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Friday, 12/11/2009 - Lowell Sun write up 12/10/2009

Like an old friend, LaMarsh returns to local scene
By Ed Hannan, Sun Correspondent
Updated: 12/10/2009 06:35:40 AM EST

Years go by and sometimes old memories come rushing back when you least expect them.

Take, for instance, the posting on the Village Smokehouse Web site that Chad LaMarsh would be appearing tonight from 9 p.m. to midnight.

LaMarsh, who graduated from Berklee College of Music in 1992 with a degree in professional music and songwriting, has been a fixture on the New England live music scene for close to 20 years. But he's been honing his craft even longer than that.

LaMarsh began playing guitar and singing at the age of seven and started performing solo in bars and restaurants at the age of 10. Over the next couple of years, he fronted a band of high school students in suburban Chicago, performing at many area rock clubs in the early '80s. He spent his teen years playing in jazz, country, metal and glam rock bands.

After graduating from Berklee, LaMarsh began playing solo again and has been on stage at venues around Boston, Cape Cod, Central Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Connecticut and New York ever since.

But it was early on in LaMarsh's career and before I became a professional writer when I first encountered the then-ponytailed LaMarsh at the One Pelham East nightclub in Newport on a hot summer night in 1994. Wearing a button-down flannel shirt and strumming his acoustic guitar to Pearl Jam's "Black" (two things that were in vogue at the time -- Seattle rock and flannel shirts), LaMarsh cut a figure that attracted many young women who wanted to sing along. Ever the showman, LaMarsh indulged them with one sing-along number after another, but it was his impeccable vocal range that caught my ear.

I made a mental note that if I ever had the opportunity to see him again, I would.

Fast forward three years later to 1997, at The Rack nightclub near Faneuil Hall in Boston. Some co-workers and I decide to go out for some pizza and a few games of pool after work. Whose name do we see on posters as we walk into the club but LaMarsh. Soon enough, LaMarsh made his way to the stage with acoustic guitar in hand. A crowd soon followed, again mostly comprised of young women who enjoyed his song selection and his vocal stylings. He still had it.

Twelve years later, on a December night that promises to be cold outside, LaMarsh will again take the stage, ready to sing anything from John Mellencamp to O.A.R. to Keith Urban. It's an evening that promises good BBQ, great music and a lively atmosphere. Definitely worth checking out.

Chad LaMarsh plays a solo acoustic show tonight from 9 p.m. to midnight at the Village Smokehouse, 98 Middle Street in Lowell. For information, call 978-441-2278 or visit www.village-smokehouse.com.

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