Posts Tagged ‘Caffe Lena’

LIVE: “Raise the Rafters” @ Skidmore College’s Zankel Music Center, 5/16/15

Tuesday, June 2nd, 2015
Sarah Lee Guthrie and Johnny Irion

Sarah Lee Guthrie and Johnny Irion

Photographs by Andrzej Pilarczyk

We should be celebrating Caffe Lena every day, but, of course, we tend to take it for granted because it’s always there. OK, well not exactly “always” – but for 55 years. And for the past 20 of those years, it’s been the guiding hand of manager Sarah Craig that’s has been at the helm, steering the Caffe into the 21st century with a delicate balance of adventure and tradition.

So for “Raise the Rafters” – the dual anniversary concert celebration for Craig and the Caffe – Skidmore College’s Zankel Music Center in Saratoga Springs hosted a half-dozen Caffe favorites from the past two decades. There was the jugband vaudeville of the Wiyos, the father-and-son Beaucoup Blue duo, the wry bluegrass of Jim Gaudet & the Railroad Boys, the fab fiddling Sara Milonovich & Greg Anderson, rollicking one-man band the Suitcase Junket and the husband-and-wife team of Sarah Lee Guthrie & Johnny Irion – each playing a short, 20-minute sampler set.

Yes, it was a delightful sonic smorgasbord that somehow stretched from blues to ballads, from a reggae-tinged polka to a Cajun two-step, and tunes plucked from the songbags of folks from Woody Guthrie to Led Zeppelin.

(more…)

Advertisement

LIVE: Slaid Cleaves @ Caffe Lena, 5/15/15

Monday, June 1st, 2015
 Slaid Cleaves

Slaid Cleaves

Review by Richard Brody

Slaid Cleaves. The name rolls off your tongue and sounds like it must belong to a cowboy, perhaps from one of Louis D’Amour’s western novels. Cleaves might not be a cowboy, but at Caffe Lena, he came pretty darn close to creating the feeling of sitting around a campfire listening to a very talented storyteller spin his yarns, play his guitar and, when it fit, throw in some yodeling.

Cleaves should be a star, and as he wryly noted when he introduced “Broke Down,” “This is the song that took me from total obscurity to relative obscurity.” And like many of Cleaves’ songs, it focused on the hard scrabble lives of workers who are trying to get by while maintaining some sense of dignity despite a few poor decisions.

(more…)

LIVE: Jean Rohe & the End of the World Show @ Caffe Lena, 5/10/15

Wednesday, May 27th, 2015

Rohe2

Review and photographs by Andrzej Pilarczyk

Jean Rohe (guitar, vocals); James Shipp (vibes, percussion); Liam Robinson (accordion, keyboards); Matt Aaronoff (bass); Jordan Peterson (drums)

Sarah Craig has been hitting them out of the park lately, both musically and with attendance records at Caffe Lena. The Mothers Day concert by Jean Rohe & the End of the World Show was more of a musical triumph then one of breaking attendance records, but this is an artist that Craig, the Caffe’s executive director, intends to bring back to the Caffe time and again in the future to build up a regional following for them.

That’s a smart move because the band – made up of Berklee School of Music and Purchase School of Music grads – is one of the finest ever to play the Caffe. Their ability to traverse the most subtle note to the hardest, is uncanny. The five-piece outfit shot out one song after another from Rohe’s newest, self-titled album with the most exquisite interwoven rhythms from India, the Middle East, Europe and, of course, the American roots-music pantheon, with Rohe’s lovely voice sailing in and around every note.

(more…)

A FEW MINUTES WITH… Caffe Lena’s Sarah Craig

Wednesday, May 13th, 2015
Sarah Craig

Sarah Craig

By Don Wilcock

“I remember I was going for a walk with my brother once in Greenwich Village,” says Sarah Craig, the Executive Director of Caffe Lena, “and we passed an iconic Greenwich Village folk venue, and I was like, ‘Oh, my gosh. There it is,’ and I thought that was really cool, until I examined it and realized that it basically offered some music, but really what it was was a t-shirt outlet for the once great institution. And I said, ‘I don’t ever want Caffe Lena to go down that road.’ My brother said, ‘There’s a lot of money to be made in it. You’re probably the last person who will hold the line against that.’ And I said, ‘I’m gonna stay forever.’

