And you can catch Happy Traum on stage and in the spotlight at 8pm on Friday, December 14 at the Bearsville Theater in Woodstock, hosting the annual winter solstice concert with a batch of his musician pals including John Sebastian, Larry Campbell, Teresa Williams, Amy Helm, Byron Isaacs and others.
Woody Guthrie wrote, by some estimates, 3,000 songs. Early on he found a few collaborators, but in recent years his daughter Nora Guthrie has been placing select lyrics with contemporary writers. Here’s a chronological list of my current faves.
You could say that Woody’s cousin Jack “stole” this song, but so what? Woody stole just about every melody he ever sang. The bottom line is that Jack “fixed it up” in much the way A.P. Carter did with traditional mountain songs, and turned it into a true Western Swing hit in the process.
When Woody wrote this lament in 1948, the Huntington’s Disease that would take his life was already robbing him of his abilities to make music. Hoffman, a singing schoolteacher, set the lyric beautifully, with the melody matching the ache of the words. It became a standard even while Guthrie was still alive. There’s a great video of Dylan (doing his best Troy Pohl) and Baez singing this on the Rolling Thunder Tour. Barring that, believe it or not, Dolly Parton’s version is as good a place as any to start – at least she doesn’t mangle “adios” as badly as Springsteen does.
Part of the “Mermaid Avenue” project with Wilco. Bragg embodies Guthrie’s spirit in so many ways, and not just as a protest singer. The bloke’s own nods and winks in songs like “Sexuality” made him the perfect partner for Woody’s naughty little number about girls in trees.
The Wilco half of “Mermaid Avenue.” The salt and sweet of Tweedy and Bennett clashed just right on this moonlit ditty. Gram Parson is still pissed that he died before he had a chance to record this one.
Saturday (July 14) marks the historic 100th anniversary of the birth of Woody Guthrie, and Local 518 singer-songwriter-multi-instrumentalist Michael Eck has wisely chosen Saturday to debut his new one-man celebration of one of America’s all-time great musical icons, “Bound for Glory: 100 Years of Woody Guthrie,” at Nippertown’s legendary home of folk music, Caffe Lena in Saratoga Springs.
Eck – a member of Ramblin Jug Stompers and Lost Radio Rounders, who has also played alongside such folks as Pete Seeger and Patti Smith – will perform a solo selection of classic Guthrie songs, relate anecdotes from the singer’s life and discuss how Guthrie’s influence still drives contemporary American folk music. Throughout the evening, Eck – who produced and hosted the Caffe’s 52nd Anniversary tribute to Guthrie in May – will explore Guthrie’s music from its roots in classic American folk songs to his explosive creative streak in the 1940s with “Dust Bowl Ballads” and the “Columbia River Collection,” as well as the tunes he wrote for children and the many collaborations by contemporary musicians with unset lyrics housed in the Guthrie archives.
The newly formed Albany Music Coalition got off to a fine start with a kick-off party at Valentine’s Music Hall in Albany featuring performances by Matthew Carefully, Michael Eck and Tom McWatters & the Philo Beddoe Band.
Over the course of the past two decades, the Steamer No. 10 Theatre has become one of Albany’s prime destinations for children’s entertainment. But every once in a while the intimate little theater plays host to some fine grown-up entertainment, too.
In celebration of the theater’s 20th anniversary, guest producer Michael Eck is presenting a new Electic Performance Series at the theater, a slate of six exciting evening concerts aimed at adult audiences and featuring some of the area’s finest musicians both past and present. Among the upcoming performers are Hamell on Trial, Sean Rowe, the Star Spangled Washboard Band, Val Haynes & Todd Nelson, Rosanne Raneri, Bryan Thomas, Rosary Beard, Winterpills and Frank Jaklitsch.
CLEMENT ART GALLERY
Last summer’s art exhibition at the Saratoga Arts Center, “Impasse & Motion: Ten Photographers’ Journeys through Instants in Music” (currated by Nippertown’s own chief photographer Andrzej Pilarczyk) was a near perfect melding of sound and vision.
Now the Clement Art Gallery in Troy is preparing to mount its own music photography exhibit. “The Great Rock N’ Roll Picture Show” features the eagle-eyed camera work of three fine Nippertown photographers – Martin Benjamin, Joe Putrock (who was also represented in “Impasse & Motion”) and John Whipple. The exhibition kicks off on Friday (January 27) with a reception from 6-9pm and runs through Wednesday, February 22.
As part of the Riverlink Concert Series, the Singer-Songwriter Festival brought four performers to the venue at the edge of the Mohawk River in Amsterdam last Saturday.
The fest saw the return of host Michael Eck showcasing some of the rising talent in local singer-songwriters. First up was M.R. Poulopoulos, one-half of the acoustic duo Palatypus, who featured several songs from his recent solo debut, “Greenhorn,” as well as new and older songs.