Hosted by Peter Chase and Still Breathin’

Hosted by Peter Chase and Still Breathin’
Sundays at Archies

By Georgetown Fats
March 2013

Blues Jam 6-10pm
Archie’s Little River Ale House (27 Lafayette Square, Haverhill MA)

Initially the hardest part of attending Archie’s Little River Ale House on Sunday nights was all due to a single series of incidents well before Archie’s Little River Ale House existed. Having earned a booking at the former establishment to inhabit Archie’s with my former band, to say the night did not go well is an understatement. The décor at the previous establishment attempted to paint an Irish Bar feel but the clientele, exposed wires from the dropped ceiling, blown out PA, lack of an adequate operating A/C unit for the hot summer August night, and a bathroom that could have only made two separate cases of food poisoning in the band worse (hey, the show must go on!) this was not an establishment I looked forward to going back into; ever.

A funny thing happened though in between the previous incarnation becoming Archie’s Little River Ale House; from all accounts Archie has invested plenty of financial and sweat equity into his Little River Ale House. The results are remarkable as Archie’s Little River Ale House has become a comfortable place to meet friends and colleagues for adult beverages on a work night waiting for some of the local bands and acts to take the stage, but with a menu and ambiance to bring your family back later for a relaxed family dinner.

After my preconceived concerns and notions drained away like a properly poured microbrew on my initial foray to Archie’s Little River Ale House Blues Jam, it was hard not to appreciate both Peter Chase and Still Breathin’ on whole. As a band Still Breathin’ is a dynamic five-piece that pepper their originals and cover song catalog with heavy use of three-part vocal harmonies recalling a lot of contemporary blues acts out there today. However, as a welcomed change of pace to contemporary blues acts, Still Breathin’ can go low down and dirty, usually with Chase’s leathery vocals and his Charlie Musselwhite-inspired harp play leading the band on the way down. Still Breathin’ normally open the jam with a quick set, and then occasionally appear together later on in order to back some of the local vocal talent like Hoban Sanford, who favors American doo-wop and R&B / soul vocal, or to back someone who may have never had the nerve to sing in public before. The inclusive feel makes for an environment for amateurs and the underage can learn from those with more musical experience and chops.

When not performing live, Chase assumes the role of emcee while guitarists Mike Blocker, Scott Weinstein, bassists Bob Langilotti and drummer Eric Pingree fill in for the other musicians as needed. No slouch with vocals himself, Blocker can provide lead vocals and blistering solos as necessary; Weinstein can also contribute vocals in addition to his own his own fretwork on either the bass or guitar; and bassist Langilotti ends up logging a lot of stage time (and more than likely cold or lukewarm food and drinks) due to his bass play. Drummer Eric Pingree also displays a musical feel beyond his chronological years as a “former metal drummer” (as described by Chase), and plays drums with the relaxed feel of a seasoned R&B drummer.

The assembled talent of Still Breathin’, and the favorable hours for the jam, tends to bring out a who’s-who in the Haverhill/Merrimack Valley musical scene. Michael Fioretti, a regular performer at Archie’s with his Michael Fioretti Band, often stops in for a set as well as Steve Pearson of the band Kind Souls getting his fix of swamp rock and blues by making regularly scheduled appearances on Sundays. Harp player Wendell Jenkins of Shakey Jake and the Blue Vibrations also has been known to make appearances, in addition to a memorable appearance by the ‘70s Rock Music Legend behind the song “Avenging Annie,” Mr. Andy Pratt.

Instead of continuing to stare at your Gibson on the wall collecting dust, or reminiscing about whether there was both the room and volume tolerance to pound away at your drum kit for hours on end, get on down to the Archie’s Little River Ale House in Haverhill Massachusetts. And as always, support local music whenever and wherever possible.

For more information on Still Breathin’ check out www.stillbreathinband.com For more information on Archie’s Little River Ale Hosue check out

www.archieslittleriveralehouse.com

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