Notes Archives

March 21, 2008

Goodbye Baggot Inn

You may have heard the sad news that yet another New York City music venue is disappearing under the weight of rising commercial rents -- the building housing the Baggot Inn has been sold and the lease is not being renewed. But fear not, the Wednesday night sessions will continue. According to Trip Henderson,

Sheriff Uncle Bob Saidenberg and I have been working with the owners of the Baggot since the days when the session was held at Jack Dempsie's. This is actually the third location for our session which now in its tenth year. We are already in the process of finding a new home. Either Bob or I will report back once we've selected the new joint.

If anyone has a suggestion of a bar in downtown Manhattan that can play host to at least two simultaneous sessions please write me. The bar does great business with us so this will not be a hardship to the lucky venue that will play host.

So, it's sad to see such a renowned club disappear, but change is the nature of this place, and for everyone who moves out of town someone else moves in. And the picking will continue.

March 16, 2008

The Joy Of Jalopy

Geoff and Lynette

I went down last night to Jalopy to see Raoul Otis and the Blue Serenaders, Bob Guida's band that, according to bandmate Peter Kohmann, allows him to play all the songs that don't fit into the shows he does with Pat Conte as The Otis Brothers.

The show was fantastic, a wide range of songs (old blues, pop tunes, Hank Williams, Brenda Lee, Gillian Welch) driven by Bob's outstanding voice and the wonderfully understated playing of Peter on guitar, Steve Uhrik on fiddle and Mike Saccolitti on bass. And I got some great photos.

But at one point Geoff and Lynette, the owners of Jalopy, started dancing in the back, and that's perhaps the moment I remember best.They love this music, that's why they own the place, that's why we're all able to go down and listen or play at a room that sounds so wonderful and where the bands and musicians feel so well-loved. Dance on, both of you, and thank you for bringing your love of music to all of us.

More photos.

December 15, 2007

Music On the Cheapskate

The New York Times published a disgraceful and very short-sighted article in Friday's paper, describing how to see live music in the city without paying for it. The writer visited great NYC music spots, clubs that I've seen both good friends and great stars in -- the Rodeo Bar, the old-time jam at Freddy's Bar and Backroom here in Brooklyn, Hill Country -- and proudly says that he spent only $30 for 27 sets of music at 22 clubs. "Waitresses and tip jars can be avoided, if you can bear the guilt," he says.

Read that again. This miserable little tightwad is proud of the fact that he sat down in a club whose owners are probably working their asses off trying to keep their heads above water, and are booking live bands out of the love of it, because they could make a lot more money hiring a DJ or installing a karaoke system. And he's proud of the fact that he makes their lives a little harder, and makes it a little more possible they'll give up and close down and we'll lose another live music venue.

And he talks up all these great local bands, great local musicians who are playing for the love of it and hoping that the tip bucket covers a cab ride home so they don't have to haul two guitars and an amplifier on the subway, and he's proud that he didn't put any money in. I wonder how all those musicians felt reading that article in Friday's paper?

If enough people follow his advice, there will be no music to see in the city. As it is, I've lost count of the great live music venues that have closed down. I wonder if he got paid for his article, or if the Times has figured out how to stiff writers out of their checks?

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Random notes and thoughts about the roots music scene.

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