Claremont Insider: A Little Friday Nachtmusik

Friday, May 8, 2009

A Little Friday Nachtmusik

The local band Sugar Mountain Mama Serenade will playing tonight from 6pm to 9pm in the Laemmle Plaza as part of the City's Friday Nights Live series. SMMS's website tells us a little about the group:

Sugar Mountain Mama Serenade is a dynamic six-piece all women modern folk band based out of Claremont, California. Rooted in old time harmonies and upbeat rhythms, these women create a unique sound and style that they can truly call their own.

It all started as Sunday afternoon jam sessions in the spring of 2001, but the Mamas soon realized that their commitment and creativity was evolving into the makings of a band. Influences range from Neil Young, Willie Nelson, Grateful Dead, Gillian Welch and songs from the book Rise Up Singing. The songwriters in the band create songs that pull from many different musical genres including Folk, Country, Appalachian, Old-Time, African rhythms and Irish ballads. Live shows are unpredictable, playful and candid.

SMMS sure seems to have fun in their concerts, and they're a great college-town band. Is there any one remotely associated with the Claremont Colleges who hasn't known a Yeti?

We've heard raves about SMMS's version of the Kieran Kane song "In A Town This Size," another tune that would make a great Claremont anthem:
In a smoky bar, in the backseat of your car,
In your own little house someone's sure to find you out.
What you do and what you think,
What you eat and what you drink,
If you smoke a cigarette they'll be talkin' about your breath.

In a town this size, there's no place to hide
Everywhere you go you meet someone you know.
You can't steal a kiss in a place like this
How the rumors do fly in a town this size.

John Prine and Irish singer Delores Keane did a version of this on "In Spite of Ourselves," Prine's 1999 album of duets. This song just says, "Claremont."

Prine's written some wonderful things over the years. Some friends used the title song from that same Prine album at their wedding a few years back. Prine sang that one with Iris DeMent, who grew up not far from here in Buena Park. "In Spite of Ourselves" is song of true love if ever there were one. It's not Shakespeare's Sonnet 130, but, heck, a Prine's reach should exceed his grasp - or what's a YouTube for?

Besides SMMS, the self-described shamrockabilly band Craic Haus plays this evening in front of the Chamber of Commerce office on Yale Ave. north of 2nd St.