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News :: War and Militarism
Benefit Concert for Veterans for Peace & the Democracy Center
26 Jan 2008
BOSTON-AREA MUSICIANS FOR PEACE - a coalition of artists and activists who donate their talents and time to raise public awareness and funds for local peace groups, invites the community to honor members of VETERANS FOR PEACE, Smedley D. Butler Brigade – & and THE DEMOCRACY CENTER - for the work they do promoting peace in the world.

A benefit concert featuring Chuck Williams, Beth DeSombre, the Lenny Solomon Band and Michael Troy will be given Saturday, February 9, 2008 (doors 7:30pm, concert 8:00pm) at The Democracy Center, 45 Mt. Auburn St. (Harvard Square), Cambridge, MA. Directions:

Admission is by donation, sliding scale, $5-15 suggested, with nobody turned away.

Donations of pot luck dishes and beverages (no alcohol) to share are welcome.

All artists performing have songs and/or videos featured in Neil Young’s Living With War, Songs Of the Times website. Listen and view at
Click on image for a larger version

BAM4P Concert for Peace-Neil version v.5.jpg
Benefit Concert for Veterans for Peace & the Democracy Center

We, having dutifully served our nation, do hereby affirm our greater responsibility to serve the cause of world peace.
• To this end we will work, with others toward increasing public awareness of the costs of war;
• To restrain our government from intervening, overtly and covertly, in the internal affairs of other nations;
• To end the arms race and to reduce and eventually eliminate nuclear weapons;
• To seek justice for veterans and victims of war;
• To abolish war as an instrument of national policy;
• To achieve these goals, members of Veterans For Peace pledge to use non-violent means and to maintain an organization that is both democratic and open with the understanding that all members are trusted to act in the best interests of the group for the larger purpose of world peace.


Since its founding in 2001, the Democracy Center has gone through many changes. Originally cared for by Boston Mobilization, along with Papercut Zine Library, the Democracy Center has recently bloomed into its own organization, now growing into the vibrant activist center it was always meant to be. Since February of this year our new staff and dedicated volunteers have been working very hard to increase availability, enhance user-friendliness, and make needed physical changes so that all members of our community can enjoy this wonderful space. Much more work is still needed and we will continue to listen to our constituency to make the Center a nexus for Boston’s activist community. In addition to providing space for events, movie showings, meetings, workshops, and classes, we are taking the first steps to develop our student-community organizing initiative. Our work lies in providing both student and community groups with the necessary information, training, and tools to work together in order to achieve our common goals for justice and peace.

The Democracy Center is a community center that aims to create an institutional base for the local activist community in the Cambridge and Greater Boston areas. Located in the heart of Harvard Square, the Center has a unique mandate to support nearby student activists with the continuity, guidance, and community linkages that are so often lacking in campus organizing. We believe that student activists are an underutilized resource for local community efforts. At the same time we know that students may need a hand to establish healthy and sustainable relationships with community groups and work in solidarity with them. Currently over 100 organizations utilize the Democracy Center to host their events and meet up with other community groups.


Name www
Beth DeSombre
Chuck Williams
Lenny Solomon
Michael Troy

Chuck Williams

Chuck Williams music is of love gained, love lost, growing up and moving on. He can take you on a journey that makes you think, smile and at times want to cry. The lyrics and melodies within the songs are of a musical journey reflecting emotions of everyday life.

The Ohio-born, Massachusetts resident has steadily been gaining notice throughout New England songwriting circles, and has earned several awards for his finely tuned craft. "Employing a voice that resembles Neil Young's with the edges rounded-off, Williams is far more than simply a folk singer. His singer-songwriter style is circuitously culled from various influences, though he does not rely too heavily on any one technique. On some tracks of his latest CD 'Smart Too Late, Old Too Soon', Williams and his studio compatriots form tightly knit harmonies reminiscent of Peter Paul & Mary. And yet on others, the vocal and backing arrangements resemble a Blood-On-The-Tracks-era Dylan. That aside, Chuck Williams is by no means a retro-act. The recordings are fresh sounding and uniquely his own". Providence's Motif Magizine nominated Chuck Best Folk Act, Best Singer/Songwriter and Best CD for 'Smart Too Late, old Too Soon' in 2007.

