The Cabot has announced that Grammy-winning singer-songwriters Ray LaMontagne and Lucinda Williams will be headlining the theater’s second annual Big Night concert on April 28. The event will raise money as part of a multiyear capital campaign to support the ongoing restoration of the historic theater.
“Ray LaMontagne has been on our wish list of performers for years and once he confirmed the show we sought to pair him with a special, notable performer who had influenced the genre and that would compliment Ray to make for a truly next level evening,” says J. Casey Soward, executive director of The Cabot. “Lucinda Williams fits that bill perfectly and we are honored to welcome both Ray and Lucinda to our stage for the very first time, together.”
Ray LaMontagne had released eight studio albums, that blend roots-music, classic rock, and folk influences. Each album has its own character and feel, described variously as soulful, vulnerable, and rich and searching. NPR’s Talia Schlanger says that LaMontagne performs with an intimacy that “makes you feel like you’re peeking through a curtain and listening in on a private moment.”
Lucinda Williams has been a critically acclaimed performer since her first album debuted in 1979. She is beloved for her singular vulnerable, rough-edged vocals and extraordinary country-and-blues infused songs.
The Big Night debuted last year with a show featuring Tedeschi Trucks Fireside Live and legendary R&B and gospel singer Mavis Staples. The event raised $800,000.
“After last year’s inaugural celebration, we knew that we had established a very special annual event for The Cabot, both from an artistic standpoint and as an annual celebration of music and community,” Soward says.
This year’s event aims to raise another $750,000 to fund capital improvements to the theater, make the theater fully accessible, complete improvements to the exterior of the building, and support community and educational programs.
The Cabot was opened in 1920 as a “dream palace,” a luxurious venue for vaudeville performances and move screenings. It remained a movie theater until 1976, when Le Grand David and His Own Spectacular Magic Company bought the building as a venue to stage its fantastical magic shows. After Le Grand David wound down in 2013, a nonprofit was formed to acquire the theater, restore it to its former glory, and establish a venue for music, comedy, and music in downtown Beverly.