It’s the Weekend! (New Year)

December 31st, 2015, 4:00 pm by Greg

Happy New Year

Congrats! You made it through another holiday season work/school week. But before we head out for the big New Year’s weekend, 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:

Rudy Lu
Ed Conway
J Hunter
Don Wilcock
Fred Rudofsky
Andrzej Pilarczyk
Tim Livingston
Steven Stock
Tim Mack
Gene Sennes
Tim Reidy
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 Egg, Albany
The Hangar, Troy
The Low Beat, Albany
Upstate Concert Hall, Clifton Park
Pauly’s Hotel, Albany
Dinosaur Bar-B-Que, Troy

Thanks for keeping Nippertown alive… and lively,

Sara Ayers
Greg Haymes


BEST OF 2015: Don Wilcock’s Top 10 Blues Albums

December 31st, 2015, 2:00 pm by Greg
Howard Fishman Band

Howard Fishman

By Don Wilcock
Photograph by Andrzej Pilarczyk

“Does it seem like the end of the world to you right now?”

Howard Fishman couldn’t believe that I, a man who was already an adult when Bob Dylan recorded The Basement Tapes, was still in the game as a music journalist almost 50 years later.

His Howard Fishman Quintet played a rare two-night stand at Saratoga’s Caffe Lena in October, presenting a marvelous show he calls “The Basement Tapes Project: The Music of Bob Dylan and the Band and the Old Weird America.” As a reference point, Fishman uses the recently released six-disc Basement Tapes CD collection Dylan made with the Band in 1967 as inspiration for music that’s actually as much his creation as it is Dylan’s oeuvre.

Fishman was serious when he asked me the question about whether I felt I was experiencing the end of the world right now. I had been interviewing him for a column to advance his Caffe Lena show. About half way through that interview I realized that he was asking me almost as many questions as I was asking him. He wanted to know how it felt to be in the game when Dylan began speaking to my generation about just who we were and how the world was changing when he began “blowing in the wind.”

New Year’s Eve has always been a time of reflection, looking back on how we handled what we did in the past year, learning from the experience and promising ourselves to do better. So, as 71-year-old music journalist I can say I don’t feel like this is the end of the world.

I was 21 when “Like a Rolling Stone” came out in 1965. Fishman doesn’t reveal his age, but I don’t think he was born yet. I told Fishman that Dylan directed the baby boomers and became a compass leading the way in how we thought about ourselves.

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BEST OF 2015: Fred Rudofsky’s Fave Concerts, Albums & More

December 31st, 2015, 12:00 pm by Greg
J.D. McPherson

J.D. McPherson @ The Hangar, 8/31/15 (photo by Ed Conway)

By Fred Rudofsky
Photographs by Ed Conway, Andrzej Pilarczyk, Rudy Lu


1. J.D. McPherson with the Mickey James Trio @ The Hangar, Troy, August 31

2. Hamell on Trial @ the Low Beat, Albany, several shows throughout the year

3. Dale Watson & His Lone Stars with Lara Hope & the Ark-Tones @ The Linda, Albany, July 13

4. Rhiannon Giddens with Bhi Bhiman @ The Egg, Albany, April 21

5. Dave Alvin and Phil Alvin & the Guilty Ones with Rebel Darling @ The Hollow Bar + Kitchen, Albany, October 28

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ArtBeat: What to See

December 31st, 2015, 11:00 am by Sara


Kahn & Selesnick: Alexis, Elderflower Lamb @ Carrie Haddad Gallery

Kahn & Selesnick: Alexis, Elderflower Lamb @ Carrie Haddad Gallery

Photography @ Carrie Haddad Gallery, Hudson. A group exhibition of contemporary photographers who explore the physicality of the photographic process by applying both traditional and progressive techniques, featuring David Halliday, Lisa Frank, Robert Hite, Eric Lindbloom, Jeri Eisenberg, Gail Peachin, Stephanie Blumenthal, Kahn & Selesnick, Newbold Bohemia, Joseph Maresca, Birgit Blyth and Jerry Freedner. Opens Wednesday, December 30. Artists’ reception: Sunday, January 3, 2-4pm. (Through February 7)

Simone Meltesen: Raised Eyebrows @ Mandeville Gallery

Simone Meltesen: Raised Eyebrows @ Mandeville Gallery

Recurrence @ Mandeville Gallery, Schenectady. Artists Kira Nam Greene, Juan Hinojosa, Simone Meltesen, Karen Schiff, Sam Vernon and Rachael Wren delve into the multitude of ideas surrounding repetition in the visual arts and how these different ideas are represented visually. Opens January 2. Opening reception: Wednesday, January 20, 5-6:30pm. (Through April 10)

