Part of what makes folk music fascinating are the inflections of various genres weaved into each track. Add some insightful lyrics and it creates its own unique journey. Unlike other music genres, folk experiments a wide variety of eclectic rhythms. Currently on tour, rock and roots folk music band The Whiskey Treaty Roadshow does one better. Each band member writes and performs their own songs, voiced from their own perspectives.
Very much a collaborative band, The Whiskey Treaty Roadshow, made up of singer-songwriters and musicians Greg Smith, David Tanklefsky, Billy Keane, Tory Hanna, and banjo picker Chris Merenda all have distinctive styles, but when they collaborate, it is spot on. They have attended songwriting retreats together and collaborate on each of their compositions in various stages of completion, so everything syncs with the band’s sound the way it should.
The Whiskey Treaty Roadshow returned to Club Passim celebrating the release of their new album, ‘Band Together‘ and played for some familiar faces on June 7. With band members hailing from different parts of Massachusetts including the Berkshires and Boston, the sold out crowd was thrilled as each of its five members made their individual entrances onto Club Passim’s stage. Click here to see where The Whiskey Treaty Roadshow will appear next, here for an interview with band member, David Tanklefsky, and here for more on Club Passim.
Sam Chase from Scituate opened for the Whiskey Treaty Roadshow, and there was a brief intermission before the band took the stage. From quiet, horn-infused reflections in ‘Reasons‘ to the rolling and the ebb and flow rhythms of ‘Jimmy the Whiskey Boy,’ ‘Rock n Roll Déjà Vu,’ and ‘Perfect Day,’ to the lightning-fast, freestyle tempo of ‘Born to Pick Bluegrass’ to observations on the current state of the world with ‘Hey Lady,’ ‘Close to the Edge,’ and ‘Pass the Peace,’ The Whiskey Treaty Roadshow delivered a variety of insightful, optimistic songs as each band member took the lead to tell their story.
Telling jokes, improvising, and revealing some inspiration behind their songs, it is easy to see their breezy camaraderie as they make the most out of Club Passim’s intimate stage. Dressed casually in jeans and distinctive hats (one band member in a signed tank top), their music travels an eclectic emotional spectrum, from acoustic to electric with lyric-heavy compositions tinged in rock, reggae, roots, country, and blues. Passersby outside peaked into Club Passim’s lower level concert space as the band performed for an enthusiastic crowd.
Though The Whiskey Treaty Roadshow has an easygoing vibe, they have been hard at work having just released a new album and are currently on a national tour. They also boast a Berkshire-based, award-winning short documentary, Whiskey Treaty Roadshow: Of Brotherhood, Music, and Fine Spirits that can be found here.
After a few encores, Whiskey Treaty Roadshow’s Billy Keane playfully sung an uplifting love song, Leave Your Light On with lyrics such as “If you admit I try and damn, look how much I’ve done/And my love for you is strong, look at the lengths in which I’ve gone,” a fitting end for a band that you should leave your light on for in the future.
This memorable, fun evening marks my first time concert experience at Club Passim, 47 Palmer Street in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Convenient to the Harvard Square T stop, Club Passim features daily live concerts from promising to professional artists with some hailing from Passim School of Music. Concerts are situated with table seating with their own restaurant serving appetizers, sandwiches, and more. Click here for more about Passim and all the venue has to offer.