Strange Creek Campout 2013

2013 Lineup featuring:
Max Creek
Ivan Neville’s Dumpstafunk
Donna the Buffalo
Bernie Worrell Orchestra
Ryan Montbleau Band
Marco Benevento
The Alchemystics
Consider the Source

Bay Road – Big Daddy Love – Big Ol’ Dirty Bucket – Big Something – The Big Sway – Byrne’s Big Suit – Cosmodrome – Danny Pease & the Regulators – Domino Theory – Garcia Project – Gary Backstrom Band – Jabooda – Jeff Bujack’s Silent Disco – Juicy Grapes – Kind Buds – Liquid Pocket – Lucid – Otis Grove – Our Own World – Paranoid Social Club – People With Instruments – Pigeon Playing Ping Pong – Primate Fiasco – Raft – Rebelle – Rebel Alliance – Rev Tor – Rising Tribe – Romano Project – Sun Jones – The Kings – William Thompson Funk Experiment – Wolfman Conspiracy

And many many many more!

Purveyors of a Genre and a Way of Life, Max Creek Celebrates Their Fortieth! They Made It Through the Seventies, and They're Still Going.

Max Creek is a living, breathing historical study in a hugely significant yet too-oft overlooked American subculture: the jam band. Later this month, Max Creek celebrates their fortieth anniversary with a small East Coast tour, hitting intimate venues in Connecticut, Rhode Island, and New York City.

Creek guesses they've performed nearly 3,000 times over their forty years together. They have set lists for 1,851 shows covering the 80s and 90s but there are more shows, both known and unknown, than set lists still exist for. As with most jam bands and their fans, the majority of the 70s are gone. (What does this mean?)

Their first concert as a band was in May 1971 at the Maple View Ballroom (later Woody's) in Washington, MA, a venue at that time owned by Arlo Guthrie. The next three decades were characterized by endless bouts of touring, especially the late 70s and 80s. At their peak in 1982, Creek played 241 live shows. A true jam band, Max Creek and its fans know that the truest experience is the live show. During their long history, they've played some out of this world shows in some out of this world venues, including the Elmcrest Psychiatric Institute in Portland, CT in 1978.

In the early years, Creek toured almost exclusively in Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and New York. Their first ventures into northern New England (New Hampshire and Maine) took place in 1981, and in 1983 they hit the road and took to Philadelphia then back up north to Vermont. Throughout the 80s, New Hampshire, Vermont, and Maine became regular tour stops along with the old mid-Atlantic standbys.

In 1989, they tapped the Mason Dixon line, venturing south to Virginia, North Carolina, Washington, D.C., Maryland, and back to Pennsylvania, adding the Keystone State to their regular tour stops. In 1991 they took a lengthy "ski" trip, playing in mountain towns across Colorado, including Steamboat Springs, Aspen, and Telluride. Later during the 90's they went several times to "the Promised Land" - California, where they played at classic venues such as the Great American Music Hall and Maritime Hall. Perhaps as a result of many year of traveling, they stuck around the East Coast for the rest of the 90s, had families, and played shows pockmarked by occasional westward excursions including to Ohio, and back to Colorado and California.

After this many years, they might have showed some signs of slowing down, but not by much. Earlier in 2011, they produced and participated in January's Jungle Jam in Costa Rica with the Grateful Dead's Bill Kreutzmann.

Seemingly unknown outside their home circuit of Rhode Island, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New York, with smaller followings throughout New England (though their annual Camp Creek summer festival is a big crowd-pleaser), Max Creek has fans that have, over the years, spread out and settled in far-flung regions of the country. They have brought tapes, CD's and other recordings to spread the gospel of the band that had become so large a part of their lives. Also, the band has been pivotally influential on an entire generation of jam bands, and their sound has defined much of the genre as we know it today. Interestingly, Phish did a live cover of the Max Creek song: Back Porch Boogie.

About Phish's cover, Max Creek's Scott Murawski says, "Mike Gordon wanted to do the song which is an instrumental bluegrass song but he knew Trey wouldn't want to cover a Max Creek song so he told the band he wrote it and they performed it." Whether or not Phish will admit the relationship, when you listen to Phish, you can definitely hear the Max Creek influence.

In real life, the band members are a church musical director (Mark Mercier – keyboards), video and event company employee (John Rider – bass), a TV and audio technician (Scott Allshouse – drums), an ADP account manager (Greg Vasso – drums), and a computer programmer (Scott Murawski – guitar). But as playing together for forty years proves, at heart, they are all musicians, and an integral part of a thriving, if under-the-radar, subculture. More than a band, Max Creek has become a major part of the lives of many of its followers over the years, and, like some in the jam band scene, a social phenomenon as much as a musical entity. Many members of its long-time audience liken coming to Max Creek concerts after an absence to "coming back home for Thanksgiving". In the eyes of both the band and their fans, the existence of the band runs much deeper than the music.

Max Creek has never played without a rubber duck somewhere on stage, usually on the bass amp.

