BRATTLEBORO -- Peter Siegel was thinking about the repertoire his band plays when it struck him -- about half the songs they play are about "home" in some way or another.
Which makes it all the more right and proper that The Gaslight Tinkers are headlining Saturday’s show at The Stone Church. Doors open at 7 p.m., with Lunar Eclipse playing at 7:30 p.m., followed by The Gaslight Tinkers at 9 p.m.
Organized to raise money and awareness for local homeless programs, the concert will benefit the Winter Overflow Shelter. Songs that make us reflect on "home" and what it means to have one or lack one can only help add meaning to a night that should be a good time for a good cause.
"It’s certainly fun to play for a crowd for a really important cause," said Siegel. "The cause itself, I would do this in a heartbeat."
For those who haven’t heard The Gaslight Tinkers, it’s a chance to catch this band that combines seemingly disparate genres into a friendly, danceable groove.
"The vibe we’re trying to conjure is about uniting," said Siegel.
The Gaslight Tinkers began when Siegel, who plays mandolin, guitar and banjo and is well known for his folk and contra dance projects (he’s played with Pete Seeger and Judy Collins), met Garrett Sawyer, bassist for Alchemystics, Senegalese hip-hop band Gokh-Bi System and the Caribbean with Trinidadian soca star Kurt Allen), for coffee.
"He was kind of wanting a different scene, and I was wanting a different scene," said Siegel.
Together, they decided to fuse Celtic, Northern-style fiddle tunes and songs with Afrobeat, reggae and funk underpinnings.
"We felt like we could take the music to a different audience," said Siegel.
Knowing they needed to round out their sound, the two added Zoë Darrow, an award-winning fiddler and clogger who from age 4 has led her own trio, Zoë Darrow and the Fiddleheads, performing Scottish, Irish, and Cape Breton fiddle tunes for enthusiastic crowds. They needed drums, too, and soon welcomed into the fold ethnomusicologist and world beat drummer Dave Noonan, who has performed with reggae/world/dance bands including The Equalites, Ed Mann’s Dub Jazz Unit, Fenibo, Alafia and Little Shop of Horas.
Together, they have forged a fusion of traditional tunes and new elements.
"The idea of the name, Gaslight Tinkers, is about tinkering with the old," said Siegel.
It seems to be working. In a little more than a year, the band has lit up New England from clubs and live radio to festivals and barn dances. They are equally at home playing for contra dances, where all but the most die-hard traditionalists enjoy their new sound, and for concert crowds.
"This is probably the most fun I’ve ever had," said Siegel. "When we play, it’s a very cut-loose environment. It’s very happy music. It’s very danceable music."
The Gaslight Tinkers will soon be heading into the studios to cut a CD. In the meantime, catch them Saturday at The Stone Church.
This event is the second in a series of live music events being organized to raise money for non-profits helping the growing homeless population in Brattleboro. Organizers Lisa Ford and Elliot Gunzburg brought this idea to fruition as an opportunity to promote their favorite musicians while supporting community members with extreme needs.
"This event is a reminder to cherish simple pleasures and to share our gifts with people in crisis," stated Ford.
Admission is by $10 suggested donation at the door.
For more information on the band, visit thegaslighttinkers.com.