Bobby Sweet: Raised with music in his genes



It's music 24-7 for Bobby Sweet.

But that's no real surprise; Sweet has been involved with music nearly all of his life.

Sweet will perform, along with three other headliners, at Guitar Jam V at Pittsfield's Colonial Theatre on May 18. The other featured performers will be Arthur Holmes, Robin O'Herin and Steve Ide.

Sweet will do his set with The BSweet Band -- Abe Guthrie on keyboards, Pete Adams on pedal steel guitar, Bruce Mandel on bass, and Andy Crawford on drums.

As a youngster, Sweet was at the side of the stage listening to his father, Bob Sweet, perform in the October Mountain Band.

"Yeah," Bobby said. "I remember every Friday night, the whole family would go listen to dad's band. For the longest time, that was pretty normal for me. I thought every family did that."

That country-inflected group was one of

his influences, but Sweet acknowledged in a recent interview that his inspiration comes from several sources.

"What do I listen to?" he mused. "Holy mackerel, that's an interesting question. Ray Charles and Betsy Carter. Simon and Garfunkel. Robert Plant and Alison Krauss. Nat King Cole. James Taylor. Mark Knopfler. The list goes on forever.

"My record collection changes a lot," Sweet said. "I'll buy something and get rid of it after a while. Give it away, sell it, whatever."

Sweet said there are some classic records, like ones from Ray Charles, Nat King Cole and Les Paul, "that I would never get rid of, obviously. But I go through phases.

"I'm not sure exactly why," he continued. "I think it's probably the writer in me. Sometimes I almost consume records. I'll be listening to something, and I'll just pick up the guitar and try to play along. What was that chord change? What did he just do with his guitar, there? How is he doing that? I almost consume records when I'm doing that."

Interestingly, Sweet said the one thing he rarely does is listen to his own music, except when he has to perform it.

"No, I don't really listen to something I've already recorded," he said. "It's sort of, ‘Well, done with that,' you know?"

So if he couldn't perform music, what would he do?

"Well, I think I'd be a violin maker," Sweet said. "I really enjoy woodworking."

Sweet actually has made two violins in his spare time.

"I think I'm going to make a third one this summer," he said.

"If I had to start over, I've also thought about acting. I enjoy being up on stage. I enjoy plays and performers. I always wanted to be a part of that."

If you go ...

Who: One band or artist from each of the first four Guitar Jam shows: Arthur Holmes Blues Band (2012); Robin O'Herin (2011); Bobby Sweet & The BSweet Band (2010); The BTUs, including Steve Ide (2009). At the end of the show will be the traditional all-star jam.

When: Saturday, May 18, 8 p.m.

Where: Colonial Theatre, 111 South St., Pittsfield.

Presented by: The Berkshire Eagle. Concert proceeds go to Newspapers in Education, a program that encourages students to read.

Tickets: $17 and $27. Available at the Colonial box office or via (413) 997-4444 or

Before the show: Lenox folk band Mountain Breeze will perform in the lobby from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Free admission.

On the Web:

To reach Derek Gentile:,
or (413) 496-6251.
On Twitter: @DerekGentile


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