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BETTY AND THE BABY BOOMERS
November 12, 2016 at 8:00 pm - 11:00 pm
When Betty Boomer, Jean Valla McAvoy, Paul Rubeo, and Steve Stanne began singing together 30 years ago, the name made sense—a play on Betty’s name and the fact that all are children of the baby boom. Bassist Robert Bard fit right in demographically when he joined later on. If they’ve had second thoughts, it’s too late to change now. “Betty and the Baby Boomers” appears on the covers of the band’s four CDs, and the name is known to folk music fans from the mountains of Connemara in Ireland to the Catskills overlooking New York’s Hudson Valley, their home base.
The folk genre covers many styles. The Boomers’ take on it is suggested in a review of their second recording, Tumbling Through the Stream of Days, in the folk song magazine Sing Out! It described the group as “a refreshing reminder of the halcyon days of American folk music” and the CD as “an enthusiastic testament to the sheer joy of singing and playing music.” In addition to original songs from Jean, the Boomers draw on sources including traditional tunes, Americana roots music, contemporary artists like Greg Brown, Bruce Springsteen, and Dougie MacClean, and classic “folksingers” like Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger, and Phil Ochs.
Whatever the source, each song is “Boomerized” – set in distinctive arrangements with three and four part harmonies. The singers’ voices differ in range and color; they combine in a unique and resonant blend that is the Boomers’ signature. Their vocals are coupled to impressive instrumental work on guitars, Dobro, bass, bodhran, and kazoo, or sometimes — “Look Ma, no hands”— uncoupled in a capella selections.