Published in the October 4, 2018 edition


NORTH READING — Local musical impresario Art Grossman has been thinking about creating a visiting artist series in conjunction with his monthly coffeehouses for two or more years now. His vision is finally coming together.

The long awaited inaugural show in the Performing Artist Series to be headlined by the Twangtown Paramours is this Saturday, October 6 in the Activity Room of the Flint Memorial Library at 147 Park St. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and the show starts at 7:30 p.m.

“There is a suggested donation of $15 that will be shared by the performers and the Friends of the Flint Memorial Library to help support the many programs they provide to the community,” Grossman said. “While there is the suggested donation amount, it is more important to us that we see if this is something that the community will enjoy, so please come and donate whatever you are able to do.”

TWANGTOWN PARAMOURS, the husband and wife duo of Mike Lewis and MaryBeth Zamer, bring their “sophisticated Americana” sound to the Flint Memorial Library Saturday night at the inaugural Performing Artist Series. (Courtesy Photo)

Husband and wife duo

Mike T. Lewis and MaryBeth Zamer comprise the Twangtown Paramours. When asked about the band’s unusual name Lewis said he had tried a number of word combinations together. “I like the word paramour; it means illicit lovers… MaryBeth and I are married, so we’re not illicit anything. Paramour sounded cool, and Twangtown accurately described where we live,” referring to their home in Nashville, Tennessee.

Their relationship may not be illicit, but the couple, who met a number of years ago in a recording studio on Music Row in Nashville, remain somewhat outsiders in the music city.

In a phone interview with the couple last week, Lewis spoke about how country music has changed over the years. “Country radio that we hear in Nashville today, I do not consider country music,” he said, explaining that the original country music was rooted in artists like Hank Williams, Lefty Frizzell and the Carter family. Then, in the ‘80s, country music became more rock/pop-based, and today there’s a version called Bro-country with a lot of people imitating rap or urban music. “Rap music is great; urban music is great,” but he adds, “people imitating it are ridiculous!”

Lewis describes the duo’s acclaimed second album as very folk-based while their third album, which they’re currently working on, is a big change. It is much more geared to the Americana market, he said. “That means it’s fine to have electric guitars, drums hard and have something that really grooves.”

For her part, MaryBeth said, “All I really have to do is get up there and sing. Mike does all the booking and publicity stuff, driving, organizing, navigation, deciding where we’re going to stay.”

Zamer, who sang background vocals for the late Eva Cassidy, continued, “The thing I like best about performing is singing and meeting the audience; figuring out why they’re there (and) having interaction, both performing and in conversation.”

Her husband points out with pride that “MaryBeth has written most of the folk stuff that we have won awards for, including the song ‘Widow of the Mountain.’”

When asked about their songwriting collaboration Lewis, who sometimes plays upright bass for Jimmie Dale Gilmore, responded, “We write everything together.”

He elaborates, “Usually MaryBeth starts it and then brings me in. She usually brings me something sad. I say, ‘do we have to write something sad?’”

Both are very focused on accomplishing their goal of raising money for the Friends of Flint Memorial Library and they’re looking forward to entertaining and interacting with a large and engaging audience Saturday night.

Supporting programming for all ages

In talking about the first Performing Artist Series of concerts, Grossman said, “This will be in addition to the monthly North Reading Community Coffeehouse/Open Mics, which has been running for about two years and has been successful by its own right in providing a wonderful environment for people to perform and a great evening’s entertainment while raising money for the library by donations and the sale of refreshments.”

As the library continues to offer more programming to the community that appeals to a broad range of ages – from infants through seniors citizens – he envisions developing a robust professional musician component via the Performing Artists Series to enable the Friends to provide even more financial support to the library. The second concert in the series is already lined up. It will feature a local band, The Squeezebox Stompers, who will showcase their brand of New Orleans/Zydeco music on Saturday, November 3.

As an added bonus for music fans, there’s no need to fight the crowds and the traffic heading into the city to see professional live music when there’s quality entertainers coming to their hometown. “There is plenty of free parking. There will also be some tasty refreshments for sale,” he said.

Grossman also suggests that anyone who would like to learn more about the Twangtown Paramours visit their website ( or listen to one of their live performances via this link: ( Readers can obtain more information about the concert on the North Reading Community Coffeehouse Facebook page at