Tag Archives: Rockwood Music Hall

Singer-songwriter Jamie Block shows he gets the rhythm of Rockland County life with Whitecaps on the Hudson

Jamie Block

Jamie Block

With the new album officially out, the long-MIA anti-folk artist is performing again, too

Nothing about Jamie Block suggests he’s a man of few words — just a man who doesn’t waste words.

For years, it even showed in his performance identity: Block. Not Jamie Block, just Block, thank you very much.

Jamie Block's new Whitecaps on the Hudson

Jamie Block’s new Whitecaps on the Hudson

It seems that he was saving the words for his songs, which on his latest (and long-overdue) album, Whitecaps on the Hudson, are perfectly crafted stories of a man whose life has had some twists and turns.

It’s a memorable work that reminds us why the music world has been much poorer during Block’s overlong absence.

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Gotta get it right with Alice Smith

Alice Smith was all about the casual vibe on Jan. 29, 2013, Night 1 of her three-Tuesday residency at Rockwood Music Hall in the Lower East Side of Manhattan. (Photos © 2013, Steven P. Marsh)

Alice Smith was all about the casual vibe on Jan. 29, 2013, Night 1 of her three-Tuesday residency at Rockwood Music Hall in the Lower East Side of Manhattan. (Photos © 2013, Steven P. Marsh)

The powerful young R&B-inflected singer reminds us that Nina Simone is most definitely not Motown

It could have happened to anyone. Someone who wrote about Alice Smith‘s first night of a three-Tuesday residency at New York City’s Rockwood Music Hall made a mistake. In describing Alice’s set at the tiny Lower East Side venue, the writer said “she did a few covers of a few classic Motown tracks.” (We won’t name the blog or link to the post, but if you really want to see the whole thing, we’re sure you know how to find it.)

Sure, it’s a big mistake. But who knew that Alice read her notices? And who would have expected a critique?

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Beth Orton readies for U.S. tour and her first new album in six years

September is way early for sugaring season. The sap in sugar maples is at its best for just four to eight weeks in the spring.

But don’t tell that to Beth Orton. The beautiful, stylish folk-pop singer will be back with Sugaring Season, her first album in six years — supported by a U.S. tour — this fall.

Here’s the first video, for a song called “Something More Beautiful”:

During the six years since her last album, Comfort of Strangers in 2006 (the year  daughter Nancy was born), the U.K.-born Beth has kept a somewhat low profile.

Sam Amidon and Beth Orton at Rockwood Music Hall in December 2011. (Photo © 2011, Steven P. Marsh)

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Sam Amidon and friends at Rockwood Music Hall

Banjo and guitar onstage before Sam Amidon's set at Rockwood Music Hall.

The first clue that Sam Amidon wasn't really going to be performing banjo only at Rockwood Music Hall 2 on Wednesday. (Photos © 2011, Steven P. Marsh)

UPDATE: New photos added!

Don’t say we didn’t warn you!

As predicted, Sam Amidon‘s solo banjo show at Rockwood Music Hall on Wednesday night was neither solo nor banjo only. But we’re not complaining. The multitalented Amidon took to Rockwood’s Stage 2 along with a banjo, guitar, fiddle, baby grand piano and a handful of mics.

Sam Amidon at Rockwood Music Hall.

He treated the solid crowd to about 70 minutes of his lovely, mournful folksongs. Just a few numbers into his set, Sam was joined by longtime collaborator Thomas Bartlett, the pianist and singer better known as Doveman.

Then, maybe 15 or 20 minutes into the show, Sam started looking for another guest. “Paul, do you think Beth went to the wrong Rockwood? I told her 2, but I didn’t tell her there was 2.” The man he addressed as Paul got up from his stageside table briefly and came back with the lady in question — Beth Orton, his collaborator of the last year or two and, by appearances, his partner in life. (Sam’s loving looks toward Beth and the tiny baby she carried with her were hard to interpret as anything other than paternal!)

