LIVE: Downtown Albany Blues Music Competition, 5/4/12

May 8th, 2012, 4:00 pm by Greg
George Boone

George Boone

Review and photographs by Eric Gleason

One of the greatest sounds known to man is the natural reverb of the drums and screaming guitar of a hot blues band careening off the canyon walls deep in a city. That sound returned to Albany’s Pearl Street for the first time in recent memory Friday night as 13 bands participated in the Business Improvement District’s inaugural Blues Music Competition. In the late ’90s and early 2000s, blues around Nippertown was at its peak, and on any given weekend you could easily have a hard time choosing between any number of great local acts, not to mention the regional and national acts that would often roll into town. The scene started to slow down several years ago, but if Friday night’s event is any indication, we are witnessing a resurgence.

Playing for pride and an opportunity to play on a larger stage at Alive at Five this summer, it was clear that each of the contestants came ready to strut their stuff, none more than perennial Schenectady blues man George Boone. Boone has always been a passionate performer and entertaining front man, but he was clearly playing for keeps to a packed crowd at the Pearl St. Pub. The George Boone Blues Band was the obvious top contender, with everyone else playing for second place, and he was rewarded by being voted one of the three winning artists.

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Five Firsts: Mark Emanatian of Folding Sky

February 2nd, 2011, 11:00 am by Greg

Mark EmanationNAME: Mark Emanatian

1. THE FIRST ALBUM I EVER BOUGHT WAS … “The Worst of Jefferson Airplane”

2. THE FIRST CONCERT THAT I EVER SAW WAS … The 5th Dimension at SPAC. I was 11 ears old. My uncle, who just came home from Vietnam, took me and my sister. It was a thrill.

3. THE FIRST MUSICAL INSTRUMENT I EVER OWNED OR PLAYED WAS … A Saint George Strat copy that I bought from George’s Music in Troy for $10.00 that I saved up from paper route money.

4. THE FIRST SONG THAT I EVER PERFORMED IN PUBLIC WAS … “You Are My Sunshine” at the Little Sisters of the Poor Nursing Home in Troy. We performed for the elderly folks there. It was 1971. I was 14, and we got paid in cookies and milk.

5. THE FIRST BAND I WAS EVER IN WAS … The Third Avenue Blues Band

Guitarslinger Mark Emanatian leads Folding Sky into the Dinosaur Bar-B-Que in Troy at 10pm on Friday. Admission is free.

Five Firsts: Al Kash of Folding Sky

December 8th, 2010, 11:33 am by Greg

Al Kash

NAME: Al Kash
BAND AFFILIATION: Folding Sky, the Last Conspirators, etc.

1. THE FIRST ALBUM I EVER BOUGHT WAS … Bought a batch of LPs from record club, Thelonious Monk, Dave Brubeck’s “Take 5,” Them, Stones, Lightnin Hopkins

2. THE FIRST CONCERT THAT I EVER SAW WAS … First real concert, Ray Hoff & OffBeats @ Midland Town Hall, Perth, W. Australia.

3. THE FIRST MUSICAL INSTRUMENT I EVER OWNED OR PLAYED WAS … First played bass guitar & switched to drums.

4. THE FIRST SONG THAT I EVER PERFORMED IN PUBLIC WAS … Can’t remember what song, but it was probably an Animals/Sonny Boy/Stones song & an original instrumental “Turkish Delight.”


Al Kash and the other members of Folding Sky take the stage at Dinosaur Bar-B-Que in Troy at 10pm on Saturday.

CD: Folding Sky’s “Lost Roots”

June 18th, 2010, 3:06 pm by Greg

Folding Sky: Lost Roots(no label listed; 2010):

Guitarslinger Mark Emanatian has been spiking his unique brand of the blues with a decidedly psychedelic edge ever since he parted ways with Ernie Williams & the Wildcats and formed Folding Sky.

And if Williams is an old-school traditionalist when it comes to the blues, Emanatian is unquestionably a forward-thinker – even on this album which would seem to find Emanatian rummaging through his memory banks to pay tribute to his righteous, ramshackle collection of musical influences.

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