Glide Magazine writer Shane Handler got it right when he issued high praise for Max Creek saying "Bands like Phish, moe., Blues Traveler, the Disco Biscuits and others are the trees in Max Creek's seeds of a thriving Northeast music scene that encourages live risk taking on stage and playing according to the feel of the present moment."

Ryan Montbleau Band

Songs for Ryan Montbleau typically need to simmer. In his 10-year career this gifted singer and his limber band
have built their catalog the old-fashioned way, by introducing new songs to their live set, then bending and shaping
them over dozens of performances before committing a definitive version to the hard drive.
For that and many other reasons, Montbleau's next album, For Higher, is quite literally a departure. Wellestablished
out of his home base in the Northeast, the singer threw himself into New Orleans, where everything is
slow-cooked, for a few fast-moving days -- and whipped up an instant delicacy.
A few of the cuts on the new album – the playful stomp of "Deadset" or "Head Above Water," freshly peppered
with horns – were already part of the Ryan Montbleau Band's ever-growing repertoire. But the majority, including
four handpicked cover tunes -- stone soul nuggets from Bill Withers, Curtis Mayfield, the late Muscle Shoals
guitarist Eddie Hinton and more -- came together spontaneously, with little prepwork.
It was a feel thing, with Montbleau putting heads together with fellow music head Ben Ellman of New Orleans
flag-bearers Galactic. The singer and songwriter first eased his way into the city when he was invited to contribute
songs to "Backatown," the breakthrough album of favorite son Trombone Shorty. That went so well, Montbleau
co-wrote two more songs for Shorty's recent follow-up, "For True."
When Montbleau sent videos of himself performing the songs, Ellman, who produced "Backatown," was impressed.
Why not come down and do a record of your own? he asked.
Almost before he got an answer, Ellman had assembled a band of ringers – keyboard/B3 player Ivan Neville,
French Quarter mainstay Anders Osborne on guitar, drummer Simon Lott, and the estimable George Porter, Jr. of
the Meters and countless funky sessions on bass. Though Montbleau has released several solo records and
three albums credited to his full band, he felt like this was an all-new hurdle he'd have to clear.
"My main issue was, what would I bring in for material?" he recalls, sitting in the kitchen of the spacious home he
and several bandmates share in an industrial city north of Boston. "I'd never done a session like that.
"Our band will 'shed songs on the road for years and then record them, and there's strength in that. But there's
also strength in putting together these other badasses for a few days."
And his New Orleans band proved, in fact, to be most badass. If Montbleau was initially a bit apprehensive that
the sessions might represent just another paycheck for his sidemen, he quickly learned otherwise. "Every single
person, kind of to my amazement, got into it," he says. "They listened to every playback, and they were highfiving
each other. They were great."
Staying at Ellman's house while recording the new album, Montbleau spent his downtime cruising the streets of
New Orleans on a borrowed vintage bike. "There's clearly no American city like it, at all," he says. "It's deep, dark
and beautiful."
Unlike Montbleau's previous recordings, which showcase his own maturing songcraft, the new album draws a lot
of its depth and beauty from its cover songs. Perfectly titled is the beatific "Sweet, Nice and High," originally recorded
by the forgotten soul supergroup Rhinoceros. On the other end of the moodswing, Mayfield's "Here But
I'm Gone," written and recorded for the great singer's last album, after the accident that left him paralyzed, is a
shimmering testament to human frailty.
"Sometimes I feel like there are so many songs -- who the hell needs another song?" Montbleau asks. But then
he'll discover another new inspiration – sitting at the kitchen table sipping tea, there's a vinyl copy of an old Billy
Preston album propped on the windowsill behind him -- and another lyric or melody will come to him like a visitation.
And when the song becomes a reality, and the crowds begin to sing it back to him, well, that's what it's all
At 34, he's a late-bloomer who's right on time. Montbleau didn't start singing and playing guitar in earnest until he
was in college, at Villanova. Later, working at the House of Blues in Boston, he began playing solo sets there as a
warmup act. His band – there's now six of them -- came together naturally, over time, planting strong roots in coffeeshops,
folk venues and rock clubs before converting audiences on an outdoor festival circuit that now
stretches across the country. Through word of mouth and repeat visits, the band has built a devoted following
from the Northeast to Chicago, Seattle and Austin. "It's like watching the grass grow," says the easygoing Montbleau.
Far from feeling left out of the New Orleans sessions, his band is already feeding hungrily on the arrangements
from the new album in their live sets.
"We've done a good job staying in one direction, just moving forward," says the singer. "We all just really want to
get better. I try to instill it in the guys -- if we just keep it together, good stuff is gonna continue to happen."
When the crowds are dancing, the band digs deeper in the pocket. But Montbleau, who still performs solo, is
constantly looking to strike a balance between the contagious energy of moving bodies and making a closer connection.
"You can still dance and have a good time," he says of his fast-spreading fan base, "but I love when you listen."


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Strange Creek Campout 2013 @ Camp Keewanee, Greenfield MA

Friday, May 24 · Doors 12:00 PM at Camp Kee-Wanee

Off Sale