It’s the Weekend!

July 31st, 2015, 4:05 pm by Greg
Let's get ice cream! Or maybe peanut butter sandwiches? Could we go swimming? Let's stop at the dog park!  Let's go to that store where the lady always gives me a cookie!  Look over there - kids on bicycles! Got any bacon?

Let’s get ice cream! Or maybe peanut butter sandwiches? Could we go swimming? Let’s stop at the dog park! Let’s go to that store where the lady always gives me a cookie! Look over there – kids on bicycles! Got any bacon?

Kudos to you for making it through another work week, so now it’s time to get out there and soak up some fun. But before we head out for the first weekend of August, we’d like to send a great big thank-you to everyone who dropped by this week to add encouragement, support, proof-reading and, yes, criticism, too. And thanks for helping to spread the word about

Of course, we couldn’t possibly cover the wide, wonderful scope of art and entertainment offerings around Nippertown without a dedicated bunch of wonderful writers, photographers, artists, tipsters and other assorted enablers who continually enrich us all with their contributions. So a big salute goes out to this week’s community contributors:

Timothy Reidy
Stanley Johnson
Andrzej Pilarczyk
Richard Brody
Tom Lindsay
Ed Conway
J Hunter
Rudy Lu
Ted Were
David Brickman
Larry Murray

Please consider adding your name to this list. Just send us something – a review, preview, interview, photo, list, rant, crayon drawing or whatever’s on your mind. Remember, Nippertown is your hometown, and we can’t possibly do this without your help.

And thanks to all of the folks from the area venues and organizations who were gracious enough to provide us with review tickets and/or photo passes for their events:

The Music Haven, Schenectady
Caffe Lena, Saratoga Springs
Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival, Oak Hill
The Hangar, Troy
The Low Beat, Albany
Guthrie Bell Productions, Albany
Riverlink Concerts, Amsterdam
Rockin’ On the River, Troy
Clearwater’s Great Hudson River Revival, Croton-On-Hudson
The Egg, Albany
Troy River Fest, Troy
Office of Special Events, Albany
Pauly’s Hotel, Albany
Fenimore Art Museum, Cooperstown
Troy Pig Out, Troy
Williamstown Theatre Festival, Williamstown
The Madison Theater, Albany

Thanks for keeping Nippertown alive… and lively,

Sara Ayers
Greg Haymes


LIVE: Jocelyn Arndt @ Riverlink Park, 7/25/15

July 31st, 2015, 3:00 pm by Greg


Photographs by Stanley Johnson

WHAT: Riverlink Concert Series
WHO: Jocelyn Arndt
WHERE: Riverlink Park, Amsterdam
WHEN: Sunday, July 25, 2015

UPCOMING: The Celtic folk band Triskele performs at Amsterdam’s Riverlink Concert Series at 7pm on Saturday (August 1). Admission is FREE.

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LIVE: Clearwater’s Great Hudson River Revival @ Croton Point Park, 6/20/15 (Day One)

July 31st, 2015, 2:00 pm by Greg
Neko Case

Neko Case

Review and photographs by Andrzej Pilarczyk

Like Rome in the ancient days, Clearwater’s Great Hudson Revival means many things to many people. Some view it as the very first grand festival to usher in the summer season of roots-Americana, bluegrass and folk festivals. Old Songs, Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival, Green River, the Newport Folk Festival and dozens of others here in the Northeast follow in its wake. Many of the same performing artists appearing at Clearwater make the rounds between them. The same for a part of the audience because they festival-hop, seeing old friends year-after-year and enjoying a weekend away from work, responsibilities and, for some, city living.

But symbolically, it’s Pete and Toshi’s Clearwater’s Great Hudson Revival that sets the tone socially and politically for all the rest. If you want to be aware of the latest liberal socio-political trends, that’s the place to be to meet like-minded people and maybe sign a petition or two for the cause. If you want to know what’s being done progressively to make the Hudson River a little bit cleaner, you will get your answers there. If you want to know what corporate entities are taking the environment seriously, you can find that out easily.

