LIVE: The Wailin’ Jennys @ The Egg, 4/30/15

May 13th, 2015, 4:00 pm by Greg
The Wailin’ Jennys

The Wailin’ Jennys

Review by Greg Haymes
Photographs by Andrzej Pilarczyk

With a clever band name like the Wailin’ Jennys, you might assume that you’d be in for a rowdy gaggle of gals with guitars pumping out ornery, twangified cow-punk tunes, but nothing could be further from the truth. The Jennys have been “wailin’” for more than a dozen years now, and when they finally made their long-overdue Albany debut at The Egg’s Hart Theatre recently, they delivered an evening of sublime, subtle, harmony-laden songs that leaned heavily toward the countrified folk end of the musical spectrum.

But it really didn’t matter where the songs came from. The focus was squarely on the intricate intertwining of the three glorious voices of Nicky Mehta, Ruth Moody and Heather Masse. All three are exquisite songwriters, and the bulk of their 75-minute concert featured their original songs – highlighted by Moody’s gospel gem “Glory Bound,” the jazzy swing of Masse’s “Cherry Blossom Love” and Mehta’s haunting ballad “Arlington.”

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Song o’ the Week: The Stray Birds’ “Best Medicine”

April 16th, 2015, 1:00 pm by Greg

Saturday (April 18) is Record Store Day, and we couldn’t think of a better song to help us celebrate than the Stray Birds’ “Best Medicine,” the title track of their latest album on Yep Roc Records.

The Lancaster, Pennsylvania folk/Americana trio of multi-instrumentalists and vocalists – Maya de Vitry, Oliver Craven and Charlie Muench – was inspired to write the song by a visit to The Re-Collector on Jay Street in Schenectady, one of Nippertown’s classic record stores. So when it came time for the trio to make a video for the song, where did they go? That’s right, back to The Re-Collector where they turned the shop’s proprietor, Kurt Hellijas, into a music video star.

“You never know the gold you can find out there / ‘Til you put the needle down and do some digging in the air … if the body is a temple, the soul is a bell/ And that’s why music is the best medicine I sell.”

NOTE: The Stray Birds are headed back to Nippertown for a concert at The Egg’s Hart Theatre in Albany at 7:30pm on Thursday, April 30, when they’ll be sharing the stage with the Wailin’ Jennys. Tickets are currently on sale, priced at $36.25 & $46.25.

LIVE: The Stray Birds @ Caffe Lena, 11/19/14

November 24th, 2014, 4:00 pm by Greg

The Stray Birds

Review and photographs by Andrzej Pilarczyk

Back in April the Pennsylvania-based Stray Birds trio swooped down to perch on the stage of Caffe Lena in Saratoga Springs to create quite a lovely ruckus of rural Roots-Americana sounds. Afterward they flew off to entertain in other parts of the country, only to return to the region and land this past June at the Old Songs Festival at the Altamont Fairgrounds.

Migrating back to Caffe Lena on a recent, cold Wednesday night, the room was busting at the seams with people and songs. Celebrating the release of Best Medicine, their new album – yup, it’s available on vinyl, too – the fab folk trio of Maya de Vitry (vocals, guitar, banjo & fiddle), Oliver Craven (vocals, guitar, resonator & fiddle) and Charles Muench (vocals, bass & banjo) dazzled the audience with their three-part harmonies and instrumental prowess.

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Five Firsts: Charles Muench of the Stray Birds

February 24th, 2012, 11:00 am by Greg
The Stray Birds

The Stray Birds

NAME: Charles Muench
INSTRUMENT: Bass, vocals

1. THE FIRST ALBUM I EVER BOUGHT WAS … This is tough! I remember loving the song “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)” by the Proclaimers around the age of three or four. My parents (or Santa, I guess!) gave a copy of their “Sunshine on Leith” cassette tape to me for Christmas at that age. That is my earliest memory of owning an album.

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