By Ed Karvoski Jr., Culture Editor
SHREWSBURY – Many musicians were challenged by restrictions at performance venues from 2020 into 2021. Yet, singer-songwriter and guitarist Bob Moon of Shrewsbury continued working with increased bookings.
First, he adapted when musicians were allowed to perform only outdoors.
“I’m mostly a lead guitar player for bands, but I can also sing songs and play acoustic guitar,” he noted. “When COVID hit, all the band gigs dried up, but acoustic music could be played outside. I can do that, too. Suddenly, I was working more than I ever did.”
Next, he got additional work when musicians could perform inside venues without singing.
“I started playing guitar against backing tracks because we couldn’t sing inside,” he explained.
Now he’s once again entertaining as lead electric guitarist with the bands Comanchero and Nasty Habits. Concurrently, he’s performing his solo acoustic act.
“I went from busy to out-of-control busy,” he declared.
From jazz, to funk jam, to Americana
Moon started playing guitar with jazz bands while attending St. John’s High School, where he graduated in 1983.
Soon after graduating from Syracuse University in 1987, he began playing with the funk jam band Free Lunch. They debuted at O’Brien’s Pub in Allston.
“It was great,” Moon said of the debut experience. “I never stopped gigging since 1988 to now.”
Free Lunch appeared throughout Boston’s club circuit including now-closed venues The Channel and The Ratskeller.
When Free Lunch disbanded in 2003, Moon began and continues to perform with the Americana jam band Comanchero. He describes Comanchero’s music as “all original, a funky hybrid of western and southern.”
Comanchero has become a popular act at Boston clubs, festivals and the Hatch Shell on the Esplanade.
Traveling beyond Boston, Comanchero performed at Meadowbrook U.S. Cellular Pavilion (now known as Bank of New Hampshire Pavilion) in Gilford N.H. At the nearly 9,000-seat outdoor amphitheater, they shared the bill with ZZ Top and Crosby, Stills and Nash.
As his favorite Comanchero gig, Moon cites opening for the British blues/rock band The Yardbirds at Showcase Live at Patriots Place in Foxborough.
During the pandemic, Comanchero recorded and individually released songs from its fifth album.
Paying tribute musically
Along the way, Comanchero was the house band for a Linda Ronstadt tribute show.
In recent years, Moon also performed with tribute bands: Gov’t Surplus for the Allman Brothers, Fellowship of the King for Elvis Presley, and Let It Bleed for the Rolling Stones.
“People love hearing songs that they know,” Moon relayed.
Beginning in 2020, most of the musicians of Let It Bleed including Moon became known as Nasty Habits. They brought Rolling Stones’ songs to shows in New Hampshire and Rhode Island where restrictions were more relaxed at the time.
A self-described big Stones fan, Moon is excited that Nasty Habits’ performance venues have now expanded geographically – and increased in volume.
“We’ve been booking gigs left and right,” he proclaimed of the Stones tribute group.
Scheduling solo and band gigs
Moon includes original and cover songs in his solo acoustic act. He expects to continue working both solo and with bands.
“I can do a lot of the solo acoustic gigs during the week, and then the band gigs Friday to Sunday,” he said. “I love performing solo acoustic and I will continue to do it, but my love is playing lead electric guitar in bands – it’s what I do best.”
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