Photos Archives

November 26, 2009

Honky-Tonkin' Anniversary

WKCR's Honky Tonkin' program celebrated its 10th anniversary last week with a marathon live performance featuring many of the great players who've guested in NYC's only live-radio country music show. Fran Leadon was there and took a bunch of photos, which you can see in the Ponkiesburg group on Flickr. Check them out, and thanks Fran for taking them! Join the group while you're there, and contribute any photos you might have.

November 19, 2009

Closed-Caption Yodeling

The Sweetback Sisters blew into town Wednesday night for a free show at the Rodeo Bar, too late for the newsletter but in time for me to head over from another event. They packed the place and had people two-stepping in the aisles. They also educated us on the difference between buffalo and bison, and provided closed-caption assistance for the yodeling-impaired. They'll be back in December for a Country Christmas Singalong SPECTACULAR. (Emily said to use the caps.)

November 5, 2009

Ponkiesburg Up On the Roof

A couple of weeks ago we threw a curve ball at the Sunday jammers. Katie Dixon called in the morning and said the parking garage she'd used for the all-day Downtown Hoedown was available and would we want to play on the roof? So I sent out a last-minute email, left a note at the bar, picked up Doug and Glenn, and headed over there. Luckily enough pickers got the note or saw the email that we had a really wonderful jam. Best of all, some intrepid visitors from London followed the clues and joined us. One of them, James Griffith, sent some gorgeous photos he took that day. Check them out.

June 21, 2009

Honky Tonk Angels

Jamie Lyn came back to NY to host another great Honky Tonk Angels show, at the venerable Hank's Saloon. I got there in time to catch her set, with Kari back on the fiddle and a great new guitarist named Matt. (Who seems to be following Charlie Shaw's lead in taking his shoes off when he plays, which is something I'd think twice about doing on that stage.)

From there I headed down to Jalopy where M. Shanghai had the house full with their CD release party. There were so many people on stage it took three songs for me to notice Hilary Hawke sitting in with them. Guest stars, harmonicas and saws, and all the usual insanity.

Then down to Sunny's for a happy-birthday to Edith and some good playing. Tony Delillo was there along with another great young guitarist. Dave and Sarah were there so we had two harmonicas, Lenny didn't let a missing B key hold him back on the accordion, and Edith was of course in fine voice.

And that was just one Saturday night. More photos here.

June 9, 2009

Dancing At Jalopy

Kari Denis put together a two-night Celebration Of Song at Jalopy, featuring a lot of songwriters who come from the local bluegrass/old-time scene, myself included. It was a lot of fun, not least because Andy Mullen kicked things off. He's not only a very talented songwriter but a great square dance caller, adept not only at calling the dances but herding hipsters into line and teaching them how to do it. Nothing tells you more about Jalopy than a room full of dancers and great music. More photos here.

April 15, 2009

Doug's Birthday Jam

I didn't bring the good camera, but Doug Hatt (in Hatt in photo) held a great birthday jam at Nolita House on Monday night. It was strange to be there when it was dark outside, but the music was great, Doug's brother came in from Michigan (and quite a few people waved at him repeatedly until they realized he was not, in fact, Doug), and we played until last call.

April 5, 2009

The Plunk Brothers CD Release Party

And a lot of special guests. Bob Jones and Boo Reiners, otherwise known as the Plunk Brothers, had a CD release party at Jalopy last night. Their first set consisted entirely of songs from their brand new CD, Two Guitarists and a Microphone, which is not available online yet but hopefully will be soon. It's 40 minutes of wonderful guitar duets and harmony singing. Their live shows are a joy to watch and that spirit comes through on the recording.

In the second set they invited a series of guest stars up to play with them, including frequent singing partner Jen Larson, and also Trip Henderson, Ben Fraker, Elena Skye, the Sheriff of Good Times, and me. It was great fun and a great honor to play with them and a wonderful night overall.

April 4, 2009

Del Rey!

Yes, I'm a Del Rey groupie. Last night I went to the Good Coffeehouse in Brooklyn to see my second show this week -- even though Bruce Molsky was playing at Jalopy and Trip and Emily were opening.

Del is not nearly as famous as she should be. You could pile every well-known living blues guitarist on one side of a balance scale, and put her on the other, and they'd all have to be scraped off the ceiling.

