It's easy to miss the Parlor Room as you drive down Masonic Street in Northampton, MA, home of Smith College. Located in an unprepossessing building that's also the home of Signature Sounds, which also owns or manages five other venues as well as being a major recording studio located in Connecticaut, and promotes three festivals in Massachusetts, the small brick front welcomes music lovers. We had driven down to see the John Jorgenson Bluegrass Band with Darin Aldridge, which is on a quick tour including stops in Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New York.
Herb Pedersen, a Californian, too, is also is famed for his long, productive, and creative contributions in the full range of what now has largely been agglomerated as Americana music, including bluegrass, folk, folk-rock, country, and country rock. He was, along with Chris Hillman and Jorgenson, a founding member of the Desert Rose Band, which reached its heights in the 1980's and 90's. He is often associated with John Jorgenson, as well as with Old and In the Way, Peter Rowan, David Grisman, Vassar Clements, Gram Parsons, and more. He performed and arranged vocals on the great Dolly Parton, Emmylou Harris, and Linda Ronstadt album Trio (1987) which won two Grammys, selling over 4,000,000 copies. The list of his professional credits is nearly endless. Even at age 74, his elegant banjo play, smooth tenor voice, and warm sense of humor added a sense of history to punctuate the always contemporary quality of his musicianship.
Throughout the entire concert this superb group of major players from bluegrass and acoustic music wove a magical evening of song and story-telling. John and Herb, through their long, often overlapping, history together represent two important strands of West Coast music. The connection to Gram Parsons, the Byrds, Emmylou Harris along with their creation and successes with the Dessert Rose Band evoking wonderful memories and fine, often amusing, story-telling. If you can catch this band, be sure to do so! This song, written with Emmylou Harris shows the depth and quality of their versatility.