Greetings and welcome to this week’s edition of Reservoir Music Notes. Could it be? Is Winter finally here? Most people I know were trying to trick themselves into believing Spring was already here, but Mother Nature said, “Not so fast!”.
I braved the cold last Friday night to go to The Bearsville Theater for the fifth installment of The Bearsville Sessions series, and I was very happy I did! Bearsville Sessions V focused on the British Invasion of the early 60’s, the musical movement that brought us The Beatles, The Stones, The Dave Clark Five, The Searchers, The Kinks, The Animals, et al. Even though I was an Elvis fan at 5 and was exposed early on to the original great masters of Rock n Roll, this was the music I cut my teeth on as a teenager, and it still holds up! The Bearsville Sessions Band is a collection of great local musicians, and they always have some cool special guests on tap. This week was no exception, as one of the highlights of the night was luthier extraordinaire, Joe Veillette’s version of the Unit 4+2 classic, “Concrete and Clay”. Keyboardist and guitarist Ross Rice also outdid The Zombies on “Tell Her No”! In fact, quite a few of the performances this evening outdid the originals, and that’s sayin’ something! Most of it was due to the band’s versions rockin’ a bit more than some of the originals. A lot of this music was overproduced on record, (IMHO), due to many of the original groups being assigned staff producers who didn’t really understand Rock n Roll, or were learning on the job. So now, with the passage of half a century, a good little rockin’ band can actually match or exceed some of those great records we grew up with, just by rockin’ it harder! Drummer Eric Parker was on fire, as was guitar player, Adam Widoff. Oh hell, the whole band was on fire, including the background singers! My thanks to Jodie Sleed at The Bearsville Theater for making it all possible. A splendid time was had by all!
In Grateful Dead news, a feature length documentary of Jerry Garcia is in the works. Filmmakers Malcolm Leo and John Hartmann have secured the rights to Garcia’s music for the movie, so this could be the definitive doc of Garcia. No release date yet, but the film will have a huge audience, that’s for sure!
In other Grateful Dead news, bassist Phil Lesh has announced plans to open Terrapin Crossroads in San Rafael, California, in the same neighborhood where The Dead had their rehearsal studio for years. TC will be a combination performance space/ restaurant with a strong commitment to community. There will be a house band and special guests and the whole thing is modeled on Woodstock’s own Levon Helm’s Midnight Rambles, where Lesh has been a guest several times. The venue will open in March with Phil and Friends, before closing for extensive remodeling, and then a grand reopening in March 2013. This comes hot on the heels of Grateful Dead guitarist, Bob Weir, reopening the legendary Mill Valley venue, The Sweetwater, so it looks like The Dead are starting their own Branson in Marin County!
In other news, singer and poet Patti Smith has recorded a tribute to Amy Winehouse for her next record. Patti is the perfect person for this job! She wrote the lyrics as a poem for Amy when she died, and then put it together with some music her bass player, Tony Shanahan, had. The music and poem matched perfectly, and the results can be heard on Smith’s next record. No release date yet. In other Patti Smith news, the singer is reported to be working on a film adaption of her National Book Award winning “Just Kids”, which focused on her relationship with the artist Robert Mapplethorpe. The book was great, and hopefully the movie will be too.
Here’s the live music picks for this week.
Friday, January 20 – Busy, busy weekend. Most of the music this week seems to be focused on the weekend. Tonight, we’ve got an acoustic show with guitarist STEVE KATZ, formerly of The Blues Project, Blood Sweat and Tears, and The Even Dozen Jug Band (which also featured David Grisman, Maria Muldaur, and a pre-Lovin’ Spoonful John Sebastian). Sharing top billing with Katz will be fingerpicking wizard, STEFAN GROSSMAN, and it all happens in our backyard, at The Rosendale Café. Then they do it all over again Saturday at an early show at The Turning Point in Piermont, at 6:00 PM.
At The Bardavon Opera House in Poughkeepsie, the great MAVIS STAPLES will put the area’s finest sound system through its paces. If you didn’t already know, Mavis is a member of the first family of Rock, Soul, and Gospel, The Staple Singers, who I saw at The Fillmore East many times. Now solo, her last CD was produced by Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy. I’ve heard some of the tracks, and it’s killer! Mavis is a member of The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and has a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award sitting on her mantelpiece, so you’re in for a treat if you go!
Up at the beautiful Club Helsinki in Hudson, TEDDY THOMPSON (son of Richard Thompson) brings his unique musical stylings to our neck of the woods. Teddy’s good. You won’t be disappointed.
At The Towne Crier in Pauling, we have the great blue eyed soul singer and Springsteen cohort, SOUTHSIDE JOHNNY, who has a new band called The Poor Fools. No more Asbury Jukes, but Southside knows what he’s doing, so I don’t expect any major changes. Which is to say that they’ll still kick ass!
Closer to home, we’ve got PROFESSOR LOUIE AND THE CHROMATICS at The Bearsville Theater. These guys never disappoint, and just keep getting better and better!
For those of you downstate, there are two good shows in Manhattan tonight. Americana great, ROBERT EARL KEEN, pulls into Irving Plaza, and roots rocker, ALEJANDRO ESCOVEDO, is at the City Winery.
Saturday, January 21 – Steve Katz and Stefan Grossman reprise their show from Friday night, but this time at The Turning Point in Piermont. Take notice, this show starts at 6PM! THE SMITHEREENS are at BB King’s in Manhattan tonight. Their last CD was all Beatle songs, so expect to hear some of that. It’s BLUEGRASS NIGHT at Banjo Jim’s on 3rd Street, and KIDTOPIA returns to Utopia Studios in Bearsville, with RATBOY JR.
Sunday, January 22 – One of the best Grateful Dead tribute and jam bands, THE ZEN TRICKSTERS, rolls into The Brooklyn Bowl, the converted bowling alley that’s been rockin’ more than bowling pins lately!
Tuesday, January 24 – The always amazing JOHNNY WINTER rocks BB King’s in Manhattan. He’s old now and sits in a chair to perform, but still rips out those notes at blinding speed! There’s a new upscale supper club in Manhattan called Feinstein’s at The Regency, and that’s right, it’s in The Regency Hotel. It’s a throwback to the days of glamorous ballrooms in hotels and PETULA CLARK starts a two week run tonight. It’s actually Tuesday through Saturday, this week and next. No Sundays or Mondays. Expect to dress up and spend some money, and it’s not gonna be rockin’, but she will have to do everything from her string of hits back in the 60’s, and those are mostly great records, so this should be a fun trip down memory lane.
Wednesday, January 25 – If it’s Wednesday, it must be ROSS RICE AND THE VERY SEXY TRIO at The Catamount in Mount Tremper.
That’s it for this week, but a quick heads up. Next Friday, January 27, The Jonny Monster Band returns to The Bearsville Theater for the Artist in Residence series. This will likely be my Pick of the Week next week. I already wrote about Jonny Monster blowing my mind on New Year’s Eve, but in honor of this show, I will be doing a full profile of The Jonny Monster Band next week. This is one you won’t want to miss, unless you hate lightning fast, inventive blues licks played on the electric guitar with a solid backing band. If so, stay home and watch tv, but if you love the blues, specifically electric blues, and great guitar playing, you’re gonna wanna be there for this.
Have a great week and stay warm!
Fred Perry is the owner of Reservoir Music Center on Route 28 in Shokan, and founding member of Alt-Country supergroup, The Brooklyn Cowboys, is from a 3rd generation musical family and lives in the Hudson Valley, where he does what he can to promote live music.