She's a complete master of traditional fingerstyle guitar, but takes it to all sorts of places that the originators of that style -- Blind Blake, Gary Davis, etc -- never dreamed of. Last night, along with clarinetist Craig Flury, she played hot 20s jazz, two calypso numbers, several mind-bending original tunes, and old tunes for which she wrote new lyrics because she thought the original words were stupid.

She's a virtuoso, playing sophisticated jazz fingerings with all sorts of counterrhythms and moving bass lines, all at lightning speed, relaxed and smiling the whole time, or raising an eyebrow at her guitar as if it had considered talking back to her. Her lead playing is mostly beyond my comprehension; if I could play rhythm backing the way she does I'd be happy. Very happy.

Here she is doing a classic blues, and here she is doing a duet with Steve James, a ragtime tribute to many great guitarists including her hero Memphis Minnie.

March 31, 2009

Another Great Night at Jalopy

Sunday night at Jalopy was a mini-festival, starting off with the 20s and 30s blues of the Second Fiddles, continuing with more old-time blues from Eric and Suzy Thompson, and wrapping up with Del Rey's blazing guitar, salty humor and fiery blues. She also played a series of old blues with Suzy Thompson, whose gutbucket singing and blues fiddling went perfectly with Del's resonator fireworks.

March 20, 2009

The Kings County Opry

Last night's Opry was a blast, with a great song circle featuring Hilary Hawke, Andrew Schmidt and of course Dock Oscar. A night of furious fiddling followed, with Kari Denis joined by a fiddle player I didn't know, but who was amazing, in Old Time Amatum, the new (and so far unspellable) name of the band formerly known as Briar Patch. But under any name they're great fun. Jared Engel's bass playing was completely over the top. Kings County Strings followed, with special guest John Fletcher on banjo. A good time was had by all.

November 29, 2008

Kate and Tone at Sunny's

Friday night Kate Giampetruzzi and Tone Johansen did a second great show in a week. Kate's originals, and Tone's originals and old country classics, are a fantastic combination. They were playing with great bands -- Alice Bierhorst and Walt Wells were the rhythm section for both, while Bob Hofnar and Charlie Burnham complemented Tone and Paul Cabri and yours truly played with Kate. Hopefully there will be many more shows to come! Lots more photos by guest photographer Catherine Keeter.

November 9, 2008

Shotgun Party

Shotgun Party, an Austin band that includes former Brooklynite Katy Rose Cox on fiddle and my neighbor Jared Engel on bass, came through Brooklyn on tour this weekend. I caught them earlier in the week when they made a stop in West Virginia while I was there, and both shows were outstanding. 68 Jay was mobbed and everyone was really into the show, which featured Jared's debut on tuba. They're playing the brunch at Superfine this morning as I write, and the tour continues with a stop in Cleveland next.

Lots more photos on the blog.

September 26, 2008

Red Hook Blues

Ann Rabson and Bob Guida tore up Jalopy with some great solo blues last night. Ann played a lot of her originals, even some of her "pro-woman" songs despite the Sarah Palin candidacy, including her famous "Don't Treat Your Man Like a Dog" (the dog is the hero of that song), on both guitar and piano. Bob Guida opened, playing an old Gretsch built in Brooklyn, filing the place as usual with his powerful voice.

And both of them made a point of thanking Geoff and Lynnette and talking about how wonderful Jalopy is. We're really lucky to have such a great music venue, run by people who love the music and the community, so much.

September 22, 2008

The Brooklyn Country Music Festival

I wasn't able to see as much of it as I would have liked, but hats off to Alex for a rollicking time at Southpaw this past weekend. This is the fifth year of the festival, and just stop and think about that for a second -- five years of being able to fill several nights (one year, I think it was a full week) with fantastic local country bands -- lots of original tunes, great playing, and enthusiastic crowds. We got it good here!

July 25, 2008

Kings County Strings

Brad Einhorn's Kings County Strings (the band, not the store) did a nice show at Jalopy last night, mixing up traditional tunes and medleys with some solid bluegrass and some nice covers including their version of "Help!" Orrin Starr opened with some really nice work on banjo, mandolin and guitar, along with Bill Christopherson on fiddle and Russell Scholl on guitar.

