February 29, 2012 § Leave a comment


by Steve Siddle

There was a time in my life during which I thought that Vincent’s was the coolest bar on Earth. I was two years out of college and living with a bunch of my friends in a beat down triple-decker on Vernon Hill. Vincent’s was within walking distance.

Every Thursday that year was spent drinking and laughing and dancing to the Dennis Brennan Band. At the time the Marlboro, Ma native was one of the rising stars of Rounder Records and his bluesy alternative folk rock fit perfectly with Vincent’s vibe.

I’ve seen a lot of great music at Vincent’s over the years, but no band has ever managed to bring back the magic of those Thursday nights so long ago. If you were lucky enough to have been there in those early years of Vincent’s, you know how special the bar seemed to those of us in Worcester. It was unlike any bar this town had seen and it drew a strange, colorful crowd.

Young hoods like myself, middle-aged hipsters, blues scholars, artists, and off duty cops. For a few hours every Thursday evening we all swayed in time to the tunes that felt perfectly scored for our lives.

I dropped into Vincent’s a month ago to catch the Celtics game and was startled by the crowd. I saw women my mother’s age and kids with hoods and baseball hats and even a couple of drunken politicians. Every one was having a good time. It didn’t take long for me to figure out why.

Cara Brindisi will never be a rock star, which is not to say she couldn’t be if she were so inclined. She is energetic, pretty and charismatic in an understated way. Her voice is clear and clean sounding and full of passion. Cara has everything it takes to be a star except for an inflamed ego.

I sat down with the 23 year old Shrewsbury native last week and spent some time talking to her about her calling. I tried talking to her about the music business and the hard life of chasing club gigs, but it soon became clear to me that Cara is more interested in a different life.

Cara is a music therapist and I would put all my chips on the bet that she is damn good at her job. She loves what she does and her enthusiasm about the healing power of music is irresistible. Her eyes brighten and she leans forward when she talks about habilitation and psychodynamic therapy and the Relationship Change Scale.

She graduated from Berklee, got her MT-BC and works with autistic children, and with terminal patients who are slowly dying in Hospices. She does not seem trepidatious about going to face people in deep pain. Perhaps this is why she does so well singing in bars.

After we spoke I kept thinking about something she had said about her work and I think it helps explain the warm, fun-loving atmosphere she has brought back to Vincent’s on Thursday nights. She told me that when she goes to meet a client, she approaches them according to their mood. If he is sad, she begins to sing a sad song and slowly bring his mood higher. Her success relies upon her powers of empathy and suggestion.

Perhaps what has drawn so many people to her shows is the feeling that Cara Brindisi does not just play for her crowd, she plays with them. Looking in the eyes of her many fans you see something more than the typical admiration of a performer. You see that special light that ignites when a deep connection is made. As if the songs she sings provide some measure of relief or encouragement the listener didn’t know they needed.

As you shake off the winter and lift your face to the coming spring, take an hour or two some Thursday soon and step into Vincent’s. It’s about time we had some magic back in this town.

Learn more about  CARA BRINDISI

Read More by Steve Siddle

Visit Vincent’s Worcester


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You are currently reading CARA BRINDISI & THE MAGIC OF MUSIC by Steve Siddle at blank canvas magazine.


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