We’ve both spent time performing at Pipeline! Sessions through the decades. We’d make the two hour drive to Cambridge, get lost, then find the tiny turn-off that leads down the mysterious passage to the load-in. It was always frantic and chaotic and, for some reason, always rainy and cold. We’d park the van by the loading doors, lug all our stuff into the basement of the old building and down hallways lined with unmarked doors. Feeling like we were trespassing and were any minute going to be yelled at by security. Finally we’d find the door to the studio, bring our stuff in and then eventually we’d see the smiling face of Jeff Breeze barely lit behind the old scratched glass partition.
Eventually he’d make his way into the studio where we’d be setting up. You’d hear his voice first. That deep warm hug of a voice. And his familiar, almost familial, energy would immediately take away any memory of the treacherous journey to MBR. What a sweet, caring, and inspiring presence. We’ve never met a person more connected to the New England music world. A real supporter and visionary who will be profoundly missed.
Breeze liner notes (from Bandcamp): If you’re reading this, you don’t even think twice, but try pronouncing Lesa’s band’s name on the radio. It is a homophonous fiasco. For something that should be so simple to say, there’s no way that at least 50% of the audience doesn’t think it’s a Henry Winkler reference.
I don’t remember if it was under the Harrys or The Elevens banner when I first saw Lesa play, but I perked up before they even started playing because I knew it must take some great songs to have a backing band as overflowing with talent as she had. The audience was captivated and I was hooked.
Over time, I realized how entrenched she is within the Rub Wrongways record label family. Her partner Henning sits in on a track on this set and had done one of the first sets from the Pipeline! @ Home series. The best way to find your way in is the great quarantine tv shows that the label is posting to YouTube and you wonder how anyone has kept this geyser of western Mass talent capped at all.
Breeze liner notes (from Bandcamp): I’m sure that I met Henning at Harry’s or Elevens or whatever it was called at that time. I was spending many weekends venturing to Northampton and one of his bandmates was the only person who ever gave my band any notable press. But somewhere along the way I wound up with a 5 song CD-R that laid the foundation for Henning’s next band School for he Dead.
That’s why I picked “Uncomfortable” as a catalog request; The first song on that disc made the biggest impact, and years later is still relevant. Since then, he’s made the trek to Cambridge a few times to perform, with School for the Dead, and later the Fawns, and most recently with his current band Gentle Hen.
Henning chose the Throwing Muses’ Not Too Soon as his cover song to tackle in this endeavor, casting it in a cool new light with the vocals down a few steps and things altered just enough to bring out his own voice in Tanya Donelly’s words.