Beth DeSombre

Beth DeSombre, political science, first began songwriting in high school, winning a contest for her music. She later chose to attend Harvard University, in large part for the Boston folk music scene. During her studies there she stopped writing and performing music. Graduate school required too much focus, and she wasn't sure she was good enough to make serious inroads as a singer-songwriter. More than a decade later, the first song she wrote, "Sarah's Song," dealt with the importance of music.

"The song refers to navigating 'the crooked highways of this world below' as contrasted to a focus on some heavenly reward, so I also see it as representing the fact that my songs often tell stories of different types of people just trying to get by in the world," DeSombre said.

As she began to perform again, she quickly ended up with opportunities to play in front of big folk festival audiences. People began asking whether she had a CD. When I realized I'd written more than enough songs to make a CD, I started figuring out how to make that happen," she said.

DeSombre released her debut CD Crooked Highways at her release concert and party Monday, Dec. 10, 2007 at Punch's Alley. "I'm holding it on campus because it's my home base -- I perform at the pub once or twice a semester every semester -- and I thought it would be nice to do it where it would be easy for the campus community to attend," DeSombre said.

DeSombre plays around Boston and occasionally out of state, has made special guest appearances at major folk festivals and has won honorable mentions in national and international songwriting contests.

Lenny Solomon Band

Long ago and far away, Lenny Solomon broke into show business as a solo folk singer. Recognized for his unique approach to songwriting and his outstanding collection of hats, he played in many of the Boston/Cambridge venues such as the Turk's Head, Brandy's, the Rusty Nail, the Club Casablanca, and the Catacombs. At Passim he shared the stage with Carolyn Hester, Larry McNeely, and Carol Hall, among others. A fixture at the now defunct Idler Coffeehouse, he played there regularly on Friday nights for over eight years.
He hummed and strummed with Chris Smither at the Back Street Coffeehouse at Boston University and shared the stage with Bonnie Raitt at another BU concert. He entertained at Six Steps Down at Simmons College and was a participant in a benefit concert for Nicaragua held in MIT's Kresge Auditorium. He shared a bill with Spider John Koerner at a concert held in Christ Church, Cambridge, and performed on several radio and TV shows (Spider's Web, WGBH and channel 5). Since Lenny doesn't listen to music, he has no musical influences. His favorite color is transparent.
Dennis Gurgul grew up in a musical family in lovely, cosmopolitan New Jersey. His father, also a drummer, was in a band that had two accordions. His sister is a noted cabaret singer. Dennis, too, began his musical career as a folk singer in Berkeley, CA. Eventually, he became honest enough with himself to admit that he couldn't grasp the complicated rhythmic skills needed for blues guitar and gave up everything for a long, long time.
Dennis first rejected playing drums as corny, but one day in the late 70's, while attending a silent Yoga retreat, he snuck away during an afternoon lecture, drove to Rhode Island, and bought himself a real trap kit from a pawn shop and has been drumming ever since. He took lessons from Gene Roma on the South Shore for about a year and then joined several rock bands ("The Seals", "Urban Eyes", "Septic Shock", and "Hogs On Ice") playing a mix of cover and original songs, British invasion to blues. In the Boston area he played shows in a variety of places including Uncle Sam's (Hull, MA), The Channel (Boston), and Jack's (Cambridge).
He then played with swing bands for several years and played twice at the Hatch Shell on the Esplanade (Boston). One day when he realized he couldn't stand Maynard Ferguson, he quit and joined a Zydeco band for a couple of years. Beside performing with Solomon, he also is involved with a jazz flute player/poet doing occasional projects and coffee-house/poetry-reading type gigs. He also does occasional gigs with a piano trio led by Bud Albrecht of Charlotte, NC.
Dennis' primary musical influences are Brahms' "Variations On A Theme by Hayden", the Beatles, his sister, and, of course, Lenny. His favorite color is yellow.
Bill Gibbs spent his formative years as an overly intellectual, anti-social only child of the South Shore. His mother, blessed with artistic talent and an appreciation of music, had amassed an enviable record collection which occupied Bill until his teens. Unlike Dennis, Bill's first instrument that displayed his lack of musical aptitude was the drums. Upon facing this sobering reality, he immediately turned to the guitar and, by age 14, was trying the patience of music store owners everywhere.
Bill's musical experiences have ranged from bass in a metal band, to guitar- based jazz combos, to a few years gigging with the popular South Shore band "The Accelerators." Bill's musical influences range from Holst's "The Planets," to Billie Holliday, to ZZTop, to the man of the hour, Lenny Solomon. His favorite color is tobacco sunburst.
Don Barry was born in the small Massachusetts hamlet of Cambridge. While just a lad he was forced emigrate from Cambridge after being label a terrorist threat when it was discovered that one of his close relatives was a Republican. By then, a teenager, alone and depressed, he took to playing electric and acoustic bass in order to earn a meager living as a street urchin. In the process, however, he learned where practically all of the notes on the bass were located and now can even play most of them from memory.
During his rise to the top of the musical ladder, he learned to fiddle around on various guitars, mixing consoles, and computers. Starting out playing in various rock and roll bands too infamous to mention here, he eventually spent a number of years gigging with various blues and jazz bands, the majority of which still owe him money. His favorite clubs to work were the Speakeasy in Central Square and the Belle Star in Buffalo.
For the past few years he has been providing bass, vocals, and guitar work, for the band called "Just For Fun" while enjoying the nightclub life south of Boston. Coming full circle he now earns a meager living as a street urchin bass player for Solomon. Don’s influences range from here to there and his favorite color is off.
Lenny Solomon and the Solomon Band have been playing together (more or less) since March 1998 and has performed in the Boston area at venues such as the Middle East, TT the Bear's Place, the Kirkland Cafe, the Kendall Café, the Natick Center for the Arts ,Harvard University,Tufts University, several town-sponsored outdoor concerts, and at private parties. Their CDs have been aired on over 120 radio stations around the country and around the world.

