TEMPLE / Greenville
Neptune’s Car to play benefit for food pantry
Folk concert to raise funds for St. Vincent dePaul’s cupboard
Neptune's Car, a folk duo made up of Holly Hanson of Sutton, Mass., and Steve Hayes of Raymond, will be headlining a concert Saturday in the Temple Town Hall to benefit Greenville's St. Vincent dePaul's Food Pantry. Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »
Folk duo Neptune's Car, pictured above, and Tom Rousseau of Temple will play a benefit concert Saturday, organized by the Souhegan Lions Club. Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »
TEMPLE — As the holidays pass, so does the season of giving when people are focused on filling up local food banks and giving to charities. But the need at the St. Vincent dePaul’s Food Pantry in Greenville doesn’t abate with the winter weather, and the Souhegan Lions Club has decided to be proactive in filling that void.
When the Lions immediate past president, Brenda Salmonson, attended a radio show at Colby College in Waterville, Maine, she heard the band invited to play live. She got talking to the duo that makes up the folk group known as Neptune’s Car afterwards. The two musicians, Holly Hanson of Sutton, Mass., and Steve Hayes of Raymond talked about how difficult it is to procure the right stage environment for the kind of dialogues they like to have with their audiences, and Salmonson began to formulate an idea.
The Lions Club has supported the food pantry for years, usually by taking up food or monetary collections, Salmonson said in a recent interview. She hit on the idea to have Neptune’s Car come to play at the Temple Town Hall, a great listening room, and to use the opportunity to gather supplies for the pantry, which is located at 15 High St. in the Sacred Heart Parish .
Not only did Holly Hanson and Steve Hayes, the members of Neptune’s Car, agree, but Salmonson also secured local singer and songwriter Tom Rousseau of Temple as the opening act.
Holly Hanson, songwriter and lead singer of Neptune’s, has always looked to tell a story with her music. In an interview Friday she said she had always been interested in music, playing and singing throughout high school. But after college, she started a career and had children, and music went to the back burner. That was until her children reached schooling age, and she decided to homeschool them. She found one of the best ways to impart information was to put it in a song.
“There was a big stretch of time where I put music away,” she said. “I picked my guitar back up really just for my two boys, but I would play the songs at get-togethers at friend’s, and they were full of encouragement for me to pick it back up. That was really the beginning.”
Hanson then started seeking out a musical partner. In 2006, MySpace was just beginning to become a platform for performers to hear each other’s music and make partnerships, and it was through that website that she found her partner, Steve Hayes.
Hayes, a guitar player, had experience with several bands as a guitarist, and was playing in a jazz band at the time, Hanson said. But the two found time to get together to try out some music, and they’ve been a duo ever since, she said.
Hanson authored the majority of the material on the duo’s two albums, “Strawberry Moon” and “Letters from the Road.” Many of her songs center around natural themes, as they were used to explain local history to her two sons. Hanson didn’t set out to be a folksinger, she said. It’s just that many of her songs turned out to be story songs with a clear beginning, middle and end, and many of them came out in the folk style, she said.
One song, “Lighthouse Keeper,” which she wrote while teaching her children about the history of lighthouses and lighthouse keepers, started Neptune’s Car on a journey to help preserve local lighthouses.
The song caught the attention of the American Lighthouse Foundation, which expressed interests in helping Hanson and Hayes produce a music video for the song. Since then, preserving lighthouses has become a passion for Hanson, and Neptune’s Car’s second album, “Letters from the Road,” features “Flashing in the Dark,” the story of a lighthouse in Rhode Island written from the lighthouse’s point of view as it longs for the distant shores of Africa, where the island originally broke from.
Most recently, Hanson said she’s stayed at a lighthouse located on the Hudson River, which has become the focal point of her latest lighthouse song for Neptune’s Car’s next album.
But not all songs on Neptune’s Car’s two albums are historical — some are biographical. “Strawberry Moon,” the title track of their first album, was written for a work friend of Hanson’s. It describes the train ride she took to escape an abusive marriage. Another, “Rolling with the Tumbleweeds,” tells Hanson’s own story of exodus from marriage, moving from New Hampshire to Massachusetts.
Some of Hayes contributions to the album are also both historical and biographical, such as the song “The 43,” which Hayes wrote based on letters his great uncle wrote to his family while he was away at war.
Opening for Neptune’s Car is Tom Rousseau, a Temple singer-songwriter. Rousseau grew up in a musical family, and knew early on that he wanted to be involved in music, according to his web page, www.myspace.com/tomrousseaumusic. In his early career, Rousseau played guitar and wrote music while touring with rock bands, before striking out on his own and putting a greater emphasis on song writing.
The concert is new territory in fundraising for the pantry, said Salmonson, but if it’s a success, the club will consider making it an annual tradition, she said. The Lion’s Club will be donating the band’s fees out of their own budget, and 100 percent of food and monetary donations will go to the St. Vincent dePaul’s Food Pantry.
The concert is Saturday at 7 p.m. at the Temple Town Hall. Admission is monetary donation or the donation of a non-perishable food item for the pantry. For more information about Neptune’s Car, visit neptunescar.com.
Ashley Saari can be reached at 924-7172 ext. 235 or firstname.lastname@example.org. She’s on Twitter at @AshleySaari.