From The Desk Of Josh Kantor: Erin McKeown/Jim Infantino

Fenway Park organist Josh Kantor is a utilityman of sorts, playing keyboards for a number of outfits in addition to entertaining the Red Sox faithful. His highest-profile gig is with the fantastic national pastime-themed band the Baseball Project; his hidden-track rendition of the group’s “Panda And The Freak” is a highlight of its aptly titled third album, 3rd (Yep Roc). Kantor is guest editing all week. Read our brand-new Q&A with him.


Kantor: If musical popularity and renown were directly proportional to writing and performing abilities and to artistic boldness, we’d all be listening to a lot of Erin McKeown and Jim Infantino songs. I’ve been a fan of both of these songwriters since first seeing them years ago at Club Passim, the famed Boston-area venue where young up-and-comers Joan Baez, Bob Dylan, Tom Waits and Tracy Chapman (among a million others) once played. In recent years, I’ve enjoyed the absurd good fortune of having both Erin and Jim invite me to play with them.

Though they are distinct artists, I find (from studying their respective catalogs in preparation for shows and from spending time with them) that I view them somewhat similarly, and it’s not just because Erin’s song “We Are More” reminds me of Jim’s “Love Everybody” and vice versa. Both started in the solo acoustic realm and later evolved into skilled bandleaders. Both have navigated the consistent unpredictability of the mp3 era (or whatever we’re calling it) in fearless and innovative ways. I feel creatively and intellectually inspired every time I play with one of them or hear one of them play or talk to one of them. Erin and Jim both have a great gift for writing songs that bring forth tears, songs that bring forth laughter and songs that lend insight and urgency to political topics. If any of that sounds like your cup of tea, then I encourage you to get to know their work.

Video for “Proof.”

Video for “They’re Everywhere.”

E.M. photo by Merri Cyr, J.I. photo by Liz Linder.