Posts Tagged ‘Caffe Lena’

LIVE: Dryer @ Caffe Lena, 2/13/15

Thursday, February 26th, 2015

Dryer

Photographs by Andrzej Pilarczyk

It was a reunion plus. After an extended hiatus, the three Dryer cohorts – guitarist Bob Carlton, bassist Rachael Sunday and drummer Joel Lilley – have recently returned to the Local 518 spotlight… with a new addition: guitarist Brian Akey, formerly of Winterpills.

And given that the show was at the folk haven Caffe Lena, you might have imagined that they’d be strumming acoustic guitars and tapping away on bongos. But oh no, not these guys. Plugged in and rockin’, Dryer returned to the Caffe stage for the first in two decades, and they were armed with some smart golden oldie tunes that they hadn’t played in a long, long time. And some hot, brand spankin’ new tunes, too.

Now the question is, “Where will the newly expanded Dryer pop up next?”

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LIVE: Sean Rowe @ Caffe Lena, 1/19/15

Tuesday, February 10th, 2015

Sean Rowe

Photographs by Andrzej Pilarczyk

After his Sunday evening concert at Caffe Lena quickly sold out, Troy troubadour Sean Rowe added a second show – a 3pm matinee on Monday, January 19, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. And, yes, that show also sold out.

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LIVE: The Gibson Brothers @ Caffe Lena, 12/7/14

Thursday, January 8th, 2015

gibson1

Photographs by Andrzej Pilarczyk

North Country bluegrass favorites the Gibson Brothers have graduated from the regional spotlight to the big time several years ago. In fact, they were named the International Bluegrass Music Association’s Entertainers of the Year for two consecutive years.

So the opportunity to catch the pickin’ and singin’ aces recently in the intimate confides of Caffe Lena in Saratoga Springs was a real treat.

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FIVE FIRSTS: Neil Pearlman of Alba’s Edge

Tuesday, January 6th, 2015
Neil Pearlman

Neil Pearlman

NAME: Neil Pearlman
BAND AFFILIATION: Alba’s Edge
INSTRUMENT: Piano

1. THE FIRST ALBUM I EVER BOUGHT WAS … My father ran a CD distribution business for primarily Scottish music until I was about 14 years old, so there was never a shortage of high quality Celtic albums in the house. In addition, since my family really valued recorded music, I was given a lot of albums as gifts from other genres I enjoyed, like jazz. I didn’t really have any thought or desire to buy an album with own money until I was in my teens. Probably the first album I bought myself was either an album of one of my favorite faculty members from the Maine Jazz Camp (100 Dreams Ago by Ben Waltzer is a great one) or else the Live at Budokan triple-CD set by prog-metal band Dream Theater. I went through quite a phase of listening to them in high school, for better or worse!

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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”).

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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.

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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.

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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.

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