More photos on the site.

July 23, 2008

Rainbow Over Grey Fox

Rainbow Over Grey Fox
Originally uploaded by kenf225
Grey Fox alternated blazing heat and suffocating humidity with ferocious thunderstorms, but the combination did yield a beautiful bonus on Saturday afternoon.

I like the new location; the stage is still on a hillside, but the climb up is nothing like it was on the Rothvoss farm, and the camping area is entirely flat, and it's bordered by a pretty little creek. This meant more room for campers and vendors, less stress, and a vendor midway that was actually pleasant to stroll.

Too much music to talk about in detail, of course; the weekend was dominated for me by Uncle Earl, who played on the main stage and tore the dance pavilion up several times, and Tim O'Brien, who did a solo set, a set with Hot Rize, and then rocked the dance pavilion well into the early hours of Sunday morning.

Lots more photos on the site!

June 25, 2008

Honky Tonk Angels

Jamie Lyn brought a great collection of country women to Banjo Jim's last night, with her own Red Tail Hawk Band, Monica (Li'l Mo) Passin playing new songs of all sorts with just electric guitar for accompaniment (along with a few guests including Bill from behind the bar on mandolin), and Melody Berger and Cat Wagon. I missed the opening and closing act but it looked like a solid six hours or so of great music.

See the complete set of photos.

June 23, 2008

Make Music New York

Sean Kershaw
Originally uploaded by kenf225
Saturday was just about as good a day as you could ask for, with mild sunny weather and musicians on every street corner. I did a three-borough bike tour, from Gowanus to Dumbo to the Upper West Side to Long Island City to Williamsburg, along the way catching Sean Kershaw and Jamie Lyn, and Jen Larson with Tony Delillo. Of course, I also missed a lot of good music too but that was pretty much inevitable. But it was the kind of day that really makes me appreciate New York City.

Happy Birthday, Edith

Edith brought goodies and, most importantly, her singing voice, to the Saturday night jam at Sunny's last weekend, to celebrate her birthday. Chocolate-covered almonds and garlic-stuffed olives (which, in the lighting back there, look disturbingly identical) were in attendance, along with a great selection of pickers. Those willing to brave the crowd and the heat had a great time.

See the complete set of photos.

June 20, 2008

New Fans For the Opry

Last night's Kings County Opry was a good one, and thanks to Jamie Lyn's hard work with popsicle sticks, paper and rubber cement, everyone had a fan -- which were quite a blessing on a June night in Freddy's.

The song circle featured AJ Bender's tales of love, loss and marijuana, Joshua Sanders's high-energy originals and covers, and Ebie Carter and Dock Oscar with some great harmonies.

Sufferin' Succotash, a late addition to the schedule, was next with a typically raucous set on as many instruments as Shlomo can carry, with the addition of Emily Eagen on uke, whistling and vocals, and new memeber Spiff Weigand on bass, watching Dr. Frets for the chords and playing fantastically.

Good Greasy and Baked closed out the night -- a project of Cardigan Dan the Singing Psychologist and Banjo-Man, along with Jen Sirey and Gina Samardge, a multiinstrumentalist who's probably the first human theremin to play Freddy's. Joined by Hannah Baker on fiddle and "the ubiquitous" Charlie Shaw on bass and guitar, plus guest appearances by Trip and Emily, they did a great set of old-time tunes and the odd cover or two. (Very odd.)

See the complete set of photos.

June 16, 2008

Kings County Strings at Wind Gap

Brad and team spent a few days working hard at Wind Gap, slaving away under the hot sun playing bluegrass on some nice Martins and a couple of beautiful handmade guitars. (All of which were hurriedly packed back into Reggie and Kari's car when the thunderstorms hit.) The festival was small and mellow, with something of a focus on mandolin -- Frank Wakefield doing a pretty humorous workshop, a performance by Jesse McReynolds and a big mandolin set on Saturday night. (And KCS made an appearance on the Mandolin Cafe as well.)

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 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 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.

April 19, 2008

All the Meatballs

Pat Conte and Bob Guida, who together have for decades been known as The Otis Brothers, a legendary old-time blues duo, got together last night to celebrate a showing of Pat's artwork at Jalopy. It was a reunion of old friends, a night of sometimes loose but always amazing music.