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DECEMBER 31: On This Date in Local 518 Concert History

December 31st, 2015, 9:40 am by Greg


Photograph of Lee Fields & the Expressions by FlyerSquad

2014: Lee Fields & the Expressions @ Club Helsinki, Hudson
2013: Garland Nelson’s Soul Session @ Saratoga City Center for First Night Saratoga, Saratoga Springs
2012: Glen David Andrews @ Club Helsinki, Hudson
2011: Josh Ritter @ the Calvin Theatre, Northampton
2010: Savion Glover, Daniel Bernard Roumain & the Mission @ The Egg, Albany
2009: John Brown’s Body, Lynch, Nautilus @ Revolution Hall, Troy
2008: Sgt. Dunbar & the Hobo Banned, Beware! The Other Head of Science @ Valentine’s Music Hall, Albany
2007: Rustic Overtones @ Northern Lights, Clifton Park
2006: Benevento/Russo Duo @ Revolution Hall, Troy
2005: Blotto @ Saratoga City Center for First Night Saratoga, Saratoga Springs
2004: The New Deal @ Revolution Hall, Troy
2003: Larry Coryell Trio @ the Van Dyck, Schenectady
2002: Blue Machine, Larry Lewis & Solid Smoke @ Savannah’s, Albany
2000: NRBQ @ Iron Horse Music Hall, Northampton
1999: Roberta Flack, Vonda Shepard @ the Pepsi Arena for First Night Albany, Albany
1998: The Figgs, Lughead, Super 400 @ Valentine’s Music Hall, Albany
1997: Duke Robillard @ the Van Dyck, Schenectady
1996: Dave Van Ronk @ Caffe Lena, Saratoga Springs
1995: Joe Grushecky, Ernie Williams, Out of the Blue @ the Palace Theatre for First Night Albany, Albany
1994: Nick Brignola, Lonesome Val, Caribe Mambo, John & Audrey Wiggins, more @ various locations for First Night Albany, Albany
1993: Strange Arrangement @ Pauly’s Hotel, Albany
1992: Root Boy Slim @ Bogie’s, Albany
1991: Beatlemania @ the Palace Theatre, Albany
1990: Felix Cavaliere @ the Palace Theatre, Albany
1989: Plus 24, the Ann Harris Ensemble @ On the Shelf, Albany
1988: Slaughterhouse 5 @ Meghan’s Place, Albany
1987: Motherless & the Merry Knights @ the Metro, Saratoga Springs
1986: Mambo-X, Lethal Lipstick, Johnny Rabb & the Jailhouse Rockers @ QE2, Albany
1984: Gary Windo Orchestra, Paris Plus, Johnny Rabb @ 288 Lark, Albany
1978: The Units @ Yesterday’s, Colonie

12/31/15: Today’s Top Tips: Thursday (New Year’s Eve)

December 31st, 2015, 7:00 am by Greg

MUSIC: moe. @ Palace Theatre, Albany. The jam band faves are back for their annual end o’ the year stand. 8pm. $50. Also at 7:30pm on Friday.

MUSIC: Jon Cleary & the Absolute Monster Gentlemen @ Club Helsinki, Hudson. The New Orleans piano master and new Grammy nominee brings his rompin’ band to town for a New Orleans-style New Year’s Eve bash. A special Big Easy menu will be available prepared by bayou-born-and-bred Helsinki executive chef Hugh Horner. 9pm. $45, $55 & $75.

MUSIC/MORE: First Night Saratoga @ various locations, Saratoga Springs. NRBQ, Jim Gaudet & the Railroad Boys, MaryLeigh Roohan, Michael Jerling, Ramblin Jug Stompers, Sirsy, Better by Morning, Big Fez & the Surfmatics, Jack Grace, Hot Club of Saratoga, JV & the Cutters, North & South Dakotas, more. 6pm. $15.

COMEDY: First Night of Funny: Uncensored @ The Egg’s Hart Theatre, Albany. Featuring Jaye McBride, Ray Harrington, Patty Rosborough and Probing Digit. 9pm. $40.

MUSIC: Amy Helm & the Handsome Strangers @ Levon Helm Studios, Woodstock. 8pm. $50 & $75.

MUSIC: Eastbound Jesus @ Putnam Den, Saratoga Springs. With Lucid. 9:30pm. $20.

