Sounds Local: Together for the first time in 10 years: Peter Mulvey to perform with David Goodrich this weekend in Shelburne Falls

Northampton-based singer-songwriter Peter Mulvey performs at the Permaculture Place at the Mill in Shelburne Falls on Saturday, July 6, at 7 p.m. He will be joined by his former collaborator, producer/guitarist David “Goody” Goodrich.

Northampton-based singer-songwriter Peter Mulvey performs at the Permaculture Place at the Mill in Shelburne Falls on Saturday, July 6, at 7 p.m. He will be joined by his former collaborator, producer/guitarist David “Goody” Goodrich. CONTRIBUTED


For the Recorder

Published: 07-03-2024 3:06 PM

When Peter Mulvey performs at the Permaculture Place at the Mill in Shelburne Falls on Saturday, July 6, at 7 p.m., it promises to be a special night of music.

The singer-songwriter from Northampton is an engaging performer whose music combines elements of folk, jazz, blues and rock. As an environmentalist and advocate for social change, Mulvey’s lyrics, which can be both personal and political, reflect his keen observations of the world around him and connect deeply with his audiences.

Those in attendance will be given the added treat of Mulvey being joined by his former collaborator, producer/guitarist David “Goody” Goodrich. The two worked together extensively in the early 2000s. They even recorded a duo album and played in a project called Redbird, which also included local musicians Kris Delmhorst and Jeffrey Foucault. Goodrich moved to Austin about 10 years ago and hasn’t toured much except the occasional outing with Chris Smither, whose albums he produces.

Mulvey is thrilled to have the opportunity to perform with his old friend again. He is also glad to return to Shelburne Falls; the last time he played there was in 2012 At Mocha Maya’s, and he recalled biking to the gig from Albany.

That’s right: biking. At least one tour a year, he bikes to and from gigs to reduce his carbon footprint. Around 2017, out of concern for the environment, he started considering that as a touring musician, he needed to rethink his way of doing his job.

“You hop on a plane, book a rental car, do your four shows, and then get back on the plane,” he said of the standard approach to touring. I’ve been trying to step off that 20th-century treadmill for a long time.” He added that he was biking on the bike trail as we talked, his phone secured on the handlebars, and his child comfortably sitting in his bike seat in the back.

He’s cut back on his touring due to having a young child at home. When he plays at the Permaculture Place at the Mill in Shelburne Falls on Saturday night, if the weather cooperates, he’ll arrive by bike from his home in Northampton.

And Permaculture Place, an organization that promotes sustainability, aligns with Mulvey’s environmental concerns.

“I’m always delighted when I can be a part of what I guess could be called real work,” he said of Permaculture Place. “While I’m attending to the cultural and hopefully spiritual needs of our species, they are attending to our survival.”

Mulvey has been a working musician since the early ‘90s, when he started out busking in cities like Dublin and Boston. He has since released 20 albums, performed hundreds of shows around the world, published an illustrated book, and given a TEDx talk, among other projects.

Originally from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Mulvey moved to the Valley shortly before COVID struck and has happily lived here since.

He’s no stranger to the area. He has played here many times over the years and has recorded a series of albums for Signature Sounds of Northampton, including two with the aforementioned Redbird.

Then there’s his close relationship with Chris Smither of Amherst, whom Mulviey cites as his mentor. They toured together this spring, including a sold-out stop at the Bombyx Center in Florence.

He also has a new album out called “More Notes From Elsewhere,” which features acoustic versions of some of his more recent songs, and three new tunes.

“It’s a bookend to another record I made called “Notes From Elsewhere,” he said. “For years at shows, people would say, ‘I love your records, but do you have anything that sounds like your sound now — just you and a guitar?’”

He made that album in 2007, which featured some of his most famous songs, and the new release is the next chapter with more recent songs.

“If I am really lucky and have the career longevity of someone like Chris Smither, I hope I get to do another one in about 17 years,” he said with a laugh.

His last studio album, “Love is the Only Thing,” was the second album he recorded with SistaStrings, and was produced by Ani DiFranco and released on her Righteous Babe label. Collaboration is important to Mulvey, and DiFranco has become one of his closest collaborators.

“We came up around the same time in the early ‘90s and would be playing the same festivals,” he recalled. “What deepened our friendship was when the massacre of the Charleston nine happened, and it hit us both at the same angle. We were both angry and in such despair backstage at our show,” he recalled.

So, sitting backstage at the Calvin Theater in Northampton, he quickly poured his feelings about the killings and the fact that the Confederate flag was still flying into a song called “Take Down Your Flag.” He then went on stage and performed it. DiFranco, whom Mulvey describes as someone who has always politically stuck her neck out, was so moved she decided to perform it every night for the rest of the tour, adding her own her verse.

From there, at Mulvey’s urging, artists, including Anais Mitchell, Vance Gilbert, and others, recorded the song, adding their verses about the event. Over 100 versions of the song exist, an example of the power that music can have.

Mulvey always has some projects in the works. He once said, “When you love what you do, you can work all the time.” He’s working on new material, which his new role as a parent will partly inform. In addition, he’s working with Jenna Nicholls on a folk album of American Standards. “It’s something I’ve always wanted to do, to take American standards and present them in a folksy setting,” he said of the project.

That’s all in the future; the biggest news for now is that he and Goodrich will be playing together again.

“We are going to play two sets of music in front of a live audience for the first time in probably 10 years,” he said. Who knows when they will play together again, so don’t miss out.

Tickets are available at If you want to purchase a ticket at a sliding scale amount, email Bring a blanket or chair; picnics are welcome. In the event of rain, the concert will be moved to a location in Shelburne Falls.

Sheryl Hunter is a freelance writer who resides in Easthampton. Her work has appeared in various regional and national publications. She can be reached at