LIVE: Pete Donnelly & the Wise Easy @ Valentine’s Music Hall, 7/27/13

July 31st, 2013, 4:00 pm by Greg
Pete Donnelly & the Wise Easy

Pete Donnelly & the Wise Easy

Photographs by Kirsten Ferguson

One night just wasn’t enough…

So on the night after Sgt. Dunbar & the Hobo Banned teamed up with Ray Murray & the Bomb Squad, WEXT-FM’s sixth anniversary bash at Valentine’s Music Hall continued with yet another evening of rock ‘n’ roll revelry.

Headlining Night Two of the celebration was the Figgs’ Pete Donnelly, who served up a preview his sophomore solo album, Face the Bird, which is slated for official release on August 20. Sharing the stage for Exit 97.7 birthday party were Local 518 favorites Olivia Quillio and Bear Grass.

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Five Firsts: Pete Donnelly

July 22nd, 2013, 12:00 pm by Greg
Pete Donnelly (photo by Kevin Monco)

Pete Donnelly (photo by Kevin Monco)

NAME: Pete Donnelly
BAND AFFILIATION: Pete Donnelly & the Wise Easy, the Figgs
INSTRUMENT: Guitar, bass, drums, keyboards, etc.

1. THE FIRST ALBUM I EVER BOUGHT WAS … Well, it was four records. I had just gotten my own turntable with birthday money. Steely Dan’s Greatest Hits, the Allman Brothers’ Live at Filmore East, the Who’s Meaty Beaty Big and Bouncy and Led Zeppelin III.

2. THE FIRST CONCERT THAT I EVER SAW WAS … That I remember – Ray Charles at jazz fest. But maybe the Beach Boys – also at SPAC.

3. THE FIRST MUSICAL INSTRUMENT I EVER OWNED OR PLAYED WAS … Owned being the definer here – bass for my 13th birthday. I could now stop bugging my bros for their instruments. And, of course, we needed a bass player. But there was a piano in the house since I was around 9 years old.

4. THE FIRST SONG THAT I EVER PERFORMED IN PUBLIC WAS … “Salt in the Air, Past in Your Eyes”? It was one of the John Nazarenko tunes we were doing in the Initials. It was a “battle of the bands” at the Colonie Coliseum.


Pete Donnelly and his band the Wise Easy return to Valentine’s Music Hall in Albany on Saturday (July 27) to preview Donnelly’s upcoming sophomore album, “Face the Bird,” slated for official release on Tuesday, August 20. The Valentine’s gig is part of WEXT-FM’s sixth anniversary bash. Olivia Quillio and Bear Grass will also perform.

Song o’ the Week: Pete Donnelly’s “Face the Bird”

June 17th, 2013, 2:00 pm by Greg

Here’s a slightly belated Father’s Day present for you from rock ‘n’ roll dad, Pete Donnelly of the Figgs. Donnelly’s band in this Geoffray Barbier-directed video just happen to be his own kids – ages two, four and seven. The song is the title track of Donnelly’s upcoming sophomore album, due out later this summer…

LIVE: Pete Donnelly & the Wise Easy @ Valentine’s, 5/24/13

May 31st, 2013, 2:00 pm by Greg
Pete Donnelly

Pete Donnelly

Review and photographs by Kirsten Ferguson
Hand Habits photographs by Timothy Reidy

Figgs bassist Pete Donnelly returned to Valentine’s last Friday with a new combo from Philly, the Wise Easy, featuring Jim Balga on drums and Phil D’Agostino on bass. Fresh off an appearance at Saratoga’s Spring Street Gallery the night before, Donnelly had a batch of new tunes from his upcoming album, Face the Bird, to showcase.

The soon-to-be-released album was (mostly) recorded in October in an unused storefront in Ocean City, New Jersey, during the off-season and just before Hurricane Sandy devastated the Jersey shore. It has an experimental and widely divergent stylistic feel. “Delicate Elocution,” about the tactful art of navigating a friend’s domestic violence situation, was a somberish ballad, while “Got Caught Up” – which features singer-songwriter Shelby Lynne on the album – was a shame-free pop tune with an irresistible chorus.

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Win FREE Tickets to Pete Donnelly & the Wise Easy @ Valentine’s on Friday!

May 22nd, 2013, 11:00 am by Greg
Pete Donnelly

Pete Donnelly @ Valentine's Music Hall, 2/16/12 (photo by Kirsten Ferguson)

Bassist/guitarist Pete Donnelly has been a busy guy for the past couple of years. Of course, he still helps fuel the former-Nippertown power-popsters the Figgs. And the Figgs have occasionally served as Graham Parker’s back-up band (at least until GP reunited with the Rumour). For a while there, he was also anchoring Terry Adams’ resurrected NRBQ, as well, though he did leave the ‘Q back in September.

But he also released his excellent solo album When You Come Home at the end of 2011, and he’s toured extensively in support of that, too. On Friday night (May 24), Pete Donnelly & the Wise Easy return to Valentine’s Music Hall in Albany. Hand Habits open the show at 8pm.

BUT WAIT… Have we got a deal for you! We’re giving away a pair of FREE TICKETS to the show to one 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 deadline to enter is 12noon on Friday (May 24), and the winner will be selected at random and notified on Friday afternoon. Enter today! Good luck! Congratulations to the winner, who has been notified by email.

The Figgs, One at a Time…

March 21st, 2013, 3:00 pm by Greg
Mike Gent (left) and Pete Donnelly (photos by Kirsten Ferguson)

Mike Gent (left) and Pete Donnelly (photos by Kirsten Ferguson)

Former hometown heroes the Figgs – well, they’re still our heroes, but they’re not really hometowners anymore – dished up some of the tastiest rock & roll that we heard last year with stops at Valentine’s Music Hall and Putnam Den in celebration of their 25th anniversary. Now it looks like they’re trying a different tact for 2013 – with the bandmembers rolling into town one at a time.

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LIVE: Pete Donnelly @ Valentine’s Music Hall, 2/16/12

February 29th, 2012, 4:00 pm by Greg
Pete Donnelly

Pete Donnelly

Review and photographs by Kirsten Ferguson

In December, Pete Donnelly – bassist for the long-running Saratoga Springs-born band the Figgs and more recently a member of NRBQ – released “When You Come Home,” his first solo album. Actually, it’s the second if you count “Another Day on You,” a cassette of home recordings from 1999 that came out in an extremely limited edition of 50 copies.

But “When You Come Home” gets the full treatment – and hopefully exposure – that Donnelly’s songwriting deserves. There’s a stylish video by director Geoffray Barbier for the album’s irrepressibly catchy single, “Can’t Talk at All.” Artist Chris Donnelly, Pete’s cousin, provided an eye-catching linoleum cut for the album’s cover. And most of the album’s polished recording was done not at home but by Donnelly and engineer Henry Hirsch at Waterfront Studio in Hudson.

The album also features guest appearances from musical friends that Donnelly has made over the years. Soul Asylum’s Dave Pirner adds guitar and vocals to “The Keeping.” Figgs guitarist Mike Gent and sultry-voiced singer Britta Phillips of Dean & Britta appear on “Careful.” And longtime NRBQ drummer Tom Ardolino played drums on the album’s title track (and a 30-second snippet of piano that ended up on the album as an interlude) not long before he died in January.

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