Children’s music: Peter Menta offers “Read and Roll” Sat., July 13, at 10:30 AM

Peter Menta—also known as Wasboard Slim of Washboard Slim & The Bluelights—brings his “Read and Roll” kids’ music show to Best Video Performance Space Saturday, July 13. The event starts at 10:30 AM.

There’s a suggested donation of $5-10 per family but nobody will be turned away for lack of funds.

Musician and elementary school teacher-librarian, Peter Menta began his career as the New Haven Free Public Library’s first bookmobile librarian, serving ten of New Haven’s neediest schools. He followed that assignment by becoming children’s librarian at the Stetson Branch of the N.H.F.P.L system where he won first prize in an American Library Association contest for best story time using an African-American Children’s Book.

These days, he offers his interactive music and literature fusion: “Books That Inspire Songs-Songs That Inspire Books” to diverse audiences in schools and libraries. Mr. Menta often begins a program by reading an engaging feature story with original and traditional music. In the “Blues of Flats Brown,” for example, he has created songs for children to sing along to which help reinforce the main ideas and themes of the story: Building a better world through friendship, understanding and music. Children engage in a discussion about how to change an enemy into a friend. Children are also exposed to America’s rich heritage of blues, folk music and rock ‘n’ roll.

Mr. Menta has created songs to enhance books by authors such as Tomie DePaolo, Helen Lester and Mo Willems. He also offers a program that is strictly songs inspired by books or songs that have turned into books; such as “This Land Is Your Land” (inspired by the famous Woody Guthrie song). The program concludes with an introduction to homemade musical instruments and an on the spot creation of that uniquely “Made in America” musical ensemble: The Jug Band. Children from the audience are selected to play kazoos, a washtub bass, washboards and other homemade or “found” instruments. The program runs for 45-55 minutes. Programs are designed for ages ranging from four to ten. Mr. Menta can perform solo or with his Read and Roll Band.

Click here for the complete list of upcoming events.

Music: Washboard Slim & The Bluelights play Fri., June 14, at 7:30 PM

Washboard Slim & The Bluelights play Best Video Performance Space on Friday, June 14. The show starts at 7:30 PM and the cover is $10.

After 40 years of playing together, Washboard Slim and the Bluelights has evolved into one of the country’s most versatile and original of jug bands.

Incorporating pure Americana instruments like tub bass, washboard, jug, banjo, harmonica, and fiddle, adding drums and powerful vocal harmonies, this band rocks sold-out concerts, dance halls and family shows. Playing their own compositions as well as original arrangements of traditional gospel and blues tunes, their music is by turns playful and haunted. It’s no wonder legendary blues/folk artist, Eric Von Schmidt described Washboard Slim and the Bluelights as “traditional music on overdrive.”

The members of Washboard Slim & the Blue Lights are Peter Menta (aka Washboard Slim, drums, harmonica, kazoo, washboard, vocals), Brooks Barnett (accordion, banjo, drums, guitar, mandolin, piano, vocals), Howie Horn (banjo, jug, washtub bass, vocals), Mat Kastner (banjo, guitar, National steel guitar), Johnny Pendergast (guitar, fiddle, mandolin, vocals),and Lauren Agnelli (guitar, ukelele, kazoo, vocals).

Click here for the complete list of upcoming events.

Music: Bluegrass and blues from roots super-group Frog Hollow Fri., May 24 (UPDATE: Starts at 7:30 PM)

Frog Hollow plays Best Video Performance Space on Friday, May 24. The show starts at 8 PM starts at 7:30 PM and the cover is $10 ($5 for students).

Frog Hollow is Phil Rosenthal, Chris Wuerth, Peter Menta and Bobo Lavorgna, local bluegrass and blues musicians. They played together for the first time recently on Phil’s monthly radio show on ICRV Radio. They had such a good time, they decided to form a band, and this is their first gig. The music is classic bluegrass, rhythm and blues, and some original songs.

Phil Rosenthal was lead singer and guitarist in the seminal bluegrass band the Seldom Scene. His compositions have been recorded by Johnny Cash, Bill Monroe, Nick Cave and others. Peter Menta is the longtime leader of Washboard Slim & the Blue Lights. Bassist David “Bobo” Lavorgna has played Bass for some well known regional acts such as Jake & The family Jewels, Stormin Normin and Suzy, Blake Street Gut Band, 1917 Jazz Band, Swingin Jazz, Robert Silverman, Mike Cappezone, Tony Mason and the list goes on, and on and on. Chris Wuerth has played with the bluegrass ensembles Ragweed and the East Rock Ramblers and is well known for helming the popular GuitarTownCT concert series.

Click here for the complete list of upcoming events.