Still More Cats Plays One Last Show

  • From left, Anne Mapplebeck, Michael Barsanti and Peter Neri plan to play their last show as the rock ensemble Still More Cats on Saturday night, June 16, 2018, at the Seven Stars Center in Sharon. (Courtesy photograph)

Valley News Staff Writer
Thursday, June 14, 2018

It was fun while it lasted, both for audiences of Still More Cats and for the three Sharon musicians who played covers of classic rock and Americana songs at bandstands and benefit concerts around the Upper Valley for seven years.

Guitarist-harmonica player Peter Neri, singer-bassist Anne Mapplebeck and drummer Michael Barsanti will perform their final gig this weekend at the Seven Stars Arts Center — where they first played together in public in the summer of 2011.

“We’re not young anymore,” Neri, who retired from his day job as a technical writer at TomTom, a digital mapping company with an office in Lebanon, in 2014, explained this week. “Especially when we’d go to gigs at the Salt hill Pubs, getting done late at night, hauling the equipment into and out of the place is a big deal. We are the roadies.”

Neri, a Connecticut native who in the late 1960s and early 1970s played with rock bands that opened for the likes of The Lovin’ Spoonful and Blood, Sweat and Tears, already knew Mapplebeck and Barsanti as neighbors in Sharon. Their shared love of music, ranging from Dire Straits, The Pretenders and the Talking Heads to Joni Mitchell, John Hiatt and Joan Osborne, led them to collaborate on a benefit for the Sharon Food Shelf, and a band was born. Soon they became a staple at summertime concerts on town greens, and, in all seasons, at area nightspots and at, among other good-cause shows, the annual fundraiser for the Upper Valley Waldorf School in Quechee.

“The Norwich ones were always fun,” Neri said of the summer shows. “And the Strafford common is always great.”

They might have kept going if Mapplebeck and Barsanti’s work schedules, which often require travel, permitted.

“I can’t believe the effort they’ve put in over the years,” Neri said. “I’m the only one of the three of us who has time to play.”

Neri expects to continue to play solo gigs in the area, and to find collaborators at some point, given the number of Upper Valley residents who sing and play on the side.

“It seems unique to me,” he said, “that there are so many musicians who do this and other things, and do them well.”

Still More Cats performs at the Seven Stars Arts Center in Sharon on Saturday night at 7:30. Admission is by donation to the center’s programs; the recommended amount is $10.