Last Time In Long Island City (for the moment)

The sun goes down on NYC

The sun goes down on NYC

I’m writing this from Glasgow, Scotland. I’ve made sad farewells to the many friends I made in Long Island City and  wider New York and hope to see them again soon. However, there is unfinished business and this edition of my blog will chronical some of my more recent experiences in the weeks before I left.

LIC Bar (www.licbar.com) is where it all started for me in LIC and it’s where I’ll finish off. My last visit was to a fund-raising event where musicians performed in aid of the medical costs for a young person called Julia, a close friend of LIC bar’s favorite barmaid, Steph. Some of the musicians I knew (Xavier Cardriche and Corey Lewis), some were new to me and my long term friend and music impresario Gus Rodriguez performed a few songs with local sax player Anthony Cekay.

Gus Rodriguez - a man who knows most songs written in the 20th and 21st century, has a superb eye  for talent and is wonderfully self-effacing.

Gus Rodriguez – a man who knows most songs written in the 20th and 21st century, has a superb eye for talent and is wonderfully self-effacing.

Xavier Cardriche

Xavier Cardriche

Corey Lewis (Animal Pharm)

Corey Lewis (Animal Pharm)

Anthony Cekay

Anthony Cekay

New to me was a young woman who calls herself Dana Danger Athens (http://www.reverbnation.com/danaathens#), fronting her three piece band Damage Control. I’ve been overwhelmed by a few new artists recently and she certainly comes close to the top of my list of musicians I’d like to hear again. Dana is one of those musicians who can come onto the stage and give all her energy to the first notes of her first song. She has a strong soulful voice that rocks, is accurate and stops you in your tracks; forcing you to listen to an artist who deserves a lot of attention on the music scene. Background enquiries show that Dana is, in fact a dancer; that makes sense as she has a gift for performance, though dancing was not what  she was doing at LIC Bar – she was Rocking! Obvious comparisons with Amy Winehouse are welcome but comparisons only serve as a guide to style, energy and image. Performers who do not try to emulate, or be a “tribute band” deserve to be known for who THEY are, and Dana and this band definitely need to be more well known.

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Dana Danger Athens

Damage Control in the courtyard at LIC Bat

Damage Control in the courtyard at LIC Bar

This Saturday afternoon of charitable music making was a  superb example of LIC Bar at its best, a warm sunny day (only a little rain), people sitting outside, listening to great music, chatting and raising money for a good cause. I’d invited poeple over to say farewell and I was pleased to see Christian Coleman, Broc Hempel and Sam Trapchak – a Jazz trio who I came to know well from their performances at the Domaine Wine Bar just down the road. I have consistently been impressed by their music making, often joined by sax player Greg Ward III. Domaine has been a major challenge for me as a photographer, the light is very dim and the musicians (especially sax players)  move very fast.

Hempel Coleman Trapchak Trio in the low light of Domaine Bar

Hempel Coleman Trapchak Trio in the low light of Domaine Bar

Greg Ward III

Greg Ward III

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Christian Coleman

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Broc Hempel

Christian and Sam

Christian and Sam

Back to LIC bar- for one of my last visits I caught one of the outdoor sessions promoted by Planet QNS, a local music promotion setup involving Gus Rodriguez and Neil Nunziato. This one was themed “Hootenanny”, and featured music that paid homage to the folk and country traditions of North America. That meant we had music originally performed by artists like Joni Mitchell, The Band, The Byrds, Neil Young etc – all artists from my youth, and remembered by a large number of the customers in the courtyard. I was pleased to catch some of the talented artists I have known over the past two and a half years: Shelly Bhushan, Julie Kathryn, Jeneen Terrana, Neeley Bridges and her partner Andy Jobe (Walking for Pennies), Neil Nunziato, as always so supportive on drums, Pauline Pisano, PJ O’Connor, Arthur Lewis, John Christopher Alan, Annalyse McCoy and Ryan Dunn (2/3 Goat), Neil Cavanaugh and the ubiquitous Gus Rodriguez. There were a couple of artists who were new to me, Lauren Elder and Matthew Kiss

Check out photos here

I was hugely impressed by Matthew Kiss (http://www.matthewkiss.com) at the Hootenanny show and more so by a full set that he performed at LIC bar a week later. He is a young man with great confidence and ability who sings a wide range of music. From just a 45 minute set it’s clear that Matthew has a great voice and who shows real attention to detail for both his own performance (voice, guitar and harmonica) and that of his band. Like a lot of musicians of his generation Matthew’s music shows influences that span the years from the early 1960s through to the present day. I look forward to hearing more of him.

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Matthew Kiss and Band

Matthew Kiss

Matthew Kiss

Well that just about wraps it up for “Sometime in Long Island City”, over its 18 months of publication it has had over 10,000 views from well over 80 countries – check out the archived editions and my podcasts of interviews with local musicians.  Search “Sometime In Long Island City” on itunes, ( or stream/download from podbean www.earthsounz.podbean.com)

Watch out for my companion blog “www. earthsounz.wordpress.com” which is currently devoted to world music, and for any publications that emerge from Glasgow.

POSTSCRIPT: By the way on my second evening here I came across Mike Heron, part of the Incredible String Band and Shelagh McDonald, a re-emerging folk singer  from the late 1960s. A chance conversation led to steps down into a crypt and an evening of great folk music from these two, plus (playing with Mike Heron) the Trembling Bells.

Shelagh McDonald playing in the crypt of an old Glasgow church, now a bar/restuarant/venue Òran Mór.

