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Seven artists to play Moose Fest in Mason on Saturday

  • Sarah Blacker & New England Groove Association perform at Thunder Road in Somerville, Mass. The band will be performing at Moose Fest in Mason this Saturday.  Courtesy photo

  • Sarah Blacker & New England Groove Association will be performing at Moose Fest in Mason this Saturday.  xxxxxxx xxxxxx / Monitor staffStaff photo by Ashley Saari—Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

  • The Band Eastwood Peak will be performing at Mason’s Moose Fest this weekend.  —Courtesy photo



Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Thursday, August 23, 2018 10:45AM

A seven-artist line-up is set to rock the Gates Estate in Mason for an all-day concert event this weekend.

“Moose Fest” will feature bands known both regionally and nationally playing music all afternoon and into the evening. In the middle of the line-up is Sarah Blacker & New England Groove Association. The trio, consisting of Sarah Blacker, Aaron Katz and Phil Selesnick, is a Salem, Massachusetts band that have been playing together for the past three years.

Guitarist and vocalist Sarah Blacker has been performing and recording nationally and internationally for the past eight years as a solo artist, in addition to with the New England Groove Association, and is the primary song writer for the band.

“Before I was a musician, I was a writer,” Blacker said in an interview Monday. “I used to be obsessed with language. I had a thesaurus by the bed.”

That may show in her song writing, Blacker said. Her favorite part to write is the bridge – a portion of the song that looks back at previous lyrics or prepares the listener for the song’s climax. For many musicians, it’s the hardest part of a song to write, Blacker said. For her, it’s a chance to play with the lyrics.

“It’s a chance to offer a different perspective lyrically and offer a trip away from what’s been happening in the song so far,” Blacker said. “It’s like stepping in a different emotion.”

Many of the songs played by New England Groove Association date back to Blacker’s solo albums and adapted, and some were written with the band in mind. As she’s been writing more for the band, Blacker said, she’s mostly stepped away from emotional ballads and focused more on songs to get people dancing.

“The goal is to propel people into a space where they want to move their bodies,” said Blacker. 

And there have been other shifts in her sound since playing with the New England Groove Association, Blacker said, changes that come naturally from playing with other musicians who also have a long history of musicianship and have played with other bands. 

“It’s down to being able to be a good listener,” Blacker said. “We’re all very comfortable with ourselves and our musicianship at this point. If Phil throws in some rhythmic changes, we can all follow that and go in together.”

One of their live show anthems, a song written by Blacker for her album “Precious Little Things,” called “These Summer Nights.” 

“It’s the highest energy song that we do,” she said. The song is inspired by her love of rock music, and it’s a feeling that people can instantly connect with.

The band is also currently working on a studio album to release next year. Many of the songs will be familiar to the fans who attend their live shows. Recording songs the band has been playing live for some time is a new approach for her, Blacker said, but it gives the band an opportunity to record songs in their most polished form, and as close to how they will sound live.

“I think looking back on songs that I’ve recorded, I hear and play them differently than when I recorded them. At this point, I think I’ll like creating something that represents exactly what we’re doing live, as opposed to what the song used to be.”

The line up for Moose Fest includes  the Clavis Brudon Band, Lee Hawkins Band, Sarah Blacker & New England Groove Association, Juke, Kan-Tu Blues Band, Eastwood Peak and special guest Arthur James.

A meal of roast beef, pork loin and smoked turkey will be provided. Side dish or dessert donations are welcome. The event is bring your own beer, and space is available for tents for those that want to spend the night.

Tickets are $10 per person. Children 12 and under are free. All proceeds go to the bands. Limited tickets are available and can be purchased at www.eventbrite.com/e/moose-fest-tickets-46254320919.

 

Ashley Saari can be reached at 924-7172 ext. 244 or asaari@ledgertranscript.com. She’s on Twitter @AshleySaariMLT.