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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Festival Fever: Roots Music Festival @ The Linda, 3/31/12

March 28th, 2012, 10:00 am by Greg

Country-blues band the Red Haired Strangers are once again presenting their annual Roots Music Festival on Saturday night (March 31). It’s billed as the third annual fest (meaning, I guess, that it’s the third year that The Linda in Albany has hosted the event), but it’s been going on for several years more than that, originally at Red Square.

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CD: Red Haired Strangers’ “Hilltown Sessions”

March 23rd, 2010, 1:01 pm by Greg

(, 2009)

This is beautiful, old-school country stuff. Real back-porch country stuff; not contemporary radio “country” music.

Oh, sure there’s drums (courtesy Chris Scharl), but just enough to keep pushing the songs along and never so much that they get in the way.

Mostly, it’s a delightful balance of Joe Gumpper’s fiddle, John Rice’s guitar and Ryan Dunham’s harmonica, laced with some pedal steel (and dobro) from veteran Rick Morse. Rob McCuen jumps in to spice things up a bit on banjo and mandolin on a couple of tunes, and the band enlisted Courtney Blackwell on harmony vocals for Dunham’s honky-tonker, “Heartbreak Moonlight.”

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Real Good for Free: Red Haired Strangers/Tern Rounders @ Revolution Hall, 11/24/09

November 23rd, 2009, 12:28 pm by Greg

Even on a holiday week, Revolution Hall continues to roll out their weekly Free Tuesdays concerts. On tap this Tuesday (November 24) is the neatly packaged double-bill of Red Haired Strangers and Tern Rounders.

The Red Haired Strangers roll into the Rev Hall spotlight in support of their new album, “The Hilltown Sessions,” which finds the band mixing up country, blues, folk and bluegrass in a rootsy, acoustic oriented sonic concoction.

Meanwhile, led by singers-guitarists Kim Noyes and Marc Clayton, the Tern Rounders churn out that great Flying Burritto Brothers/Gram Parsons ‘n’ Emmylou Harris American Cosmic Music.

Two good bands. Great beer. No cover charge. What’s not to like?

Real Good for Free: Guitar Wars @ Tess’ Lark Tavern (11/24/09)
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Real Good For Free: JOHN BRODEUR’s “Slutty Nurse” EP
Real Good For Free: Philip Glass Download at Amazon
Real Good For Free: Music @ Noon at the Troy Savings Bank Music Hall (second Tuesdays)
Real Good For Free: Quintessence (Weekends)
Real Good for Free: Colleen Pratt @ the Van Dyck (Thursdays)
Real Good for Free: Tuesdays @ Revolution Hall (Tuesdays)
Real Good for Free: CRUMBS Nite Out @ The Linda (4th Thursdays)

FIVE FIRSTS: Ryan Dunham of the Red Haired Strangers

October 16th, 2009, 2:33 pm by Greg

(photo by Andrzej Pilarczyk)

(photo by Andrzej Pilarczyk)

NAME: Ryan Dunham
BAND AFFILIATION: Red Haired Strangers

1. THE FIRST ALBUM I EVER BOUGHT WAS … “Outlandos d’Amour” by the Police

2. THE FIRST CONCERT I EVER SAW WAS … Stevie Ray Vaughan and Jeff Beck at RPI

3. THE FIRST MUSICAL INSTRUMENT I EVER OWNED OR PLAYED WAS … The first instrument I ever played was the piano in the basement that my parents got as a wedding gift. Occasionally, the front plate would fall off and hit you in the knees. I guess it was a good introduction to the world of music. It taught you to always be ready for the unexpected. The first instrument I ever owned was a Special 20 harmonica by Hohner.

4. THE FIRST SONG I EVER PERFORMED IN PUBLIC WAS … “Sweet Jane” at the Battle of the Bands at the local bowling alley. We lost to a band called Aztec. Goes to show you can never go wrong with naming yourself after fierce warriors from long ago.

5. THE FIRST BAND I WAS EVER IN WAS …. The Blue Dolphin Kids

Ryan Dunham leads the Red Haired Strangers into Caffe Lena in Saratoga Springs at 7pm Sunday to celebrate the release of the band’s new CD, “Hilltown Sessions.”

LIVE: Red Haired Strangers @ the Tang Museum, 7/31/09

August 3rd, 2009, 8:44 pm by Greg

Ryan Dunham

Ryan Dunham

The Red Haired Strangers started out more than a decade and a half ago as the acoustic duo of harmonicat-vocalist Ryan Dunham and guitarist-vocalist John Rice, playing a variety of country, blues and bluegrass.

In recent years, they’ve expanded into a full-fledged band that also includes ace fiddler Joe Gumpper, drummer Chris Scharl, bassist Mike McLean and veteran pedal steel guitarist Rick Morse.

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