April 23, 2012
Winter time. We got snow, then none. It stayed warmed then it got really cold. Then warm then cold then really warm – teeny bit of snow, a little more, then none. Well it’s easier to walk the streets of Hudson, Philmont, New Lebanon, Chatham, Kinderhook, Valatie et al, here in Columbia County, not so tough driving around compared to some recent winters as well.
Summer and fair weather seem to be the most popular times to go to listen to music hereabouts, but I’m not sure it’s the wisest choice. Sure here in Hudson you got your buskers, Hudson Music Festival (wheels of which are rolling for a bigger and better event as I write this), a lot of stuff down at the Basilica Hudson happens during the more temperate climes as does the stuff on the patio at Musica and the Hudson.Water.Music. series wheels of which are rolling as this is being written) is dependent on pleasant climate as well. Each of the above can have issues with the distractions of traffic, railroad trains indifferent passers by and the need for large sound systems for the music played to have even a semblance of the way it was rehearsed and meant to be received by the listener. In our winter nooks and crannies there are so many options of cozy musical listening pleasure. I’m sure you haven’t forgotten about them, but I’d like to remind people about some of the great choices for music in the area.
The Peint O Gwrw on Main Street in Chatham has music pretty much every Friday night and a monthly open mic as well as the odd jazz evenings. You can eat some great pub fare and you can drink some lager or stout as well and dancing is allowed, though dancing on top of the bar is only at Tom Hope’s discretion. Around the corner at the Blue Plate most Wednesday evenings one of the finest America pianists ever, Lincoln Mayorga plays jazz standards (or whatever else he feels like) for you listening pleasure while he is ably and adeptly accompanied by Otto Gardiner on upright bass. The attractive and attentive waitstaff are eager to cater to your victuals and libations as you listen.
The Main Street Public House in Philmont has musical evenings as well. They do it whenever they feel like it and whenever someone they really like is available whether it’s a seasoned professional or a local singer/songwriter or band honing their craft. There’s great food and drink as well as an always encouraging and enthusiastic crowd at the Pub’s events, one of my favorite places to see musical acts.
I haven’t written very much about Helsinki Hudson outside of encouraging my readers to attend specific shows. Which I can do again, their programming is crazy creative Bindlestiff Cirkus!! Jill Solbule!! ...and tonight (February 17) the Brooklyn Qawwali Party, a band formed as a tribute to legendary Pakistani singer Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. Not enough? Who needs Madonna (she looks good for her age) at the Super Bowl when you can get Musty Chiffon (who always looks fabulous) at the Animalkind Fashion Show and Auction on Sunday! There is not another place in the the world that can rival Helsinki Hudson’s booking for diversity and sheer creative fun. Chef Hugh Horner makes sure you chow down to a real comfy meal as well, whether it’s BBQ, Shrimp and Grits or a vegetarian gumbo. Enough, I sound like a commercial.
Which brings us to the Red Dot on Warren Street in Hudson. Wednesday night open mic hosted by master accordionist Rob Johanson and a brood of talented musicians. There is even a bit of gossip concerning the creation of a ukulele orchestra in the throes of creation as I write this by the indefatigable Jenny Baldwin which intends to perform at the Red Dot on Wednesdays, you read it first here. Again, plenty of good food and drink and a reasonable, caring and charismatic staff.
Speaking of orchestras, speaking of indefatigable, speaking about great nurturing and inspirational music in the winter, let us speak of Gwen Gould, Claverack Landing and the Columbia Festival. The Gould powered machine has kept us awed and entertained through out the winter and through out the Columbia County environs using any appropriate venue she can find (by the way – got a big house? Got a heated building that can fit a hundred people? Contact Gwen http://columbiafestivalorchestra.org she can create a beautiful sound event there). In Novermber Claverack Landing presented two accomplished violinists, Sheila Reinhold and Renee Jolles at TK Home and Garden in Hudson. In December they sponsored the Community Sing of Handel’s Messiah at St. James Church in Chatham. March 3 will have Intimate Voices String Quartet at the First Presbyterian Church in Hudson, March 31 (hopefully by then we will consider winter over) Claverack Landing will present Paula Robison, flute and Frederic Hand, guitar at Christ Church in Hudson.
Speaking of creative venues, most people in Columbia or Greene County (or in Hudson for that matter) don’t know that Sadhana Center for Yoga on Warren Street has carved its’ own little niche into the HMS (new acronym Hudson Music Scene). Friday March second they will present both a workshop and a performance with Gaura Vani playing harmonium and chant.
I encourage you. Reader, to take advantage of the opportunity for intimate and nourishing musical entertainment that this temperate winter has made available.