Hot Stove, Cool Music celebrates 10 years on Saturday

BMS talks with co-founder Peter Gammons on the the Boston tradition

, Staff Writer

If Hot Stove, Cool Music were a baseball team, then the ten years of All Star lineups that they have been trotting out would have won them at least a couple of titles by now. This Saturday it’s earned the beloved hometown fundraiser a chance to move up to the major leagues and on Lansdowne Street behind the Green Monster.

“We’ve progressed a long way in ten years,” says Peter Gammons, who needs no introduction. “It should be a lot of fun. The acoustics at that place are phenomenal.” That place is the House of Blues, the largest venue that the winter edition of HSCM has played (if you discount the bowels of Fenway Park), and fans can expect the same consistency that the concerts have provided over the years.

The outstanding bill includes State Radio, Tinted Windows, Kay Hanley and, of course, perennial favorites the Hot Stove All Stars, which features baseball fans / rockers Gammons, Bronson Arroyo and Theo Epstein and rockers / baseball fans like Bill Janovitz and Ken Casey.

There are also newcomers The Low Anthem, whom Gammons says he is most excited to see. “One of my intentions from the start of this was to give chances to new bands,” says Gammons. “I’ve always hoped to have one or two people come in who aren’t really from that realm of experience that the others are.”

The night will also feature the ever-present Mike O’Malley as MC, running the auctions for memorabilia and memorable prizes, which in the past have included the opportunity to watch a Red Sox – Yankees game with Gammons himself. Over the past decade, Hot Stove has raised over has $2 million for various children’s charities in New England.

One of the greatest parts of the Hot Stove concerts is that the camaraderie between the participants onstage allows them to show off a side that the crowd is not used to. The best example of this is Epstein, who trades in the front office for a Stratocaster and words like VORP and WHIP for the lyrics to “Rockin’ In the Free World”.

“He’s much more relaxed up there,” says Gammons. “He’s never been fully comfortable with being a public figure, and his brother helps him out a lot with that side of it.”

The other side of that is that the baseball connection plays well in Boston, a city with a little bit of dedication to their team. Where else could a number four starter like Arroyo come back to town to a standing ovation four years after leaving for the NL? The entire event features a Sports Roundtable during the day with Epstein and fellow GM Omar Minaya, manager Terry Francona and hometown star Carlos Pena.

Just as Gammons can’t help but wear his passion for music on his sleeve, he can’t go long in a conversation without touching upon baseball. He thinks the Sox made the right moves going after Lackey once Holliday turned them down, and he also said that Epstein’s new focus on defense should pay big dividends. As for a Gonzalez trade, he says don’t hold your breath until you can wait until June.

With Spring Training a few months away there is no better place to get your Sox fix than Hot Stove, Cool Music, one of the most enjoyable nights on the Boston music scene calendar.

Hot Stove, Cool Music is at the House of Blues Saturday night. Tickets are $40 and all proceeds benefit the Foundation To Be Named Later.

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