LIVE: Americana Tuesdays @ Valentine’s, 3/8/11

March 11th, 2011, 1:15 pm by Greg
Michael Eck

Michael Eck

The Americana Tuesdays series continues to roll on at Valentine’s Music Hall in Albany, and we stopped by last Tuesdays to check it out. The brainchild of Dan Johnson, the rollicking roots-music shebang has hosted performances by North Carolina’s Woody Pines and Nippertown’s Blackwell Sinners in recent weeks.

Last Tuesday’s show proved to be a solid winner, too. Host band Dan Johnson & the Expert Sidemen opened up the evening with an introductory set, followed by man-about-town Michael Eck. Then Schenectady’s Uncle Bootsy stirred things up with a fine solo set, and Johnson and the boys returned to the stage to wrap it up with a closing set.

It’s kind of like Nippertown’s own little Grand Ole Opry – country music and bluegrass, with some folk, old-timey and blues to spice things up a bit. In addition to plenty of sparkling original tunes, the musicians also dipped into the rich songbags of such folks as Townes Van Zandt, Hank Williams and Peter Case along the way. Since Tuesday was Mardi Gras, it seemed especially appropriate that Johnson led his band through a rousing rendition of Williams’ classic “Jambalaya.” Indeed, it was “some fun on the bayou.”

And it turns out that Americana Tuesdays make for some great networking opportunities as well. It seemed as though half of the crowd was made up of other area like-minded musicians.

You can hear Uncle Bootsy at the Moon & River Cafe in Schenectady at 8pm on Tuesday, March 22. Michael Eck will be sharing the stage with one of his musical heroes, Peter Case, at Caffe Lena in Saratoga Springs at 7pm on Wednesday, March 23. And, of course, Dan Johnson & the Expert Sidemen will be right back at Valentine’s at 8pm on Tuesday for another Americana Tuesday – with special guest M.R. Poulopoulos.

Photographs by Jason Lehr.

Dan Johnson and Dave Walsh

Dan Johnson and Dave Walsh

Uncle Bootsy

Uncle Bootsy


LIVE: Woody Pines @ Valentine’s Music Hall, 2/8/11

February 11th, 2011, 12:36 pm by Greg

There’s something happening here.

Dan Johnson’s Americana Tuesdays at Valentine’s seem to be taking flight, judging by the very eager, sizeable crowd of locals who came out to get a taste of this wide-ranging musical genre. It was the first night of the new Americana series, and it felt right from the moment the cheerful doorman Al welcomed me inside. It was the same old Valentine’s, but for some reason it felt kinder, gentler and a little more laid back. Bringing it down a notch from the typical Valentine’s ear-ringing fare, Dan Johnson and Expert Sidemen – drummer Jeff Arensberg, bassist Pete Murphy (also of Flood Road) and guitarist Dave Walsh – set just the right tone for an evening of tasty music, and did not miss a beat. They played a short intro set, anxious to get the out-of-town guest, Woody Pines and his band, up on the stage.

It was indeed a solicited stop in Albany, a fortuitous opportunity discovered by Mr. Johnson, who asked Woody and friends (who hail from Ashville, NC) to stop in Albany. They willingly accepted the invitation, recognizing that the pay may not be great, but that they would meet an appreciative audience of Americana fans. And they were headed north anyhow, having just picked up their new album, hot off the presses in Pennsylvania, on their way to several stops in Vermont, including Jay Peak and Burlington.

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