Michael Troy

Michael Troy was born and raised in the rough-and-tumble mill town of Fall River, Mass. In many ways, his life reflects the lives of the hard-working common folk who populate this part of New England. Having spent parts of his own life as a mill worker, fisherman, laborer and carpenter, and most of his adult years as a husband and father, Michael has traveled many paths, and the experience and wisdom he's gleaned along the way echoes through his music.
A magical storyteller with a gift for melody, a deep rich voice, excellent finger-pickin' skills and the ability to compose outstanding stanzas of substance, Michael's plaintive ballads speak of the hills and mills of Fall River and of childhood dreams not quite forgotten in the adult quest to make an honest living. But Michael is honest when he says he's playing for himself, for the sheer joy of creating music to call his own. "I have no plan," he says. "I'm not trying to write in any style or sound like someone else. I write from gut feeling. I let the emotion drive the music, not the music drive the emotions."
In 1998, as Michael puts it, he moved "from the road of least resistance, to the road one chooses". The CD he released that year, Whispers in the Wind, is like a vivid, painted picture - the artist's conception of a life experience, illustrated solely by the tools of voice and guitar. There's no fancy production here, no drums, keyboards, sidemen, not even liner notes - just the simple, eloquent, touching words and melodies of a humble, quiet man from a town that has seen its share of historic ups and downs.
Michael’s second CD, Romancing the Moon, continues to celebrate the beauty and intrinsic value of hard work and perseverance, memory and history, love and friendship, and above all, survival.
Michael has won many awards for his music, including most recently the Boston Folk Festival Songwriter’s Contest and the Founders Title Folk and Bluegrass Festival Songwriter's Contest in 2004, the South Florida Folk Festival Songwriter's Contest in 2005, and Michael was the winner of the 2006 Wildflower Folk Festival Songwriter's Contest.
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