On August 9, 2023

Rockin’ the Region: Heather Lynne

Rockin’ the Region with Heather Lynne

You may know Heather Lynne as the owner of The Wild Fern or as the bassist that plays with Rick Reddington. She was a member of The Luv and now is in Tuff Luv. What you might not know is Heather is adding solo shows to her repertoire. You can see Heather perform her solo show at The Wild Fern on Aug. 18 and 25 at 7:30 p.m. Tuff Luv is Rick, Heather and two drummers Jay Osborn and David Lewis. Heather said, “It’s been super awesome having two drummers. We’re really kicking ass.”

The Wild Fern is in their 11th year, having just celebrated their 10th anniversary last September. Heather opened a year after Irene, so she’s been through a lot since she was also open through the pandemic and was able to stay afloat. Heather said, “I definitely evolved the business. We used to be open five nights a week with four nights of pizza and Sunday brunch. I always had the bagel, bread and croissant business going at the same time but during Covid that more than quadrupled. So now I make more breads than pizza.” Heather added, “So far we’re still getting by, and Rick’s been helping me make the pizza dough for the past 6 months plus he makes 15 pizzas a week for the Stockbridge Community Meal.” 

Deborah Aldrich started this program two years ago and it relies on donations. Local farmers, growers and chefs contribute healthy food that is put in a freezer at Stockbridge Central School’s concession stand. Anyone can go pick up food weekdays 2:45 – 7 p.m. They ask that you donate, if you’re able, and return the container and lid after so they can refill them. Their page says, “We are a community that cares about one another to make sure that everyone has access to high quality food.” Heather said, “It’s a nice little thing to help push the organic food movement forward. More information available at stockbridgecommunitymeals.org.  

Heather is thankful to her regulars and said, “It’s an unusual business, we don’t operate the same as most businesses. The hours are a little different every day so please check Facebook or Instagram first. Google is always incorrect, and I have nothing to do with them, but apologize if people found hours there.” Besides the music and great food, every Sunday The Wild Market is out front featuring local artists and a masseuse 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.

If the weather cooperates, all shows at The Wild Fern are in the new Green Rocks natural amphitheater space which is located behind the Luv Bus. The Dead show then Heather are Fridays, Rick and Tuff Luv on Saturdays (Except Aug. 12 for August West Fest at Jay Peak) and Rick solo is on Sunday (except August 13 for Ludlow town park). All shows are 7:30 p.m. and BYOB. There usually is a small fee associated with each show. I’ve seen the Fern evolve into what they are today, and that new outdoor space is amazing. There’s so much space and seating with chairs, picnic tables and plenty of lawn for a blanket. They also have fire pits if it’s cold. 

Sixteen years ago, Rick was selling an upright bass and Heather knew she had to buy it, even though she didn’t play bass. Heather said, “I tried to play guitar on my own but developed some bad rhythmic habits, not using a metronome or playing with anybody. I don’t advise that; it took me a while to undo those bad habits.” Heather didn’t start playing that bass for a year and then she plucked out the rhythm to Rick’s song “Gabriel”. She would never let anybody listen to her, not even Rick, but asked him to come listen. Around that same time, the August West Fest was happening at Jay Peak. Jeff Poremski was the bassist with Rick but Heather learned a handful of Grateful Dead tunes so Jeff could switch back to guitar. Heather said, “My first-time playing bass was to 1,000 people at this festival. I’d never been on a stage or plugged in, but I did it. I was super excited, got through the songs and they called me back up to sing “Sweet Life” (Rick original) on electric bass which I’d never even touched, prior to that moment. I did it and it felt amazing.”

Six weeks later, it was time for Jeff and Rick to part ways. Rick was booked at the Outback all weekend and he told Heather she had to play bass with him. She said apprehensively, “Well, I don’t know how but I’ll give it a shot. I took as many notes as I could, had charts in front of me and played the entire weekend, well, I got through the entire weekend, let’s say that.” Rick liked what he saw and added her to The Luv which also had Blake Gowan (drums) and Chuck Miller (keyboard). They taught Heather as it went along, and it went well since Heather is celebrating 17 years playing with Rick. Heather added, “I’m so happy that happened to me [August West]. It’s one of the top five things in my life, becoming a bass player. I always wanted to be a musician since I was a little kid. I took four years of violin lessons but abandoned that for various reasons and then in my twenties, I picked up guitar again but like I said, never did anything with it. It was always there; it was just waiting to happen. I was a latecomer to it, pushing 37 when that happened and I’m 53 now so I was late to the game but I’m so happy to be right where I’m at.”

Heather has always been a writer but doesn’t call herself a songwriter. She has written about two albums full of songs, possibly three. She hasn’t released any but could in the future. She’s playing them in her shows so you must go see her at The Fern Aug. 18 and 25. She said, “Now it’s evolved into playing my own songs and I’m able to lead our band which took a long time. When Rick passes the torch to me to do a song, I can now do it on my own.”

She has Rick to thank for all this. He pushed her to play solo. It was shortly before Covid when she started but was forced to take a break during Covid. This time Rick pushed her to do some live streams, which she enjoyed. Years ago, I saw Heather play one song solo at a wedding, and I was really impressed. I can’t wait to see a full show. Heather said, “It’s not easy playing solo, when you’re in a band you have a support system all around you. I probably prefer being the bass player and being the side lady as opposed to having to front a band all the time. I’m happy that’s Rick’s job.”

Heather just wants to make people happy. She said, “For me it doesn’t matter whether it’s me playing bass or singing my own songs or making beautiful breads and pizzas. Ultimately, I have this obsession with trying to please people.” She makes herself happy because she gets to get dressed up. She added, “I get to put the stage clothes on.”

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