April 25th, 2017, 12:00 pm by Greg

By Don Wilcock

“One of the songs we’re going to do is ‘Tell the Truth’ by Derek & the Dominoes,” reveals Tommy Castro about his Six Strings Down Tour with Mike Zito, which touches down at Albany’s Upper Room on Wednesday night (April 26). “That’s kind of a blues, two guitars and two singers are on the tune.”

The sixth stop on a spring tour, Six Strings Down brings two of the most electric contemporary blues guitarists together for the first time. The two have a combined total of eight Blues Music Awards. They will be backed by Castro’s band The Painkillers and will play songs from Castro’s extensive repertoire and cuts from Zito’s popular new album Make Blues Not War.

“For some reason that record just jumped out for him when it came out on Billboard’s Blues Albums chart at No. 1. Not too bad,” says Castro. “Talk about timing, but it got off to a good start, and he’s just working out there doing all the right stuff, putting on good shows, writing good songs, making good records, and is working hard. It’s not easy starting out, getting the start in this area these days, and it’s not like it was when I started out. It’s much harder now for an act to get going.”

I first brought San Francisco native Tommy Castro to Greater Nippertown more than 20 years ago for the Troy Riverfront Arts Festival. His latest Alligator album, Method to My Madness, got a four-star review in Downbeat, and he showcased the tunes at his previous Upper Room concert back in October. But the album is a year and a half old now, and he wanted to inject something new into the tour. What better way than to team up with Zito whose high-energy sound fits hand-in-glove with Castro’s?

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Three New Concerts Announced for Skidmore’s Zankel Music Center

April 25th, 2017, 11:00 am by Greg

Jon Batiste – celebrated New Orleans pianist and house bandleader for Stephen Colbert’s “The Late Show” – is bringing his band, Stay Human, to Skidmore College’s Zankel Music Center in Saratoga Springs at 8pm on Thursday, July 6 as part of the Stewart’s Signature Series.

In addition to Batiste, the band features Eddie Barbash (alto sax, and vocals), Louis Cato (acoustic & bass guitar, tuba, percussion, vocals), Ibanda Ruhumbika (tuba), Jonathan Lampley (trumpet, tuba), Grace Kelly (alto and baritone saxophone), Russell Hall (bass) and Joseph Saylor (drums).

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Paul McCartney Is Headed to Syracuse’s Carrier Dome

April 25th, 2017, 10:00 am by Greg
Paul McCartney @ Yankee Stadium (photo by Rick Bedrosian)

Paul McCartney scheduled to play the Carrier Dome

Photograph by Rick Bedrosian

Just thought ya might like to know…

Sir Paul McCartney and his band are slated to make a tour stop at Syracuse University’s Carrier Dome on Saturday, September 23.

Tickets go on sale at 10am on Monday (May 1).

Three New Concerts Announced for Skidmore’s Zankel Music Center
FREE: UpBeat On the Roof Concert Series @ the Tang Museum

FREE: UpBeat On the Roof Concert Series @ the Tang Museum

April 25th, 2017, 9:00 am by Greg

Summer must getting close because the schedules for those free summertime concert series are beginning to roll out…

First out of the gate is the fab UpBeat on the Roof series, which actually takes place outdoors on the roof of Skidmore College’s Tang Museum in Saratoga Springs.

And there’s a big change this year. The series has been held on Friday evenings since it was launched more than a decade ago, but this summer the concerts will shift to Thursday evenings at 7pm to coincide with the Museum’s new hours. The museum will now remain open til 9pm on Thursdays, giving concert-goers the opportunity to peruse the exhibitions.

In case of rain, the concerts will be held inside the museum.

Here’s the 2017 schedule for UpBeat on the Roof:

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4/25/17: Today’s Top Tips: Tuesday

April 25th, 2017, 7:00 am by Greg

MUSIC: Aimee Mann @ The Egg, Albany. The smart singer-songwriter is back with Mental Illness, her first album in five years, and she’s bringing her wry melancholia to The Egg. With Jonathan Coulton in support of his new album, Solid State. 7:30pm. $34.50.

