‘SIGNATURE SOUNDS 20TH ANNIVERSARY COLLECTION: RARITIES FROM THE SECOND DECADE’ OUT MARCH 3
As Signature Sounds celebrates 20 years in 2014-2015, it has been
embraced as a pillar of the Americana and folk music communities. In
2012, it opened the Parlor Room, a venue in downtown Northampton, MA.
Signature Sounds’ Jim Olsen explains, “In an age where the role of a
record label seems to be diminishing, the Parlor Room gives us a whole
different way to share music with our fans. It allows us to present
Signature artists and other artists that we admire in way that is
flattering to everyone involved.” It also gives music fans of western
Massachusetts a way to interact with the label, which was founded in
part as a showcase for the local scene before expanding to a national
Actually, Signature Sounds’ concerts pre-dated the venue. Jim says, “We
felt the need for an intimate, informal venue that would be conducive to
a listening room atmosphere. Because we're not a bar or a restaurant,
our venue is all about the music.” (The Parlor Room is 60-capacity and
BYOB.) The original plan was to produce a few shows per month but it
became apparent quickly to Jim that there was demand for a lot more than
that. He adds, “We currently produce between ten and twenty shows each
month.” It also gives the label and opportunity to engage with artists
beyond its roster. In addition to the presented shows, the Parlor
Sessions, an intermittent winter Sunday
jam session that features hot soup, invites musicians of all levels.
The Parlor Room even hosted Makers Market during the Christmas season,
extending an invitation to Pioneer Valley artisans.
On an even bigger scale, Signature Sounds took on production of the Green River Festival, which will be held July 10-12, 2015.
Last year’s festival sold out. Green River has featured Josh Ritter,
Emmylou Harris, Lucinda Williams, Mavis Staples, Arlo Guthrie, Steve
Earle, The Avett Brothers, Neko Case, Calexico, Sharon Jones & The
Dap Kings, Old Crow Medicine Show, Dr. John, Alison Krauss & Union
Station, Taj Mahal, and Gillian Welch & David Rawlings since its
founding in 1986. Coming full circle, the festival has introduced
audiences to Signature Sounds acts. In addition to great music, it also
features hot air ballooning, showcasing the Pioneer Valley’s natural
beauty. Here’s a video recap of 2014’s fest.