LIVE: Robert Randolph & the Family Band @ Putnam Den, 4/3/15

April 30th, 2015, 4:00 pm by Greg
Robert Randolph & the Family Band

Robert Randolph & the Family Band

Photographs by Eric Gleason

How do you make a Good Friday even better? Throw Robert Randolph & His Family Band onstage and let ’em cut loose with their rip-roaring melange of blues, rock, funk and gospel. If you were at Saratoga Springs’ Putnam Den, well then, you know what I mean.

Steel guitar master Randolph and his funky crew are no strangers to Greater Nippertown, having played a wide variety of Local 518 venues big and small since the days of ye olde Saratoga Winners. And they never disappoint.

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LIVE: Buffalo Stack @ Club Helsinki, 9/19/14

October 8th, 2014, 2:00 pm by Greg

Buffalo Stack

Review and photographs by Eric Gleason

One of the things I love is finding new music in my own backyard, so when I read that a group that draws comparisons to both Jack White and the Band was performing at Club Helsinki in Hudson — and that Connor Kennedy was in the band — I knew what I was doing on Friday night. Kennedy seems to be the guitarist with the golden touch and has managed to be at the very center of all the good roots-rock music coming from the Hudson Valley.

The band was Buffalo Stack, and they were celebrating the release of their eponymous debut CD. And before the band got through the chorus of their first song, “Maryanne,” I was hooked. The laid-back chord progression was supported perfectly by Jeremy Baum’s classic B-3 sounds and Brandon Morrison’s huge bass, leaving plenty of room to showcase bandleader Andy Stack’s capable vocals. Adding just enough of his guitar to keep the song going and enough of Kennedy’s piano to make the song sparkle a little extra would provide the formula for the rest of the night.

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Real Good for FREE: Sharon Springs Summer Concert Series

July 9th, 2013, 11:00 am by Greg
Scotty Mac (photo by Eric Gleason)

Wednesday, July 10: Scotty Mac (photo by Eric Gleason)

Sponsored by the Sharon Springs Citizens Council for the Arts, the Sharon Springs Summer Concert Series returns to the tent in Sharon Springs’ Chalybeate Park for another season of excellent free outdoor music beginning on Wednesday (July 10) with the revved up, blues-drenched sounds of Scotty Mac & the Rockin’ Bonnevilles.

The concerts take place weekly at 7pm on Wednesdays through August 21.

Here’s the complete line-up of concerts for the summer of 2013:

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Real Good for FREE: Evenings On the Green, Coeymans

June 26th, 2013, 11:00 am by Greg

Scotty Mac & the Rockin’ Bonnevilles photograph by Eric Gleason

The Evenings on the Green concert series is in full swing down in Coeymans at the Coeymans Landing Park Gazebo.

All of the performances in the free weekly concert series take place at 6:30pm on Thursdays.

Here’s the schedule of bands for the 2013 summer season:

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INTERVIEW: Alexis P. Suter Sings the Blues… And a Whole Lot More

June 19th, 2013, 2:00 pm by Greg
Alexis P. Suter (photo by Eric Gleason)

Alexis P. Suter

Interview and photographs by Eric Gleason

There’s an underlying spirituality when Alexis P. Suter talks about her music and the mission she’s on. That soulfulness runs deep in both her personality and her music, as you can see and hear for yourself when the Alexis P. Suter Band takes over the stage at WAMC-FM’s The Linda in Albany at 8pm on Friday (June 21). And when talking with her you can’t help but feel like you’re talking with a preacher after hours. She’s that passionate, that uninhibited about talking about the ideals that drive her musical quest. And like a true New Yorker, this Brooklyn native needs only the slightest nudge to get her talking at length about what’s on her mind:

Q: So how long were you singing in your church before you started singing more secular music?

A: Wow (laughing)! I was singing in church for a long time before I started singing any other kind of music. I mean, I was into different theatrical groups and stuff, and we used to do different music. Not music like on the wide range like I do now with the band, but we did do other music besides gospel music. (Laughing) I don’t want anyone to think I was like this church robot or anything like that. I did do other stuff. [My parents] didn’t want us to listen to any other kind of music but gospel music, so I really didn’t have any other kind of music playing in my home.

Q: Your mother was a music teacher and deeply involved in the church. Was that her influence?

A: Well, I think it was my mother and my father. They just wanted us to be involved with that, you know, and stick with that influence. But as you get older, you get curious, and you want to listen to different things. You know, I’d go to school, and I had friends that weren’t as church-going as I was in my family, and they listened to different kinds of music. I’d go to different people’s houses and hear different things, and your mind gets curious. You grow up, and you’re like ‘I want to listen to this, I want to listen to that,’ so eventually I got to listen to different things because my music range started to become larger. I wanted to know more… and in order to do that, you have to listen to more than one kind of music.

