The decades are rollin’ by up at Saratoga Springs’ venerable Caffe Lena, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. As part of the celebration, Caffe manager Sarah Craig has put together a series of Decades Concerts – each one representing one of the five decades that the famed second-floor coffeehouse has been in continuous operation.
The series started off on Friday, January 22 with Jack Landron (aka Jackie Washington) and Bill Staines playing the ’60s Decade Concert. Livingston Taylor took over for the ’70s Decade Concert on Saturday, February 27.
And longtime Lena’s regular Mary McCaslin returns for the ’80s Decade Concert on Friday, March 12.
Still upcoming are the ’90s Decade Concert featuring Bill Morrissey and Cliff Eberhardt on Friday, April 9; and the ’00s Decade Concert which pairs the Jeremy Wallace Trio with Ramblin Jug Stompers on Saturday, May 15.
All of which are leading up to the big Caffe Lena 50th Anniversary Celebration Weekend, which will be held from Friday-Sunday, May 21-23. Details have yet to be announced, so stay tuned for info.
In the meantime, Mary McCaslin graciously took a few minutes to chat with Nippertown.com about Caffe Lena and her upcoming performance:
Q: Mary, as part of Caffe Lena’s ongoing Decades Concert series, you’re going to be representing the ’80s. Is that right?
A: Well, I’ve played Lena’s since the early 1970s, but they decided to have me represent the 1980s – in spite of the fact that my most recent booking there was in 2008.
Q: Will anyone be playing with you at Caffe Lena?
A: I’m splitting the evening with the great Canadian singer-songwriter Garnet Rogers. He’s really good. He has so many incredible songs, and I’m flattered to be on the bill with him.
Q: Do you have any special surprises in store for your return to Caffe Lena?
A: Well, after the death of a wonderful singer and storyteller named Logan English in the early 1980s, I wrote a song about him called “Ghost Story,” which I’ve never recorded, but plan to sing at my March 12th Lena’s performance. I have to rehearse it some, since I haven’t sung it lately. Logan was a longtime Saratoga Springs resident (though he was from Kentucky) and a beloved member of that community. His death touched everyone who knew him. He was struck and killed crossing a street in Saratoga one night. A friend who was tending a bar that Logan frequented said he really believed he saw Logan come in the door at his usual time one evening soon after his death. I love ghost stories…