Pat played solo to start off, doing some fabulous old fiddle tunes, then called up a number of folks who joined him for a few tunes each, and then Bob came up and they did a range of blues and gospel and old-time, with several special guests, including Citizen Kafka, who took the stage to play bass, starting off on Jalopy owner Geoff's homemade washtub bass, and then moving to electric.

When the Otis Brothers concluded, Bob Jones came up to join Citizen Kafka for a pared-down reunion of the Wretched Refuse String Band, featuring their typical insanity, ranging from surprise fiddle tunes to a rendition of "She's Coming Round the Mountain" that involved beluga (and a stolen German Luger) to Samuel Taylor Coleridge's little-known version of "Red Wing."

During the Otis Brothers' set, Bob Guida gave Pat's mother, Rose, a shout-out. "All this music you're hearing, she heard every day, in every room of her house," he said. "We made an album in her kitchen. She made us meatballs. We recorded the album in a day and then we ate all the meatballs."

See the complete set of photos.

April 18, 2008

The Kings County Opry

Dock Oscar, cool Opry-ator, filled up Freddy's as usual on the third Thursday last night. I missed most of the song circle, but Dock's Ambassadors Of Love did the first full set, wrapping up with bluegrass covers of Abba's "SOS" and Morrissey's "Please Please Let Me Get What I Want." I think we should organize an evening of 80s bluegrass covers!

Korby Lenker, a Seattle songwriter by way of Nashville, played an extremely energetic short set, concluding by breaking a string, but not before giving us some unique originals.

Then Jamie Lyn rechristened the Ambassadors Of Love as the Red-Tailed Hawk Band, and did a set of her country/honky-tonk originals, docking Dock his guest-star pay when Sean Kershaw showed up and actually had the lyrics. (Dock said she'd never sent them to him.)

See the rest of the photos.

April 17, 2008

The Banjo Festival

Banjo Festival
Originally uploaded by kenf225
Despite all the jokes, the banjo is a varied instrument with a long history and we got to see it in all its incarnations last night at Banjo Jim's first annual Banjo Festival. (Usually, calling something "the first annual" is an exercise in optimism but from the size of the crowd and the quality of the music I'd say the optimism is justified.)

Read more below, or see the complete set of photos.

Continue reading "The Banjo Festival" »

April 16, 2008

Roots and Blues at the Living Room

Del Rey
Originally uploaded by kenf225
The (extensive, this year) pain of tax day was greatly alleviated by the Second Fiddles' Roots and Blues evening at the Living Room, featuring guitarist Del Rey, about whom I wrote last week, and blues mandolin player Rich Del Grosso.

Del Rey's set largely overlapped that of Friday's show, but with Fiddles Jon Vesey and Guillaume Guissault to back her up on banjo and guitar, she did a few songs on the ukelele. Uke players don't make faces like that every day, but she had good reason to. Wearing a dress that seemed almost to have been chosen to match the decor, she was alternately humorous, engaging and astonishing. At one point she made a very interesting casual remark, as she was playing a somewhat absurd 1920s blues tune, noting that at the same time this music was popular, so were cubism and surrealism. We too often have a habit of thinking of 1920s and 1930s blues as somehow "simpler" or "rootsier" when in fact, the atmosphere then was probably more adventurous and culturally rich than it is now.

Rich Del Grosso took us on a tour through the under-reported history of blues mandolin, playing tunes by Yank Rachell, Johnny Young and other players, and for one song picking up the guitar and picking the hell out of it, alternating delicate riffs on the high strings with aggressive bass snaps. "It sounds like he's beating up the guitar and then apologizing to it," said a friend who joined me for the show after my endless raving about Del Rey last week.

It was an outstanding evening, and I'm sorry I couldn't stay late enough to catch Blue Harvest's midnight set.

See all photos.

April 13, 2008

Another Saturday Night At Banjo JIm's

Kenny Kosek
Originally uploaded by kenf225
With Doug Hatt and Fresh Baked last night, I had the strange privilege of playing a set following Kenny Kosek. His was a short set, but he was of course cooking on the fiddle, along with Jon Sholle on guitar and Dave Thompson, an extraordinary bluegrass vocalist.

