(NORTH ADAMS, Mass.) – Trad-country-rocker Dwight Yoakam, bluegrass legends the Del McCoury Band, Indiana alt-country rockers Houndmouth, Malian singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Vieux Farka Touré, jam-band avatars Leftover Salmon, Boston-based trio the Ballroom Thieves, and acoustic roots band Cat and The Moon, and The Man in Grass, an all-star tribute to Johnny Cash, headline Freshgrass, the annual three-day bluegrass and roots music festival at MASS MoCA that takes place this year Friday-Sunday, September 18-20.
(LENOX, Mass.) – In back-to-back events, authors Darryl Pinckney and Kate Bolick will kick off Touchstones: Conversations at The Mount, a series featuring writers discussing modern cultural issues or “cultural flashpoints,” on Thursday, September 17, at 7:30pm, followed by poet Gjertrud Schnackenberg, who will deliver the annual Amy Clampitt Memorial Poetry Reading at the Mount on Friday September 18, at 5pm. Pinckney and Bolick are expected to discuss contemporary race relations and the enduring influence of James Baldwin. Pinckney is editor of “James Baldwin: Later Novels.”
(PITTSFIELD, Mass.) – American West, a dual exhibition of photography and objects, opens at the Berkshire Museum on Friday, September 25. Included are the travelling exhibition “National Geographic Greatest Photographs of the American West,” featuring stunning photography from the last 125 years, and “Go West,” organized by the Berkshire Museum, and including objects, artwork, and interactive stations pertaining to the grand adventure of the American West. The pair of exhibitions will be on view Saturday, September 26, 2015, through Sunday, January 3, 2016. The Preview Party for American West takes place Friday, September 25, from 5:30 to 7:30pm.
(HUDSON, N.Y.) – An all-star group of rock ‘n’ roll talent, including Jules Shear, Gail Ann Dorsey, Rick and Jerry Marotta, and Scott Petito, will pay tribute to the Hudson Valley’s most famous rock group ever in “Reelin’ in the Years: The Music of Steely Dan” at Club Helsinki Hudson on Saturday, September 26, at 9pm. Years ago, Donald Fagen settled down not far from Bard College, in the Bearsville section of Woodstock, and he has been a steady presence on the region’s music scene, playing a recurring role in Levon Helm’s Ramble. The “Reelin’ in the Years” tribute includes a coterie of Woodstock-area musicians, some of whom have performed with Steely Dan and Fagen, including Rick Marotta, the original drummer on many of the group’s hits. The Reelin’ in the Years band includes singer-songwriter Jules Shear, who in addition to his own cult recordings on his own and with Jules and the Polar Bears, wrote hits for Cyndi Lauper (“All Through The Night”) and The Bangles (“If She Knew What She Wants”).
(LENOX, Mass.) – Meghan Daum, one of the premiere essayists of contemporary letters, will discuss the necessity of authentic personal writing in a world that prefers sentiment over truth with author Kate Bolick, as part of Touchstones: Conversations at The Mount, on Thursday, September 24, at 7:30pm. The ostensible subjects of Daum’s essays range from her dogs, her mother, Joni Mitchell, ex-boyfriends, the decision not to have a child, the tedium of foodie culture, the definition of “romance”and Meghan’s own near death from a freak illness. Daum handles all her explorations with a dollop of self-deprecation and a keen and incisive wit, as well as dazzling writing that never draws attention to itself.
(PITTSFIELD, Mass.) – Comedian Paula Poundstone will perform at the Colonial on Saturday, September 26, at 8pm. Paula Poundstone is recognized as one of Comedy Central’s 100 greatest stand-ups of all time. Poundstone won an American Comedy Award for Best Female Stand-up Comic, and in 2010 she was one of a select group voted into the Comedy Hall of Fame.
(GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass.) –The Orchestra Now (T?N), conducted by Dr. Leon Botstein, will make its debut performance at Simon’s Rock College on Friday, September 25, at 7:30 p.m. in the Daniel Arts Center’s McConnell Theater. T?N, featuring pianist Anna Polonsky, will perform works by Beethoven, Mozart, and Haydn. This event is free and open to the public.
(SPENCERTOWN, N.Y.) – Spaces and Moments: Images by Marcia Powdermaker and B. Docktor, a photography exhibition by the winners of last year’s Spencertown Academy Arts Center juried regional art exhibition, opens on Saturday, September 26, with a reception from 4 to 6pm. The show will remain on display through October 18.