Nippertown’s Top 10 Albums of 2009

December 31st, 2009, 2:05 pm by Greg

As you can tell from our previous lists of the past four years – which we’ve been posting all week long – there’s no shortage of musical talent in the Capital Region. But this year’s batch of albums is simply the strongest in recent memory. And our memory is pretty good.

Even hedging our bet by squeezing 11 albums into our Top 10, there were still at least five additional honorable mention albums that would have earned a Top 10 spot in just about any other year.

So here it is without further ado –’s favorite Capital Region albums of 2009:

Jim Gaudet & the Railroad Boys: So Far So Good

Jim Gaudet & the Railroad Boys: So Far So Good

10 (tie) Steve Lambert’s “May” (Planet Arts) and Brian Patneaude’s “Riverview” (WEPA): Trumpeter Lambert and his band of Nippertown all-stars (including Patneaude) and saxman Patneaude’s own one-night-only recording with a switched-up combo prove that our jazz scene isn’t just surviving – it’s thriving.

09 Jim Gaudet & the Railroad Boys’ “So Far So Good” (Real Life Enterprises): Gaudet’s 2007 comeback album, “Re-Calling It Quits,” was brilliant, but this was the album that solidified the band and its bluegrass/folk-twang sound as a force to be reckoned with.

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Best Art Moments of 2009

December 31st, 2009, 1:01 pm by Greg

Maya Lin’s “Storm King Wavefield” @ Storm King Art Center: acres of undulating earth mimic the form of ocean waves, or perhaps the surrounding hills, and hypnotically change color and shape as the day passes.

Maya Lin: Storm King Wavefield

Maya Lin: Storm King Wavefield

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Gregg Allman, What Was the First Album You Ever Bought?

December 31st, 2009, 12:02 pm by Greg

Gregg Allman

Gregg Allman

“The first single was ‘Bird Dog’ by the Everly Brothers. Yeah, I always loved the Everly Brothers. Yeah, I did. It was the singing – the harmonies that they had – because they basically came from a country music background.

“But the first album that I bought was by Jimmy Reed, one of the early Jimmy Reed records. I’ve forgotten the title, but it had the ‘Boogie in the Dark’ on it. Of course, all Jimmy Reed songs were the same – just different tempos, different feels – but I really liked the words to that song, too.”

Veteran rocker Gregg Allman leads his band – the Gregg Allman Band, not the Allman Brothers Band – into The Egg in Albany on Sunday (January 3).

Blue Moon, Keep Shining Bright

December 31st, 2009, 11:09 am by Sara

Tonight is a Blue Moon – a second full moon in the span of a month, something that happens about once every 2 and a half years. The last time it happened on New Years Eve, though, was 1990, and you’ll have to wait until 2028 for the next one.

The Nippertown forecast for tonight is for an overcast sky, so we don’t know if you’ll be able to gaze at the Blue Moon with your sweetheart as you ring in the New Year, but here’s a snap of last night’s hazy Almost-But-Not-Quite-Blue-Moon. And here’s the immortal Patsy Cline, singing “Blue Moon of Kentucky”:

Flashback: Nippertown’s Top 10 Albums of 2008

December 31st, 2009, 10:01 am by Greg

Before we announce our selections of the Top 10 locally produced albums of 2009 on Thursday, we’ll be taking a glance back at a few earlier years of the decade each day this week.

The Best Capital Region CDs of 2008

Ben Karis-Nix: We Are Giants Now

Ben Karis-Nix: We Are Giants Now

Ben Karis-Nix’s “We Are Giants Now” (Collar City): Classic pop hooks held together with skittering electro-beats and lush harmonies. Not to mention a hint of banjo and crickets. Lead-off track “Giants” is far and away the most memorable song of the year.

Katie Haverly’s “Around the Bend” (no label): Great, hook-filled folk-pop noir in the vein of Suzanne Vega and Aimee Mann. Intelligent, intimate and intense.

Bryan Thomas and the Buggy Jive’s “One Three Six Nine Lights” (WT3): Thomas kicks out the jams with his rockin’-est disc without sacrificing one single iota of wit and wordplay. Also this year’s winner of the Best Band Photo award.