Our set went well, a fitting celebration for Doug's birthday and the third anniversary of the band.

April 12, 2008

Fingerstyle Blues and Then Some

Del Rey
Originally uploaded by kenf225
We went to see Del Rey at the Good Coffeehouse on Friday night, which has to be one of the single best concert venues in the city. A gorgeous room that sounds beautiful, an eclectic roster of performers, and an intimate setting.

Del Rey is billed as a fingerstyle blues guitar player, but she's a lot more than that. Her guitar playing is well beyond the basic blues techniques, with intricate moving bass lines, incomprehensible (to me, at least) chords and unexpected changes. Her repertoire extends from classic blues to Louis Jordan to 20s and 30s bawdy-house jazz tunes. At one point she performed, alone, a guitar duet that Memphis Minnie and Kansas Joe used to do.

While she doesn't make a big deal of it, she writes a lot of originals and puts new and pointed lyrics to songs like "Mississippi River Blues," ("Mister mister, hurry call up Washington, tell 'em Louisiana about to drown / You know I can't get no answer telephoning Mr. Brown / The President sure don't treat me right / You can't get no good assistance unless you're rich and white") or crafting instrumentals that take wildly unexpected turns. The best way I can think to describe her is a meeting of Gary Davis and Richard Thompson.

She's a great personality, too, standing up there alone with a parlor-sized steel resonator, laughing, commenting on her own solos, standing up on her tip-toes and throwing her head back. "I saw something reassuring today while I was walking around Manhattan," she said after the first song. "A genuine crazy person, talking to himself, and he wasn't on a cell phone." The room burst out laughing and she shook her head. "It used to be, you could tell."

She's playing again on Tuesday night at the Living Room, in an evening of blues organized by the Second Fiddles. (Jon Vesey, of that band, was in the audience, as were Parrish Ellis, Mamie Minch, and enough guitar players that Del Rey said she was "tuning her guitar more than I'd do for the regular folks.") Blues mandolin player Rich Delgrosso is also on the bill, as are Blue Harvest, so that will be a great way to forget your taxation blues.

More photos below....

Continue reading "Fingerstyle Blues and Then Some" »

April 6, 2008

Bluegrass Saturday Night

Bluegrass Saturday Night
Originally uploaded by kenf225
Adam Nash's first Bluegrass Saturday Night at Banjo Jim's was a rousing success, with great music and a bar so crowded newcomers had to stand in the door. Adam will be doing this the first Saturday night of every month, so if you missed this one, get there early to get a seat next time. (And, apologies to both Adams Nash and Levy for misidentifying the latter as running this event; it was most certainly Adam Nash's baby, and he should be proud of it.)

Photos of the evening.

April 5, 2008

John Pinamonti and Half-Baked Beans

John Pinamonti
Originally uploaded by kenf225
Last night at Sunny's was another intersection of musical worlds. Half-Baked Beans, which as John Pinamonti said, "is what happens when two Mud Brothers need some other folks to play with," did a set of old-time music, sitting in a circle up front, completely tuned into each other, leaning and listening, oblivious to everyone and everything but the tune.

The rhythm section -- Charlie Shaw and Peter Kohman -- took a brief break, then got back up behind John, Charlie switching to drums from guitar. John's set was rockin as usual, with Rod Hohl on Strat, and I was glad to sit in with them on a few songs. John will be at Jalopy on April 25, and the complete Mud Brothers are playing tonight at the Living Room LOUNGE, 245 23rd St. in Brooklyn (between 5th and 6th Ave, closer to 5th), from about 8-10.

View the complete set of photos.

April 2, 2008

Kari Denis and Rob Hecht

Kari Denis and Rob Hecht
Originally uploaded by kenf225
Kari and Rob did a great duo set at Rockwood last night, playing old-time and bluegrass and Irish tunes. Kari has brought so many great new tunes to the jam scene, and we got to hear a lot of them, supported by Rob's astonishing rhythm playing and harmonies and improvisation. Walt Wells was wonderful as always on bass, and Will Martina contributed some beautiful cello playing for the fall string-quartet effect.

See the complete set of photos.

