Hot Stove Cool Music

Chalkey Horenstein
Spare Change News

In order to promote the 13th annual Hot Stove Cool Music charity concert on January 14th, renowned baseball journalist Peter Gammons and musicians Robin Lane and Bill Janovitz prepared a promotional get-together, which featured a performance from “Songbird Sings,” a program within The Home For Little Wanderer’s Young Adult Resource Network (YARN).

“We figure it will be a lot of fun. It always is,” said Gammons. “I think we have a lot of people who come back every year.”

This year, Hot Stove Cool Music features music legends such as Boston-native Susan Tedeschi, The Remains, and Grammy award-winning guitarist Derek Trucks. In addition, the Hot Stove All-Stars makes its annual return, comprised of Gammons, Janovitz, Lane, indie rocker Kay Hanley, and J. Giels Band’s Seth Justman. In addition, Mike O’Malley, the Glee star known to fans as Burt Hummel, will emcee the event.

“We raised quite a bit of money for it. We raise a silent auction and a regular auction. And Mike O’Malley is great at getting people to spend more money. He always jokes, ‘If you don’t bid more, then you don’t like kids!’”

Since being founded in 2000, proceeds of the Hot Stove Cool Music concert have gone towards Theo and Paul Epstein’s Foundation To Be Named Later, as well as the Jimmy Fund. In addition, proceeds benefit causes such as the Foundation’s Peter Gammons College Scholarship Fund, and non-profits such as Being Educated Leaders for Life, Citizen Schools, City Year Boston, The Home for Little Wanderers, Horizons for Homeless Children, Roxbury Youthworks, Steps to Success and the West End House Boys & Girls club.

“The foundation to be named later has, I’m proud to share, now given out about $5 million in grants and kind donations to Home For Little Wanderers and other deserving organizations around Boston, and I’m proud of that,” said Paul Epstein during the promo. “We’ve also sent over 3,000 children to games – Boston Red Sox games, Celtics games, and others. It’s been really fun to do that.”

After Paul Epstein and Gammons talked briefly about the event to come, Lane introduced Songbird Sings and discussed their relationship with YARN and Home for Little Wanderers, and then the group performed one original song.

“Songbird sings is my non-profit. I started it a little over a year ago, but for ten years now I’ve been working with problem survivors getting them to tell their stories through song,” said Lane. “It’s very cathartic, and it helps them find the key to their own healing through telling their story – there’s something about music that’s very regenerative.”

The children and teenagers involved in Songbird sings all contribute some lyrics to the songs, and Lane puts them together in a final draft of a song. Some kids choose to sing with the recording, while others solely write – but all of those involved leave with a CD collection of the songs written by the program.

“I think it’s great. You take your own life story and you put it in your own words, and make a song out of it,” said one teen, Norberto Nazario. “The song we just performed we all worked on. We all put in sentences and phrases.”

“It’s great because you can let your emotions and struggles out, and express yourself at the same time. And not to mention, she [Lane] is a great singer herself.” added Vionka Hall-pina.

For those interested in attending Hot Stove Cool Music, tickets are $40 and are available at, or by calling MusicToday at 1-800-594-8499. Doors open at 6:00 p.m. A limited number of VIP tickets are also available, which include Harpoon beer and Roundhill wine, meals from Restaurant Dante and MET Back Bay, and an artist meet & greet.

CHALKEY HORENSTEIN is a Spare Change News writer and editor.

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