NORTH ADAMS, MA Alt-country band Gloria Deluxe will perform on Monday, Sept. 3, in the Church Street Center at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA), at 1 p.m.
The concert, which is free and open to the public, will be presented in conjunction with a lecture by Karen Shepard, author of Dont I Know You? The novel a murder mystery is this years summer reading project for first year students at MCLA.
For the past three years, MCLA has programmed music to complement and coincide with the summer reading selection, said Jonathan Secor, director of special programs. In past years, Emeline Michel, the queen of Haitian salsa, shared the stage with Tracy Kidder, author of Mountain Beyond Mountains, about Dr. Paul Farmers work in Haiti. And, the Ethos Percussion Quartet, playing music on found objects, joined Elizabeth Royte, who discussed her book, Garbage Land: On the Secret Trail of Trash.
This year, we chose Gloria Deluxe because you never know what character or persona band leader Cynthia Hopkins will take on, Secor said. In Karen Shepards book, Dont I Know You? people and things are never as they appear. So it is with Cynthias music.
Gloria Deluxe includes Hopkins on accordion, guitar, and saw; Kristin Mueller on drums; Josh Stark on upright bass; Philippa Thompson on violin, washboard and spoons; and Karen Waltuch on viola. Cynthia Hopkins is a Billie Holiday-influenced vocalist with a penchant for Leonard Cohen-style French cabaret an introspective, Cowboy Junkies-like country rock, wrote Seth Rogovoy, in the Berkshire Eagle.
The Village Voice said Hopkins haunting, Suzanne Vega-ish voice would steal any show, and The Washington Post described Hopkins as part alt-country, part Lou Reed, part Patti Smith, part performance artist. According to the Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star, Gloria Deluxe is unstoppable as a locomotive.
Since Hopkins formed the band in the spring of 1999, Gloria Deluxe has played at venues including the Bowery Ballroom, the 2001 Celebrate Brooklyn! Festival, Petes Candy Store, Tonic, Fez under Time Café, and Joes Pub at the Public Theater.
In addition to their self-titled first album, the band recorded Five Songs, released in March 2000, a second full-length album title, Hooker, released in October 2000, and Alas Alack, released in October
In January 2005, Gloria Deluxe released a recording of songs from the operetta, Accidental Nostalgia, about the pros and cons of amnesia. In the bands first performance outside of New York City, they opened for Patti Smith at Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (Mass MoCA), in one of the museums outdoor theaters.
Hopkins has worked on many projects with director/filmmaker DJ Mendel, including playing the lead role in a film called Planet Earth: Dreams, for which she also provided the music. In addition, she composed music for Mr. Mendels film Make Pretend, which first was shown in August 2001. Mendel has made music videos for many Gloria Deluxe songs. Previous to forming the band, Hopkins performed her songs solo in venues and the subway system in New York City.
For more information, go to www.mcla.edu.