Archive for February, 2010

It’s The Weekend!

Friday, February 26th, 2010

Best. Walk. Ever.

ArtBeat: What To See

Weekend Roundup


LIVE: Blissed Out @ Saratoga Arts Center, 2/23/10

Friday, February 26th, 2010

Blissed Out

Blissed Out

Get Blissed!

Saratoga Arts launched its 2010 music series “Music@Saratoga Arts” on Tuesday night, with headliners Blissed Out capping off a trio of experimental music performances.

Blissed Out – the Brooklyn-based electronic music duo of Alex Winter and Sasha Winn – sat on the floor and played a variety of synthesizers, drum machines and sound-effects boxes, as they wove together a continuous sound tapestry made up of different compositions ranging from dance-club grooves to new-age drones.

Starting off the evening Fossils From the Sun (aka, Ray Hare) blended electronically manipulated vocals with electric guitar and a wide variety of sound effects to deliver several interesting and diverse compositions.

Following the intermission, Eric Hardiman’s solo project Rambutan combined electronic keyboards, synthesizers, electric guitar effects and distorted vocals to create unique soundscapes that transported the Arts Center Gallery into an alternate musical dimension.

And while the snow flew outside, video artist 1983 supplied plenty of indoor visual stimulus, as an array of video images rhythmically flashed onto the screen behind the performers, who were nestled in and around Margo Mensing’s exhibit “It’s Not Unusual,” filled with found objects, unique sculptures and installations.

Review and photographs by Andrzej Pilarczyk

Eric Hardiman

Eric Hardiman

Ray Hare and video artist 1983

Ray Hare (left ) and video artist 1983 (right)

Radio Report: The Cat’s All Hat

Friday, February 26th, 2010

It’s been a busy week on the Nippertown radio dial.

Laura Glazer’s “Hello Pretty City” switches from WRPI to WEXT. Then 100.9 FM became The Bridge. And Barbara Kaiser’s former WRPI show “Jazz &…” re-surfaces on the internet.

The lastest radio news? The Edge has been transformed into The Cat.

In an apparent attempt to go directly after the area’s biggest radio station, WGNA-FM, The Cat is a country station. Or rather, a station that plays what passes for country music on the radio these days.

So once again doing my duty as music journalist, I tuned in to The Cat about 1pm today, and I heard – Taylor Swift. Hmmm, apparently folks just can’t enough of this gal.

Anyway, for the hour that I listened, the playlist went like this:

Taylor Swift‘s “15”
Darius Rucker‘s “History in the Making”
Kid Rock/Sheryl Crow‘s “Picture”
Josh Thompson‘s “Beer on the Table”
Kenny Chesney‘s “Never Wanted Nothing More”
The Zac Brown Band‘s “Toes” (although they beeped out the offending word in the chorus, “Got my toes in the water, ass in the sand”)
Billy Currington‘s “Good Directions”
Joe Nichols‘ “Gimmie That Girl”
Miley Cyrus‘ “The Climb”
Josh Turner‘s “Why Don’t We Just Dance”
Darius Rucker‘s “It Won’t Be Like This for Long”
Taylor Swift‘s “Fearless”
Trace Adkins‘ “Ladies Love Country Boys”
Miranda Lambert‘s “White Liar”
Confederate Railroad‘s “Trashy Women”
Keith Urban‘s “Sweet Thing”
Gloriana‘s “Wild at Heart”
Brad Paisley‘s “American Saturday Night”

And if the playlist doesn’t really let you know what the station’s all about, those snappy, little between-song promos certainly made it clear:

“10,000 in a row. 10,000 of today’s best country songs in a row. Back to back.”
“Today’s best country. 104.9. The Cat.”
“Today’s best country. WZMR. Altamont.”
“We’re your new home for today’s best country. And to help you get to know us a little better, we’re playing 10,000 songs in a row.”
“10,000 of today’s best country songs back-to-back.”
“All new 104.9 The Cat”
“Someone let The Cat out of the bag. And there’s no way we’re going back in.”
“We’re your new home for today’s best country.”
“Because we just met, we thought we’d break the ice with 10,000 songs in a row.”
“Why the Cheshire grin? 10,000 songs in a row would make anyone smile this way.”
“10,000 in a row. 10,000 in a row.”

OK, OK, enough already. We get the idea…

The Return of “Jazz &…”

Friday, February 26th, 2010

Disc jockey Barbara Kaiser – who was the host of the long-running WRPI-FM weekly radio show “Jazz &…” – is back behind the microphone, but she isn’t returning to the RPI radio station.

Instead, she’s taken her “Jazz &…” show to the internet, where she can be heard at Her three-hour show plays continuously 24 hours a day.

“So if you wake up at 3am and want to play it, it’s there,” explains Kaiser. “It’s a new venture, and it’s very interesting.”

