houston Stackhouse, and Boogie Woogie Red. He recorded and toured with Johnny Shines and Snooky Pryor, producing and playing guitar on their W.C. Handy Award-winning album "Back to the Country." He was a lead vocalist and multi-instrumentalist with Asleep at the Wheel when they won their first of many Grammy Awards.

He gave Blues Guitar icon Ronnie Earl his first gig in the now legendary band Guitar Johnny and the Rhythm Rockers. He has also shared the stage and performed with the likes of Howlin Wolf, BB King, Muddy Waters, Bonnie Rait, Eric Clapton, Pops and Mavis Staples, Delbert McClinton, Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard and Jimmie Vaughan among many others. He can wow a festival crowd of thousands or a small room of devotees. There are mysteries within this history, but remember that true history is written in the uncharted depths of a passionate spirit striving to fathom the mysteries, the pain and the joy of life and love.

Heres what you need to know about Johnny Nicholas - the rest and the best is all in his music.

Johnny learned from some of the same guys I did and he sings and plays the real down home blues! BB King, 1976

The Bull Run is a full-service, farm-to-table restaurant in a pre-revolutionary tavern, located about 35 miles NW of Boston, with plenty of free parking and rustic, old-world charm.
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When: Apr 27, 2017 7:30PM in Shirley, MA
Cost: $18 advance; $22 day of show

Eilen Jewell Band

4-28-2017

As hard as it is to categorize Eilen Jewell’s music - terms like alt-country, roots-rock, country-noir and Americana get used a lot - it’s even harder not to become thoroughly enraptured by the singer/songwriter’s powerful versatility, musical stories and images. And that gorgeous voice makes you feel like she’s singing just for you, out on the breezy back porch or by a crackling campfire. She does so much, so well.

A few examples: Butcher Holler, Jewell’s acclaimed 2010 tribute to Loretta Lynn, underscores her love for tough traditional country music, coal miner’s daughter style, while her electrifying cover of Shakin’ All Over, originally a 1960 chart-topping British hit for Johnny Kidd and the Pirates, was one of the surprise highlights of 2009’s Sea of Tears. Propelled by Jerry Miller’s shimmering guitar dazzle, the song remains a live showstopper where hints of ’60s surf instrumentals and “Paint It, Black” are deftly thrown in for good measure. On 2011’s Queen of the Minor Key, featuring guest appearances from the likes of Big Sandy and Zoe Muth, Jewell penned all the songs. One of its radio favorites is Warning Signs, with references to a black widow, a rattlesnake, and a beady-eyed raven. Jewell calls the song “creepy.” The Boston Globe called Minor Key, “emotionally raw and riveting,” and an NPR commentator declared, “She’s got a sweet and clear voice with a killer instinct lurking beneath the shiny surface.”

Her latest album, Sundown Over Ghost Town, is a masterful culmination of Jewell’s work to date. Rich with cinematic visions, elegant sweet and smoky vocals, and hauntingly autobiographical songs, Sundown is bursting with stellar performances and is likely her most personal, fully realized album yet. And that’s saying a lot! The record, with all its songs penned by Jewell, is a poignant, ever-so-flavorful reflection of her return to Boise after nearly a decade in the Northeast.

Open: TBA



When: Apr 28, 2017 8pm in Shirley, MA
Cost: $20 advance; $24 day of show

Joe Lynn Turner

5-3-2017

Joe Lynn Turner's music career was turned around one day when, after extensive touring in the NJ band "Fandango," he received a call from legendary guitarist Ritchie Blackmore, who enlisted Joe to be the frontman between Blackmore and Roger Glover in "Rainbow," a band they formed after leaving Deep Purple. "Stone Cold" was Rainbow's first Top 40 pop radio hit and the band's innovative videos were in heavy airplay rotation on MTV. Turner co-wrote and/or sang on Rainbow singles that helped define the melodic rock genre: "I Surrender," "Can't Happen Here," "Jealous Lover," "Death Alley Driver," "Street of Dreams" and "Can't Let You Go."

In 1984, Blackmore reunited with Deep Purple, giving Turner freedom to work on his first solo album, "Rescue You," produced by Roy Thomas Baker, known for his work with Queen and The Cars. JLT co-wrote most of the songs with keyboardist Al Greenwood (Foreigner). The first single, "Endlessly," received extensive airplay on radio and MTV. A tour with Pat Benatar and acting role in the movie, "Blue Deville" followed.

Then in the winter of 1989, Blackmore and Deep Purple needed a lead singer to replace Ian Gillan. Turner was invited and found himself fronting one of the major bands he was influenced by as a teenager, releasing the album, "Slaves and Masters" and launching an extensive world. Turner wrote and sang on several tracks for a follow-up album that were never officially released. To this day, Blackmore maintains that "Slaves and Masters" is his favorite Deep Purple record since his reunion with the group in 1984.

With his current band Joe plays Rainbow and Deep Purple tracks along with other classic rock covers from his recently released “Sessions” album.

In a career that spans nearly 40 years and includes over 60 album credits,
Joe Lynn Turner remains one of rock and roll's most distinctive, soulful and expressive vocalists.

When: May 3, 2017 7:30PM in Shirley, MA

Buy Local
Devens SpringHill Suites Hotel 
27 Andrews Parkway
Devens Common Center

Devens, MA 01434

978-772-3030
Devens SpringHill Suites Hotel by Marriott
The SpringHill Suites hotel by Marriott offers 120 spacious Suites with separate areas to work & relax that includes a fireplace, mini-fridge, microwave & a pull out sofa bed. Enjoy a free hot breakfast buffet, high speed internet, indoor pool & fitness room.
About Shirley, MA
Shirley is a rural industrial town located on the lowlands of the Catacoonamaug River. A handful of colonists arrived in 1720 and settled on scattered farms throughout the town.

Early in its history Shirley was supported by its many farms and orchards. There was an increase in industrial activity around 1790 and the first paper mill was opened followed shortly after by a small iron works and nail factory.

The location of the water to power industries served to create an industrial village along the narrow valley where Shirley is located. Many of the period brick towered mills still survive and create an authentic period landscape.