Category Archives: Pop and Rock

Amy Helm’s Hudson Valley roots keep her anchored

Amy Helm

Amy Helm

I was thrilled to chat with Amy Helm the other day ahead of her appearance this Saturday at the 10th annual Pleasantville Music Festival in lovely downtown Pleasantville in Westchester County, N.Y.

Helm talked about her famous surname and her recent move out of ensemble work and into the spotlight as the leader of her own band, Amy Helm & The Handsome Strangers.

Read the full interview with Helm at lohud.com by tapping or clicking here, or see it in print in Friday’s editions of The Journal News.

 

About these ads

Mary Bridget Davies: More than a Janis Joplin tribute artist

Mary Bridget Davies does Janis Joplin and a whole lot more at B.B. King's Blues Club in Manhattan. (© 2014 Steven P. Marsh/willyoumissme.com)

Mary Bridget Davies does Janis Joplin and a whole lot more at B.B. King’s Blues Club in Manhattan. (© 2014 Steven P. Marsh/willyoumissme.com)

If you go to see Mary Bridget Davies‘ show at B.B. King’s Blues Club in Manhattan, don’t count on an evening of Janis Joplin.

If you do, you’ll be setting yourself up for disappointment, like the woman standing near me at the bar on Monday night. She was wearing a muumuu and a multicolored headband, which made her look like she was ready for a psychedelic Sixties sort of evening.

But when Davies kicked into a set that was heavier on non-Joplin songs, including some massive versions of some Amy Winehouse hits, the woman started getting antsy, asking people around her if they knew whether Davies would be doing “songs from the show” at some point. Continue reading

Last-Minute Music Tip: Check out today’s Rockland-Bergen Music Festival

Joe Durso

Joe Durso

Rockland County-born rocker Joe D’Urso is celebrating his 50th birthday this month by taking over the German Masonic Park in his hometown of Tappan, N.Y., all day Sunday and throwing a music festival featuring his musician friends.

The result is the Rockland-Bergen Music Festival, with gates opening at 11 a.m. , with music starting at 11:30 a.m. and running nonstop through 7:15 p.m.

It’s the first festival of its kind in the Rockland County area in my memory. It should be a blast. The sun is shining and it’s a beautiful day at this point, an hour before the music starts.

The festival brings together in my backyard a bunch of artists that I’d happily go to New York City to see play separately: Willie Nile, Marshall Crenshaw, Joe D’Urso & Stone Caravan, Jesse Malin, John Eddie, Piermont’s Tom Chapin and many, many more.

Willie Nile

Willie Nile

But here you don’t have to travel as far, pay outrageous parking charges, or deal with all the hassles of a drive into the city. And with a family-friendly vibe and tickets priced at $50 (free for anyone 12 or younger, and for anyone born in 1964) at the gate, you can afford to bring the kids and introduce them to some of your favorite musicians without breaking the bank.

I interviewed D’Urso and Nile for a preview in The Journal News/lohud.com. Tap or click here to see what they have to say and find out more about the festival.

IF YOU GO

Where: Rockland-Bergen Music Festival, German Masonic Park, 120 Western Highway, Tappan, N.Y.

When: 11 a.m.-7:15 p.m., Sunday, June 29; rain or shine.

Tickets: $50 at the gate; 12 and under free; free for anyone born in 1964 with driver’s license proof.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mother Falcon will fly into your heart, head and ears

Mother Falcon onstage at Brooklyn's Littlefield on Tuesday, June 24, 2014. (Photos © 2014, Steven P, Marsh/willyoumissme.com)

Mother Falcon onstage at Brooklyn’s Littlefield on Tuesday, June 24, 2014. (© 2014, Steven P. Marsh/willyoumissme.com)

Violinist Todd Reynolds to be guest on the orchestral pop band’s ‘Symphonic Sundays With Mother Falcon’ program at Joe’s Pub this Sunday

I’ll admit that I’m a little late to the party where Mother Falcon is concerned.

But I knew I’d fall in the love the minute I started checking out the orchestral pop band’s music on the recommendation of a friend — somebody who’s more often asking me for bands to check out.

Mother Falcon (Nick Gregg on mandolin) onstage at Brooklyn's Littlefield on Tuesday, June 24, 2014. (Photos © 2014, Steven P, Marsh/willyoumissme.com)

Mother Falcon (Nick Gregg on mandolin) onstage at Brooklyn’s Littlefield on Tuesday, June 24, 2014. (© 2014, Steven P. Marsh/willyoumissme.com)

It didn’t take long for the upbeat, passionate sound to reel me right in.

But I learned at Littlefield in North Slope, Brooklyn, last night that their recordings pale in comparison to their live performances. There were 12 members of Mother Falcon (the band, always big, varies in number as I understand it) on Littlefield’s generous stage. Every one of the players obviously put heart and soul into the set. Continue reading

Cynthia Hopkins samples the candy and finds it bittersweet

Cynthia Hopkins in a solo performance at Pete's Candy Store, 709 Lorimer St., Williamsburg, Brooklyn, on June 17, 2014. (Photo © 2014, Steven P. Marsh/willyoumissme.com)

Cynthia Hopkins in a solo performance at Pete’s Candy Store, 709 Lorimer St., Williamsburg, Brooklyn, on June 17, 2014. (Photo © 2014, Steven P. Marsh/willyoumissme.com)

How long has Pete’s Candy Store been a concert venue on the Northside of Williamsburg, Brooklyn?

I’ve been meaning to get thee since the day it opened, but something always got in the way — my schedule,  other priorities, whatever.

So what (or should I say who) did it take to finally get me there?

