Five singer-songwriters in perfect tune

NORTH ADAMS — The concept of five singer-songwriters in one band might seem to create some room for dissonance. Or at least some degree of disagreement..

But the five members of the Whiskey Treaty Roadshow belie that emphatically.

"I think we all come at it from a little different angle," said Billy Keane, one of the members of the group. "And that seems to work out pretty well."

The Whiskey Treaty Roadshow will be playing Friday night at Mass MoCA. The show, sandwiched between the band's gigs in New York City on Thursday and Cambridge on Saturday, begins at 8 p.m.

The band is composed of Keane, Tory Hanna, Greg Smith, Chris Meranda and David Tanklefsky. All but Tanklefsky are from Western Massachusetts.

All built up sterling reputations as strong individual performers in their own right, performing throughout the East Coast. They eventually coalesced into a band about 2 years ago, according to Keane.

The band is, in a sense, an offshoot of the wildly popular Whiskey Treaty Music Festival, an annual event in Greenfield. The festival draws bands and fans from throughout the Northeast region. The five members of the band had all played the venue and a few years ago, opted to perform as a group there.

Keane, who grew up in Pittsfield, recalled that he had a fairly eclectic taste in music as a young man.

"Well, it's kind of boring, but my principal influences were Bob Dylan and Led Zepplein," he said. "My taste was diverse. I think the first two albums I bought were Cat Stevens' 'Greatest Hits' and the Def tones' 'White Pony'.

"It's part of a journey," said Keane. "In my opinion, the biggest hurdle for a musician to get over is to figure out his voice."

Keane found his, and his bandmates found theirs. Friday's show, he said, will be about 99 percent original material. And all five members of the band will contribute songs. Keane describes the music itself as Americana folk-rock, although "we don't play too many mellow folk songs. we move the show along," he said.

And since Friday is St. Patrick's Day, said Keane, he suggested the audience shouldn't be terribly surprised if his band doesn't break out an Irish jig or two.

"Just observance of the day," he said.

Reach staff writer Derek Gentile at 413-496-6251


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