BEST OF 2014: Michael Eck’s Top 10 Albums

December 31st, 2014, 12:00 pm by Greg

Joe Henry: Invisible Hour

By Michael Eck

Joe Henry’s Invisible Hour is so relentlessly, ridiculously beyond good that speaking about it reduces me to gibberish. It is my Top 10 for 2014. I don’t mean to say that it is at the top of the list, no, it is the entire list.

If you ride due southwest, following the sun, out of Albany, into the hilltowns, that is best… Open the moonroof, too. Even if it’s winter.

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“Reading Music”: Where Books Meet Songs

August 27th, 2014, 10:00 am by Greg
Matt Durfee

Matt Durfee (photo: Michael Hochanadel)

At 7pm tonight (Wednesday, August 27), the Albany Public Library is hosting its second “Reading Music” concert. It’s an evening of songs, readings and discussion based on John Steinbeck’s classic novel, “East of Eden.” The evening will feature nearly a dozen brand-spankin’ new original songs penned by Local 518 songsmiths Matt Durfee and Michael Eck. Admission is FREE.

Joining Durfee (vocals, guitar) and Eck (vocals, resonator guitar, resonator mandolin) will be August Sagehorn (bass), Tommy Krebs (drums), Roger Noyes (steel guitar), M.R. Poulopoulos (electric guitar) and Adam Prizio (readings).

You may recall the inaugural “Reading Music” performance back in April featured M.R. Poulopoulos and friends performing a number of original songs based on the novels of Albany’s own Pulitzer Prize-winning author William Kennedy, who was in attendance.

LIVE: Roots Music Festival @ WAMC-FM’s The Linda, 4/5/14

April 30th, 2014, 2:00 pm by Greg
The Wiyos

The Wiyos

Photographs by Andrzej Pilarczyk

Although the Roots Music Festival actually began back in 2007 as a two-day, 14-band affair downtown at Red Square, organizer Ryan Dunham and his his band Red Haired Strangers consolidated it into a single evening and moved the bash uptown to WAMC-FM’s The Linda for the first time in 2010. It was a perfect fit.

So the fest returned to The Linda again for the fifth time earlier this month, with an array of Local 518 favorites and a headlining set from the Wiyos, led by the multi-talented Michael Farkas. And proceeds from the festivities went to help feed inner city kids in Albany.

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LIVE: Michael Eck @ Steamer No. 10 Theatre, 4/19/14

April 23rd, 2014, 4:00 pm by Greg
Michael Eck

Michael Eck

Review by Greg Haymes
Photographs by Tom Lindsay

Ten years ago for his 40th birthday, singer-songwriter-musicman about town Michael Eck was honored with a surprise party at Valentine’s Music Hall in which a big batch of his musician pals and bandmates (past and present) took the stage to sing his songs back at him.

Last Saturday, Eck stepped out on the stage of the Steamer No. 10 Theatre in Albany and reclaimed the songs for his own with a combination concert/birthday celebration.

From rough and tumble spitfire (“The Gossip Train,” “Exit Wound”) to tender ballads (“Yellow Ribbons,” “The weight of the World”), Eck ran the musical and emotional gamut, as he served up two generous sets of original tunes culled from his rich, four-album solo catalog.

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LIVE: Dom Flemons @ WAMC-FM’s The Linda, 11/6/13

November 18th, 2013, 4:00 pm by Greg
Dom Flemons

Dom Flemons

Photographs by Andrzej Pilarczyk

As a key member of the Carolina Chocolate Drops, the thoroughly entertaining, multi-talented mulit-instrumentalist and singer Dom Flemons has performed all over Nippertown – from FreshGrass to Mountain Jam to the Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival.

But earlier this month, Flemons came to town for a rare solo performance as part of the American Roots Series at The Linda in Albany. Singer-songwriter Michael Eck served as the opening act, as well as the host for the evening’s festivities.

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LIVE: An Evening of Murder Ballads @ Caffe Lena, 10/26/13

October 30th, 2013, 4:00 pm by Greg
Tom Wadsworth and Kim Kilby

Tom Wadsworth and Kim Kilby

Review by Greg Haymes
Photographs by Tim Livingston

It was the third year for “An Evening of Murder Ballads,” Caffe Lena’s fund-raising Halloween tradition, and as Lena’s manager Sarah Craig explained, in years past, the focus was squarely on the traditional folk ballads of murder, killing and revenge.

Not so this time around…

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LIVE: Syd Straw @ WAMC-FM’s The Linda, 10/5/13

October 23rd, 2013, 2:00 pm by Greg
Syd Straw

Syd Straw

Review by Greg Haymes
Photographs by Andrzej Pilarczyk

During “Actress,” the closing song on Syd Straw’s latest album Pink Velour, she sings, “I saw my name up on the marquee. They spelled it wrong, but it still looked good to me. I’m having that kind of career.”

That kind of career, indeed. The fact that her “latest” album was released five years ago might partially explain that kind of career. Well, that and the fact that she’s only released a grand total of three albums over the course of her 24-year solo career. Clearly, Syd Straw doesn’t play by the typical musical industry rules.

And she doesn’t deliver any kind of typical concert, either. At The Linda – where the marquee did spell out her name correctly – she admitted early on that she was trying not to talk too much. But she just couldn’t help herself on that count, and when she sang the lyrics, “I will, like a brook, babble on,” during “Papier Mache,” old fans knew what she meant and new fans were about to find out.

Between songs she chatted about putting on too much make-up, Miley Cyrus, why she likes to read The New Yorker, pandas, Fiona Apple’s run-in with a heckler and lots more. “It only seems like 17 minutes between songs,” she said, only half-joking. But that’s part of her charm. Well, that and the fact that she frequently chatted with her dog, Carol Burnett, who laid down calmly at her feet onstage for the majority of the show. And in the middle of her show, Straw broke into an a cappella rendition of “There Are Worse Things I Could Do” from the musical “Grease” and sang the whole song.

“I forget. Is this a show, or are we just having lunch?” she asked at one point.

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LIVE: Peter Case @ Valentine’s Music Hall, 5/10/13

May 29th, 2013, 4:00 pm by Greg
Michael Eck and Peter Case

Michael Eck and Peter Case

Photograph by Kirsten Ferguson

You never know who might pop up on stage with him when veteran singer-songwriter Peter Case makes a tour stop at Valentine’s Music Hall in Albany.

Back 2010, when Case dropped by, he was backed by drummer Brian Goodman of the Knyghts of Fuzz.

And when Case returned earlier this month, Local 518 fave Michael Eck – of Lost Radio Rounders, Ramblin Jug Stompers and more – joined him on stage for a handful of delicious duets, including Bob Dylan’s “Pledging My Time.”

The Cock'N'Bull RestaurantCaffe LenaCartoonist John CaldwellJim Gaudet and the Railroad BoysHolly & EvanAdvertise on Nippertown!Ramblin Jug StompersG.C. Haymes