Posts Tagged ‘Joseph Deuel’

LIVE: The Down Hill Strugglers @ Caffe Lena, 9/11/15

Tuesday, September 29th, 2015
The Downhill Strugglers

The Down Hill Strugglers

Review by Greg Haymes
Photographs by Joe Deuel

From Bob Dylan to Ani DiFranco to Sawyer Fredericks, Caffe Lena has acted as launching pad for singer-songwriters for more than a half century now. But another part of the Caffe’s mission is keeping alive the traditional folk music of the past and presenting it to contemporary audiences.

Earlier this month, Brooklyn-based trio the Down Hill Strugglers played two 35-minute sets at the coffeehouse, and there was nary an original, self-penned tune in the bunch. Instead, they served up a high-spirited evening of genuine old-timey music – fiddle tunes, rags, reels, spirituals, breakdowns with a ballad or two tossed in for good measure along the way. And along the way, they proved that old-timey music is timeless.

The band – featuring Eli Smith on banjo, Jackson Lynch on fiddle and Walker Shepard on guitar – draws obvious inspiration from Harry Smith’s classic “Anthology of American Folk Music” (the touchstone of the ’60s folk revival), the Holy Modal Rounders and especially the New Lost City Ramblers. In fact, the Ramblers’ John Cohen is one of their primary mentors. But the Down Hill Strugglers brought their own contemporary verve to such warhorses as the lively “Sally Ann” and “Turkey in the Straw,” which closed out their first set in fine twin-fiddle fashion.

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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.

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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: 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.

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LIVE: The Catbirds @ the Ale House, 4/5/14

Thursday, April 10th, 2014
The Catbirds

The Catbirds

Photographs by Joseph Deuel

Chandler Travis roared back into town last weekend, this time around fronting the Catbirds as they ripped up the Ale House in Troy. And once again the getting-a-little-less-reclusive Pete LaBonne was sharing the bill as the opening act and joining the Catbirds in some five-piece musical mayhem.

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Win a FREE Ticket to David Greenberger & A Strong Dog @ Caffe Lena, 5/31/13

Tuesday, May 28th, 2013
David Greenberger & A Strong Dog performing at Caffe Lena in 2012  (photo by Joe Deuel)

David Greenberger & A Strong Dog performing at Caffe Lena in 2012 (photo by Joseph Deuel)

Greenwich’s David Greenberger is a masterful artist who knows how to get to the heart of matter of getting older. He’s been doing it for three decades now as the writer, editor and all-around office boy at the Duplex Planet, a little homemade magazine that’s grown into an empire over the years, spawning books, radio shows, comic books and more.

Greenberger is also a musician intimately aware of the power of music. And over the years, he’s created an amazing collection of spoken-word recordings, collaborating with the likes of Los Lobos, NRBQ’s Terry Adams, John Sebastian, members of the Sun Ra Arkestra, Birdsongs of the Mesozoic, Paul Cebar, 3 Leg Torso and others.

He doesn’t play an instrument on the CDs, though. He doesn’t sing. He doesn’t write the material. He simply speaks. Reciting the words of others that he’s collected in interviews over the years, allowing his voice to be heard as the voice of the thousands of everyday elderly people who we somehow never get a chance to hear.

Greenberger’s latest musical collaborators are an all-star trio of Nippertown musicians, A Strong Dog featuring Kevin Maul, Matthew Loiacono and Mitch Throop. Together, they’ve just released their debut album So Tough, and they’ll be showcasing the poignant, profound, peculiar and positively funny stories/songs in concert at Caffe Lena in Saratoga Springs at 8pm on Friday (May 31). William Rees opens the show. Tickets are $15 in advance; $17 at the door.

BUT WAIT… Have we got a deal for you! We’re giving away a FREE TICKET to the show to two lucky Nippertown readers! To enter the contest, just post a comment below. Please leave your email address, too. We won’t publish it, but we’ll use it to contact you if you win. The deadline to enter is 12noon on Friday (May 31), and the winner will be selected at random and notified on Friday afternoon. Enter today! And good luck! Congratulations to the winners, who have been notified by email.

LIVE: The Chandler Travis Three-O @ Caffe Lena, 3/15/13

Thursday, March 21st, 2013
The Chandler Travis Three-O (photo by Joseph Deuel)

The Chandler Travis Three-O

Review by Fred Rudofsky
Photos by Joseph Deuel

Deliver me from this world in which cell phones are no longer just for conversation, they are now the point of conversation. Deliver me from this world in which a trickle-down stream of euphemisms, intended to reform educational instruction and solve our state and federal fiscal problems, gets gobbled up like popcorn shrimp. Deliver me from this world in which the falcon cannot hear the falconer, as Yeats put it so well.

Fortunately, there was sanctuary to be found from the wanton madness, inanity and brutishness of the world: Caffe Lena. I arrived, covered in wet snow, looking over my shoulder and seeking shelter from the Ides of March. The other-worldly music of the Chandler Travis Three-O and the Jack Grace Band would not let me down.

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LIVE: Tom Tom Sunday @ the Met, 2/19/12

Tuesday, February 28th, 2012

The Catbirds

The Catbirds


Photographs by Joe Deuel

In tribute to long-time NRBQ drummer Tommy Ardolinowho passed away last month – various bands, musicians, fans and, of course, drummers from all across the northeast gathered at the Met in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, on Sunday, February 19 for a musical homage.

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Holly & EvanThe Cock'N'Bull RestaurantJim Gaudet and the Railroad BoysCaffe LenaCartoonist John CaldwellAdvertise on Nippertown!Hudson SoundsArtist Charles HaymesThe LindaLeave Regular Radio BehindBerkshire On StageAlbany PoetsDennis Herbert Art