On the second Thursday of every month, some Celtic-inspired musical mastery takes place in Schenectady’s historic Stockade. Longtime area performer Amy Collins and her bandmates bring their unique, folk-revival-tinged sounds to the intimate confines of the Moon & River Cafe.
The classically trained Ms. Collins has shown that she can easily shift gears… moving from her own Irish-flavored version of Anna Nalick’s “Breathe (2AM),” on to Stan Rogers’ folk tune “Oh No, Not I” and even a more upbeat rendition of Nine Inch Nails’ “Hurt” – during her solo set. Among the many originals were “Best Laid Plans” and “The Captain,” from her upcoming October release.
Rounding out the trio are southpaw guitarist and mandolinist Mike Messitt and Bill Flynn, who likes to bring along his favorite percussion instruments… namely the bodhran, djembe and cajon, aka “the Box.” Joining them as this month’s special guests were Bill’s brother Tom Flynn playing bluesharp. Some Nippertown readers may recognize them as the Brothers Flynn. John Cromie added a nice touch as well, playing a flute-like instrument which he simply referred to as a whistle. This assortment of musicians shifted positions throughout the show, playing as a five-piece outfit, the Brothers Flynn duo and the original trio.
As he once did at Albany’s late, much-lamented Mother Earth Cafe, Moon & River owner Richard Genest provides a friendly, intimate and relaxed place to see up-and-coming artists, as well as some of the more seasoned ones. While there, you can also have a cup of coffee and indulge in the mostly vegetarian menu, which, by the way, is quite reasonably priced. A rare gem in the heart of Schenectady!
Review and photographs by Al Goldberg