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May 2008 Archives

May 31, 2008

Refusing to be Wretched

Citizen Kafka brought his collective of talented yet demented musicians back to Jalopy last night for two sets. The first was packed, and Richie was in fine form, declaiming Coleridge to the tune of "Red Wing," turning the Wheels Of Karma, and writing off everything from Sunday to Buddha as "Nothing!" Dada? Nada. Nero? Zero. Oh and don't forget "Cluck Old Hen" who sits zazen.

See the complete set of photos.

May 28, 2008

Wretched Refuse!

The big news this week is Wretched Refuse. No, the sanitation workers haven't gone on strike again, it's a reunion of the infamous string- band run by the one and only Citizen Kafka. They take over Jalopy on Friday night and it'll be some show. Kenny Kosek, Jon Sholle, Bob Jones, Marty Confurious, Marty Cutler, Larry Eagle, Barry Mitterhoff -- it's going to be an all-star madhouse, so get there early, find a seat and hang on. There are two shows so if you want to stay for the late one you'll have to cough up another $10, but these guys are worth a sawbuck and then some.

The night before at Jalopy, Andy Mullen will be playing. He's a wonderful singer-songwriter who you might have caught at Jalopy a few months back with Adam Buchwald in a band called Dance All Night. Along with his Outfit (Kari Denis, Roger Grossman, Daniel Correau, and me), he'll be playing mostly originals, but they're all influenced by old-time tunes and we'll be throwing in some traditional numbers, and he'll almost certainly call a square dance. We're playing Thursday night at Jalopy and then Saturday night at the Parkside, and his new album, THE TOENAIL JAR, is available FREE at his web site: http://www.andymullenmusic.com -- yes, FREE. Complete with a great CD booklet.

Speaking of new albums and original songwriters, I dropped by Union Hall last night for Mamie Minch's release party for her new album, RAZORBURN BLUES. It's a great disc, half originals, one Roulette Sisters tune, and a half-dozen kickass blues covers, all in a handmade cover that she produced on a vintage letterpress machine. And a wooden nickel to boot! I'm not sure if she's selling it online but she'll be at Googie's on Saturday night along with the Otis Brothers, the East River String Band, and Feral Foster.

Also Saturday night, Brad Einhorn will bring his Kings County Strings to the Parkside, following Andy Mullen's show Their first show at Banjo Jim's last month was outstanding, so it should be a fun night. He's got Kari on fiddle, Matt Check on banjo, the amazing Joel Turoff on guitar, and Jeff Ratner on bass.

Meanwhile, tomorrow is the last Thursday, so there'll be a CashHank at Buttermilk, and Monday is the first Monday, so Michael Daves's jam will be at the Parkside. Fresh Baked is at Abilene on Tuesday night, and tonight and next Wednesday there is of course the Sheriff's jam, now at the Grizzly Pear, Franglais at Bar Reis, Will Scott and Wylie Wirth at 68 Jay Street, and Roots&Ruckus at Jalopy.

Finally, you'll see below that Mojo is back, although he's slipping -- there's an actual capital letter at the start of his missive and some markings that might be punctuation, or might just be digital schmutz. In any case, Mojo, welcome back.

Please let us know what's going on so we can feature it here. Send your gig notices, myspace bulletins, facebook posts and carrier pigeons to pickin@ponkiesburg.com by Wednesday for inclusion. In addition to this email newsletter, these updates and more are published on our blog, the Ponkiesblog. See the calendar for updated details.

May 27, 2008

Matt Winters Tribute

Matt Winters Tribute
Originally uploaded by kenf225
The entire East Village threw a party on Sunday to celebrate Matt Winters's first decade hosting the Moonshine Show on WKCR. Banjo Jim's was full of musicians who'd played on the show, and Avenue C was full of a street fair, which as Kenny Kosek says, is New York City's traditional way of celebrating major events with sales of discount socks and bootleg CDs.

The show was a cross-generational event, starting off with the Y'all Stars, including folks like Gene Yellin and Pete Elegant, and ending with Danny Weiss and Mary Olive Smith, who met years ago at Banjo Jim's when it was 9C and the Alphabet City Opry was there every Monday night.

Matt's family was there, the bar was packed, and it was a great night of music. See the complete set of photos.

May 16, 2008

A Hot Night at the Opry

Kings County Opry
Originally uploaded by kenf225
It was about 90 degrees in Freddy's back room last night, and Copper Kettle had the crowd rocking and stomping their feet (side note: how drunk do you have to be before you can't keep the beat with a bluegrass band?). Dancers were twirling, the beer was flowing, and the air conditioner had long since given up the ghost and gone outside to smoke. Fred announced casually that this was the last time this version of the band would play together, which didn't seem like news since that's been true every time I've seen the band in the last few months. But afterward, he said that he's pulling up stakes and moving to Asheville, NC. We're losing a talented singer/player/songwriter, without whom the Sunny's jam will not be the same, so farewell to Fred.

Melody Berger's new band, Catwagon, followed, with some great harmonies between her, Zara Bode (of the Sweetback Sisters) and Hilary Hawke. Rick (or Ricky as Melody apparently prefers to call him) Snell stood back and let the strings do the singing.

