It was for me last night, as I had a thoroughly enjoyable evening at Levon’s Ramble, followed by a nightcap at Harmony in Woodstock, where I got to see some friends and wind down from the work week. Unfortunately, I forgot that my week ends on Sunday and I still had one day to go before my weekend actually began! I really did not feel like going to work this morning, but, trooper that I am, I arrived only 10 minutes late.
Anyway, it was worth it, because I got to hear some of the best music I’ve heard in Woodstock in a dog’s age! It was two- thirds of EGO (Joey Eppard, Alana Orr, and Chris Gartman). (Hope I got the spelling right, Chris. Apologies if not). It was Joey and Chris, as Alana just had an adorable baby and is kind of busy right now. I think I only caught the last song, so I can’t say anything about the whole set, but that last song was freakin’ fantastic! Not to take anything away from Joey, but Chris stole that song. The drum groove he laid down was captivatingly rockin! I’ve heard a few songs from this group before, but nothing ever caught my ear like this song. So, that’s it!They’ve got it! Now they’ve gotta reproduce it.
Levon’s was a treat, as always. Kinky Friedman opened the show, and he was hilarious and musical, as always. Levon’s band ran through a selection of chestnuts from The Band catalog and rock n roll history, and a splendid time was had by all. (By the way, I define the term, “rock n roll” to mean any country, rockabilly, blues, rhythm and blues, rock and roll, or other kind of music that rocks!). Y’all should do it once (or more). Like a night out with your honey, it’s worth it!
The date for the Reservoir Music Fifth Anniversary Party at The Bearsville Theater has been finalized. I’ll announce it here next week. I don’t want to keep you in suspense, I just want to line up some of the talent first. But I will tell you this. It will be in mid-July.
Enough rambling. There’s so much going on this week that I better get to it.
Thursday, May 19
Well, the top event tonight is the Joey Ramone Birthday Party at Irving Plaza in Manhattan. I told you about it last week. It’s been going on forever and is always great. It’s always good to remember the man who, along with the rest od The Ramones, is what, according to Little Steven, the entire Underground Garage radio show is based on. By way of explanation, Little Steven says that everything he plays either influenced The Ramones, is influenced by The Ramones, or is by The Ramones, and I think that sums it up pretty well. BTW, Little Steven’s Underground Garage is broadcast on WDST Radio Woodstock,100.1FM, every Sunday night from 8-10pm, and on Sirius/XM satellite radio 24 hours a day, and is the best radio show on the planet. Or as Steve might say, the coolest radio show in the world. Check it out!
If you drive all the way to the city, only to find that Joey’s party is sold out, you can console yourself at the Robert Randolph and the Family Band show at The Brooklyn Bowl, a former, bowling alley in Brooklyn that’s been converted to rock club. Randolph plays pedal steel guitar like Jimi, if Jimi had played pedal steel guitar instead of the Stratocaster. He comes out of the ‘sacred steel’ tradition, which came from African-American churches that couldn’t afford an organ, so they bought what they could afford, and used it in the service of The Lord. In this case, they could afford a pedal steel guitar. If you can’t get in to Joey’s party, you’ll still be a happy camper if you wind up here. Randolph will also be here on Friday.
Friday, May 20
In addition to the previously mentioned 2nd night of Robert Randolph at The Brooklyn Bowl, tonight also offers another chance to catch the Levon spinoff group, Blue Chicken, at The Towne Crier in Pauling. I’ve written about Blue Chicken before. It’s a side project for Levon Helm band members Jimmy Weider, Brian Mitchell, and Byron Isaacs with Randy Ciarlante, former Band drummer, and sometimes, Sid Maginnes, guitar player from The Letterman Band. Sounds good to me.
Saturday, May 21
ZZ Top and Lynyrd Skynyrd at The Times-Union Center in Albany. Does anything need to be said about this program of first class Southern Rock? I’ll tell you this. You will never go wrong with ZZ Top, whom I liken to The Rolling Stones, if The Stones were from Texas.
Another great night of music will be Bill Kirchen at Club Helsinki. The former Commander Cody and his Lost Planet Airmen lead guitarist has kept his career vibrant and lively, and boy, can he play that Telecaster!
It’s also Bob Dylan Birthday Night at The Woodstock Byrdcliffe Guild with an all-star cast of local musician’s and Popa Chubby is at The Towne Crier in Pauling.
Sunday, May 22
Sunday night is a good night to spend with Eric Anderson at The Towne Crier. The veteran folkie was one of the best of that genre and he also wrote “Violets of Dawn” for The Blues Project, one of their best records.
Tonight is also the first night of Elvis Costello’s 3 night run at The Beacon Theater in Manhattan. Always interesting, at worst. He’s there through Tuesday.
Wednesday, May 25
Former Doors keyboardist, Ray Manzarek at The Ridgefield Playhouse in Connecticut sounds interesting to me for some reason. Manzarek was one of the two stars of the band, in some ways even eclipsing Jim Morrison. He’s kept his integrity since Jim died, and I’ll bet he’s got something to say still. I’d really like to see this show.
There were no picks of the week this week because everything is great this week. I’d have to pick them all. You really can’t go wrong this week, and it doesn’t slow down next week. Get ready, because we’ve got Levon at UPAC, Roseanne Cash, Wavy Gravy’s birthday party, and Phish, all coming up next week. Start working out because we’ve got a lot of rockin’ to do!
See you next week.