Shelagh McDonald playing in the crypt of an old Glasgow church, now a bar/restuarant/venue Òran Mór.

Mike Heron co-founder (with Robin Williamson) of 60s folk icons The Incredible String Band.

Mike Heron co-founder (with Robin Williamson) of 60s folk icons The Incredible String Band.

Mike Heron and the Trembling Bells

Mike Heron and the Trembling Bells

LIC musical talent lines up for stardom

It’s been my privilege over the last two years to listen to a number of highly talented musicians playing at venues just 5 minutes from my door. Two venues, LIC bar (licbar.com) and Domaine Bar a Vins (Domainewinebar.com) have stood out in their offerings: with the pleasing recent addition of music at John Brown Smokehouse and at various bars and restaurants who offer some musical accompaniment to diners and drinkers.

Astoria- born graduate of the Frank Sinatra School of the Arts, Jeanne Marie Boes (http://jeanneboes.com) has been heard in the LIC  music scene for a while. I’ve listened to her play  at LIC bar and eGarage.tv . Many of her previous recordings have been covers, showing an accurate, stylish voice with good interpretations of other writers’  work. She has a strong soul voice and powerful presentation that makes you listen from the first notes.  Her latest single is, to my knowledge, her only available recording of a song she has written herself.

Jeanne Marie Boes at Webster Hall

“The One”  is a muscular, bluesy song, reminiscent of Amy Winehouse in style and, even more so in Jeanne’s vocal interpretation. This is so much an advance on previous recorded material that it’s as if she has suddenly discovered her voice as a writer and interpreter of her own songs; and had the (well guided) courage to present it on CD. The recording has been expertly self-produced with a full, driving sound that pushes Jeanne’s voice straight across a great mix of,  unbelievably, just three musicians: Jeanne on vocals and piano, and  husband and wife team (from the Queens duo “Ekra”):  Brendon Press (Guitar and bass) and Lee Press(Drums). (http://www.ekrasound.com/)

Jeanne Marie(http://jeanneb.bandcamp.com/track/the-one-single-studio-version)

This single deserves a lot of attention, it has “star” written all over it – so buy it (from bandcamp, or itunes) and tell your friends and catch Jeanne when she’s next playing:

May 24th, 2013 / Greenpoint Gallery Art & Music Series (Brooklyn, NY) 9PM

June 21st, 2013 / Queens Council on the Arts (Astoria, NY) 2PM

June 28th, 2013 / The Giving Tree Yoga Studio (Astoria, NY) 8PM

July 20th, 2013 / Kennedy Plaza “Women’s Day” Event (Long Beach, NY) 12PM

Jeanne plans recording a full length album when she can accumulate the funds, I’m looking forward to hearing this.

jeanne promo
Jeanne Marie Boes

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In my last post I talked about some newly released, or soon to be released, albums from musicians associated with LIC Bar – Niall Connolly, Shelly Bhushan, Natalie Mishell and Anthony Mulcahy.

Anthony had his CD launch party at Rockwood Music Hall last week and showed himself to be a relaxed, highly skilled performer of his own music. He clearly has the warm regard of his band of Taryn Lounsbury (violin and vocal), Jenny Dunne (vocal), Barry Kornhauser (‘cello) and Anthony Crowder (drums), which was augmented by bass-player Brandon Wilde. Brandon produced the album and played on a couple, of tracks on the album “For my Sins” so was very familiar with the music. This was the first time that he had joined the band on stage and his professionalism shone through as he mixed his accurate, percussive bass against the more languid lines of the ‘cello. I’ve had a chance to listen to the whole album now, as well as attending the launch and am continuing to be impressed and urge you to buy it.

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Jenny Dunne and Anthony Mulcahy

Anthony’s music is deceptive. Heard in the background it sounds like nice, folk-style music with clearly Celtic undertones. It’s when you get closer to the words and the way that Anthony sings them that you get a real sense of depth of this man’s appreciation of humankind in all its joy and pain, romance and tragedy. On the album he shares vocal credit with Jenny Dunne (the best singing I’ve heard from her), in solo and in harmonies that are best shown in his immediately memorable song “Soft Spoken“.  Bowed and plucked violin and ‘cello feature on tracks in ways that remind me of some of the music  that is coming out of the bluegrass fusion movement that mixes traditional Celtic/Appalachian with 21st century classical styles from artists like Yo Yo Ma, Edgar Meyer and the Kronos Quartet; listen particularly to the title track, “For My Sins“.

Anthony was initially reluctant to put the track “Cúilín” on the album, not because it is weak, more, I think, that it is a very personal and nostalgic evocation of his childhood experience on a beach where a river meets the sea in his home town. “Cúilín” paints pictures in which we, too, can recall our innocent childhood play, placing it next to “All Our Sins” of adulthood. This track epitomizes Anthony’s gift for language, making this an album deserving of frequent listening, and careful attention to his lyrics.

Anthony Mulcahy and his band at Rockwood Music Hall

Anthony Mulcahy and his band at Rockwood Music Hall

You can buy the album on:

https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/for-my-sins/id650018901

and:

http://www.cdbaby.com/Artist/AnthonyMulcahy

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Some stunning Jazz at Domaine Wine Bar

It never ceases to amaze me how such a small local bar, that sits just over the entrance to the 7 subway Vernon/Jackson station, on the west side, can have such hugely talented jazz musicians in a small space. Last week I caught my old favourites the Broc Hempel, Sam Trapchak, Christian Colemen Trio there the other night, playing with sax virtuoso Greg Ward III. Here’s a few pictures.

