STEPPING OUT Jason Spooner, Marie Moreshead, Patrick Thomas, and Margaret Glaspy (clockwise from top left).
On Saturday, four singer/songwriters will perform "in the round" at the North Star. Nothing necessarily unusual about that. Except that it will mark the beginning of the Red Curtain Series, a monthly event curated by Jay Jasch that will pair local talent with performers from away (as we say).
Not that the idea is so new and outlandish. Locals open for touring acts (and vice versa) just about every day of the week in this town. But, "I treat [putting on a show] more as an artist creating paintings, or something," says Jasch. "I enjoy scouting the talent, assembling the show, and getting to know the artists and who will gel with whom. You know, who might not do well with the extroverts. I feel like a chemist, putting these people together that might not otherwise come together."
And Jasch has done this before, having put on similar shows in the Hartford, Connecticut, area in the late '90s through 2003 or so. Jason Spooner, who plays the inaugural Red Curtain — alongside fellow local Marie Moreshead, Bostonian Margaret Glaspy, and New Yorker Patrick Thomas (who sort of looks like the bad guy from Heroes) — says, "it always amazes me to see his list of artists," which, it's true, does include people like Regina Spektor, Amos Lee, Stephen Kellogg, early in their careers.
After a few years on the sidelines, why get back into it? Certainly not to get rich. He called his shows in Hartford "more of a learning experience than an earning experience," but Jasch is the kind of music fan who gets a rush out of introducing people to artists in a music industry climate where musicians with a little business savvy clearly have a leg up. "You're seeing a lot less risk-taking with pure talent," he says. "Venues are just playing it safe and looking at numbers: 'How many hits on the MySpace page? Okay, you've reached this quota so we'll book you because you have the chance to fill the room.' And that's perfectly normal if that's their bread and butter, but I'm in a different position, so I can approach it backward, and the artists in some ways are surprised when they realize I'm hand-selecting them."
For more information, see www.redcurtainmusicseries.com.