Passim Changes its Tune
While Passim Folk Music and Cultural Center has traded on that history for decades, in these times it can’t survive on bragging rights—or even folk—alone.
The Passim Folk Music and Cultural Center in Harvard Square has spent 50 years hosting folk and acoustic acts and seeing some of those performers—Joan Baez, Tom Rush, Suzanne Vega—go on to become stars. While the club has traded on that history for decades, in these times it can’t survive on bragging rights—or even folk—alone. Acts now include country, jazz, and indie darlings like Josh Ritter and Regina Spektor; last year the club started serving wine and beer for the first time to make up for declining revenue; and this month the region’s most legendary folk venue removes the f-word from its very identity by shortening its name to “Passim” and dropping the reference to its one-time dedication to “the cultivation and preservation of folk music.” As Dylan put it: You don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.
1/11 Bruce Molsky and Darol Anger: An eclectic summit of two master fiddlers matches the traditionalist Molsky with the jazzy Anger.
1/13 Vinx: This singer-percussionist is equally at home wowing audiences with his funk as he is soothing them with his soulful R&B.
1/18 Jess Klein and Matt the Electrician: A roots-rock double bill from Austin features acclaimed chanteuse Jess Klein and songwriter Matt Sever, a former electrician who mixes pop, folk, and kitchen-sink production.
1/24 Passim All-Stars: Offering a taste of Passim history, this supergroup from Boston’s ’70s folk scene (including Guy Van Duser, Mason Daring, and Jeanie Stahl) gets together for an increasingly rare reunion.