If you’re not familiar with the show, Kaiser describes “Jazz &…” as “a wild, mixed-up mishmash of old and new jazz, but only greats. Also any other thing I want to play from Tom Waits to the Beach Boys because it’s my show.”

Lately, she’s been doing themed shows, and her latest program is “Moon Music,” featuring three hours of songs about the moon. “It was a fun show to do,” says Kaiser. “I didn’t realize there were so many songs about the moon, such as ‘Moon River,’ ‘Moonlight in Vermont,’ ‘How High the Moon’…”

The “Moon Music” show features the sounds of such jazz musicians as Artie Shaw, Ray Bryant, Billie Holiday, Tierney Sutton, Vincent Herring and Jackie & Roy, as well as such non-jazzers as the piano duo of Ferrente & Teicher, the Lettermen and even Ethel Merman.

LIVE: Steve Smith’s Vital Legacy @ the Van Dyck, 2/21/10

Friday, February 26th, 2010

Steve Smith

Steve Smith

Steve Smith’s Vital Legacy is perfect for this fuel-efficient age because it’s a hybrid: It mixes aspects and elements of the fusion unit Vital Information and the straight-ahead outfit Jazz Legacy, with a side order of music from the Buddy Rich tribute band Smith fronted a few years ago. However, the entire set was pushed through the souped-up electric matrix Smith built with Vital Information almost three decades ago. As a result, Smith’s quintet hit classics like “Bemsha Swing” and “A Night in Tunisia” like a juiced-up outfielder hits a hanging curve ball.

Audience members whose knowledge of Smith went as far as “Don’t Stop Believing” had to be blown away by the sheer thunder he continually conjured up.


They’re Young & Divine…

Friday, February 26th, 2010

You may have seen this hot young local trio on the Nippertown club scene during the past year or so at places like Valentine’s Music Hall in Albany and Northern Lights in Clifton Park.

But now Young & Divine are hoping to put Albany on the national music map. The band – singer-songwriter-bassist JP Clark, guitarist Jake Mai and drummer Joe Bortscheller – is about to embark on a March tour of the southeast. They’re teaming up with Secret Secret Dino Club and the Condition for a six-state swing, which will take them from Virgina Beach to New Orleans.

Even more impressive, RCA Records is gearing up to release Young & Divine’s self-titled debut EP – featuring the lead-off single, “Shake That Bubble” – on March 23. The band recorded the EP independently with Kenneth Mount and Zack Odom at Tree Sound Studios in Atlanta.

But before heading off on tour, Young & Divine will be making a hometown appearance, playing at Northern Lights in Clifton Park on Saturday, as special guests at the Break Contest, a multi-city battle of the bands. The festivities get underway at 12noon.

The Man in Black

Friday, February 26th, 2010

Johnny Cash at the Starlite Theater 9/3/94 (photo by Martin Benjamin)

Johnny Cash at the Starlite Theater 9/3/94 (photo by Martin Benjamin)

“Man In Black” (by John R. Cash)

Well, you wonder why I always dress in black,
Why you never see bright colors on my back,
And why does my appearance seem to have a somber tone.
Well, there’s a reason for the things that I have on.

I wear the black for the poor and the beaten down,
Livin’ in the hopeless, hungry side of town,
I wear it for the prisoner who has long paid for his crime,
But is there because he’s a victim of the times.

I wear the black for those who never read,
Or listened to the words that Jesus said,
About the road to happiness through love and charity,
Why, you’d think He’s talking straight to you and me.

Well, we’re doin’ mighty fine, I do suppose,
In our streak of lightnin’ cars and fancy clothes,
But just so we’re reminded of the ones who are held back,
Up front there ought ‘a be a Man In Black.

I wear it for the sick and lonely old,
For the reckless ones whose bad trip left them cold,
I wear the black in mournin’ for the lives that could have been,
Each week we lose a hundred fine young men.

And, I wear it for the thousands who have died,
Believen’ that the Lord was on their side,
I wear it for another hundred thousand who have died,
Believin’ that we all were on their side.

Well, there’s things that never will be right I know,
And things need changin’ everywhere you go,
But ’til we start to make a move to make a few things right,
You’ll never see me wear a suit of white.

Ah, I’d love to wear a rainbow every day,
And tell the world that everything’s OK,
But I’ll try to carry off a little darkness on my back,
‘Till things are brighter, I’m the Man In Black.

Today marks the 78th anniversary of the birth of Johnny Cash, one of the most influential figures, not just in country music, but in American music.

Although Cash died in 2003, this week his new album, “American VI: Ain’t No Grave,” was released on Lost Highway Records, marking his final collaboration with producer Rick Rubin. Fans from all over the world are being invited to help celebrate Johnny Cash’s life, music and the enduring voice he gave to the poor and
beaten down by posting pictures of themselves wearing black today.

