Grand Band Slam Winners Preview – Jamie Kent and the Options

Photo courtesy of Jamie Kent

Ballots went out. Nominations were made. And numerous votes were finally tallied. Now some of the best musicians Western Massachusetts has to offer will get their chance to shine at the Grand Band Slam concert 2010.

This yearly event, sponsored by the Valley Advocate alternative newspaper, is a day-long music lover’s dream and features performances by some of the most talented, unsigned bands in the Pioneer Valley. Acts scheduled to appear this year include Rattlebone, Aquanett, the Tinkers and many more.

As part of a special countdown to this event, we at the Underground are kicking off a weeklong series of articles detailing the stories behind 5 of this year’s Grand Band Slam winners. First up are jazz strumming newcomers Jamie Kent and the Options (pictured).

Band name – Jamie Kent and The Options

Category won – Jazz

Members – Jamie Kent (Vocals, Acoustic Guitar) Joe Boyle (Electric Guitars) Bob Laramie (Bass) Rich Adelson (Drums) Bill Holloman (B-3 Organ, Electric Piano, Sax, Trumpet, Flugelhorn, Trombone) Occasional guest: Steve Yarbro (Clarinet) Nick Borges (Trumpet) Tim Boucher (Tuba).

Q. What town(s) do you and the Options call home?A. The Options are all based out of western Mass., and primarily call the great village of Florence home.Q. What year did the band form?A. The band formed February of this year (2010)! 

Q. What is your favorite thing about being a musician in the valley? Biggest complaint?

A. The best and worst part about being a musician in the valley is the amazing music scene here. There are a ton of fantastic venues to play and even more fantastic musicians to collaborate with, and that’s just awesome. However, when there’s great music going on at 10 different places on the same night, that can occasionally be a bit frustrating when trying to get fans out to see your show!

Q. Tell us about your best and worst gigs.

A. Our best gig so far took place this past July in Syracuse NY at the Empire BrewFest. 3,000+ people and 300+ breweries; how can you beat that? Our worst gig on the other hand took place just a couple weeks ago in Hyannis MA. We played to people drunkenly requesting AC/DC covers all night, then were stiffed $50 at the end of the night. So we played on the street of Provincetown the next morning to make up for it!

Q. What can fans expect at/ from one of your shows?

A. If you come to one of our shows, expect to do a little singing with us by the end of the night…

Q. What was the last record you bought/ listened to?

A. John Mayer Live in LA and Jaco Pastorius (self titled)

Q. What other Valley band (or solo artist) do you like or look up to?

A. Martin Sexton. Vocals, guitar, songwriting; he’s got the package. It would be pretty amazing to play a show with him…

Q. What has been your biggest/ weirdest “rock ‘n’ roll moment”?

A. Recently a fan got a tattoo of a lyric from our song “Ama San”. We didn’t really realize the potential impact of our music until that point.

Q. What’s your favorite venue to play? Least favorite?

A. Any place outdoors. There’s not much better than live music on a nice day outside.  There’s also a couple cool places on the rise in Florence…

Q. Do you have any advice for other Valley artists or musicians who are just starting out?

A. Work hard and be persistent. Hard work creates more opportunities.

For more information and future tour dates please visit www.jamiekent.com or www.myspace.com/jamiekentmusic. Also, don’t miss Kent and company live on stage at Grand Band Slam 2010.

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