Monday, July 7, 2014

Album Release Party By Local Band At The Buttonwood Tree Saturday

J-Cherry and The Strawberries to release their first album, “In the Belly Of The Beast” recorded before a live audience with Michael Arafeh of The Coffeehouse Recording Studio; on Saturday, July 12 at 8PM at The Buttonwood Tree, 605 Main Street Middletown. “In The Belly Of The Beast”, is part poetry, blues, and roots rock. A critical look at life, politics, and the world we live in. From “Lies”, to “Dirty Water”, the “Dog’s On Prozac”, and “The Illuminati”, just a few titles on this 13 track record. Here’s what critics have to say about J-Cherry and the Strawberries, “J-Cherry and the Strawberries took to the stage and played to a house that overflowed the music room and spilled out into the library. A local artist with a passion for music, lead singer J-Cherry, a.k.a. Jennifer Shafer Wood, plays her own soulful style of blues, poetry, and funk surrounded by an ethereal musical background.” David Gellar, Middletown Patch.

It all started five years ago. Jennifer Shafer Wood AKA J-Cherry was looking for a place to produce an open mic. J-Cherry was inspired by an open mic in Hartford called the “Love Jones”. “I wanted to recreate a “Love Jones” atmosphere closer to home. The open mics I attended locally were either poetry or music; there was nothing with a combination. Until I stumbled upon the “Love Jones” and I was like, WOW, this has a little bit of everything, music, poetry, comedy, rants, and hip-hop.” Cherry approached Anne-Marie Cannata, the Buttonwood Tree’s Artistic Director about producing an open mic and thus “Anything Goes Open Mic Mondays” were born. “Anything Goes Open Mic Mondays” continues to run today with a crew of hosts to keep it going weekly. J-Cherry and Tim Sparks continue to host on the first Monday of the month.

It was at open mic that J-Cherry met her husband and band mate Tim Sparks, as well as band mates, Sympetalous, poet and percussionist, and Steve Far singer/songwriter on bass and guitar. Tim Sparks, singer/songwriter on rhythm guitar, vocals and harmonica, Sparks brought in lead guitarist Rich Hatfield and the group started practicing once a week and playing gigs. We just enjoyed making music together. “We decided it was time to record an album. Some of the songs were written or inspired by our experience at the Buttonwood Tree. “On and PopPin” was inspired by being in downtown Middletown at The Buttonwood watching all the people stroll in or by on a summer evening. “The Rhythm Is In The Kiss” is a song inspired by a someone at The Buttonwood Tree who was down on their luck. Clinging to the bottle, unaware of another way to handle life. Cherry explained. This record is a colorful collaboration of poetry and music. I am thankful for places like the Buttonwood Tree that open their doors to aspiring artists and provide a platform for the budding artist to share”, recalls J-Cherry. “In all honesty this album would not have been possible without The Buttonwood Tree! It gives me great joy to officially release our record on the stage where it all started!”

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