Broc Hempel and Christian Coleman

Broc Hempel and Christian Coleman

Christian Coleman and Sam Trapchak

Christian Coleman and Sam Trapchak

Greg Ward III

Greg Ward III

Christian Coleman also contributes his exceptional jazz drumming to a Happy Hour jazz session every Wednesday (5pm-7pm) at local BBQ restaurant John Brown Smokehouse (http://www.johnbrownseriousbbq.com/). He joins local LIC musicians Martin Kelley (Saxophone) and Diallo House (bass) plus guests as “Affinity” for sessions which can be indoors or outside, depending on the weather, in the spacious yard.

The quality of the music is great, as is the food in this casual-style smokehouse environment where you can have stylish domestic and foreign beers, plus everything  you’d expect from an establishment that has, in a short time, become judged one of New York’s best barbeque Joints. the brisket, burnt ends and ribs are superb, as are the moist cornbread and fresh salads.

John Brown Smokehouse has space, and an audience for high quality music. Tell the owners, so that it can become another LIC music venue that will benefit the residents, the businesses and the musicians.

Martin Kelley's Affinity in the Smokehouse  yard.

Martin Kelley’s Affinity in the Smokehouse yard.

Postscript from the LIC Bar – WHO relationship

Regular readers will know that LIC bar suffered in Hurricane Sandy, with the loss of musical gear. The UK rock band “The Who” came to the rescue with the purchase of new gear and the bar repaid the debt with a tribute concert. The concert raised over $7000 for The Who’s charity Teen Cancer. Last week  the cheque was presented to Roger Daltrey by Gus Rodriguez (LIC Bar music promoter) and Rob Basch (who first contacted The Who).

Rob Basch, Gus Rodriguez and Roger Daltrey

Rob Basch, Gus Rodriguez and Roger Daltrey

Last but not least a reminder about Natalie Mishell’s CD Launch at Rockwood Music Hall 2 on Allen Street Lower East Side this Thursday, May 24th, with Julie Kathryn as support.

Natalie Mishell at a Van Morrison tribute at LIC bar

Natalie Mishell at a Van Morrison tribute at LIC bar

Listen to my interview with Natalie and hear some of her music on:

https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/artist-portrait-natalie-mishell/id523786622?i=153661157&mt=2

and

http://earthsounz.podbean.com/mf/web/396dh/Artist_Portrait_Natalie_Mishell.mp3

It’s Spring Fever – Fresh Albums!

It’s that time of year again, springing forth into the biosphere are albums from some extraordinarily talented people who are associated in one way or another with the Long Island City music scene. I’m talking about Niall Connolly, Shelly Bhushan, Natalie Mishell and Anthony Mulcahy. Well that’s just some of the albums that are in the can, wrapped and ready to go, then there is music in the pipeline from Casey BlackMatt Sucich (already available), Little Embers and Jeneen Terrana.

But first my hearty congratulations to Gus Rodriguez and Anthony Rizzo for writing and performing the music for a new TV series, “Maron” featuring comedian Marc Maron.

Gus Rodriguez

Gus Rodriguez

Anthony Rizzo

Anthony Rizzo

Check out the title song here::
https://soundcloud.com/search?q=White%20Iris%20Records%2C%20Four%20on%20the%20Floor%20-%20Poisoned%20Well

And the trailer for the  IFC show:

http://www.ifc.com/maron/videos/maron-trailer

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Niall Connolly with Dennis Cronin and Brandon Wilde at Rockwood

Niall Connolly with Dennis Cronin and Brandon Wilde at Rockwood

Cork man, Big City Folk convenor and LIC Bar regular Niall Connolly has just returned from a European tour, playing music from his new album Sound. Check out his video for the single from the album, “Samurai”:

“Sound”  is Niall’s best album to date, it is  blessed with superb musical colaborators: Brandon Wilde (bass, piano, guitars and handclaps), Warren Malone (guitar and vocals), Dennis Cronin (trumpet, piano and Vibraphonette) and Len Montachello (drums)  plus guests Chris Foley, EW Harris and Christy McNamara, and great production from Brandon Wilde.

“Sound” shows off Niall Connolly’s wit, political acumen, romance and humanity in a selection of memorable songs that make you think, sing along and sometimes to simply shout out from the rooftops. Niall is clearly a popular man around town; the audience at his shows know his songs and sing along to such favorites as “Skin and Bones” (from the album “Brother the fight is Fixed”) and the newer anthems like (on this album) “Lily of the Mohawks” which moves along like a flaming house on a backyard trailer. “Come back to the table” is aimed at those who are with us , but not with us, as they message on their  devices instead of being present, a song that is brilliantly followed (on the physical album only, not the download) by a surprise track.

I’ve listened to this album many times now and it nevers tires on me; in fact it grows and grows and still sends shivers down my spine. The songs are so good.

Sound is an album that rocks in the ways that Dylan and Lennon rock, with biting rhythms and sharply articulated lyrics. It is pop of the best kind – organic and grown-from-the-roots, not plastic genetically modified pop. Niall Connolly clearly cares about people and the country that he now calls home.

Niall Connolly at the launch of "Sound" at Rockwood Music Hall, New York

Niall Connolly at the launch of “Sound” at Rockwood Music Hall, New York

You can buy “Sound” here:

http://www.cdbaby.com/Artist/NiallConnolly

https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/sound/id633535655

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Shelly Bhushan‘s new album “Something out of Nothing” is the fruit of much serious songwriting and performance. Her collaboration with bass player Harry Cordew, Ben Hoffstein on keyboard  and husband John Celantano on drums is well known around New York and Long Island City. They are a well rehearsed band who know each other well enough to produce tight performances that support but don’t dominate Shelly’s strong soulful voice.