Cynthia Hopkins, that’s who. Continue reading

Peter Stampfel pushes banjos to the limit

Peter Stampfel torturing a banjo and assaulting our ears at the Gerdes Folk City 50th Reunion in 2010. (Photo 2010, Steven P. Marsh)

Peter Stampfel on banjo at the Gerdes Folk City 50th Reunion in 2010. (Photo 2010, Steven P. Marsh)

The granddaddy of freak folk is still going strong with his latest album, ‘Better Than Expected’

Peter Stampfel defines freak folk.

It’s a category that didn’t even exist when Stampfel, now 75, was starting out as a young musician, releasing his first album, “The Holy Modal Rounders,” in 1964.

The genre developed to describe the work of current musicians such as Devendra Banhart, Joanna Newsom, Akron/Family, and the like. But Stampfel was there first, and has provided inspiration and collaboration all along.

The  Holy Modal Rounders cofounder is an acquired taste, for some, with his cracked vocals, inimitable fiddling and banjo playing, and genre-busting choice of material.

His is a restless mind, and his art challenges the conventionality at every turn.

Continue reading

Jonathan Demme proves his love for The Feelies

Jonathan Demme introduces The Feelies at the Jacob Burns Film Center in Pleasantville, N.Y., after a screening of "Something Wild" on Jun 1, 2014. (Photos © 2014, Steven P. Marsh/willyoumissme.com)

Jonathan Demme introduces The Feelies at the Jacob Burns Film Center in Pleasantville, N.Y., after a screening of “Something Wild” on Jun 1, 2014. (Photos © 2014, Steven P. Marsh/willyoumissme.com)

The promo line on the front page of The Journal News on Thursday  said it: “Jonathan Demme Loves The Feelies.”

On Sunday night at the Jacob Burns Film Center in Pleasantville, N.Y., Demme proved it.

“I guess I don’t get to the venues as much as I used to, because maybe I hit the sack a little earlier than I used to,” Demme told me when I interviewed him for lohud.com/The Journal News. “But definitely… I’d go anywhere to see The Feelies. I’d stay up late to see The Feelies.”

The Feelies onstage at the Jacob Burns Film Center in Pleasantville, N.Y., on Sunday, June 1, 2014.

The Feelies onstage at the Jacob Burns Film Center in Pleasantville, N.Y., on Sunday, June 1, 2014.

At the Burns Film Center, Demme had his dreams fulfilled without having to stay up too terribly late. The movie ran from about 7 p.m. to just before 9. It took Continue reading

Sharon Van Etten asks: Are We There?

Sharon Van Etten (Photo by Dusdin Condren)

Sharon Van Etten (Photo by Dusdin Condren)

On her new album, “Are We There,” Sharon Van Etten asks a question — though her designer left off the question mark — whose answer depends very much on who you’re asking.

I’ve been having a debate with someone about Sharon that demonstrates that there’s no clear answer to the question.

My debate partner thinks Sharon, whose first album, 2009′s Because I Was in Love,  was a fairly stripped-down, singer-songwriter affair, has exhibited an increasing tendency to lean too heavily on studio tricks and production techniques, burying her voice, obscuring her lyrics, and seriously undercutting the impact of her songs. And her first impression of the new album is that it continues in that vein.

I had similar reservations at first, but now, after listening to Are We There a dozen times, I think that Sharon may have f0und her sweet spot.

Continue reading

Exclusive Interview: The Feelies’ Glenn Mercer and director Jonathan Demme talk about ‘Something Wild’

The Feelies in Jonathan Demme's "Something Wild."

The Feelies in Jonathan Demme’s “Something Wild.”

Glenn Mercer of The Feelies and director Jonathan Demme did me the honor of talking to me about the special bond between the band and the filmmaker ahead of Sunday’s special screening of Demme’s cult classic movie “Something Wild,” which features The Feelies as a high school reunion band. Please tap or click here to READ THE INTERVIEW on lohud.com.

Here’s how it’s promoted on the front page of the Thursday edition of  The Journal News of White Plains, N.Y.:

Demme

 

Jonathan Demme (Photo by Bob Vergara)

Jonathan Demme (Photo by Bob Vergara)

The movie is being screened at 7:30 p.m. Saturday and 7 p.m. Sunday as part of “Something Wild: The Films of Jonathan Demme,” a festival honoring the Rockland County-based director at the Jacob Burns Film Center in Pleasantville, N.Y.

The Sunday show is going to be extra special, though, because The Feelies,  a band that’s a special favorite of Demme’s, will be playing a set after the movie. It should be a wild evening.

Tickets for the special Sunday show are  $30 for nonmembers, and are available online here.  More information and directions to the Jacob Burns Film Center, 364 Manville Rd., Pleasantville, tap or click here.

 

It must be the apocalypse: The Wrens (2 of them, anyway) are doing a show!

The Wrens at The Bell House.  (Photos © 2009, Steven P. Marsh/willyoumissme.com)

The Wrens at The Bell House. (Photos © 2009, Steven P. Marsh/willyoumissme.com)

It’s been more than 10 years since The Wrens released the great “Meadowlands” album — which seems only right given the band’s tagline:”Keeping Folks Waiting Since 1989.”

But Charles “Pedal Boy” Bissell is deep into production on the followup album, and promises it’s nearly finished.

Kevin Whelan and Charles Bissell of The Wrens at The Bell House.  (Photos © 2009, Steven P. Marsh/willyoumissme.com)

Kevin Whelan and Charles Bissell of The Wrens at The Bell House. (Photos © 2009, Steven P. Marsh/willyoumissme.com)

Continue reading