March 31, 2008

Back at the Brazen Head

Back at the Brazen Head
Originally uploaded by kenf225
The Pickin' Party unexpectedly returned to the Brazen Head this past Sunday, since Kili was closed. For those who don't remember, the Brazen Head was where the Pickin' Party started, way back at the end of the last century. (Yes, it started in 2000, which was indeed the last year of the 20th Century.)

Attendance was smaller than usual, and apologies to anyone who came to Kili and found no one there, but it was great to be back in our old home. As Fran said, "The old energy was definitely there." Even Kendra, who was the Sunday bartender back in the day, came by. (She's going to be doing a comedy performance there on Tuesday night, by the way.)

We'll have an announcement about the location of next week's jam in Wednesday's newsletter.
Full size photos below.

Continue reading "Back at the Brazen Head" »

March 23, 2008

Stars and Vipers

The Y'All Stars
Miz Liz and the Vipers
Great double bill last night at Googies, with Miz Liz and the Vipers followed by The Y'All Stars.

For some inexplicable reason I haven't seen Liz's band before, but they're outstanding, sounding like a more countrified Roulette Sisters. Her singing just keeps getting better and she's put together a great band that works well together. Mike Pasternak sang a couple as well, and shared solo duties with Bruno Bruzzese on fiddle and Jane Galla on dobro (and sass, according to Liz). And Brett Ladin took too few solos while holding it all together on rhythm along with the inimitable Walt Wells on bass.

The Y'All Stars followed with two great sets of harmonies, blazing playing, and jokes about an alleged pre-show rehearsal. But if it happened, it didn't put them off their game at all. Ben and Diane tore the place up as usual, Charles and Fran gave us the their beautiful harmonies on songs ranging from heartbreaking to depressing, even managing to get the sequence of suicides right in "Katie Dear." Diane sang a few and Nancy Polstein came out from behind the snare for a duet with Fran.

More Photos....

March 18, 2008

Andy Statman at Bar Bes

Brad Einhorn caught Andy Statman at Bar Bes on Monday night, and posted some great videos to YouTube. See below.

Continue reading "Andy Statman at Bar Bes" »

January 9, 2008

Rob Hecht and His Irreducible Rascalities

Rob Hecht's new band had its debut performance at the Living Room last night. Featuring himself, Tuey Connell, Jim Whitney, Ross Martin, plus a guest appearance by Dennis Lichtman, the band put on a spectacular show of original music. This is a newgrass outfit to watch for.

More photos

November 8, 2007

The Jalopy Opry

The Hosts
Originally uploaded by kenf225
Dock Oscar and Jan Bell brought a great lineup of acts to Jalopy last night, with Mamie Minch and elements of M. Shanghai, another set by Shotgun Party, and lots more.

More photos

November 7, 2007

Return Of the Sheriff Sessions

Shotgun Party
Originally uploaded by kenf225
We were back at the Baggott Inn last night for another edition of the Sheriff Sessions, featuring a band from Austin, Shotgun Party, that includes fiddler Katy Rose Cox who was a highlight of the Brooklyn pickin' scene before moving to Texas a few years ago.

Their music lives in an area somewhere between honky-tonk or the classic blues of folks like Memphis Minnie, and modern alternative music. The instrumentation is completely traditional -- fiddle, bass and a gorgeous old archtop acoustic -- but the songs (all originals) go places you don't expect. Katy plays wicked fiddle, sometimes like horn lines, sometimes like keyboards, sometimes very dissonant, and Christopher Crepps on bass was right there with all the weird changes and unexpected turns, playing masterfully in the classic style. And Jenny Parrott is one of the quirkiest and most engaging singers I've seen in a bluegrass setting in some time, and a great songwriter. Her voice ranges from little-girlish to gutbucket blues, sometimes in a single line, and a stage presence that's hard to describe and harder to capture on camera in very low lighting. (I was using a 50mm/1.4 without autofocus, not that I'd use it anyway since the focusing light is very distracting, and with the lens opened all the way up so the depth-of-field was very narrow; as a result I have many great out-of-focus shots.) Check the link above; they're playing several more times in the area over the next few weeks and are well worth catching.

Also on the bill was Copper Kettle, which combines the talents of two excellent songwriters in the Brooklyn scene: Andrew Hunt and Fred Skellenger, and also the Sheriff's own Cheatin' Hearts, a good-time band if ever there was one.

More photos

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