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Sat., Aug. 30, 2014
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Black Marmot, featuring Ledyard's Tim Parker, hosts EP release party
Black Marmot, from left: Mike Zartarian, Ryan T. Callahan, Linde Clark and Tim Parker.

By Rick Koster

Publication: The Day


Even as Black Marmot continues to caper to the top of Boston's roots music heap, it's nice to remember their guitarist, Tim Parker, is a Ledyard native.

That adds a regional sparkle to the band's Saturday appearance at Sneekers Cafe in Groton - when Parker and Black Marmot vocalist/songwriter Linde Clark host a release party for "The Everyday Seeker," the band's latest EP.

Finally, it's fun that they're sharing the bill with some old pals, New London's The Rivergods.

Working a sound solidly anchored in folk, roots and pop, but fusing elegant harmonies, fluid musicianship and eclectic arrangements/instruments, Black Marmot has a unique and fetching appeal.

The recipe isn't remotely contrived, though; in fact, it's a bit of an accident. Parker grew up playing blues and classic rock while drummer Ryan Callahan and bassist Mike Zartarain come out of jam band/R&B backgrounds. It wasn't until they all ran across Clark on the Boston live music circuit that a melding of the minds happened.

"Linde was the one doing original stuff and then we got involved," Parker says. "And she'd never had a band before. So it was a new thing. Being able to write and to blend into the music that Linde had already been playing for years was a real challenge ... (but over time) we became more comfortable in creating and perfecting a song as a whole."

The band officially formed in 2009 and immediately earned a following and reputation.

Their debut album, "Run Home," spread the word through regional radio coverage, and soon Black Marmot was sharing stages with the likes of Bela Fleck and the Ryan Montbleau Band.

"Home Run" was a giddy accomplishment, with the musicians delighting in fresh interaction and Clark's polished compositions.

For "The Everyday Seeker," Black Marmot's sound has naturally grown to include a more comprehensive songwriting process, as well as new instrumentation ranging from ukulele to six-string bass - and band members believed their organic evolution would benefit from the help of an outside producer. They decided on veteran producer/musician Dave Minehan and his Wooly Mammoth studio in Waltham.

"We wanted a producer because we felt like having some outside direction could really push the songs to another level," Clark says. "David really did that; he suggested things to incorporate that we would not have come up with on our own."

Parker says, "We had material in all different forms. Some were tracks from 'Run Home' that missed the cut, some were all of us playing in our practice space, and some were just Linde and an acoustic guitar. We let Dave give his opinion and direction almost as a fifth member of the band, and the songs continued to grow in the studio."

Black Marmot regards "The Everyday Seeker" as a progressive step forward - whether that implies continued musical evolution or performance and expanding their fan base.

"Our challenge is to continue to find the right people who want to hear our music, and to play our hearts out every time they come to see us," Parker says. "Sure, we'd like to sell as many albums and T-shirts as possible, book as many shows as we can and be heard on the radio everywhere. And we're working on that stuff. But the grassroots stuff is what strengthens us; it's the fun way to get wherever we want to be."

Linde Clark and Tim Parker of Black Marmot, 8 p.m. Saturday, Sneekers Cafe, 568 Poquonnock Road, Groton; also, The Rivergods; free; (860) 445-1967. sneekerscafe.net.


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