There’s something happening here.
Dan Johnson’s Americana Tuesdays at Valentine’s seem to be taking flight, judging by the very eager, sizeable crowd of locals who came out to get a taste of this wide-ranging musical genre. It was the first night of the new Americana series, and it felt right from the moment the cheerful doorman Al welcomed me inside. It was the same old Valentine’s, but for some reason it felt kinder, gentler and a little more laid back. Bringing it down a notch from the typical Valentine’s ear-ringing fare, Dan Johnson and Expert Sidemen – drummer Jeff Arensberg, bassist Pete Murphy (also of Flood Road) and guitarist Dave Walsh – set just the right tone for an evening of tasty music, and did not miss a beat. They played a short intro set, anxious to get the out-of-town guest, Woody Pines and his band, up on the stage.
It was indeed a solicited stop in Albany, a fortuitous opportunity discovered by Mr. Johnson, who asked Woody and friends (who hail from Ashville, NC) to stop in Albany. They willingly accepted the invitation, recognizing that the pay may not be great, but that they would meet an appreciative audience of Americana fans. And they were headed north anyhow, having just picked up their new album, hot off the presses in Pennsylvania, on their way to several stops in Vermont, including Jay Peak and Burlington.