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12/31/09: Today’s Tips: Thursday

December 31st, 2009, 8:30 am by Greg

MUSIC/ART/PERFORMANCE/ETC.: WGXC-FM New Year’s Eve Masquerade Ball @ Basilica Industria, Hudson. Here are some details. 6pm-4am. $30.

MUSIC/FAMILY FUN/ART/ETC.: First Night Saratoga @ various locations through downtown Saratoga Springs. Here are some details. 5:30pm-12midnight. $15; children 5 and under free.

FAMILY FUN/MUSIC: Rocking New Year’s Eve Family Party @ the Bearsville Theater, Woodstock. Music by Uncle Rock. Bubble blowing extravaganza by the Gazillion Bubbles Show. Magic by Whoopsy Daisy the Clown. Plus face painting, balloon sculptures, more. The ball drops at 8:30pm. 6-9pm. $10; kids $5.

MUSIC: My Fair Planet @ the Dockside Grill, Athens. Slippery jazz, funk, psychedelia, blues and more from this cool combo led by guitarslinger Bob Irwin. 9:30pm. Free.

MUSIC: The Arch Stanton Quartet & Friends @ the Midtown Tap & Tea Room, Albany. Jazz up your New Year’s celebration. 9pm. Free.

COMEDY: “First Night of Funny: The Four Sides of Funny” @ the Palace Theatre, Albany. Stand-up comedy by Lenny Marcus, Patty Rosborough, Al Ducharme and Eric McMahon. 8pm. $35.

MUSIC: John Brown’s Body @ Revolution Hall, Troy. Reggae and more to kick off 2010. Champagne toast and late night brunch, too. With Lynch and Nautilus. 9pm. $30.

MUSIC: Cats Don’t Have Souls @ Valentine’s Music Hall, Albany. Free draft beer from 8-9pm. Wings, pizza, etc. all night. Champagne toast at 12midnight. Plus opening acts Nixon’s Spirit and the Killerados. 8pm. $10.

And please remember to be safe out there…

Nippertown’s Top 12 Concerts of 2009

December 30th, 2009, 2:58 pm by Greg

Brave Combo

Brave Combo (photo by Andrzej Pilarczyk)


I tried my best to really put the screws on and nail down my Top 10 fave concerts of the year, but I simply couldn’t do it. So here’s my Top Dozen concerts.

It would have been great if there was once for every month of the year, but it didn’t quite work out that way, so just go with the flow. (Heck, three of my fave shows of the year all took place within the same week in July.)

And please keep in mind that nobody – myself included – can possibly be at all of the concerts around town. And this year, in particular, I seemed to miss a lot of the big-venue blockbuster shows. But I’ve got no complaints.

So, here’s my chronological report on the best Nippertown concerts of 2009 – at least as I saw ’em:

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Weekend Round-up

December 30th, 2009, 2:50 pm by Greg

First Friday arts walk @ various locations, Albany (FREE)
Annie & the Hedonists @ Coffee Planet, Ballston Spa (FREE)
Bell County Silence with Tigers Jaw, Aficianado, End of a Year @ Valentine’s Music Hall, Albany
Ryan Halliwell with Ben McGrath @ the Moon & River Cafe, Schenectady (FREE)

Steve Gilette and Cindy Mangsen @ Caffe Lena, Saratoga Springs
Erin Harkes & the Rebound with Oryan @ Tess’ Lark Tavern, Albany
Gunther Weezul @ Positively 4th Street, Troy
Nite Train @ O’Toole’s, Colonie
Tern Rounders with the Red Haired Strangers @ the Bread & Jam Cafe, Cohoes

The Gregg Allman Band @ The Egg, Albany
Christine Lavin @ Caffe Lena, Saratoga Springs

Cartoonist John CaldwellHolly & EvanJim Gaudet and the Railroad BoysCaffe LenaThe Cock'N'Bull RestaurantAdvertise on Nippertown!Berkshire On StageAlbany PoetsHudson SoundsArtist and Musician Michael Eck