Joe Deuel, the sound engineer for Caffe Lena for over 20 years, greeted singer-songwriter Slaid Cleaves and his accompanist Chojo Jacques and explained the intricacies of The Grove’s giant mausoleum-type soundstage where every whisper could be heard across the room.
The Maine-reared Cleaves, now Austin seasoned, came to Saratoga Springs with mandolin/fiddle maven Jacques in tow, to perform his music at The Grove, the temporary summer home of Caffe Lena on Lake Avenue, east of Broadway and the city’s downtown district.
While the iconic coffeehouse is undergoing some major renovations and expansion in its old hallowed space on Phila Street, the new sonic peccadilloes of The Grove have been surmounted to some extent by Deuel’s expertise, but it’s still a crap shoot considering the performance space’s marble floors and cathedral ceiling. Add some electric amplification to instruments and voices and the whole thing can go to hell in a hand basket in a heartbeat – as far as the sound mix is concerned.
I like Mary Chapin Carpenter. She’s smart and, although she admits she’s sometimes frightened to push the envelope of her creativity, she’s never let her past success as a country hit maker hold her in a box. 25 years ago she racked up such hits as “He Thinks He’ll Keep Her,” “I Feel Lucky” and “Passionate Kisses,” and though she may not chart anymore, the sense of adventure in her songwriting is palpable.
She performs at The Egg on Friday night (August 26).
In 2014, she released Songs from The Movie recorded live in London with a 63-piece orchestra and 15-voice choir on which she re-interprets 10 of her songs written from 1992 to 2010 as if they were movie soundtracks. She toured the country playing with big local orchestras, and she admits that the experience was terrifying.
“We have all these various ways we like to present ourselves, and I’ve sort of been having this for so many years, and you know, I think rightfully so, I have a sense of confidence about what I do. In and of itself that feels wonderful, and I’m grateful for that,” she says. “But this was an entirely new thing. And I have to admit I was terrified of not being able to do it adequately. What it has given me is almost a thirst or a hunger or just a deep desire to do more things that I’m terrified of.”
The Hangar on the Hudson in Troy has booked one super-serious, hot-wired, roots-rockin’ weekend next month featuring Austin stalwart Dale Watson & His Lone Stars at 8pm on Friday, September 23 ($20), followed by a two-night stand by the ferocious J.D. McPherson at 8pm on Saturday & Sunday, September 24 & 25 ($20 per night).
Drag City recording artist Bill Callahan (aka Smog) plays a concert at the Woodstock Playhouse in Woodstock at 8pm on Wednesday, September 28. Priced at $30, all tickets are general admission.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: The Trans-Siberian Orchestra returns to the Times Union Center for another holiday double-header. Tickets go on sale at 10am on Friday, September 16.
The Iron Horse Music Hall in Northampton hosts “An Intimate Evening with Rickie Lee Jones” at 7pm on Friday, October 21. Tickets are $50 in advance; $55 at the door.
Dan + Shay – the country music hitmaking duo of singer-songwriters Dan Smyers and Shay Mooney – step into the spotlight at the Upstate Concert Hall in Clifton Park at 8pm on Tuesday, December 13 in support of their new album, Obsessed. Priced at $20 in advance; $26 at the door, tickets go on sale to the general public at 10am on Friday (August 26). Walker Hayes opens the show.
Super singer-songwriter Sean Rowe returns with a solo show at the Valatie Community Theatre at 8pm on Saturday, October 1. Tickets are $20 in advance; $25 at the door. Also Lost Radio Rounders bring their Politics and Patriots show to the theater at 8pm on Saturday, October 15. Tickets are $10.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Simply one of the world’s greatest rock ‘n’ roll bands, Los Lobos are headed to The Egg’s Hart Theatre. Tickets go on sale at 11am on Friday (August 26).
East Greenbush native and bandleader-keyboardist with Montgomery Gentry, Eddie Kilgallon is slated to step into the spotlight at the Upper Room in Albany at 7pm on Saturday, October 29. Ticket price is TBA…
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Award winning jazz trumpeter Chris Botti and his band are returning to the Troy Savings Bank Music Hall. Tickets go on sale at 10am on Friday (August 26).
