Pump House Music Works

March 05, 2017  •  2 Comments



Great relationships often start with a simple introduction - Hi, my name is Bob, I am a photographer and (almost under my breath) a blogger. So began my relationship with Dan and Ariel from Shady Lea Guitars (their guitar-building business) and Pump House Music Works (their non-profit music venue). It was the vibe as well as the opportunity that drew me in and I was happy they welcomed me to make performance photographs. in addition to the photographic opportunity, it presented a new challenge to capture performances and a way to meet musicians and all the other talented and hard-working folks who make an Open Mic event not only possible, but successful and greatly enjoyable.


java Jam 03-03-2017-131DnA at Java Jam 03-03-2017-131




java Jam 03-03-2017-143-2Ariel



During the past several months, names and faces have slowly become familiar. At the same time, new musicians regularly show up to take the stage for their 15 minutes. Documenting their performance in small increments of time keeps me in the moment, as my ears fill with handmade music in the time-honored tradition of the coffee house. Just as no two performances are the same, every event is approached as a unique opportunity to leave my usual comfort zone and to create a new one. I have been bouncing flash, using only stage light, using telephotos, prime, and occasionally a fisheye lens while I try to capture gesture as well as light and color. To be sure, many of my personal favorites are black and white, reflective of the general "back in the day" tradition of music in a small, communal venue (infused also by new and fabulous talent). The Pump House gallery has quickly filled with photographs documenting terrific performances such as the one by the University of Rhode Island Big Band.








Recently, I was commissioned to create a large print of the Occasional String Band for the musicians' "Green Room."  While the image is nice to see on a computer, it is far better as a 20x28 (5:7 aspect) print that is matted and framed. 





I have often heard that great music often happens when it gets late and the venue empties out. Such was the case last week at an Open Mic event. My editor and I had the front row, stage right, all to ourselves and it felt like friends were playing in our living room - if our living room was Pump House Music Works. Over the course of the evening more than forty musicians took to the stage during the Mardi Gras-themed event. A fabulous time was had by all and the music was as outstanding as the tasty gumbo and the colorful king cake.

Once again, Dan Collins and Ariel Rose Bodman transformed an ordinary night with a community of local musicians who have found a welcome new venue in which to showcase their talents.


Java Jam 2-17-2017-41David making the sound sweet at Java Jam 2-17-2017-41



The Pump House Music Works hosts an Open Mic & Pot;luck event the last Saturday of each month. 


See ya next week,



Steve Burke(non-registered)
Bob, I seem to end up in a lot of your Pump House Music pictures, either alone or as a member of the Occasional String Band, so it seems only appropriate that I return the compliment by thanking you for your dedication to documenting the genuine magic that occurs at that venue every time the musicians take the stage. That trumpet solo, that 12 year old girl with the voice, Bob Parillo's piano solo, that red headed kid from URI with lightning in his hands, Jean Rohe's show last week . . . if you stick around long enough on any night, any night at all, you will see and hear something that you will surely remember for the rest of your life, and maybe something that will change it, just a little. And there Bob Kidd will be, working, running around, trying to cram a little of that magic into his camera for the rest of the world to see. Thank you.
Steve Butler(non-registered)
Excellent observations and wonderful photos, Bob!
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