On Saturday (May 16), the venerable Saratoga Springs coffeehouse Caffe Lena presents a double celebration at Skidmore College’s Zankel Music Center. It’s the 55th anniversary of America’s longest running coffeehouse and Craig’s 20th anniversary as executive director of the venue that has outlived its Greenwich Village and Harvard Square prototypes as a premier showcase for folk music. Perhaps more important than its tenure, under Craig’s leadership the Caffe has progressed beyond the scope of places like Café Wha and the Bitter End in Greenwich Village and Club 47 in Harvard Square to present an overview of “folk music” today that assures this vaunted venue will be credited with discovering as much new talent in 2015 as it did in 1960.

(more…)

LIVE: Melissa Ferrick / Alice Stuart @ Caffe Lena, 4/11/15

Tuesday, May 5th, 2015
Melissa Ferrick

Melissa Ferrick

Photographs by Andrzej Pilarczyk

It was the first night of Melissa Ferrick’s back-to-back Nippertown shows, headlining at the venerable, intimate Caffe Lena in Saratoga Springs. In an evening that was dubbed “6-String Pioneers,” Ferrick was joined by trail-blazer Alice Stuart, who was an original member of Frank Zappa’s Mothers of Invention, toured the U.S with Mississippi John Hurt and hit the road in the UK with Van Morrison.

(more…)

LIVE: The Steel Wheels @ Caffe Lena, 3/30/15

Tuesday, April 21st, 2015

1-Steel-Wheels

Photographs by Andrzej Pilarczyk

There aren’t many guarantees in the fickle music biz, but if there’s one thing for certain, it’s this: When the Steel Wheels roll into Caffe Lena in Saratoga Springs, you’d better get your tickets early.

The four-piece, harmony-laden Americana stringband from the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia returned to the Spa City’s venerable coffeehouse on a recent Monday night for their third annual appearance. And just like their previous two performances, this one was completely sold out well in advance of the concert.

(more…)

LIVE: Chuck Pyle @ Caffe Lena, 3/27/15

Thursday, April 16th, 2015

chuckpyle1

Review and photographs by Andrzej Pilarczyk

From Colorado, Chuck Pyle is a down to earth, warm and sincere singer, songwriter and storyteller. At his recent concert at Caffe Lena in Saratoga Springs, the self-proclaimed “Zen Cowboy” weaved simple guitar melodies with complex and sometimes acute observations about everything from bumper-sticker philosophy to the ever-changing socio-political landscape of the country.

(more…)

LIVE: Snowapple / Fish & Bird @ Caffe Lena, 3/13/15

Thursday, March 26th, 2015
Snowapple

Snowapple

Review and photographs by Andrzej Pilarczyk

Though the Snowapple concert was on Caffe Lena’s calendar for weeks prior to their Friday night show, no advanced tickets had been sold as late as Wednesday. Sarah Craig, the Caffe’s manager was worried. A while back she had discovered the amazing, three-part harmonies of the female Dutch trio and signed them on to appear at Lena’s. And she had excitedly whispered in the ears of several dozen Caffe regulars that this was the one not to miss. Yet here it was two days before the show, and no advanced tickets had been sold.

Craig spring into action and boldly reached out to the press, patrons and the public to generate interest. She knew that this was too good a show to cancel; it had to go on, and people had to know about it.

The trio played within the folk-acoustic idiom, but they also embraced their European musical traditions, as well as a heap of influences from American folk and contemporary pop music. Their layered and powerful three-part vocal harmonies coupled to their instrumental prowess put them squarely in the company of the Wailin’ Jennys, Red Molly and the Boxcar Lilies – same stylistic approach, but with a decisive twist in their repertoire choices. It’s a unique and fun experience to hear – for example, a Kanye West song done up in a singer-songwriter folk arrangement, albeit with three voices, keyboards, acoustic mandolin and guitar.

(more…)

Caffe LenaHolly & EvanCartoonist John CaldwellAdvertise on Nippertown!Keep Albany BoringArtist Charles HaymesThe LindaAlbany PoetsBerkshire On StageHudson SoundsLeave Regular Radio BehindDennis Herbert Art