Brighton MA is a mixture of the new and the vintage. The bass player was hired via the Internet, but vinyl is still a part of the singer-songwriter's musical vision.
Matthew Kerstein finds inspiration in 1960s figures like the doomed composer and musician Townes Van Zandt ("Pancho and Lefty") and Bob Dylan — and in the earlier musicians who inspired Dylan.
The band is set for a Friday show with Tim Kasher at Mike 'N' Molly's, 105 N. Market St., C.
Brighton MA is named for the Massachusetts city where Kerstein lived until he was 6. Band members all live near each other now in the Humboldt Park and Ukrainian Village neighborhoods of Chicago.
Kerstein and Brighton MA drummer Sam Koentopp originally were in Chicago's Scotland Yard Gospel Choir together. Along with arranger/guitarist Jim Tuerk, they've been performing as Brighton MA since 2006.
In 2007, the trio added guitarist Joe Darnaby and bassist Jon Ozaksut.
Kerstein said he still learns from artists who lived before him.
"I started playing older blues guys, the Carter Family, folk guys," he said.
One of his audio textbooks was "The American Anthology of Folk Music," six albums and 84 songs from folk, blues and country music that were originally issued from 1927 to '32.
The compilation was first released in 1952 by Folkways Records and can be hard to find, Kerstein said.
"We went through those songs to learn how to play," he said, saying he especially savored the Carter Family contribution.
The Carter Family was the first country music all-star group.
He's also a fan of Hank Williams, whose "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry" touched his heart.
You can hear that heart and simplicity on the band's "Oh Lost" CD, which will be on sale at the band's local appearance. It's produced by Brian Deck.
If you go
What: Brighton MA and Tim Kasher
When: 9 p.m. Friday, March 22
Where: Mike 'N' Molly's, 105 N. Market St., C
Tickets: $15 at door
More info: mikenmollys.com/info/