It didn’t take long for Sam to drag Beth onstage with him for a couple of numbers, too.

Sam Amidon and Beth Orton at Rockwood Music Hall.

While this show broke no new ground, it was a great, thoughtful way to move toward the end of 2011. Thanks, Sam, Thomas and Beth!

Tonight’s the night: Sam Amidon solo banjo show at Rockwood Music Hall

Sam Amidon at the Mercury Lounge, New York City.

Sam Amidon on banjo at the Mercury Lounge in New York City last year. (Photo © 2010, Steven P. Marsh)

If you’re in the mood for some great banjo music rooted in old-timey tradition but presented with a very modern flair, head to Rockwood Music Hall at 7 p.m. tonight (Wednesday, Dec. 28) to catch Vermonter Sam Amidon in a solo show.

Here’s how he describes the show:

End Of Year Contemplation through Banjosong

While I cannot even dare hope to match the fine calibration of Kirsten Dunst’s recent acting performances (most notably Marie Antoinette, Wimbledon, and Melancholia), I do wish that as 2011 draws to a close we can sing a few murder ballads and old love songs together and maybe it will snow.

Amidon is  an ace on the banjo, and delivers murder ballads and other traditional numbers in creative and compelling ways. He’s a bit of a deadpan performer, but there’s humor beneath the surface, too.

And even though this is billed as a solo banjo show (probably a good thing, because Rockwood’s stages aren’t particularly suited to bands of any size), Sam has lots of friends in New York. So you can never be sure who might drop in to join him or just to check out his set.

His talented circle of friends includes Beth Orton, Thomas “Doveman” Bartlett, violist Nadia Sirota and composer/pianist Nico Muhly,  to name just a few.

Even if none of his pals show up, chances are you’ll wind up feeling like a friend by the end of his set.

$15. Doors at  7 p.m. Rockwood Music Hall, 196 Allen Street, Manhattan. (212) 477-4155

Chapin Sisters: Sibling harmony at Rockwood Music Hall

The Chapin Sisters: Lily and Abigail Rose (Photos © 2011, Steven P. Marsh)

Abigail Rose Chapin and Lily Chapin have been playing as the Chapin Sisters since 2004, when they followed family tradition and started making music as a trio with half-sister Jessica Craven.

That family tradition runs deep. Their dad is popular folksinger Tom Chapin. He and his brothers, Steve and the late Harry, performed as the Chapin Brothers from the late 1950s into the ’60s before venturing into their own musical worlds. The Chapin Sisters’ grandfather, the late great jazz drummer Jim, was also in the Chapin Brothers band for part of its existence.  Their cousin, Jen Chapin, is also a contemporary folksinger.

Abby and Lily grew up in Rockland County, N.Y., which Will You Miss Me When I’m Gone? calls home. Their mom, Bonnie Chapin, even named her longrunning women’s clothing shop in Piermont, N.Y., Abigail Rose and Lily Too, after her daughters. But they got their careers rolling in Los Angeles seven years ago. So while they’ve toured and played the East Coast before, we hadn’t gotten around to catching them live.

More new york area shows coming up

Proud dad Tom Chapin listens from the bar, leaning against the pillar, right.

Last night (Friday, July 15) we got our opportunity to hear the duo at Rockwood Music Hall on Manhattan’s Lower East Side Rockwood Music Hall. And although they have other gigs coming up in the area — one of them just steps from the family home, at The Turning Point in Piermont at 8 p.m. July 19— their proud parents showed up to lend support.

The lightly attended set was a great treat — and far too short.

The sisters have really perfected the vocal harmonies so closely identified with the Everly Brothers and the Louvin Brothers, tackling classic folk themes and timeless relationship-troubles issues in their songs. Both of them have distinctive, strong, well-controlled voices that can come to the fore at a moment’s notice and then effortlessly dive back into seamless harmony. Lily’s voice is the lower of the two, and she’s a more physically expressive performer than her sister, who takes the high parts and has a sweeter, slightly more subdued approach to her performing.

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