MUSIC: New Year’s Eve Bash @ the Low Beat & Pauly’s Hotel, Albany. Featuring Grass Roots Rebels, the Kindness, Jasper, Nobody for President, Victory Soul Orchestra and Desafinado. Two venues, six bands, one $7 cover charge. 8pm.

COMEDY: The First Night of Funny @ Proctors, Schenectady. Four professional stand-up comedians with unique perspectives on the world. 8pm. $25-$40.

MUSIC: Rustic Overtones @ the Hollow Bar + Kitchen, Albany. With Mirk. 9:30pm. $15.

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LIVE: The Tedeschi Trucks Band @ The Egg, 12/8/15

December 30th, 2015, 4:00 pm by Greg
The Tedeschi Trucks Band

The Tedeschi Trucks Band

Review by Steven Stock
Photographs by Andrzej Pilarczyk

The twelve-piece Tedeschi Trucks Band ventured through a lot of territory in their well-received two-hour performance at The Egg’s Hart Theatre, covering songs made popular by Betty Harris, Bobby “Blue” Bland, the Box Tops, George Harrison and John Prine before sending everyone home happy with a rollicking version of the Coasters’ (or perhaps you prefer Ray Charles’ rendition?) nugget “Let’s Go Get Stoned.”

That disparate range of influences only begins to suggest this ensemble’s versatility. “Don’t Miss Me,” a rare carryover from the Derek Trucks Band repertoire, began as a conventional blues then suddenly veered left into Trout Mask Replica terrain. With three horns (saxophone, trumpet and trombone) and three backing vocalists, the overall sound of the group resembled an updated version of the Stax/Volt sound crossed with Joe Cocker’s early-’70 Mad Dogs & Englishmen. Cocker more or less poached the Mad Dogs from Leon Russell, but that didn’t prevent Russell (along with compatriots Rita Coolidge and Dave Mason) from joining Tedeschi Trucks in paying tribute to Cocker’s band earlier this year at the Lockn’ Festival in Arrington, Virginia.

At The Egg, it was refreshing to witness two performers who built their sizable reputations as superb guitarists subordinate their egos to work effectively in a big-band context. On the lengthy coda to “I Want More,” Derek Trucks did get his licks in while engaging in lovely dialogue with Kofi Burbridge’s flute, a passage evocative of Traffic at its finest.

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BEST OF 2015: Tim Mack’s Top 10 Concerts

December 30th, 2015, 3:00 pm by Greg
Robert Plant at Mountain Jam

Robert Plant at Mountain Jam

Reviews and photographs by Tim Mack

10. Eric Church @ the Times Union Center, Albany, March 12
With his ’80s metal guitars and whiskey-soaked swagger, the baddest of the modern country bad boys gave the arena everything he had and then some. (Simply having the musical temerity to use the Drive-By Truckers as his opening act would have been enough to land him on this list.) Whether his over-the-top lyrics are truly heartfelt or tongue-in-cheek, the cup-raisin’, hell-raisin’ crowd didn’t care. They just had a good time.

9. Cyrille Aimee @ The Egg, Albany, February 13
Four brilliant musicians backing one of the brightest rising stars in jazz made this pre-Valentine’s Day show one of the hottest nights of a long, cold winter. Gypsy jazz has seldom sounded so good. Or so fun.

8. Heart @ the Palace Theatre, Albany, July 27
How is it Ann Wilson still sounds as good in person as she did on record back in 1976? No idea. But she does. And sister Nancy Wilson and their backing band put on a show of great hits and killer Zeppelin covers for one of the musical highlights of the summer.

7. Kenny Chesney @ the Times Union Center, Albany, April 23
The country music nice guy brought his modern sounds in country and western to the TU Center, complete with bright lights, big sounds, rum-and-sand lyrics and a little AC/DC to boot. It’s a Nashville machine, but it’s one of the best machines in the business.

6. The Gibson Brothers @ Troy Savings Bank Music Hall, Troy, March 27
A show that combined wry wit and scintillating musicianship, Eric and Leigh Gibson owe an equal debt to the Monroe Brothers and the Smothers Brothers. The two-time Bluegrass Entertainers of the Year for good reason.

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The Cock'N'Bull RestaurantJim Gaudet and the Railroad BoysHolly & EvanCaffe LenaCartoonist John CaldwellAdvertise on Nippertown!Artist Charles HaymesLeave Regular Radio BehindThe LindaCapital District Habitat For Humanity