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LIVE: Chris Thomas King @ WAMC-FM’s The Linda, 4/5/13

April 10th, 2013, 4:00 pm by Greg
Chris Thomas King (photo by Eric Gleason)

Chris Thomas King

Review by Fred Rudofsky

Sporting a top hat and vest, Grammy-winning artist Chris Thomas King – perhaps best known to casual music fans for his role as Tommy Johnson in the Coen Brothers’ film “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” – played a diverse set of songs for an appreciative crowd at The Linda last weekend.

Born Chris Thomas, and taking the regal surname (as a likely homage to Albert, B.B., Freddie and Earl) in the 1990s, King has been surrounded by music since he was born. His father, Tabby Thomas, had regional hits in Louisiana and later ran a juke joint, Tabby’s Blues Box, for decades. King spent a good deal of his early adulthood playing at the legendary Antone’s in Austin, backing some of the greatest in the blues.

The past three years have been prolific for King, who has put his acting career on hold to pursue his blues (and at times, country) muse. Strapping on a Strat, he and his virtuoso band – Jeff Mills on drums and Danny Infante on five-string bass – opened with Antebellum Postcards’ “How Does It Feel”, a terse, vivid look at the state of the economy as the gap between rich and poor continues to grow. “St. James Infirmary” featured a dazzling extended introduction and fine vocal, too. “Want to Die with a Smile on My Face”, the song that was nearly a hit for King in the early 1990s (this reviewer still remembers King’s performance on the Letterman show), exuded a plaintive, funky vibe that in a nightclub setting would have had couples out on the floor. “Baptized in Dirty Water” brought a surreal feel, lyrically, with King declaiming “dirty water, come rushing in/ wash away my happy home/wash away my sins.” Given that he is a fan of the late Hubert Sumlin, King’s take on Howlin’ Wolf’s “Killin’ Floor” was welcomed by all. He sported a smile, playing that riff that Sumlin no doubt himself had shown him years ago in Texas.

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LIVE: Matt Mirabile with Alison Jacobs @ Dinosaur Bar-B-Que, 3/16/13

March 20th, 2013, 4:00 pm by Greg
Matt Mirabile, Tommy Love and Alison Jacobs

Matt Mirabile, Tommy Love and Alison Jacobs

Review by Fred Rudofsky
Photographs by Eric Gleason and Amy Modesti

In the past several months, the Troy Dinosaur BBQ has been building a solid reputation for booking free live music gigs each weekend, and a Saturday night gig by Matt Mirabile with special guest Alison Jacobs may rank as the best one yet.

In the past decade, Mirabile has established himself as one of the finest guitarists in the area, and on this night he was playing at an exceptional level, playing with passion, imagination and vision. His band – Steve Aldi (bass), Joshua Bloomfield (drums) and Jason Ladayne (keys) – followed his muse and brought their own blues verve, too. Add to the mix the dynamic Alison Jacobs, the best local female singer as Metroland duly noted a few years ago, and it was obvious that something extraordinary would transpire.

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LIVE: The Amy Helm Band @ Club Helsinki, 3/1/13

March 4th, 2013, 4:00 pm by Greg

Amy Helm @ Club Helsinki (photo by Eric Gleason)

Review by Fred Rudofsky
Photographs by Eric Gleason

There are good music nights, and then there are great music nights. The latter was definitely the case for Amy Helm’s two hours-plus set at Club Helsinki to a sold-out audience last weekend. Bringing passion and joy to 20 songs, these four talented musicians (and a special guest) delved deep into the roots of American music spanning eight decades.

The band took the stage with no introduction necessary – many in the crowd knew Helm from her decade with Ollabelle and countless nights playing in the Midnight Ramble band with legendary father, the late Levon Helm. Daniel Littleton (acoustic guitar), Byron Issacs (acoustic guitar, acoustic bass) and Dave Berger (drums, squeeze box) took their seats and up to the microphone strode the beautiful Helm, clad in a floral blouse and bell-bottom jeans. “Roll the Stone” proved to be a hypnotic opener, with Berger supplementing his drums with occasional sleigh bells, while Littleton’s echo-laden lead and rhythm work complemented Helm’s fine vocal. “Wild Girl” and “Roll Away” continued the Catskills-meets-Cotton Belt rustic vibe, and the telepathy of the four elicited smiles all around. This was going to be a special night.

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