Staccatic acoustic guitar bounces off the walls of the upstairs loft of the Victoria Station Cafe, a small family owned cafe and bakery in beautiful Putnam, Connecticut. The intimacy of the venue is amplified by dimmed lights, soft brown checkered floors, with mason jar candles and baby’s breath adorning each table. Red velvet curtains draped against the far wall behind the stage provide a calming backdrop for the growing intensity of Hardwick, MA native Seth Newton‘s powerful voice.
An almost angelic crooning gives way to what seems to be an ever-increasing vocal range, as wave after wave of expertly harmonized notes cascade over the audience.
Each song’s climax brings Seth’s voice ringing throughout the room, and his abrupt, rhythmic strumming keeps time with his stomping foot during his original song “Pyramids”. As his set nears its end, he addresses the crowd, thanking them for attending the show, and informing them that he’s going to try something new; something he’s never done before while playing live. He’s going to sing a line, and have the crowd sing it back.
The song is brand new, and is called “Marionette”. The line he sings is “I don’t want to let you go”, and as Seth and the crowd sing it back and forth, his eyes close, and his passion shines through. Suddenly, the smile on his face grows, exemplifying the closeness that he and the audience have for one another, and his prevailing voice sails through the air directly into the hearts of the listeners. The song ends amid layers and swells of delayed acoustic rhythms, melting into one transcending crescendo, freezing those in attendance in awe as the soothing harmonies fade out. he again thanks the crowd for coming out, and says goodnight.
Seth Newton, hails from Hardwick, MA and has played music professionally since age 12. He has played alongside and supported such prominent musicians as Deftones, and has graced some of the largest venues in New England, including Iron Horse Music Hall and The Palladium in Worcester. He has blossomed into an accomplished musician, whose music stylings are reminiscent of a young Johnny Cash, meshed impeccably with smooth as silk vibrato and a boyishly charming, yet mature vocal strength.
Additionally, Seth is the founder and co-creator of the New England Musicians for Heroin Awareness (NEMFHA), whose mission statement is: “Musicians looking to bring people, communities, etc together to spread awareness of the heroin epidemic in hopes of addiction / overdose prevention.” It is a cause that hits close to home, not only to Seth, but also to countless others in this community who have lost friends and family to this terrible affliction.
Interview with Seth Newton
I was lucky enough to befriend Seth and enjoy a number of his performances around New England this past year, and had the chance to sit with him and pick his brain about his past, present, and future endeavors.
John: Seth it’s great to see you again, man. Thanks for being here today with me.
Seth: Of course man, my pleasure!
So tell me, when did you first start playing guitar?
When I was about 10 years old.
10 years old, wow! What was your first guitar, and what was the first song you ever learned on it?
I used to play my dad’s Montaya acoustic guitar when I was first learning, and the first song was probably Nirvana’s “Come As You Are” [laughs]
Nice! Nirvana is imperative, for sure.
What was the first album that you added to your personal music library?
The first album I think I ever owned was a cassette of Green Day’s album ‘Dookie’
What was the most recent addition to your personal music library?
It was either The Weeknd’s ‘Starboy’ album or the single ‘Quiet’ by the singer Milck.
What was your first live music experience? Which venue and which artist(s)?
I saw some small local rock and bluegrass and folk bands throughout my childhood. My first live, full show experience was a local punk and ska show at a club called the Espresso Bar in Worcester in the early 90’s. My first national act concert was either an outdoor rock festival in Worcester called LocalBazooka 98′ or a Deftones concert at the Worcester Palladium.
If you could cover one album in your music library, which would it be?
That’s really tough. Maybe ‘Joshua Tree’ by U2?
What artist do you wish more people had in their music library?
Lastly, I have an important question, one that’s difficult for many artists to pinpoint. What is the determinate, driving force behind what motivates you to continue making music?
The idea and hope that my music, voice or performance could help someone in some way. Make some kind of positive difference. Connection. Make someone feel something, anything, even just for a moment, ease suffering they may have been feeling… help them sort through it. Or even just make somebody feel like they’re not alone, if that’s what they need to feel. I feel like music can help ease the pain of human condition in some strange way. It has for me countless times. My goal is basically to do that as much as I can before I die. [laughs]
Seth Newton’s entire solo acoustic discography is available for streaming or purchase at www.reverbnation.com/sethnewtonmusic. His latest single “Marionette” will be released in mid March on Reverb Nation.