Five O’Clock World | A Time for Thom

Musical Benefit for Musician Thom Enright

Copyright © 2012 SYDNEY SCHUSTER – All Rights Reserved

On March 25, 2012, there was an all-day benefit at The Met in Pawtucket for musician Thom Enright, who died of cancer in February. The event was called A Time for Thom and featured an all-star buffet of musical acts.

There haven’t been any reviews of this extravaganza in the media (not any that I’ve found, anyway). WTF? So I’ll do it.

First off, let me just say this: Thom was my friend, and my hope was that this show would be one he’d enjoy, too. It was. In fact, it was epic. Feeling bad never felt so good.

I’d never been to The Met before, and I’d be lying if I told you the acoustics are great. In fact, they’re pretty much what you’d expect for a warehouse space, which is exactly what this place is. You probably don’t want to hear the Boston Philharmonic here, but for this event it was fine. The club has a comfortable, airy feel (plus two bars, to help make up for the lack of insulation). The structure imbued the music with a fun raucousness reminiscent of parties in your high school gym. Like I said, not altogether unpleasant.

Amazingly, the event’s organizers (bassist Marty Ballou, keyboardist Dick Reed, and saxophonist Klem Klimek, all friends of Enright’s) threw everything together in record time. Was it Woodstock? Nah. For one thing, there was less mud and better bathrooms. But it was one helluva show and a testament to the trio’s resourcefulness that they pulled it off at all. It was also a measure of the community’s esteem for Enright, guitarist/singer/songwriter extraordinaire. Hundreds of people overcame their loathing of Pawtucket to gather together, share memories, hear some kickass music, and help pay for Thom’s medical bills.

I got there earlyish and was rewarded with performances by musicians I’d heard about for years but never had the pleasure of seeing in person: Music Hall of Famer Ken Lyon, the Super Chief Trio, and Rizzz. All were more than worth the cover.

Program-wise, it would’ve been nice if more women had joined. But what there was (as Spencer Tracy would say) was choice. Trombonist/vocalist Pamela Murray spiced up Super Chief Trio. Singer/songwriter Karen Cappelli Chadwick (you may remember her from Forrest McDonald’s band Sundance) helped round out impromptu combos.

One of the most touching numbers was the James Taylor song “You Can Close Your Eyes,” sung by Karen Cappelli and Klem Klimek, who were backed up by hosts Reed and Ballou, and Keith Munslow of Super Chief Trio. I don’t recall Enright ever performing it, but it always makes me bawl like a toddler in coach, and I thought it especially apt for the occasion.

I had to leave before The Young Adults (three of them, anyway), Chris Vachon (of Roomful of Blues), and Duke Robillard played. Sorry, dudes. But what I saw of the show was bangin’. The roster also included James Montgomery, Chris Turner, Dennis McCarthy, and John Cafferty.

All the performers were asked to play songs Enright wrote or covered. I saw many of Thom’s shows, and he would’ve been surprised by some of their choices. Compliance was — well, let’s just call it casual.

Many musicians who took the stage did tell stories about Enright, and Super Chief Trio totally nailed the assignment. They performed with Thom often in recent history, which may be why keyboardist/vocalist Keith Munslow could imitate his goofy vocal lope to perfection. It was magical to hear Thom’s voice again, and for a little while he was in the room once more. I half expected him to leap onto the stage and rip into a tune. Yes, I did see some damp cheeks. You know who you are.

The Met overflowed with Enright’s fans and friends — some just jazzed to be there, some completely discombobulated by his untimely passing, and some a combination thereof. And let me tell you, it was SRO — at three in the afternoon!

To be honest, part of the reason for all the standing was a lack of seating. And apparently some guests were so distraught, they needed the available chairs to park their coats. (Note to The Met: You really need a coat check. And more chairs. Just sayin’.)

I’m not gonna review performances I didn’t see. You can now watch a bunch of them and judge for yourself. Just go over to YouTube and search your band’s name, “Time for Thom,” and/or “Thom Enright.” Sort by upload date.

They advertised seven hours of performance, and they weren’t kidding. Thommy would’ve liked it. It was one beautiful, hot mess.

Karen Cappelli Chadwick and Klem Klimek perform at “A Time for Thom”

Buy Thom Enright’s music here:

Text Copyright © 2012 SYDNEY SCHUSTER – All Rights Reserved
Video Copyright © 2012, 2013 RAY CAPPELLI — used with permission

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