There are few things better in life than hearing a band tear it up on a Friday night, in Albany no less. As the the Chris O’Leary Band proved in three dynamic sets at The Bayou, the blues is alive and well, especially here in our own backyard.
O’Leary, an ex-Marine who served an equal stint of six years with Levon Helm’s Barn Burners, fronts a homegrown band that fires on all cylinders. Opening with a swing blues, “I Ain’t Gonna Do It”, O’Leary declaimed with authority in his vocals and harp, locking into a playful banter with the Bonneville Horns, Chris DeFrancesco (baritone sax) and Andy Stahl (tenor sax) that proved to be a hallmark throughout the evening.
The first set was replete with originals from their debut album, “Mr. Used to Be” (VizzTone Records), as well as songs from an upcoming album set for later this year. “I Need You (Like I Need a Hole in My Head)” delivered wit and verve, rooted in some fine drumming by Sean McCarthy and a duet vocal by O’Leary and Willa McCarthy. The Gulf Coast sounds of Excello Records (“Louisiana Woman”) and Mardi Gras (“Tchoupitoulas”) offered fine tempos for even wallflowers to leave the bar and hit the dance floor. “Letters from Home” addressed the blues faced by the soldier overseas, with O’Leary’s slow aching harp paired with Chris Viterello’s agitated guitar bringing to mind vintage Junior Wells and Buddy Guy.
Steve Nover: sounds like I should have stayed when I heard Lindley was a no-show……….h ope I get...
Stacey: I’m a Rocky Horror newbie, so the midnight show would be a perfect way to dive right in!
Stephanie Cardinale: My daughter is a huge rocky horror fan and a huge kids of Albany fan. I would love to be able to...
When I was a kid working at the steel mills, when you stood in front of the furnace, the heat that came off was amazing. And I feel that in many ways New York was, for me, the furnace — the cultural furnace. Just standing in that heat warms you up.