Go here for information and links to join the Facebook event (to post your photos), follow on Twitter and to hear the album’s first single, “Ain’t No Grave.” All participants will be eligible to win a copy of “American VI: Ain’t No Grave,” as well as the 5-CD Johnny Cash box set, “Unearthed.” The lucky winner will be chosen at random on March 12.

NOTE: This contest is NOT sponsored by We’re just passing on the info to you.

Also, in celebration of Johnny Cash’s birthday, there are several special musical events taking place around Nippertown. Unfortunately, three of them are all taking place on Saturday night.

Sublime singer-songwriter Rosanne Cash and her band step into the spotlight at The Egg in Albany at 8pm Saturday, playing music from throughout her career, as well as highlights from her latest album, “The List,” based on a list of seminal country songs that her father gave her years ago. Singer-songwriter-violinist Jenny Scheinman opens the show. Tickets to the concert are $34.50.

Meanwhile at the Van Dyck in Schenectady, many of the area’s finest roots musicians will gather together for the Johnny Cash Birthday Bash at 8pm on Saturday. The house band will feature vocalist-drummer Dale Haskell, guitarist John Hoffman and bassist Big Frank Novko with vocalist MotherJudge at the helm. Scheduled guests include Jim Gaudet and Bob Ristau (the Railroad Boys), nine-year-old Cristo Lewis, Ashley Pond, Ramblin Jug Stompers, Tom Benson (Dyer Switch), Tom McWatters (the Sense Offenders), Terry McClain (The Realside), Mike McMann, Rob Skane and maybe a few surprises. Tix are $8 in advance; $10 at the door. For a sneak preview, listen to MotherJudge and McWatters at about 11am UPDATE: 3pm today on WEXT-FM.

And up in Salem, the Fort Salem Theater is hosting its own tribute to the Man in Black with “The Spirit of Johnny Cash” featuring Harold Ford as Cash and Laura Lacy as June Carter. Showtime is 8pm on Saturday.

Photo by Martin Benjamin.

2/26/10: Today’s Tips: Friday

Friday, February 26th, 2010

PANEL DISCUSSION: Dr. Philip Barnard, Scott deLahunta, Wayne McGregor @ EMPAC at RPI, Troy. A discussion about R-Research, the research branch of Wayne McGregor | Random Dance, which initiates and implements new collaborations across disciplines including dance, neuroscience, cognitive science, biology, philosophy and technology. 6pm. Free.

PERFORMANCE: Wayne McGregor | Random Dance‘s “ENTITY” @ EMPAC at RPI, Troy. Cutting-edge contemporary dance with propulsive music, sexy choreography and lots of innovative, high-tech multi-media bells and whistles. 8pm. $15; seniors/students $10. Also on Saturday night.

MUSIC: Beware! The Other Head of Science @ Valentine’s Music Hall, Albany. The Schenectady sonic mavericks celebrate the unleashing of their brand-spankin’ new slab of synth-soaked electro-rockin’, “Big American Godzilla Party” on the ever-popular B3nson Recording label. Hold onto your hats – it’s gonna be a wild ride. With Barons in the Attic, Spread ‘Em and Pablo Dinero sharing the bill. 8:30pm. $5.

PERFORMANCE: Laurie Anderson‘s “Delusion” @ Williams College’s ’62 Center for Theater and Dance, Williamstown, Mass. The U.S. premiere of Anderson’s new one-woman multimedia performance. Go here for more info. 8pm. $10; students $3. Also on Saturday night.

ART/MUSIC: Troy Night Out @ various locations, Troy. It’s time once again for the last-Friday-of-the-month arts walk around Troy. Highlights: “The Best of 2009,” a look back by more than 70 photographers at the Photography Center; the group show “What Are You Doing Now?” at Martinez Gallery; Wren Panzella & Chris Murray at the Clement Art Gallery; “Street” a spray paint & Sharpie exhibit at Artcentric Gift Gallery; tango lessons at the Daily Grind and lots more. 5-9pm. Free.

MUSIC: Barefoot Truth @ Red Square, Albany. Led by drummer-vocalist-songwriter Will Evans, the quintet celebrates the release of its brand new, rockin’, reggae-infused album, “Threads.” Clinton Curtis opens the show. 9pm. $10.

MUSIC: Doc Scanlon’s Rhythm Boys‘ A Winter’s Eve Swing Soiree” with Colleen Pratt, the Saratoga Savoy Swing Kids @ The Linda, Albany. An evening of swing jazz, big band rhythms and jumpin’ blues with swing dance lessons by Jason Fenton, a dance contest and lots of great music. 8pm. $15.

Jim Gaudet and the Railroad BoysCaffe LenaHolly & EvanCartoonist John CaldwellThe Cock'N'Bull RestaurantAdvertise on Nippertown!Hudson SoundsAlbany PoetsBerkshire On StageArtist Charles HaymesLeave Regular Radio BehindThe LindaMohawk Hudson Humane Society