Shelly Bhushan launches "Something out of Nothing"

Shelly Bhushan launches “Something out of Nothing”at Rockwood Music Hall

“Something out of Nothing” contains some songs that are new and others that have been sharpened in performance over the past few years and which are now recorded for the first time. At her album launch at Rockwood Music Hall (probably the best listening venue in New York) Shelly almost apologized for the number of ballads on the album. She has no need to apologize. Although well known for her powerful soulful voice (that can really rock) the slower songs offer variation and give her the chance to show herself as a sensitive singer who can pour a different kind of soul into her work. I especially like “Intoxication”, a moody track that uses a simple guitar, bass and drum backing to support Shelly’s smokier vocal style. The same goes for “Moon”, the simple piano accompaniment giving a sense that Shelly is performing just for you in a small club, or even your living room. In songs like this Shelly reminds me of India Arie; but she is no imitator and has a distinct style of her own that shines in recording and performance. “Digging in deep” is a bluesy song that resonates with Shelly’s earliest work as a singer with a swing band, drawing from a considerable pedigree of performance across many styles.

In a shift of genre Shelly shows her country music side with “Blinded”, a memorable song that, in its simplicity, makes its points directly and without fuss. In general this sums up my feel for this album. Although it has some sophsticated production elements (sound effects) the overall impression is of an honest album that shows off performance and talent rather than complex production. Shelly’s songs are strong and stand to be simply sung with guitar, piano or band, yet I can see that they also have potential in more elaborate arrangements, with perhaps strings and horns. In that way I believe that this album will help Shelly’s progress as a musician – singer AND songwriter. It’s good to have this new album on the shelves, joining her three other solo albums: Picking Daisies, The Shelly Show  and Beautiful Me as examples of her work as a singer of great talent and musical personality.You can buy all her albums, including “Something out of Nothing” here:

http://www.cdbaby.com/artist/ShellyBhushan

https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/something-out-of-nothing/id646625866

SB_ALBUM_ART_10

Check out also my biographical “Artist Portrait” interview with Shelly on itunes:

https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/artist-portrait-shelly-bhushan/id523786622?i=118277415&mt=2

or:
Listen to this episode

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Anthony Mulcahy at the Big City Folk Festival at LIC Bar in July 2012

Anthony Mulcahy at the Big City Folk Festival at LIC Bar in July 2012

Another member of the Big City Folk Collective is Anthony Mulcahy. Originally from the small seaside village of Bonmahon in County Waterford, Ireland, he has the launch for his 2nd CD  coming up at Rockwood Music Hall on Saturday May 18th. “For My Sins” follows the successul “Lazy Days” album with the launch show this week featuring  his regular band of Jenny Dunne – Vocals, Taryn Lounsbury – Violin and Vocals and Barry Kornhauser – Cello; with the addition of the ubiquitous Brandon Wilde – Bass and Vocals, and Shawn Crowder – Drums.

Anthony is another regular performer at LIC bar, in the winter Sunday shows organized by Niall Connolly. Although quite the joker he is very serious about his music, with high standards in performance, writing and recording. He’s also a very generous man, recently raising funds for the Bonmahon lifeboat station, from which the lifeboat foundered in January 2012, with the loss of two crew and three seamen.

http://anthonymulcahy.bandcamp.com/track/tit-bonhomme-lifeboat-fundraiser

From what I have heard so far “For My Sins”  is a an album of melody and melancholy. Check out the track “Carry On”, featuring Niall Connolly.

Talking about the album Anthony says:

The ideas for the songs is kind of split in two: on the one hand I hear my New York friends telling me stories of crazy stuff that has happened in their lives and I built ideas from that, on the other hand as a way to deal with my never ending homesickness. I try to remember certain things from my childhood or from a night out during the hey day and try to bring those memories back to life.
I’m very pleased with how it turned out and I feel the same way about it as I did with my first record “Lazy Days”. It’s more to do with the personal achievement for me really, rather than looking for popular success.

I penned 9 of the 10 tracks. The only one which was co-written was “skipping stones” which was lyrically put together by Jenny Dunne and I and was drawn up from an original idea I had done with Welsh singer/songwriter Fflur Dafydd back in 2005. Niall Connolly features as a guest vocal on “Carry On” and is actually the only guest on the album. Nialls contribution to the original live music scene in New York is the backbone of a lot of these Big City Folk albums.

 Check out Anthony’s single “Lovers of the night”, performed here live on his recent tour of Ireland.

you can buy the single (and the album, when released) from:

http://www.mulmusic.com/music.cfm

http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/AnthonyMulcahy

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Natalie Mishell in performance at LIC Bar

Natalie Mishell in performance at LIC Bar

Last of the new albums for this edition is the latest from Natalie Mishell; another regular singer at LIC Bar, performer across New York and wider still. Her new album “Goodnight Stranger” will be launched at Rockwood on Thursday May 24th. This is her first full length album, following her earlier EP “In My Shoes”. I’ve heard three tracks from the album and am impressed by the range of style and authenticity of Natalie’s writing and performance. Goodnight Stranger is the result of a colaboration between Natalie and producer J.P.Bowerstock (ex. Ryan Adams),  with songs that originated from what she calls a “grey period” in her life, though they are not all miserable songs – just reflections on life and change.

