There have been plenty of times in my life when a variety of obstacles, issues of space or time or income versus expenses or psychology, would have kept me from doing something like driving a couple hours out to Massachusetts, staying in a motel, and going to a music festival. I’m sure some of those […]Read more "The Green River Festival, Part Two of Two – Saturday, July 11th and Sunday, July 12th, 2015"
Apparently there was a time, when I was in elementary school, when the main attraction at The Green River Festival was hot air balloons. The balloons are still there twenty-five years later, but now they just provide a fantastical and prohibitively expensive[i] diversion from a lineup of some of the best bluegrass and indie rock […]Read more "The Green River Festival, Greenfield, MA, Part One of Two – Friday, July 10th and Saturday, July 11th, 2015"
By the time Olivia Quillio took the stage, the crowd at The Hangar had already taken in three hours of female singer songwriters. She took a quick peek to see if there were any children in the audience, and her face lit up in a smile: “What a fucking great night this has been, am […]Read more "Olivia Quillio, Caroline Mother Judge, Lonesome Val, and Ashley Sofia at The Hangar, Troy, NY – Friday, June 12, 2015"
It had been a couple years since I’d visited North Adams, which is a shame. It is home to a couple places I would go every day if I could. First, Mass MoCA, which is pretty much the best place I know of to see the work of really good new artists if you want […]Read more "The Lone Bellow and Arc Iris at Mass MoCA, North Adams, MA – Saturday, May 23, 2015"
The thing about blues-rock is, it’s so easy and comfortable. It resides at a safe and relaxed distance from the sharecropper’s fields and ghetto clubs it emerged from decades ago; the agony and darkness implied by its familiar chord progressions and scales is hardly reflected in the lives of the music’s mostly white, middle-aged, male […]Read more "Davy Knowles with Sly Fox and the Hustlers @ The Low Beat, Albany, NY – Monday, May 18, 2015"
What I realized about Sean Rowe at Helsinki Hudson last Friday night is that he is a master of musical subtlety. A modern woodsman who spends weeks at a time living alone in the upstate New York wilderness, trapping, cooking, and eating small animals, who sports a beard that is approaching ZZ Top territory, whose […]Read more "Sean Rowe at Club Helsinki, Hudson, NY – Friday, May 1, 2015"
Last weekend, Dave Keneston and I covered the three-day MOVE Music Festival at various venues throughout the city of Albany. I already filled you in on the action from Friday night right here on Old School Record Review. Saturday and Sunday, we were able to take in a nice mix of talented young acts who […]Read more "The MOVE Music Festival, Albany, NY, Part Two of Two – Saturday, April 25 and Sunday, April 26, 2015"
The MOVE Music Festival is now in its fourth year of bringing emerging, independent acts to Albany, NY for one weekend of frenetic musical overload. Managing to more-or-less make good on one of their taglines of “100 Bands, 10 Venues, One Incredible Weekend,” this past Friday through Sunday, the festival organizers may still be faking […]Read more "The MOVE Music Festival, Albany, NY, Part One of Two – Friday, April 24, 2015"
I fell hard for the music of Sufjan Stevens back in 2005,[i] when I was passing out burned CDs of Illinois to unsuspecting friends with labels featuring my grand, Sharpie-scrawled pronouncements: “the great pop composer of our generation,” or “the white hipster Stevie Wonder.” He sang in a falsetto whisper, on subjects of therapy-session emotionality, […]Read more "Sufjan Stevens With Cold Specks @ The Palace Theater, Albany, NY – Wednesday, April 15, 2015"
We used to call it “folk music.” The music of the people. Regular people. But sometime in the last fifty or sixty years, that term became inadequate. The explosion of electronic musical production, audio and visual media, and cult celebrity took folk music and transformed it from a participatory activity, something that people did amongst […]Read more "Albany Roots Music Festival Featuring Yarn @ The Linda, Albany, NY – Saturday, April 4, 2015"
I imagine that the careers of all solo musicians are defined in part by a certain type of fork in the road, a decision I’ll just call The Dylan at Newport Conundrum. After achieving some form of success, these artists must decide if they will keep going it alone, keep travelling deeper and deeper inward […]Read more "Shakey Graves and Nikki Lane @ The Hollow, Albany, NY – Sunday, March 29, 2015"
I was fifteen years old back in 1995, and it was one of the best years of my life as an appreciator of music. I discovered lots of new and old stuff across a variety of genres. There were two alternative rock masterpieces I spun constantly: the overrated Throwing Copper by Live and the underrated […]Read more "Freedy Johnston @ The Low Beat, Albany, NY – Thursday, March 19, 2015"
Sometimes, on a cold winter night, I want the comfort of my own bed, with its pile of familiar warm blankets and a me-shaped depression in the center. Other times, equally as freezing and dark, I want to be surprised, have something shock me out of my routine and make me dance or run or […]Read more "Winterpills and The Suitcase Junket @ Caffe Lena, Saratoga, NY – Friday, February 20, 2015"
You just can’t put the music of Town Mountain in a box. Like a lot of bluegrass bands, the Asheville, North Carolina, outfit offers a trio of impressive instrumentalists in fiddler Bobby Britt, mandolinist Phil Barker, and banjo player Jesse Langlais. These guys can, and will, pick fast, but they are also unafraid to put […]Read more "Town Mountain @ The Parlor Room, Northampton, MA – Friday, February 15, 2015"
The standard narrative of the rock star frontman is so much a part of our culture at this point, it can become hard to understand the stories of those who don’t follow suit. The familiar tale of the young, handsome, talented narcissist who bursts on to the scene, inspires with his charisma, becomes lost in […]Read more "Steve Wynn and Richard Barone @ The Low Beat, Albany, NY – Saturday, February 7, 2015"