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LIVE: “Sirens of Song” @ The Hangar, 6/12/15

July 31st, 2015, 1:00 pm by Greg
Lonesome Val

Lonesome Val

Review by Greg Haymes
Photographs by Ed Conway

Despite initial conflicts and confusion regarding dates and venues, Greg Bell of Guthrie Bell Productions wasn’t about to let go of his idea to bring together four of the Local 518’s finest female singer-songwriters on a single bill.

Thank goodness, he didn’t. It all finally came together at The Hangar in Troy on a truly magical evening, amidst one of the summer’s most severe thunderstorms as a non-stop barrage of lightning flashed through the windows to provide a natural psychedelic light show while two veterans – Lonesome Val and Caroline MotherJudge – teamed up with a pair of relative newcomers – Olivia Quillio and Ashley Sofia – for a glorious evening of music.

Quillio was the undisputed headliner. MotherJudge was the most instrumentally exotic, backed by a band that included cellist Monica Wilson, steel guitarist Kevin Maul, the ever-esoteric guitarist-vocalist Mitch Elrod and mandolinist/husband Sten Isachsen. And Ticondiroga’a young Sofia opened the show with a solid, earnest set of songs, debuting some new material, and bringing her dad Billy Sofia onstage to sing with her on her best song of the night, “1973.”

But it was clear from the start that the majority of the crowd was there to hear “Lonesome Val” Haynes, the sparkplug and primary vocalist for the Units (who later changed their name to Fear of Strangers), Nippertown’s most popular band of the early ’80s new-wave scene.

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HOT READS: Nippertown’s Top 10 Stories of the Week

July 31st, 2015, 12:00 pm by Greg

Yes, we’ve heard all the complaints that some of you simply don’t have the time to read all of the news as fast as we write it. And, yes, there was a whole lot of news to write about this week, including new concert announcements and music and festival reviews…

So for all of you casual, once-or-twice-a-week readers, here’s a summary of the Top 10 most-viewed stories from Nippertown during the past week:

1. Massry Center for the Arts Announces 2015-2016 Season of Concerts (by Staff)

2. Palace Theatre Announces New Show (by Staff)

3. New Concert Announced for the Times Union Center (by Staff)

4. The Egg Announces New Concert (by Staff)

5. COMIN’ SOON: This Week’s New Concert Announcements (by Staff)

6. Music Video o’ the Week: Kalle Mattson’s “Avalanche” (by Staff)

7. LIVE: Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival @ Walsh Farm, 7/16/15 (Day One) (by Richard Brody, Andrzej Pilarczyk)

8. FEST: Eastbound Throwdown in Greenwich on Saturday (by Staff)

9. FEST: The Lake George Blues & Roots Music Festival on Saturday & Sunday (by Staff)

10. LIVE: The Gary McFarland Legacy Ensemble @ Madison Theater, 7/14/15 (by J Hunter, Rudy Lu)

FREE FEST: The Black Arts & Cultural Festival @ the Empire State Plaza on Saturday

July 31st, 2015, 11:00 am by Greg

The annual Black Arts & Cultural Festival returns to the Empire State Plaza in Albany from 12noon-7pm on Saturday. The free, day-long fest will feature plenty of music, capped off by headliner Will Downing.

In addition, the fest will feature an expanded Kids’ Zone with interactive activities, including pony rides, face painting, arts and crafts, science experiments and bounce rides. There will be Scratch Academy, where kids can learn and hone the techniques practiced by hip-hop DJs. Live demonstrations include the Austin’s Barbershop Battle, spoken word and poetry slam with Urban Guerilla Theater, Triple Threat All-Stars Cheerleading and Dance; and Trinity Alliance Hoops Challenge. And Albany Center Gallery will host a satellite exhibit with 18 artists showcasing their work on black arts and culture plus live painting.

Here’s the complete schedule of musical performances for the 2015 Black Arts & Cultural Festival:

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FIVE FIRSTS: Dick Solberg of the Sun Mountain Band

July 31st, 2015, 10:00 am by Greg


Photograph by Tom Lindsay

NAME: Dick Solberg
BAND AFFILIATION: Sun Mountain Fiddler & the Sun Mountain Band, starting around 1980… and still playing, goddamit!
INSTRUMENT: fiddle, piano, bass, guitar

1. THE FIRST ALBUM I EVER BOUGHT WAS … Jascha Heifetz playing the two Beethoven romances on Side A and the Mozart concerto #5 on Side B.