As Natalie Mishell & Co. she’s joined on the album by long-time drummer Neil Nunziato, newcomer (and “Walking for Pennies” member) Neeley Bridges, guitarist Neil Cavanagh, Billy Grant on keyboard  and bass player Tony Oppenheimer. The basics of the album were recorded in a 10 hour stretch, with vocals added later, except for one track, “My Peace” which survived untouched from the original studio session.

Check out “Blue Moon” from the album:

https://soundcloud.com/natalie-mishell/02-blue-moon#play

Natalie Mishell

Natalie Mishell

Also check out my full length biographical interview with Natalie in the “Artist Portrait” series which includes two tracks from the album, including “My Peace”:

https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/artist-portrait-natalie-mishell/id523786622?i=153661157&mt=2

or:
Listen to this episode

goodnight strangerNatalie Mishell and Co. play at Rockwood Music Hall 2, Allen Street, just off E. Houston, at 7pm on Thursday May 23rd. Opening performer will be the very talented Julie Kathryn, in a solo set.

Julie Kathryn at Spike Hill in a Rockethub Showcase

Julie Kathryn at Spike Hill in a Rockethub Showcase

March Music Treats at LIC Bar

March treats at LIC Bar:

LIC Bar, on Vernon and 46th Avenue, is the foremost LIC music venue; a place of character, good cheer and great musical talent. You can hear live music 5 nights out of 7, and DJ music on friday nights from 10pm – 2am.Whether you like country, jazz, rock or sounds indescribable, you are sure to find entertainment that will bring you back week after week, day after day….even if you travel over from Manhattan!!!

Apart from the excellent range of music, LIC Bar is also establishing a credible record for performances featuring actors, the spoken word and classical music, for both  adults and children (by the fireside in the carriage house, across from the bar).

March offers a mix of all these attractions so “Why go to Manhattan?” when so much is in LIC! I’m off to the southern hemisphere for a while so will miss most of March in NYC  so here’s the highlights of what will be a great month as Spring leaps into gear.

Residency

Wednesday night is residents’ night. March 2013 is Jefferson Thomas month. JT is a supremely talented rocker who can turn his talents from straight country, through folk/rock to gutsy/rocky/blues that will shake your pants off. His sets will be at 10:00pm every Wednesday thru March. Be prepared to stay late, JT sucks up the energy of the crowd and performs until his seeds have run dry. Check out http://www.jeffersonthomas.com

Jefferson Thomas

Jefferson Thomas

Mondays is often a jazz night (although not always) and free food is served at 9:00pm. I’m pleased to see that some one of my favorites, Tammy Scheffer, is also resident in March. She has a versatile, accurate voice that rides high around the skills of her band; jazz with with real vocal flair with intricate arrangements that span traditional Hebrew melodies and classic jazz standards. (www.tammyscheffer.com)

Tammy Scheffer

Tammy Scheffer

Jazz

Monday jazz also sees Sam Trapchak, (www.samtrapchak.com)an LIC-based bass-playing jazz composer on the rise to stardom (March 11, 8:00), another LIC resident, sax-man Anthony Cekay, whose late night improv sessions are becoming quite the cool place to be in LIC (March 8, 9:00). Another jazz favorite, Emily Wolf, plays on March 25th (8:00). She is a classy jazz singer and writer who pulls together a fine group of musicians. (www.emilywolfmusic.com);

LIC residents Sam Trapchak and Anthony Cekay

LIC residents Sam Trapchak and Anthony Cekay

Emily Wolf

Emily Wolf

Newcomers

I should say here that I am only mentioning people I have heard before. The joy of LIC Bar is hearing people who are new to me, like Zoe Sundra, who I heard on March 3rd and so many others who delight with their talent.

Zoe Sundra at LIC Bar March 3rd

Zoe Sundra at LIC Bar March 3rd

The Talent Spotters

Musical organizing is mostly curated by Gus Rodriguez, with the Sunday events hosted and organized by Niall Connolly of Big City Folk. Both are musicians in their own right with a great eye for local and international talent. Niall is an intelligent, astute and sometimes acerbic songwriter who is one of those singers who can make my spine tingle. He has a new single, Samurai, that is making great waves on both sides of the Atlantic and which will feature on an album, “Sound” to be released in April (CD release party is at Rockwood Music Hall 2 on April 13th), catch this before it catches  you by surprise and you  wish you had heard it before your friends. Tickets from http://rockwoodmusichall.tickets.musictoday.com/RockwoodMusicHall/moreInfo.aspx?event=154241&outlet=2315.

http://niallconnolly.bandcamp.com/track/samurai-3

Gus Rodriguez and Niall Connolly

Gus Rodriguez and Niall Connolly

Punk hero

March 13th sees a 9pm solo acoustic show by Andy Shernoff of the legendary punk band The Dictators. This is typical of LIC Bar; just when you think it’s safe not to go, a star will choose to play and blow all your laziness out of the window and drive you back to this fundament of music making, just up from the 7, across from the G and down from the E. (sounds bit like guitar chords!) check out: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Dictators

Late night Bones

If you haven’t caught Brandon Wilde and Len Monachello you have to get down on Friday March 15th 10pm-midnight to hear cover duo “Magic Bones” in a set that will entertain, enthrall and amaze.

Saint Patrick’s Day

There may be a new Pope, or maybe not, but the weekend on March 16/17 will be as green as you can get here in NYC. Saturday night, March 16th features another great LIC celebration of the music of Van Morrison. These tributes are a strong tradition for the musical family that surrounds the venue. Singers of the caliber of soul icons Shelly Bhushan and Arthur Lewis mix up with Xavier Cardriche, Little Embers, Julie Kathryn, Silbin Sandovar and Chrissi Poland to create their own interpretations of one of the great Irish musicians of the rock era, supported by a class house band that will feature talents like Neil Nunziato on drums and mystery guitarists and keyboarders, as well as wind artists yet to be confirmed as members of the church of Van the Man.

