Peter Gammons's doubleheader

Hot Stove, Cool Music, the Paradise Rock Club, January 6 and 7, 2007
By JIM SULLIVAN  |  January 10, 2007

THEO: Why do baseball guys look so serious when they play guitar?
There’s no question that a close relationship has developed between Boston’s music scene and its baseball team. And we’re not just talking Dropkick Murphys’ “Tessie.” No, last weekend, the seventh annual Hot Stove, Cool Music benefit brought players and, uh, players together for a two-night charity event at the relatively cozy Paradise Rock Club, with Red Sox GM Theo Epstein’s “A Foundation To Be Named Later” as the benefactors. (Actually, eight charities supporting under-privileged youth will share the funds.)

Sportswriter Peter Gammons and the Hot Stove All Stars were ripping through the Byrds’ “Feel a Whole Lot Better” when I arrived Saturday, and it was great to see ESPN baseball guru Gammons, who missed last summer’s Hot Stove event at Fenway after suffering an aneurysm, playing some bluesy guitar centerstage. He addressed the “How do you feel?” query with Richard Thompson’s “I Feel So Good.” Later he was joined by Buffalo Tom singer/guitarist Bill Janovitz for a raucous “Powderfinger.”

Sunday, Kay Hanley, fresh from singing “The Star Spangled Banner” for the Pats, called Gammons’s recovery “a fucking miracle.” And he was once again in the house, this time to introduce the only current Sox member on the bill, pitcher Lenny DiNardo. “In my 35 years in baseball,” Gammons gushed, “this man knows more about music than anyone I’ve ever met.” Epstein was on stage too, playing serious rhythm guitar. “You ever notice how baseball guys, when they play guitar, they’re really serious about it?” noted Janovitz backstage Saturday. Epstein smiled.

Neither of the Paradise shows quite sold out. But there were plenty of people there to see the Figgs do Talking Heads’ “Love Goes to Building on Fire” on Saturday and the Downbeat 5 bring a little garage-punk kick to the proceedings on Sunday.

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