The song circle featured Dock Oscar and Ebie Carter, among other things covering the old Smiths tune, "Please Please Let Me Get What I Want," Hilary Hawke, who did originals on guitar and clawhammer banjo, and Nate Schweber, rocking out on acoustic guitar.

See the complete set of photos.

May 14, 2008

Sheriff On the Move

Tonight the Sheriff's jam moves to its new location, The Grizzly Pear, 108 MacDougal St, between Bleecker and Third. So we have to stop calling it "the Baggot" because it isn't anymore. Hopefully the pipes are sturdier at this new place. Meanwhile, I heard a rumor that Smokey Hormel will be at Sunny's tonight.

Tomorrow night is the King's County Opry, with Fred's new version of Copper Kettle and the newly christened Cat Wagon: Melody Berger, Zara Bode, Hilary Hawke and Nora Jane Struthers. Hilary will also be in the song circle along with Nate Schwewber and Dock Oscar with Ebie Carter.

Hilary is playing in Dumbo on Saturday night, while the Y'all Stars and Miz Liz and the Vipers are at Googie's. At Jalopy, Caroline Cutroneo's Runaway Train will make a stop. Caroline is a gifted singer/songwriter from Staten Island with whom I play sometimes, and the Runaway Train is a kickin' electric blues/rock band. I may bring down the crunchy little amp I bought at Retrofret a little while ago.

Trip Henderson "and friends" are at the Parkside on Monday, and on Tuesday night you have a double shot at Rockwood: Michael Daves' usual weekly set, followed by Rob Hecht's Hectrograss.

Please let us know what's going on so we can feature it here. Send your gig notices, myspace bulletins, facebook posts and carrier pigeons to pickin@ponkiesburg.com by Wednesday for inclusion.

An updated calendar is on the web site.

May 7, 2008

The Sheriff Leaves the Baggot

The big news is that tonight is the last night at the Baggot Inn for Sheriff Uncle Bob's Good Time jam, which is the longest-running jam in the city. But fear not, it's just moving, not stopping, and next Wednesday you'll find it right around the corner at the The Grizzly Pear, 108 MacDougal St, between Bleecker and Third. The Sheriff says his first encounter with this bar was in 1959, in the company with Wavy Gravy (beat poet Hugh Romney).

Speaking of Wavy Gravy, he'll be hosting an all-star tribute to Odetta tomorrow night at Banjo Jim's. Odetta will be there in person, singing and leading the finale, and appearing there will be David Amram, Cheatin' Hearts with Sheriff Bob and Trip Henderson, Guy Davis, Timothy Hill, Emory Joseph, Christine Lavin, Madeleine Peyroux, Chaney Sims, Vincent Cross and Good Company with many special surprise guests! Should be a pretty unforgettable night but bring your billfold -- $25 at the door, no advance tickets, doors open at 7 and show starts at 8.

Meanwhile on our side of the river, Jonah Bruno will be picking banjo with the South Slope String Band, from 8:30 to 10:30 tonight, at Bar BQ in Park Slope, and Monica Smith will be playing gypsy jazz with Franglais a bit further north in the Slope.

Also on Thursday night, Peter Stampfel, founding member of the Fugs and the Holy Model Rounders, will be at Jalopy.

James Reams and the Barnstormers will be at the Good Coffeehouse in Park Slope on Friday night, and then will play a square dance in Battery Park City on Saturday afternoon. Shotgun Party, the Austin band featuring Katy Cox, who used to play at many of our jams, will be in town for two shows, Friday night at Banjo Jim's and Saturday night at the 68 Jay Street Bar in Dumbo. Also Saturday night, Mamie Minch is playing Barbes, and Smokey Hormel will be at Jalopy. (He's at Barbes also, on Friday night.)

Check the calendar for up-to-date details.

May 6, 2008

Saturday Bluegrass

Blue Harvest
Originally uploaded by kenf225
This past weekend was the second of Adam Nash's Saturday night bluegrass shows at Banjo Jim's, this month featuring Blue Harvest, Copper Kettle and The Five Deadly Venoms. Blue Harvest did a very solid two sets, featuring all of the band members on vocals at different times. They're a solidly professional band with stellar musicians, so you can't go wrong with them. Copper Kettle played as a trio, with Fred joined by Rob Hecht and Ross Martin for a somewhat newgrassier version of the band, but their playing went well with Fred's originals and the trio sounded great. I missed the Venoms and headed down to Sunny's instead, to find a fairly quiet jam.

May 1, 2008

May Day

Happy May Day, bluegrass comrades. In celebration of the holiday, there will be a workers' rally, er, jam, at Freddy's tonight. (The holiday, of course, being First Thursday, which happens every month.)

Also note that the Jalopy country blues jam that used to be on Thursdays, is now on Mondays. So there's no jam there tonight (it's a folk-music/comedy night instead), and the country blues jam will be on Monday, May 5.

Tomorrow night, John Pinamonti is at Sunny's, and then on Saturday it's time for Adam Nash's Bluegrass Saturday Night, this time with Melody Berger, Copper Kettle, Blue Harvest and the Five Deadly Venoms, followed by a late-night jam.

Please let us know what's going on so we can feature it here. Send your gig notices, myspace bulletins, facebook posts and carrier pigeons to pickin@ponkiesburg.com by Wednesday for inclusion. For the latest information, visit the calendar page on the web site.


May 2008

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