A crowded LIC Bar from last year's Van Morrison Tribute

A crowded LIC Bar from last year’s Van Morrison Tribute

That night you can be sure of a good feed with a free gourmet style corned beef brisket for our customers that is out of this world, courtesy of Parnell’s Restuarant, (www.parnellsnyc

Later that night, in the traditional LIC Bar midnight slot (well, from 11 ‘til 1:00) you can hear Brooks Wood and Cameron Mitchell. An upbeat acoustic duo, real crowd-pleasers.

March 17th features another in Ali Silva’s popular “Fireside Ghost Stories” evenings in the Carriage house, across the courtyard from the main bar. Not to be upstaged by Van Ali is presenting an evening that will be imbued with Celtic magic and dark green fear, with live musical improvised mystery from talanted duo Charlie Rauh and Concetta Abbate.

Fireside Ghost Stories in the Carriage House

Fireside Ghost Stories in the Carriage House

The session starts at 8:00 so be sure to arrive early to get a seat. That means you have to get in straight after The Locksmiths, a fun local Queens band led by bassist Pete O’Neil that will play a mix of Irish rock and traditional songs as well as a nice serving of their own original tunes from 5 until 7pm.

Peter and the Wolf

March sees the welcome return of Peter and The Wolf in the Carriage House on March 23rd at 2pm and 4pm. This has proved to be a popular event; a performance for families with children, featuring puppets, Ali Silva and The Washington Square Winds. The last show was so packed they were turning families away. This time they are performing two shows back to back so more folks can see it.

Guitar Porn

Sunday March 24th from 5 ‘til 8 sees the first of what might become a house standard. Silbin Sandovar presents: Guitar Porn! A big neighborhood jam featuring some favorite local guitarists including Anthony Rizzo, Danny MacKane, Anthony Lanni, Dennis Del Gaudio, Andy Stack, Mark Marshall, Jefferson Thomas and more! This will be a great afternoon of amazing and blazing guitars!

This is the time when opening up the courtyard to music becomes a real possibility, so if it’s a warm sunny day bring along your shades and sip the cocktails of pickers and thrashers.

Little Embers

March 27th, popular local singer/songwiter Little Embers returns with guitarist husband Anthony Rizzo (and maybe some special guests) for a late night mix of country and rock at 9pm.

Check this:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wgCv8XgQ1O4

LIC  Bar is open 7 days a week 4  until 4am, with earlier opening at the weekend for daytime shows.

Check out the full calendar at:

http://www.licbar.com/eventcalendar/evcal.html

Long Island City Rocks to LIC Bar tribute

Long Island City rocked on Saturday night to the sound of LIC Bar’s big “Thank You” to British rock band The Who for their donation of new equipment after hurricane Sandy flooded the bar’s basement. Tribute band “Who’s Next” treated a capacity crowd to a string of songs from nearly 50 years of music history; with hits from albums like “Tommy”and “Quadrophenia” as well as classic rock songs, including Who favourite, Eddie Cochran’s “Summertime Blues”.

"Who's Next"

“Who’s Next”

“Who’s Next” bear uncanny resemblance to the band they have been mimicking for the past 15 years. They performed with all the trademark gestures of The Who in their late 60’s and ‘70s heyday, before the death of their drummer Keith Moon and well before the more recent passing of bass player John Entwistle. So this was a trip back to a time when a fair number of the audience would have stood in line, bought the albums and absorbed the words of songs; singing along last night as the band rocked the house down with hits like “Won’t Get Fooled Again” and “Sing Together (with the band)”.

(For me I have to admit to a sense of excitement, seeing the band members walking around before the show, a kind of suspended reality that this could actually have been The Who as I remember them in the early days, playing my local church hall in Harrow and calling themselves the “High Numbers”.)

Capacity Crowd under the Marquee

Capacity Crowd under the Marquee

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Godfrey Townsend

Godfrey Townsend

A real treat as a support act was singer guitarist Godfrey Townsend; once again a superb interpreter of classic tracks; with songs by artists like Eric Clapton, the Beatles, Jack Bruce (in whose band he played) and Dave Mason. This was a solo performance with Townsend (no relation and different spelling) displaying his mastery of a repertoire that is rooted in the blues, with expert guitar picking and an easy, confident style. Townsend played with John Entwistle in his band and in homage to the night’s theme played a few Who songs, giving them an individual spin that contrasted well with the intensity and theater of the band to come.

Long Island Music Hall of Fame - DJ and producer Denis McNamara

Long Island Music Hall of Fame – DJ and producer Denis McNamara

The evening was MC’d by legendary WLIR DJ and long time stalwart of The Who, Denis McNamara. He took the stage for the raffle draw, along with LIC Bar music impresario Gus Rodriguez, and LIC Bar regular Rob Basch, who first contacted The Who after their Sandy concert at the Barclays Center. The occasion was also graced by an appearance from local council member and music fan, Jimmy van Bramer. One lucky patron walked away with no less than 3 raffle prizes, including the headline Gibson SG guitar, signed by Pete Townshend.

Winner of the signed Gibson SG - Albert Short of Long Island City

Winner of the signed Gibson SG – Albert Short of Long Island City

Teen Cancer America, The Who’s official charity, will benefit from $7000 from the night!

