Sounds Local: When feeling bad sounds good: Celebrate heartbreak this Valentines Day with new EP by Selah haleS

“Welcome To My Haunted Heart” is the new EP from Selah haleS, a side project of Frost Heaves and HaLeS, the indie rock band which is led by  Daniel Hales of Greenfield. The official EP release show will be “The Haunted Valentine’s Day Hangover Party,” held on Saturday, Feb. 17, at 9:30 p.m. at the Rendezvous in Turners Falls. This show will be a Frost Heaves and HaLeS show, with singer-songwriter Chris Goodreau of Greenfield opening.

“Welcome To My Haunted Heart” is the new EP from Selah haleS, a side project of Frost Heaves and HaLeS, the indie rock band which is led by Daniel Hales of Greenfield. The official EP release show will be “The Haunted Valentine’s Day Hangover Party,” held on Saturday, Feb. 17, at 9:30 p.m. at the Rendezvous in Turners Falls. This show will be a Frost Heaves and HaLeS show, with singer-songwriter Chris Goodreau of Greenfield opening. CONTRIBUTED

Songwriter/vocalist/multi-instrumentalist Daniel Hales, who just released the seven-song EP “Welcome To My Haunted Heart,” which clocks in at under 15 minutes. It is a quiet, melancholic work about heartbreak.

Songwriter/vocalist/multi-instrumentalist Daniel Hales, who just released the seven-song EP “Welcome To My Haunted Heart,” which clocks in at under 15 minutes. It is a quiet, melancholic work about heartbreak. CONTRIBUTED

The Zydeco Connection and The Bourbon Street Blasters will once again be back at Hawks & Reed Performing Arts Center in Greenfield on Saturday, Feb. 10 at 7 p.m for what’s become their annual Mardi Gras party.

The Zydeco Connection and The Bourbon Street Blasters will once again be back at Hawks & Reed Performing Arts Center in Greenfield on Saturday, Feb. 10 at 7 p.m for what’s become their annual Mardi Gras party. CONTRIBUTED

Michael Franti and Spearhead’s Togetherness Tour with special guests Stephen Marley and Bombargo will play the summer stage at Tree House Brewing Company in South Deerfield on June 19. Tickets go on sale Friday, Feb. 9, at 10 a.m.

Michael Franti and Spearhead’s Togetherness Tour with special guests Stephen Marley and Bombargo will play the summer stage at Tree House Brewing Company in South Deerfield on June 19. Tickets go on sale Friday, Feb. 9, at 10 a.m. CONTRIBUTED

By SHERYL HUNTER

For the Recorder

Published: 02-07-2024 4:01 PM

Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, and if there is ever a polarizing holiday, it’s this one. For the romantics, it’s a day of celebration with shiny boxes of chocolates and roses, but for others, especially those who are nursing a broken heart, all the focus on love can feel like rubbing salt in the wound.

If you are in the latter category, the new EP by Selah haleS, “Welcome To My Haunted Heart,” might be the music you need as you navigate through cupid season.  Selah haleS is the side project of Frost Heaves and HaLeS, the indie rock band which is led by songwriter/vocalist/multi-instrumentalist Daniel Hales of Greenfield.

Hales takes a lead role in this project, playing most of the instruments himself, and writing from a more personal perspective than on band projects.

“Welcome To My Haunted Heart” was released last Friday, Feb. 2, on Bandcamp Friday, the day Bandcamp holds on the first Friday of every month where proceeds from all sales go directly to the artists.

The official EP release show will be “The Haunted Valentine’s Day Hangover Party,” held on Saturday, Feb. 17, at 9:30 p.m. at the Rendezvous in Turners Falls. This show will be a Frost Heaves and HaLeS show, with singer-songwriter Chris Goodreau of Greenfield opening.

Hales started the Selah HaLes project during COVID when he was dealing with the experience of the lockdown as well as some losses in his life. The new record is the first new Selah haleS release since “Unstable Oscillators” in 2021, an album that compiled the first three Selah haleS EPs.

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“Welcome To My Haunted Heart” is only seven songs and clocks in at under 15 minutes. It is a quiet, melancholic work about heartbreak.

The disc’s title track, “Welcome to My Haunted Heart,” is a less than two-minute song that sets the tone for the EP. Hales sings “Welcome to my haunted heart/Enter at your own risk/It’s not as fun as the bumper cars/It’s sadder than a last kiss” in a faraway kind of eerie-sounding voice, letting the listener know there is some darkness ahead. And the songs here are sadder than a last kiss.

The opening track, “Someone Who Doesn’t Love You (But Used To),” is easily summed up by it’s title. A sweet, hypnotic melody and some spare accompaniment by Frost Heaves member James Lowe on bass and percussion make for an appealing song, despite the pain conveyed in Hales’ voice. Goodreau, who has an incredible vocal range, provides some effective backing vocals that add to this song’s sadness yet beauty.