Installation view of Staying Power – photos provided by Albany International Airport Gallery
By David Brickman
It’s entirely appropriate that the final exhibition organized and installed by outgoing Director Sharon Bates at the Albany International Airport Gallery expresses the value of its title, “Staying Power.” Bates has the same qualities as the 11 venerable artists she has assembled for this excellent, elegant show – and she will no doubt amply demonstrate that in the next chapter of her life, when she sets forth in retirement as a full-time artist.
Her swan song is a paean to perseverance, a celebration of agelessness, a fascinating collection of excellence and diversity. The artists presented here have but two things in common: They are all located in the greater Capital Region; and they all have been at it for quite some time. Oh, and they’re all darn good. Naturally, I have my favorites among them, but I am reluctant to sully the unified purpose of this show by picking and choosing.
Instead, here’s an overview:
One feature of the show (which will hang through Monday, January 2, 2017) is a series of video interviews with the artists that has been placed on monitors in several spots throughout the gallery, as well as in a larger projection room. It underscores the purpose of the show to not only display the work these artists have created, but also to plumb their minds and their motives, as they discuss matters within the lifelong pursuit of an artistic career.
Hudson’s community radio station WGXC 90.7-FM is presenting Lodge 2016 at Riedlbauer’s Resort in Round Top on Friday & Saturday (August 26 & 27). Lodge is a Catskills getaway weekend of music, art and radio, with all proceeds benefiting the radio station. The two-day fest features lots of live music in addition to site-specific installations, radio workshops and crafts from a variety of local artisans.
Lodge 2016 kicks off at 8pm on Friday (August 26) with a line-up of country and folk performers including Sauerkraut Seth (the Wiyos), Jim Wright (the Hayrollers), DJ Charles Ostroskey (WGXC’s The Neon and the Rain), Pat Linnan (Nature Films) and Liv Carrow. Friday night tickets are $15 in advance; $20 at the gate.
MUSIC: “Sounds of Our Time” @ Shepard Park, Lake George. EDM meets classical music as Mako – the EDM duo of Logan Light and Alex Seaver – teams up with the 17-piece Lake George Music Festival Orchestra under the direction of Roger Kalia. 8pm. FREE. GO HERE for more info and the complete concert series schedule…
MUSIC: “Signals: Songs from Raymond Carver” @ Albany Public Library, Albany. As part of the Reading Music series, singer-songwriter Michael Eck debuts a dozen brand new songs inspired by the writings of Raymond Carver. With readings and commentary by The Times Union’s premier journalist Paul Grondahl. 7pm. FREE. GO HERE for more info..
MUSIC: Dresden Dolls @ BSP Lounge’s Back Room Theater, Kingston. The first full-length concert reunion of Amanda Palmer and Brian Viglione in nearly a decade. With PWR BTTM. 8pm. $25. UPDATE: This show is officially sold out.
MUSIC: Jon Stickley Trio @ Empire State Plaza, Albany. The originality and sheer energy of this genre-bending ensemble – featuring guitar flat-picker Stickley with violinist Lyndsay Pruett and drummer Patrick Armitage – melds Gypsy jazz, bluegrass, ska, surf and hip-hop on their latest album, Lost at Last. 12noon. FREE. GO HERE for more info and the complete concert series schedule…
MUSIC: ZZ Top @ the Times Union Center, Albany. With Gregg Allman and Jonny Two Bags. 7pm. $22, $32, $57 & $72.UPDATE: This show has been cancelled.
THEATER: “Broadway Bounty Hunter” @ Barrington Stage Company, Pittsfield. Inspired by the exploitation movies of the ’70s, Joe Iconis’ new musical follows a 60-ish-year-old, down-on-her-luck actor (played by Annie Golden of the Shirts and “Orange Is the New Black”) as she’s asked to become a bounty hunter and capture a South American drug lord. 7:30pm. $52. Through Sunday, September 4. GO HERE for a review…