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The best kept secret in music


"Get Into The Act"

When Esme Montgomery sings, she is in constant motion, pushing her arm away from her guitar as if ridding herself of a bad memory, or grimacing as she is captured by the spirit of a lyric. ''I'm in the moment of what I'm doing, acting it out,'' she says.

Live, Montgomery mixes her own tunes with covers by artists ranging from John Lennon and Stevie Wonder to Flaming Lips and Bjork.
On her self-released disc, ''A Single Thing,'' her originals range from quiet, voice-and-guitar singer-songwriter musings to angry-sounding electric punk rock. No matter what the format, all feature poetic lyrics and her girlish voice. ''I focus on lyrics a lot,'' she says. ''Something that's in my head for a while will develop. There are a lot of personal reflections about how people relate to each other.''

Many songs on her CD are experimental, including ''Fields,'' where her faraway voice is accompanied by a slow electric guitar. ''That one was done at my apartment,'' she says. ''I put the microphone out of the window and used a lot of reverb.''

Montgomery also is lead singer for the band Dark Sweet Cherries, which just finished recording a six-song EP. Like Montgomery herself, the group has an eclectic sound that includes elements of garage, punk and pop.

Montgomery has lived in Bethlehem since moving from Manhattan three months ago. ''This is a cool music scene,'' she says. ''It is too expensive to do music in Manhattan. Here I can actually have a practice room and a car.''

David Howell
- The Morning Call


Still working on that hot first release.


Feeling a bit camera shy


A native New Yorker who grew up on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, Montgomery brings a grittiness to her music that is balanced by her classical music training and her willingness to be vulnerable. Montgomery takes her inner world and puts it in front of you without a second thought.

Dark Sweet Cherries formed after Montgomery spent a few years playing with a hired band. “After all the time I’ve spent playing with different people, I made a lot of friends and hooked up with the musicians who are in Dark Sweet Cherries now.” Those musicians are Robbie Seahag (Zappa Tribute band Project Object, RCA Recording Artists The Sound of Urchin), on lead guitar, Jonny Pakalolo on drums, Aaron Kinsman (a.k.a. Cosmic Cruiser) playing bass, and Kirsten Thien and Corrin Roskos singing back-up. “Everyone really pulls together, coming from their own set of musical influences, and it adds a lot,” says Montgomery of the band.

As a live act, Dark Sweet Cherries embodies the spirit of being original and creative, and true to themselves. Here is a band that loves to play together, and the way they enjoy themselves on stage can’t help but be contagious.