James Montgomery takes the stage

James montgomery

By Michael Busack

Summer is officially in full swing. We’ve just (barely) survived our first heat wave, all the fireworks have fizzled out, and our pools are open for business 24/7.

At South Shore Conservatory (SSC), this time of year is a flurry of world-class performances at locations across the South Shore. I was astounded to realize that this summer, SSC is presenting a whopping 108 performances from Memorial Day through Labor Day, including Evenings Under the Stars (EUS), Wacky Wednesdays, and student camp performances at the Jane Carr Amphitheater at our Hingham campus. This opportunity to participate in so much music and joy is exactly what drew me to SSC two years ago!

In July, I spend each Saturday night at the Jane Carr Amphitheater, enjoying a refreshing beverage and Evenings Under the Stars, our series of eclectic, world-class concerts in a picturesque venue, under the bright summer stars.  I really love this year’s lineup of EUS performances, but the one I’m most personally excited for is our final concert – James Montgomery Blues Band.  This was my suggestion.

Montgomery, a Boston blues legend, has been a fixture on the New England music scene since his rise in the 1970s. Over the years I’ve had the opportunity to see Montgomery perform a few different times at venues across the state, and his talent never disappoints. Audience members are always in for a fantastic show.

I first saw Mr. Montgomery when I was a young journalist covering the Boston Music Awards in the fall of 2005. He and his blues band was performing with another music legend, Weepin’ Willie Robinson, who tragically died two years later in a fire. The event included a group of notable performances, among them local legends the Dropkick Murphys, and Grace Potter and the Nocturnals. However, it was James Montgomery’s command of the crowd with his knockout harmonica playing that really caught my attention. Montgomery had boundless energy, crisscrossing the stage, and interacting with what felt like every audience member.

As SSC Director of Performance Beth MacLeod Largent and I discussed the EUS summer 2018 lineup, and how we hoped it would be a nice mix of up-and-coming artists and regional heavyweights, as well as a journey through musical genres, James Montgomery immediately came to mind. With nearly 50 years on the scene, six albums, and thousands of sold-out shows, Montgomery has set the standard for Boston blues. Beth agreed he’d be a stellar addition to a robust season.

I’m excited to experience Montgomery and his band’s incredible talent again in such a meaningful venue. I feel the same tingles I did almost 15 years ago as a 21-year-old kid.  I’ve put my tickets in my pocket and my lawn chair in my trunk, and hope you do the same.   You’ll be glad you did!

South Shore Conservatory’s Evenings Under the Stars concert series presents James Montgomery Blues Band on Saturday, July 28, 7 pm in the Jane Carr Amphitheater at One Conservatory Drive in Hingham.  The concert is sponsored by Dorothy Palmer.  Sip!@Summer Spotlight receptions provide entertainment and creative light bites, as well as beverages from Barrelhouse Z prior to the performance. For tickets to the concert and the reception, and for more information, visit sscmusic.org/EUS/.

Michael Busack is South Shore Conservatory’s Senior Director of External Relations.

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