“Goodbye to the Apple of My Eye” is another emotional song that finds Hales wading through grief, disbelief and anger as he wrestles with the difficult end of a relationship. “Goodbye to the cold and careless way/You ghosted me as though I had died/No goodbye no fare-thee-wells to say/To a ghost you couldn’t look in the eye” he sings at the end before screaming “goodbye.” A great break-up song if there ever was one.

A brief, eerie instrumental, “Haunted Interlude,” paves the way for the final two songs: the soft “sadsong” and “Hard Day At The Proving Grounds,” the only song that wasn’t recently written. “Hard Day...” has more of the trippy, experimental sound that we might hear on a Frost Heaves album. It all neatly wraps up with a ghostly 46-second outro.

Grab your headphones, maybe a box of kleenex, and dive into “Welcome To My Haunted Heart,” a world where feeling bad sounds good.

“Welcome To My Haunted Heart” is available on Bandcamp, CDs can be purchased at the release show.

MardiGras Get Down with Zydeco Connection and The Bourbon Street Blasters at Hawks & Reed

Mardi Gras is a holiday (an official holiday in the state of Louisiana) with which we can all get down. Who doesn’t love celebrating with good food and drink and dancing to Cajun and zydeco music? And while Mardi Gras is not an official holiday here in Massachusetts, you don’t have to be in New Orleans to enjoy the fun.

The Zydeco Connection and The Bourbon Street Blasters will once again be back at Hawks & Reed Performing Arts Center in Greenfield on Saturday, Feb. 10 at 7 p.m for what’s become their annual MardiGras party. The band, which features Lil’Cyn on accordion, Eileen Almeida on rubboard and lead vocals, Mike Rose on drums, Dave LeBlanc on bass, and Roland LaPierre or Larry LeBlanc on guitar, describes its sound as “a spicy mix of Louisiana zydeco, 2-steps, waltzes, boogie woogie, and a little swing.”

As with past MardiGras shows at Hawks & Reed, The Bourbon Street Blasters, an incredible horn section consisting of Ted Wirt on Sax, Mike Spencer on trumpet, and Brian Bender on trombone, will join them to keep the party going and dancers moving.

Zydeco dance lessons with Alice Kenney will be held at 7 p.m. She will teach basic zydeco and New Orleans-styled dancing.

Tickets are $15 in advance, $20 the day of the show. Advance tickets are available at hawksandreed.com

On sale now

We have more show announcement to tell you about. Just announced: Michael Franti and Spearhead’s Togetherness Tour with special guests Stephen Marley and Bombargo will play the summer stage at Tree House Brewing Company in South Deerfield on June 19. Tickets go on sale Friday, Feb. 9, at 10 a.m. at TixR.com.

Also on sale now for the summer stage at Tree House is Gary Clark Jr. on June 6, Andrew Bird on Aug. 15, and Waxahatchee on Aug. 29.

After her incredible performance at the Grammy Awards ceremony, you may be in the mood for some Joni Mitchell. Big Yellow Taxi, the Joni Mitchell tribute band, announced they will be at the Shea Theater on May 18. They will be performing Mitchell’s classic “Court and Spark” album. Tickets are on sale at the Sheatheater.org.

The Back Porch Festival will welcome over 50 bands playing in 10 venues in Northampton during the weekend of March 15-17. Hosted by Signature Sounds, they initially announced their three headlining evening shows, which will take place at the Academy of Music. On Friday, March 15, it’s an all-star tribute to Willie Nelson that will feature some local favorites such as Kris Delmhorst, Jeffrey Foucault, Mark Erelli, Zara Bode, and more; On Saturday March 16 from New Orleans, it’s the Preservation Hal Jazz Band, and on Sunday, March 17, legendary singer-songwriter Richard Thompson.

On Wednesday, Signature Sounds released more artists that will be part of the Back Porch Festival. The acts announced are the ones that will be included if you purchase a Ramble Pass, a pass allows that access to all shows except the three evening shows being held at the Academy of music.

Many included in this new announcement are local, so let’s take a look: On Friday, it’s the DiTrani Brothers, Winterpills, Hidden Skyline, Dennis Crommett, Thrasher Wheat, Hannah Mohan, Original Cowards, treefort and the Grey’s.

On Saturday: Rani Argo & daisy Mayhem, Tarbox Ramblers, Misty Blues, Lisa Bastoni, Soul Magnets, Love Crumbs, Low Lily, Big Yellow Taxi, Mamma’s Marmalade, Sun Parade, Poor Monroe, Free Range Cats, Sandy Bailey and more!!

On Sunday: StompBox Trio, Deep River Ramblers, Peter Blanchette, Rosemary Caine; The day will end with a tribute to Sinead O’Connor, Shane McGowan, and the Irish Poets hosted by Peter Mulvey.

For the entire lineup and to purchase tickets, visit Backporchfest.com.

Sheryl Hunter is a freelance writer who resides in Easthampton. Her work has appeared in various regional and national publications. She can be reached at soundslocal@yahoo.com.