2. THE FIRST CONCERT THAT I EVER SAW WAS … David and son Igor Oistrakh playing the Bach Double at White Plains Civic Center, maybe 1963.

3. THE FIRST MUSICAL INSTRUMENT I EVER OWNED OR PLAYED WAS … My mother taught piano at Manhattan School of Music, and we had two pianos in the house, so I started piano at five, violin at eight. We kids could only watch TV on weekends, and had to practice 20 minutes for each half hour of tube… “77 Sunset Strip” and “Have Gun Will Travel.”

4. THE FIRST SONG THAT I EVER PERFORMED IN PUBLIC WAS … My violin teacher, Alfred Troemel, hosted student performances at his NYC apartment. Scary business.

5. THE FIRST BAND I WAS EVER IN WAS … In 1976, I hit the streets as a fiddling busker, and got picked up on Cape Cod by a band from Miami called the Inside Out Band. We were together for a couple years, based out of Rochester, NY, gigging from Maine to Florida and Cape Cod to California. They could sing current material; I could heat it up with fiddle tunes.

Dick Solberg will rosin up his bow and lead the Sun Mountain Band in action at 8pm on Sunday (August 2) at the Lion’s Den at the Red Lion Inn in Stockbridge and at 6:30pm on Tuesday (August 4) in Talmadge Park in Mechanicville. Admission to both shows is free.

7/31/15: Today’s Top Tips: Friday

July 31st, 2015, 7:43 am by Greg

MUSIC: Primus @ Brewery Ommegang, Cooperstown. With Dinosaur Jr. and Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger. 7pm.

MUSIC: Slipknot @ Saratoga Performing Arts Center, Saratoga Springs. It’s head-bangin’ time! With Lamb of God, Bullet for My Valentine and Motionless in White. 6pm. $40, $50 & $95; $30 lawn.

MUSIC: Shilpa Ray @ BSP Lounge, Kingston. With Chain & the Gang. 8pm $12.

FESTIVAL/MUSIC: Falcon Ridge Folk Festival @ Dodds Farm, Hillsdale. It’s Day One of the three-day fest featuring Brother Sun, Ellis, Garnet Rogers, Martyn Joseph, Nerissa & Katryna Nields, Patti O’Brien Melita, Paul Rosenberg, Pesky J. Nixon, the Slambovian Circus of Dreams, Susan Werner and lots more. Music starts at 12noon. $45; students & seniors $35; FREE children age 12 & under. GO HERE for more info…

FESTIVAL: PeaceStock Festival @ Freedom Square, Troy. The second annual community celebration with free food, henna tattoos, t-shirts, art activities and music by Maurizio and 18 Strings of Trouble. 4-7pm. FREE. GO HERE for more info…

MUSIC: Ariana Grande @ the Times Union Center, Albany. The doughnut-licking pop star brings her Honeymoon Tour to town. With Prince Royce. 7:30pm. $20, $29.50, $39.50, $49.50 & $69.50.

MUSIC: Psychobilly @ McGeary’s Pub, Albany. 8pm. FREE.

MUSIC: Murali Coryell Band @ River Front Park, Athens. The blues guitarist is joined by drummer Dorian Randolph and bassist Bill Foster. 7pm. FREE. GO HERE for more info and the complete concert schedule…

MUSIC: Bovine Social Club @ Caffe Lena, Saratoga Springs. 8pm. $20.

MUSIC: The Bluebillies @ Riverside Veterans Memorial Park, Whitehall. 7pm.

MUSIC: Alex Torres & His Latin Orchestra @ Skidmore College’s Tang Museum, Saratoga Springs. The UpBeat On the Roof concert series continues with an original blend of Afro-Caribbean rhythms. 7pm. FREE. GO HERE for more info and the complete schedule…

MUSIC: BackBeat @ Canal Square, Cohoes. With a reunion of the Rogues. 6:30pm. FREE. GO HERE for more info and the complete concert schedule…

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Jim Gaudet and the Railroad BoysCartoonist John CaldwellHolly & EvanThe Cock'N'Bull RestaurantCaffe LenaAdvertise on Nippertown!Hudson SoundsAlbany PoetsBerkshire On StageRamblin Jug Stompers