A highly selective preview of cultural events taking place this weekend in the greater Berkshire region, including a huge bluegrass and roots-music festival; a solo piano recital; world music; guitar rock; political cartoons; and a whole lot more.
(NORTH ADAMS, Mass.) – Rosanne Cash, Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder, Old Crow Medicine Show, Glen Hansard, the Devil Makes Three, the Infamous Stringdusters, Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver, and Aoife O’Donovan headline this weekend’s FreshGrass Festival of bluegrass and progressive roots music at MASS MoCA, on Friday-Sunday, September 16-18.
Also on the bill at the annual festival – a 2014 International Bluegrass Music Association Awards nominee for “Event of the Year” – are festival favorite Alison Brown, Frank Solivan & Dirty Kitchen, Stephane Wrembel, John Reischman and the Jaybirds, Mr. Sun, UK experimental folk group Lau, mandolin virtuoso Sierra Hull, Texas blues and roots sensation Ruthie Foster, Northampton-based alt-folk group Parsonsfield, and Mexican bluegrasser Rana Santacruz, as well as 2015 FreshGrass Award winners Old Salt Union, Zoe & Cloyd, and Mile Twelve.
(NEW MARLBOROUGH, Mass.) – Renowned concert pianist Simone Dinnerstein will perform a solo recital of works by Franz Schubert and Philip Glass in the Music & More Series at the Historic Meeting House on Saturday, September 17, at 4:30pm.
Simone Dinnerstein is a critically lauded pianist whose thoughtful and compelling interpretations have captivated audiences all over the world. The Independent praises the “majestic originality of her vision” and NPR reports, “She compels the listener to follow her on a journey of discovery filled with unscheduled detours . . . She’s actively listening to every note she plays and the result is a wonderfully expressive interpretation.”
(STOCKBRIDGE, Mass.) – In “Presidents, Politics, and the Pen: The Influential Art of Thomas Nast,” opening Saturday, September 10, with a program at 5:30, Norman Rockwell Museum takes a look back at the 19th century to examine the impact that one of the nation’s greatest image-makers had over its politics. The exhibition will remain on view through Sunday, December 4.
Award-winning political cartoonist and historian Steven Brodner will provide a lively look at Nast’s career, as part of the opening festivities on Saturday, September 10, at 6:30pm. Admission to the event is $20, or free for museum members. The show’s curators will offer special gallery tours of the exhibition on Wednesdays, September 14, October 26, and November 16, at 3pm.
(PITTSFIELD, Mass.) – Works by Melissa Matsuki Lillie are on display in the BerkshireNow gallery space at Berkshire Museum now through Sunday, November 20, 2016. According to the exhibition notes, “Lillie is an artist whose work references natural forms using a personal visual language of vibrant colors and complex layers to reflect on the macroscopic and microscopic world. Her paintings and collages evoke a sense of space that has been flattened and layered, revealing strands and structures of line and color interacting fluidly with hidden landscapes. In addition to painting she frequently works sculpturally, creating forms that celebrate both line and color.”
(HUDSON, N.Y.) – Singer-songwriter Vieux Farka Touré will bring his signature blend of Malian blues and world-music fusion to Club Helsinki Hudson on Friday, September 16, at 9pm. On his own and with collaborators from all over the world, Vieux Farka Touré has forged a distinctive musical blend, drawing on the music of his native Mali, and particularly that of his father, the late legendary Malian guitar player Ali Farka Touré, with rock, Latin music, and other sounds from around the world. In particular, his music explores the tonalities of West African music that is echoed in American blues.
(HUDSON, N.Y.) – Minimalist-metal duo Bell Witch, black-metal duo Wolves in the Throne Room, indie-folk rocker Angel Olsen, and Texas post-rockers Explosions in the Sky headline this year’s Basilica SoundScape festival, at Basilica Hudson on Friday, September 16 through Sunday, September 18. Artists featured include Cal Lane, Heather Benjamin, and Lisa Laratta. Spoken-word performers, reading from the rafters, will include Genesis Breyer P-Orridge and Amber Tamblyn.
Performances take place beginning at 6pm on Friday and 5pm on Saturday. On Sunday, the doors open to Basilica for free for a brunch prepared by Nicole LoBue of Alimentary Kitchen accompanied by a Mini Basilica Farm & Flea.