Five Firsts: Michael Cooney

May 16th, 2012, 11:00 am by Greg

Michael Cooney

NAME: Michael Cooney
INSTRUMENT: 5-string banjo, fretless banjo, 6-string guitar, 12-string guitar, concertina

1. THE FIRST ALBUM I EVER BOUGHT WAS … Can’t remember. Might have been Kingston Trio or Josh White (Sr.) or Bob Gibson or Spike Jones (“Dinner Music for People Who Aren’t Very Hungry” – still have it.)

2. THE FIRST CONCERT THAT I EVER SAW WAS … Pete Seeger; a friend took me for a birthday present. I’d never heard of Pete Seeger. Changed my life.

3. THE FIRST MUSICAL INSTRUMENT I EVER OWNED OR PLAYED WAS … A plastic ukulele with colored strings – $2.50 from Stan’s Swap Shop in Tucson, AZ, where I grew up.


5. THE FIRST BAND I WAS EVER IN WAS … The Tahiti Three (high school trio). One of the songs we sang at our first gig was “Kawliga” from a Hank Williams record.

The marvelous, multi-talented Michael Cooney is coming out of retirement to help Caffe Lena in Saratoga Springs celebrate its 52nd anniversary this weekend. Cooney will perform at 7:30pm on Friday (May 18) with a pre-concert reception at 6:30pm. Tix are $52.

BUT WAIT… Have we got a deal for you! We’re giving away one FREE TICKET to the show to a lucky Nippertown reader! To enter the contest, just go here…


Win a FREE TICKET to Michael Cooney @ Caffe Lena on Friday

May 14th, 2012, 12:00 pm by Greg

Michael Cooney

Michael Cooney is a masterful performer on quite an array of various musical instruments. He’s a true believer in the power of music and a troubadour since 1960. Over the years, he’s rightly earned the title of One-Man Folk Festival.

He makes his home in Friendship, Maine these day, and Cooney admits, “I’ve been essentially retired for the last 10-plus years, but…”

When old friends come calling, he just can’t seem to say no.

“The owner of the Denver Folklore Center asked me out for their 50th Anniversary celebration on Memorial Day Weekend,” Cooney explains, “and since I met him a few days before he opened the store – he took me in when I was hitch-hiking through – I couldn’t say no.

“Then, since we were going, and my wife has always wanted to visit our favorite singer-songwriters (Lou & Peter Berryman) in their Natural Habitat, we arranged to go home via Madison, Wisconsin.

“THEN Caffe Lena – where I’ve sung since 1966 or so – called about a special fund-raiser on May 18, and since I was ALREADY practicing for Denver and Madison, and since the Caffe is one of my all-time favorite places, I couldn’t say no to Sarah (Craig, the Caffe’s director), either.”

So helping Caffe Lena to kick-off its 52nd anniversary weekend, Michael Cooney will step back into the spotlight at 7:30pm on Friday (May 18) for a special benefit concert for the Caffe. Tix are – appropriately enough – $52, which includes a pre-concert reception at 6:30pm featuring hearty appetizers, desserts and soft drinks.

BUT WAIT… Have we got a deal for you! We’re giving away one FREE TICKET to the show to a lucky Nippertown reader! 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 winner will be selected at random and notified on Thursday. Enter today! Good luck!

And check back here at Nippertown all week long for additional ticket giveaways for Caffe Lena’s 52nd Anniversary weekend events!

Caffe Lena Photo of the Day

May 24th, 2010, 12:01 pm by Greg

Saratoga Springs venerable coffeehouse Caffe Lena celebrated its 50th anniversary during the past weekend, and very soon we’ll have lots of photos from the various anniversary events. But we’re also going to continue running a photo a day from the archives of soundman/house photographer Joe Deuel til the end of the month.

Here’s a photo of Michael Cooney and Lena Spencer on stage together in the early ’80s:

Michael Cooney and Lena Spencer

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