MUSIC: Timothy B. Schmit @ Cohoes Music Hall, Cohoes. The Rock & Roll Hall of Famer, whose resume includes stints with the Eagles and Poco, plays in support of his latest solo album, Leap of Faith. 7:30pm. $45.50, $57.50 & $69.50. GO HERE to enter to win FREE tickets…

DANCE: “Move Beyond” @ the Palace Theatre, Albany. “Dancing with the Stars” brother-and-sister team of Julianne & Derek Hough bring their latest stage show to town. 7:30pm. $49.50, $59.50 & $79.50.

MUSIC: Orchestra of St. Luke’s Chamber Ensemble @ Caffe Lena, Saratoga Springs. SPAC and Lena’s team up to present the Greater Nippertown debut of one of America’s foremost chamber orchestras. 7pm. $45. UPDATE: This concert is now officially sold out…

CIRCUS: Circus 1903 @ Proctors, Schenectady. A thrilling turn-of-the-century circus spectacular with live-sized elephant puppets. 7:30pm. $20-$70. Also at 7:30pm on Wednesday.

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LIVE: Giacomo Gates @ Senate Garage, 3/23/17

April 24th, 2017, 4:00 pm by Greg
Giacomo Gates

Giacomo Gates

Review and photographs by Rudy Lu

A performance by Giacomo Gates is always a laid back evening of true hipness. His recent performance at Kingston’s Senate Garage was no different.

Even though his usual musicians weren’t backing him up, the veteran trio that supported him had all played with him before although for some, it had been more than 20 years!

The trio – led by bassist Don Miller with Larry Ham on piano and Thomas Xiques on drums – easily blended into Giacomo’s wry, hip, swinging vocals, the lyrics liberally sprinkled with his famous scat singing.

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HEARD: Playlist, 4/17-23/17

April 24th, 2017, 2:30 pm by Greg

Just so you know where our ears have been at, here’s a rundown of what we’ve been spinning at Nippertown HQ (and in the Nippermobile) this past week – CDs, vinyl, streaming and maybe even a cassette or two:

Fats Waller: Fats Waller & His Rhythm: If You Got to Ask, You Ain’t Got It (Bluebird/Legacy, 2006)
Bruce Langhorne: “The Hired Hand:” Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (Scissor Tail, 2015)
Bill Frisell & Thomas Morgan: Small Town (ECM, 2017)
Gruppo Sportivo: 10 Mistakes + 5 More (Sony, 2012)
Robert Palmer: Riptide (Island, 1985)
Gene Harris & the Three Sounds: Elegant Soul (Blue Note, 1969)
Ike Turner’s Kings of Rhythm: A Black Man’s Soul (Pompeii, 1969)
Baby Huey: The Baby Huey Story: The Living Legend (Curtom, 1971)
In This Moment: Black Widow (Atlantic, 2014)
Turtle Island String Quartet: On the Town (Windham Hill Jazz, 1991)
Overcoats: Young (Arts & Crafts, 2017)
Charly Bliss: Guppy (Barsuk, 2017)

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Filmmaker Mariam Ghani to Screen Rare Afghan Films at EMPAC [Berkshire on Stage]

April 24th, 2017, 1:30 pm by Sara

A 7pm tonight (Monday, April 24), artist Mariam Ghani will present a selection of rare films produced between 1978-1991 from the Afghan Film Archive at EMPAC at RPI in Troy.

What We Left Unfinished is Ghani’s long-term research and film project.

Working in the dual role of artist and historian, Ghani describes the project as “centered around five unfinished Afghan feature films shot, but never edited, between 1978 and 1992: years that encompass the Afghan Communist coup d’état, attempted reforms that met bitter rural resistance, a series of internal purges and assassinations, the Soviet invasion and withdrawal, a five-year attempt at national reconciliation, the handover of power to a mujahidin coalition, and finally dissolution into civil war.

“From the unfinished films commissioned, produced and canceled by various iterations of the Afghan state, in various moments of the Afghan Communist project, we can reconstruct not the truths, precisely, of how the state existed and acted in those moments, but rather its most important fictions: its desires and fears, ambitions and ghosts. In the imaginary presented by most finished films of the period, we see the ideal People’s Democratic Republic that could have been, but wasn’t; in the unfinished films, the reality–a utopian project secured by violent force–lingers like a shadow, just barely concealed behind allegories and codes. The world around the films, where filmmaking itself was a dangerous enterprise, seeps into the world onscreen.”

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

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