Rob Basch and Gus Rodriguez

Rob Basch and Gus Rodriguez – the energy behind a great night!

Thanks are due to all the sponsors who provided support, equipment and raffle prizes:

The Who (www.thewho.com)

Gibson Guitars New York (http://www2.gibson.com)

Universal Music ( www.universalmusic.com)

Parnell’s Restaurant (www.parnellsny.com)

Alobar (www.alobar.com)

El Ay Si restaurant (elaysi.com)

Manducatis Rustica Restuarant (www.manducatisrustica.com)

Bobby Vans Steakhouse ( www.bobbyvans.com)

Pranavah Yoga (www.pranavahyoga.com)

Domaine Wine Bar (www.domainewinebar.com)

Molly Pitchers Alehouse (www.mollypitchersnyc.com)

Brewers:

Radeberger Pilsner, Heineken, Guinness and Brooklyn Brewery

And those others who gave their  gifts anonymously.

Brian Porter - Owner, LIC Bar

Brian Porter – Owner, LIC Bar

Walking for Pennies

Walking for Pennies with Pauline Pisano and (hidden) Neil Nunziato

Walking for Pennies with Pauline Pisano and Neil Nunziato

Walking for Pennies are LIC- based duo, Neeley Bridges and Andy Jobe. They released their first album “Forget About Wonderland” in October last year after years of making their way as actors and musicians around New York. Credits include: Les Miserables in Vermont, A Christmas Carol at MSG Paramount Theater, The Bitter End in Greenwich Village, the Living Room in Lower East Side and LIC Bar  (www.licbar.com). Their name refers to the times when they have been literally walking for pennies as dog walkers in order to get money together to pay rent; a thankless, poop-scooping task recalled in a song, “Who am I Supposed to Be”, penned by Bridges, on the album.

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Next week the duo expand to a band, with Neil Nunziato on drums, Pauline Pisano on piano and harmonies and Craig Akin on bass, to appear in their first show at the famous Rockwood Music Hall at 4pm on Sunday 17th February.

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Neeley Bridges, like her partner, studied musical theater at NYU and has been on the local music scene since then, with involvement in musicals, writing, performing solo and with bands. She is a talented multi-instrumentalist: guitar, mandolin, flute, oboe, piano and clarinet. These days she most often sticks to guitar and mandolin, which shines on the album, prefering mandolin: saying “guitar is really a guy’s intrument, it’s big!” Her voice is clear and accurate, offering strong interweaving harmonies with Andy’s distinctive higher-register vocal offerings. In 2008 she released a solo album “Devil on my Shoulder” and has written four of the songs on the Wonderland album.

Neeley Bridges

Neeley Bridges

Neeley describes herself as always having been a singer; able to remember melodies and lyrics since she was a small child. She remembers singing along with music on the radio and then reproducing the songs by her herself, including mimicking the vocal styles of singers like Cindy Lauper and Elvis.

Although her parents were not musicians they recognised her abilities and enthusiasms, allowing her to study opera enrol her in a “Magnet” school for “gifted and talented children” in their home town in Northern Carolina, a school which concentrated on teaching the performing arts and in which she was able to develop her voice and acting abilities, as well as her instrumental skills.

Writing

An immersion in music has allowed Neeley to develop her song writing using both traditional and original structures She finds, however, that simple structures are often more memorable, commenting that “People like to know where a song is going”. She usually writes using a guitar, but is finding that she will often develop melodies in her head and will know how they should be accompanied. Her memory for music means that she doesn’t need to sing or play into a recording device and can just hold it in her mind and develop it later.

Unlike her partner Andy she prefers to write whilst moving; whether walking or just around her LIC home. Andy prefers to sit, concentrate and just work it out. They don’t write together, suggesting that their contrasting writing styles militate against that; but they do contribute to each others’ arrangements both in vocal harmonies and instrumental parts.

Andy Jobe

Andy Jobe

Vocally the couple have contrasting voices. Ohio-born Andy has a distinctive high register and tone, with Neeley offering a range of vocal tones for which her formal vocal training, and her childhood mimicking talent, has been excellent preparation. The addition of Pauline Pisano (http://www.paulinepisano.com)as a regular contributor to Walking for Pennies band shows offers a richer, lower register contrast which allows for some beautiful harmonisation. Neil Nunziato, an unstintingly loyal drummer, well known to LIC Bar musicians is also a regular supporter of Neeley and Andy.

Craig Akin (http://www.slapfiddle.com/), too is regularly seen on the New York music scene. in demand for both upright and electric bass.

A background in the theatre has given Walking For Pennies a gift for presentation, which makes for polished and well prepared shows.

Andy and Neeley, like most musicians in New York, have to mix a range of employments in order pay the rent. They are fortunate in that they can offer themselves as a duo, not just in performance but also in children’s educational programs such as LIC Kids (http://lickids.com/),  at a local yoga studio, Pranavah Yoga (www.pranavahyoga.com), and, soon, at the gym at the powerhouse, a local condominium. Together they offer musical enrichment programs for young children in the LIC area as well as providing instrumental and vocal tuition to budding musicians of all ages.

Whilst less involved with musical theatre these days, their training comes to good use with a commitment to “A Christmas Carol’ performances in Denver, Colorado – a semi-regular holiday employment that means that they don’t have to spend long periods apart, often a burden that couples have to bear when they are both entertainers.

