LIVE: Larry Quinn @ Smith’s of Cohoes, 1/19/18

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Review and photographs by Amy Modesti

The City of Cohoes continues to remain “Cohoes Strong,” as local businesses, residents and patrons are coming together to keep their city streets and businesses alive and well. Home of the Cohoes Music Hall, Marra’s Pharmacy, the Cohoes Department store and Smith’s of Cohoes, Cohoes is still a busy, vibrant city with a rich history that continues to evolve over time.

Along with its triumphs come its struggles, as with any evolving city. On November 30, a fire at a resident’s home got out of control along Cohoes’ Remsen Street. Local Cohoes resident John A. Gomes, who was attempting to bend a piece of metal in his backyard, caused one of the most devastating fires in Cohoes’ history. The blaze burned down three buildings and damaged more than over two dozen other businesses and homes, including the city’s longest standing restaurant/bar, Smith’s of Cohoes.

Originally, the building in which the restaurant sits housed a silent movie theater, a pool hall and became an established tavern during the 20th century. Famed patrons who have dined at the restaurant over the years include New York City Mayor Robert Wagner and President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Following the water damage to its high ceiling and smoke damage within the walls due to November’s massive fire, the restaurant’s current owner, Joe Hostig, and a restoration crew took 18 days to fix the damage to the building and get the restaurant running again, just in time for local residents and patrons to return to eat, drink and spread holiday cheer during the December holidays.

This past Friday evening was my first visit to Smith’s, and the restaurant, with its long bar and its seating booths, is beautiful. The damage from the fire was nowhere in evidence, and the renovation was spot-on. The food – I had a small bowl of chili with a side of tortilla chips – was delicious and warm, just perfect for the cold weather that has been a fixture this winter season.

Friday’s music featured Troy singer-songwriter Larry Quinn, who often performs at this venue and is well-known as the singer-songwriter-guitarist with the popular ’70s band Tree Fox. On Friday, Quinn performed his original songs and choice cover tunes to an audience that kept the entire long length of the bar as well as the seating areas busy and crowded.

Throughout the evening, Quinn performed original songs that were performed from his solo albums, Mr. Quinn and Larry Quinn, as well as more recent singles that he wrote and recorded with his son Alexander Quinn (“I’m Looking for a Girl with No Tattoos,” “Good Ole What’s Her Name” and “Just Want You to Love Me”), and even some vintage selections from Tree Fox’s album, Rough Road.

Along with his stand-out original songs, Quinn mixed in a few select covers during his two sets. Having heard Quinn perform his original songs at the Ale House’s Dick Quinn Memorial Concert in November, it was great to hear him perform these memorable cover songs – including “Love Potion No. 9”, “Ring of Fire,” “I Walk the Line,” “Bring It on Home to Me” and “Crying Time,” among others – while the audience sang along and filled up the dance floor.

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