© 2018 The Grass Roots Cultural and Performing Arts Center

jimmy vivino and friends

The return of Jimmy Vivino to The Fallout Shelter was one of the most anticipated events of the year as this time Jimmy was bringing some friends along for the Extended Play Sessions ride. Keyboard master Bruce Bears and young rising star Tyler Morris on guitar rounded out the ensemble for the evening which included Jimmy's "Blue Soul Rocker" mates Jesse Williams on bass and the superb drummer Mark Texeira. The result was an evening of superb music performed by some of the best players in the region along with the inimitable Vivino at the helm.

Vivino's knowledge of roots rock, blues and jazz catalog is endless and the accompanying stories born from decades of playing with the masters are what make an evening with Jimmy Vivino so invigorating and enjoyable. Vivino is a serious player and bandleader who keeps the focus on music as "entertainment." It's not that he avoids making any kind of social commentary or raising awareness of issues it's just that when he does, he does it with music like pulling out a cover of Eddie Harris and Les McCann's "Compared to What," recorded back in the 1970's during another era of turmoil and social unrest, adding simply, "this song is once again relevant" to the current environment we find ourselves in. You make your own judgement on what the song means. His approach isn't to tell you 'what' to think...just to 'think' in general. The evening started with a message on the Blind Willie Johnson classic 'God Don't Never Change' that rolled into the Woody Guthrie anthem 'This Train'... a gentle reminder about shrouding bigotry in a religious flag. On "Everybody Wants to Be Somebody" Jimmy's point is well taken..."everybody wants to be somebody, nobody wants to be who they are." It's an ode to being comfortable in your own space with a subtle tip of the cap to the oft-times absurdity of political correctness. The beautiful thing about Jimmy Vivino is that he's totally himself, no pretense, nothing phony, just good memories made in a life of music and the accompanying stories to tell.

Jimmy Vivino has just finished a decade long run as the Music Director and Band Leader on the late night Conan O'Brien Show. He's part of the 5 piece Fab Faux Beatles Tribute band and a long time collaborator with Levon Helm, John Sebastian and Laura Nyro. He surrounds himself with great musicians and this second time at The Fallout Shelter was no different. When he's in New England to play around bassist Jesse Williams and drummer Mark Texeira are his rhythm section and they are as tight as it gets in these parts. The yearly swing through Boston always brings out great guests that come along for the cool ride...it could be 'Monster' Mike Welch one night or Al Kooper the next and on this night, a phone call during sound check brought Hammond organ and piano ace Bruce Bears down from New Hampshire to add soul to the gumbo.  Already on the bill was young rising guitar slinger Tyler Morris who, at the tender age of 21 looked right at home next to a quartet of seasoned superstar players up to 3 times his age. Together this quintet rumbled through a 2 1/2 hour set of music that spanned the history of American rock and roll and blues that was performed with skill and appreciation for both the music and the man. Jimmy Vivino is a treasure.

JIMMY VIVINO AND FRIENDS

Jimmy Vivino - guitar, piano, vocals

Jesse Williams - bass, vocals
Bruce Bears - piano, Hammond organ
Mark Texeira- drums

Tyler Morris - guitar

 

The Session Crew

Produced and edited by:
Bill Hurley

Cameras:
Maribeth Arena

Bill Hurley
H. Nat Stevens
Joanne Craig

Audio:
Eric Nordstrom
Connor Quigley

Mixed by:
Connor Quigley

Lighting/Special Effects:
Rick Smith

Stage Production:
Gerry Earabino

Photos:
Dan Busler Photography