The Album

Andy Jobe wrote the title track to their album: “Forget about Wonderland”, an album that demonstrates the talent and real attention to detail of these two musicians. It is a carefully crafted selection of music of different genres, with a country/folk – pop/R&B thread; a mix of guest musicians make for a satisfying mix that sustains repeated listening, both as an album and picking tracks to match a mood. As solo singers they contrast; with Neeley offering  sound which mixes soul with country, whilst Andy pays his respects to a big influence, James Taylor, supported by some nice guitar picking. His voice can be compared to Michael Jackson in its high range and flexibility. As duettists their voices have a combined strength and consistency which shows well in live performance, no auto-tune here!

Check out a perfromance of their song “Nashville”:

In December 2012 Walking for Pennies played at LIC Bar, in a benefit performance for victims of Hurricane Sandy, debuting their single “Hurricane”; the proceeds of which go to Sandy relief.

Check out their website www.walkingforpennies.com for downloads, and take a trip down to Rockwood for their show on 17th.

Artists in Residence at the LIC Bar

Every month LIC Bar (www.licbar.com) has a new “Artist in Residence”. February sees TWO, Jo Williamson and Xavier Cardriche.
LIC Bar is a popular venue for local, national and international artists who might be building up to a tour, making a come-back or preparing for a recording. Jo Williamson is such an artist, having recently taken a break from performing she joins a line of high calibre artists who use the LIC venue to hone their skills before embarking on tours or recording projects. Most frecently Jim Keller (famous for his hit 867-5309 with Tommy Tutone) has been such an artist, sharpening his performances before a tour with Nick Lowe.

Jo WilliamsonJo’s most recent recording is her album, Be the Man, produced by Martha Wainwright and released in 2011 as her third CD offering. As a singer songwriter, she writes and performs in a folk style which has a story-telling quality with a range between ballads and torch songs. She has a strong clear, accurate voice and a highly musical feel to performances which have powerful, intimate quality reminiscent of early Joni Mitchell, yet strong like Patti Smith and clear like the great British folk singer Sandy Denny.

In her first LIC Bar performance on Feb 4th she played acoustic guitars and an electric bass, using loop electronics to good effect: pushing the boundaries of traditional singer/songwriter performance. I was impressed by her honest professional approach and her visceral musicality.

Jo plus Bass

Jo looping with bass

Check her out on http://www.myspace.com/jowilliamsonmusic.

Jo’s performances at LIC Bar are at 7pm on Mondays throughout February; nights when three other performers are presented each week, as well as free food at 9pm, courtesy of Parnell’s Restaurant (http://www.parnellsny.com/)

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Xavier Cardriche

Xavier Cardriche

Xavier Cardriche is well known to LIC Bar regulars, he is a strong singer with a rich bluesy voice and a confident performance style that connects immediately with the audience. Playing with both a band and solo his songs are powerful and melodic, with variations in style that makes for interesting sets, as can be heard on his self-titled 2012 album. In his performance on Feb 6th he added another dimension to his artistic presence by including a stylish performance from dancers Lauren Engleman (http://laurenengleman.webs.com) and Kyla Ernst-Alper (http://www.kylaernstalper.com/) , who will be joining him again throughout February.

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Xavier with dancers Lauren Engleman and Kyla Ernst-Alper

For this residency he is performing solo, with dancers, at 10pm every Wednesday night throughout February. Check him out on http://xaviercardriche.com/

LIC Bar Calendar:

Monday, Feb 11th

7pm Jo Williamson

8pm The Cowmen

9pm Sam Trapchak

10pm Anthony Cekay Group

 

Wednesday, Feb 13th

7pm Sabina Saragoussi

8pm Cheer

9pm Remy De Laroque

10pm Xavier Cardriche Feb Residency

 

Thursday, Feb 14th

9pm Fireside Valentines Day Special

invite that special someone to hear love ballads

for this special Valentines Day concert by the

LIC Bar fireplace! Performances by Silbin Sandovar & friends

 

Saturday, Feb 16th

11pm

Magic Bones

 

Sunday, Feb 17th

5-8pm

Big City Folk Sunday Social

Obscure in the Round

Niall Connolly, Anthony Mulcahy and Matt Sucich. 

 

8:30pm Ali Silva’s Fireside Ghost Stories: The Valentines Day Show

Tales that explore the dark side of love by the LIC Bar

fireplace!

 

Monday, Feb 18th

7pm Kjersti Kveli

8pm Tango Mediterraneo

9pm Tipsy Oxcart

10pm Nik Westman

 

 

Wednesday, Feb 20th

8pm Frealane

9pm Lee Ann Westover’s Battle Annies

10pm Xavier Cardriche Feb Residency

 

 

 

Saturday, Feb 23rd 8-11pm

SPECIAL EVENT: “WHO” CARES ABOUT LIC BAR!

In honor of The Who helping LIC Bar post Hurricane

Sandy, we’re celebrating with live music by

The Ultimate Who Tribute Band “WHO’S NEXT”

WIN AN AUTOGRAPHED GUITAR BY

PETE TOWNSHEND and lots of other great prizes!

Tix $20—all proceeds go to The Who’s official charity: THE TEENAGE CANCER TRUST

 

11pm Silbin & Friends

 

Sunday, Feb 24th 5-8pm

Big City Folk Sunday Social

feat Jesse Cohen

Anthony Lanni and Friends

 

Monday, Feb 25th

7pm Jo Williamson

8pm Antonio Parisi

9pm Kat Calvosa

10pm Kelly Ash

 

Wednesday, Feb 27th

8pm Stacy Rock

9pm Dana Athens

10pm Xavier Cardriche Feb Residency