Posts Tagged ‘Caffe Lena’

LIVE: Jim Kweskin & Happy Traum @ Caffe Lena, 11/13/14

Thursday, December 4th, 2014
Happy Traum and Jim Kweskin

Happy Traum and Jim Kweskin

Review by Greg Haymes
Photographs by Joseph Deuel

Jim Kweskin, the leader of the ’60s jug band revival, has had a revival of his own in recent years, and he’s made several Nippertown tour stops with longtime musical partner Geoff Muldaur in recent years, both at The Egg and Caffe Lena.

Last month, back at Caffe Lena in front of a near-packed house, he switched things up, teaming with Woodstock folk luminary Happy Traum, rather than Muldaur. Traum dubbed the duo of veterans “the Sunshine Boys of Folk Music.” The results, however, were not particularly sparkling. But to be fair, it was their first night playing together and the start of their East Coast week-long tour.

It’s unfair to compare Traum (or anyone else, for that matter) to Geoff Muldaur, who doesn’t merely sing the blues, but rather climbs inside and completely inhabits them. Traum and Kweskin played together on stage for two hour-long sets, mostly alternately who took over the lead vocals. Traum offered selections from such legends as Pete Seeger (“Quite Early Morning”), Jimmie Rodgers (“Danville Girl”) and Bob Dylan (“I’ll Be Your Baby Tonight”), as well as digging into the blues songbag for selections by Brownie McGee (“Careless Love”) and Lead Belly (“House of the Rising Sun” and “Midnight Special”).

(more…)

Advertisement

LIVE: The Stray Birds @ Caffe Lena, 11/19/14

Monday, November 24th, 2014

The Stray Birds

Review and photographs by Andrzej Pilarczyk

Back in April the Pennsylvania-based Stray Birds trio swooped down to perch on the stage of Caffe Lena in Saratoga Springs to create quite a lovely ruckus of rural Roots-Americana sounds. Afterward they flew off to entertain in other parts of the country, only to return to the region and land this past June at the Old Songs Festival at the Altamont Fairgrounds.

Migrating back to Caffe Lena on a recent, cold Wednesday night, the room was busting at the seams with people and songs. Celebrating the release of Best Medicine, their new album – yup, it’s available on vinyl, too – the fab folk trio of Maya de Vitry (vocals, guitar, banjo & fiddle), Oliver Craven (vocals, guitar, resonator & fiddle) and Charles Muench (vocals, bass & banjo) dazzled the audience with their three-part harmonies and instrumental prowess.

(more…)

Live: Marty Wendell @ Caffe Lena, 10/26/14

Thursday, November 20th, 2014

Marty Wendell

Photographs by Andrzej Pilarczyk

2014 marks 50 years of music for Nippertown singer-songwriter Marty Wendell, and he’s made his mark in a wide variety of musical genres from folk to rockabilly, from country to gospel. And among the many memorable moments along the way, he’s toured with Johnny Cash and recorded at Memphis’ famed Sun Studios.

(more…)

LIVE: G. Love / John Hammond @ Skidmore’s Zankel Music Center, 9/7/14

Thursday, September 25th, 2014
G. Love

G. Love

Review by Greg Haymes
Photographs by Andrzej Pilarczyk

Lena Spencer first opened the doors to Caffe Lena more than a half century ago, and thanks to Sarah Craig – who’s been the director and guiding light of the little-coffeehouse-that-could for the past 20 years – two generations of Caffe favorites came together on the stage of Skidmore College’s Zankel Music Center earlier this month in a blues-soaked benefit for the enduring Saratoga folk music haven. It was a night of Blues Hall of Famer John Hammond and his ’90s hit-making acolyte G. Love.

Hammond made his debut at Lena’s way back in 1962, but at the Zankel, only his silver hair that gave away his status as a 71-year-old blues veteran. Looking fit and trim and still sounding like a howling hurricane, Hammond opened the show with a crackling, foot-stomping, hour-long set that served as something of a career retrospective as he sat alone on a center-stage stool with his guitar and harmonica, rumbling through a dozen tasty tunes that dipped deep into the songbags of the blues greats that influenced him – from Lightning Slim to Buddy Guy, from Howlin’ Wolf to Blind Willie McTell, from Bobby Bland to Sleepy John Estes.

(more…)

LIVE: Diane Cluck @ Caffe Lena, 9/14/14

Wednesday, September 17th, 2014
 Diane Cluck

Diane Cluck

Review and photograph by Andrzej Pilarczyk

Soft spoken and, in a way shy, Diane Cluck is the kind of performer that makes her audience lean into the song to hear the words… because they want to. Not because of lack of amplification, but because it’s an intimate thing. Her lovely, woven tapestry of story-telling through song – like her vivid tune about Monte Carlo – makes the listeners follow the story as if they were a part of it.

(more…)

LIVE: Dom Flemons @ Caffe Lena, 8/15/14

Tuesday, August 26th, 2014

Don Flemons

Review by Greg Haymes
Photographs by Joseph Deuel

Is there anything that the multi-talented Dom Flemons can’t do? And do well…

He’s been going it alone since parting ways with the Grammy Award-winning black string band the Carolina Chocolate Drops last year, and if you were worried about his ability to captivate a crowd without Rhiannon Giddens and the rest of his former CCD bandmates, worry no more. Earlier this month, Flemons made his Caffe Lena debut in support of his new solo album, Prospect Hill, proving beyond a doubt that he was thoroughly capable of wowing a full house on his own.

Flemons is the complete package as a performer – a stellar musician on at least a half dozen instruments (guitar, four- and six-string banjos, harmonica, bones and a pan flute-related instrument called the quills); a thoroughly engaging, charismatic all-around entertainer; and a straight-A student of the music, who offered insight and educational background on a wide variety of the songs (and the songwriters) that filled his songbag.

(more…)

LIVE: Liz Longley / Barnaby Bright @ Caffe Lena, 8/13/14

Monday, August 18th, 2014
Liz Longley

Liz Longley

Review and photographs by Andrzej Pilarczyk

Sarah Craig – who for nearly two decades has served as the general manager Saratoga Springs’ Caffe Lena, the most marvelous coffeehouse on the planet – must have had divine inspiration to book two of the most fantastic singer-songwriter acts in one fabulous evening last week.

The headliner, Liz Longley, was lovely to the ear and to the eye. Though young in years, she presented a seasoned and mature command of dynamics using her voice and guitar prowess. Whether playing a Van Morrison number(which dovetailed into Gershwin’s “Summertime”) or any of the songs from her heartfelt bag of originals, she beguiled the crowd, presenting an exemplary, hour-plus set of captivating music.

(more…)

Five Firsts: Garry Novikoff

Monday, July 28th, 2014
Garry Novikoff

Garry Novikoff

NAME: Garry Novikoff
INSTRUMENT: Piano, Guitar, Voice, Kazoo

1. THE FIRST ALBUM I EVER BOUGHT WAS … The first album I ever bought with my own money was Don McLean’s American Pie. The song that made me buy it, however, was not the title track. I had heard “Vincent” on the radio, and it broke my heart. I was six and a half years old, so the story of Van Gogh’s life had to be explained to me. The idea that someone could tell a story like that in a song made a huge impression on me.

(more…)

Holly & EvanCaffe LenaCartoonist John CaldwellAdvertise on Nippertown!The LindaBerkshire On StageKeep Albany BoringHudson SoundsArtist Charles HaymesAlbany PoetsLeave Regular Radio BehindArtist GG Roberts