Without A Net Raises Money for UMASS Cancer Center

A successful and inspiring benefit concert for all involved

Pam and Arny Spielberg's recurring thank you to the cancer care specialists at the University of Massachusetts Cancer Center is Without A Net; a semi-annual event that is never the same but for the overarching premise: that no one rehearses for cancer, each experience is different and relies on the expertise, improvisational skills, and ability to listen from the health care team, and the love and trust of the clients and their loved ones.  Distributing a plan of songs to some of the best local musician in Worcester County, October 8 at Halligan's Bar in Auburn, MA was the execution of the plan and whatever the outcome, it happens live, without a net.  For me, it is a highlight of the year, seeing and playing with, and even just meeting musicians I admire sharing an experience that tests us, and raises money and support for an important cause.  The 2023 Without A Net Benefit Concert:

Featured performers: Brett Brumby, Walter Crockett, Mud Rocheleau-Demers, Lydia Fortune, Jodee Frawley, Mike Gianfriddo, Charles Ketter, Mike Ladd, Yvette Rhault and Arny Spielberg.

Backing musicians: Justin Beauregard, Joe Carcia, Erik Cohen, Rob Coltun, Steve Leclaire, Sten Gustavson, Warren Olsen, Ron Ouimette, and Bob Sarkala.

Featured work

On August 24 2019, 23 year old Elijah McClain was walking home from a store in Aurora, Colorado when he was confronted by three police officers, then paramedics - he was removed from life support several days later. Yet another instance of racial profiling, poor training and hiring practices, and egregious abuse of authority rampant in policing around our country, aimed overwhelmingly at black males. After attempted cover ups by the Aurora police department, and through powerful community pressure, a judge has recently ruled that there is sufficient evidence to bring criminal charges against the officers and paramedics. The trials are set to begin in July.  I was moved by this incident to write "Elijah" and document in music, an overarching passion this musician and by all accounts gentle, empathetic soul embraced, the outrage of yet another murder by a privileged and protected authority. Of course, since then there have been too many more such abuses.

"Singer and guitarist Mike Ladd has been a fixture on Worcester’s stages since the 1980s, playing rock bands, solo acoustic sets, and everything in between. Today, he’s a constant presence at the Irish folk seisiun at Fiddler's Green, where musicians drift in to improvise and encourage each other through long sets of Celtic music. Last Call sat down with Ladd to talk about the seisiuns and Worcester’s rock club history".

Click on the picture and read the rest of the WoMag piece by Meg Trogolo...

The Pooka/Stallion and Mare/The Mermaid

Tommy Byrnes

Tommy Byrnes-all instruments
With:
Brad Hurley- flute
Audrey Knuth- fiddle
Myra MacLeod- fiddle
Mike Ladd- vocals

The Pooka and The Mermaid were solo guitar instrumentals written in Dublin in 1983. Brad Hurley and I played an early version of The Mermaid in the band Above The Timberline in the 80s.

During a recording session with Ockham's Razor
Tommy Byrnes-all instruments
With:
Brad Hurley- flute
Audrey Knuth- fiddle
Myra MacLeod- fiddle
Mike Ladd- vocals

The Pooka and The Mermaid were solo guitar instrumentals written in Dublin in 1983. Brad Hurley and I played an early version of The Mermaid in the band Above The Timberline in the 80s.

During a recording session with Ockham's Razor in 1997, Brad and I were blessed with a wonderful thunderstorm (which can be heard prominently on the tune we were tracking), which prompted me to write Stallion and Mare almost on the spot.

This arrangement of the tunes has been kicking around for a couple of decades and I'm glad to finally get it down on tape (so to speak).
Read more…

The latest single from my friend, Tommy Byrnes has dropped to all your favorite music platforms.  This amazing opus is the song "Stallion and Mare" which I was thrilled to provide the vocals on, sandwiched between two musical pieces "The Pooka" and "The Mermaid".  I hope you'll add this one to your collection.

-Mike Ladd

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