Last weekend, I was lucky enough to catch whole lot of live, local music & even a couple of solo performances from some people that rarely perform solo.
I started my weekend on Thursday, when Lucky Souls Productions presented an evening of music at The Outer Space (http://theouterspace.net) in Hamden, CT featuring 3 songwriters. First to take the stage was James Velvet (http://jamesvelvet.com/). For those that don’t know him, James has been around the local CT scene in various bands for many years, & is also the co-host of the Local Bands Show (http://www.thelocalbandsshow.com/) on WPLR, 99.1 FM. James currently plays with 2 bands, The Lonesome Sparrows & The Ivory Bills. This was a rare solo performance for him & wow was he fantastic! If you can ever catch him doing a solo performance anywhere, I highly recommend that you do so. That’s not to say that you shouldn’t also try to see him with one of his bands. You can get his full schedule of upcoming gigs on his website.
Taking the stage next was Jim Paradis (http://jimparadis.com/) a very talented singer/songwriter from Guilford, CT. Jim’s set was a mix of heartfelt original songs & humor. A very entertaining performer & incredible songwriter.
Dave Hogan (http://www.davehoganmusic.com/) hit the stage next showcasing his great guitar playing & wonderful songwriting. Dave plays in many local bands in the Fairfield County area & has also just released a new CD, Fun Box. I do believe he may be in the running for the hardest working musician in CT right now. You can check his website for his very full schedule of shows & catch him either solo, with his electric trio Graylight Campfire, sitting in with The Grimm Generation (http://thegrimmgeneration.com/)on one of their shows or with The Mill Valley Taters.
Friday brought me to 3 different venues, starting my evening early at Anna Liffey’s (http://www.annaliffeys.com/) in New Haven, where Ben Mikula (http://www.myspace.com/bennymikula) was playing the Ultraradio.com Happy Hour. Ben mixes his sets with a great variety of covers, everyone from John Prine to Pearl Jam & his own originals. He’s at Anna Liffey’s from 5 -7 the 1st & 3rd Fridays of every month & at Two Boots (http://www.twobootsbridgeport.com/) in Bridgeport for Thursday Happy Hour once a month.
When happy hour was over, I headed out of New Haven & into Derby, where I stopped at the Twisted Vine (http://twistedvinerestaurant.com/) to catch a couple of songs from Sammy Blanchette (http://www.samblanchette.org/) & Adam Cyr. These young lads, were amazing as always & even had a little bit of a beat going on with drummer Rob Bonaccorso sitting in with them on this particular eve. Sammy & Adam bring their Acoustic Madness to the Twisted Vine the 3rd Friday of every month if you want to stop down & see what they’re all about.
After leaving the Vine I headed on over to the Trestle Tavern in Seymour & caught Casey Gorman doing his solo acoustic thing. Casey is perhaps one of the most talented guitarists in the area. He’s been playing & singing with local jam band Hubinger Street for almost 20 yrs, but also does his share of solo acoustic gigs, twice a month at the Trestle Tavern(usually the 1st & 3rd Friday), once a month at The Twisted Vine(2nd Thursday) & every Sunday from 6:30 to 9 p.m. at Crave (http://crave102.com/) in Ansonia. You can also catch him on occasion with The Wagon Wheel Band, hosting the open mic at The One Eyed Pig (http://www.oneeyedpigbbq.com/) in Newtown.
And since Thursday & Friday didn’t fill me with enough music for my soul, on Saturday I headed to Huntington Street Café (http://huntingtonstreetcafe.com/) for the monthly installment of Frank & Friends. The 3rd Saturday of every month, Frank Pergola brings together some great musicians from all over the state to play, with all proceeds from the evening going to a charity. On this particular, Saturday, Frank had John Hoyt, Dick Neal & Jim Allyn on the bill. John is a great banjo player & singer & also hosts the Thursday open mic at Huntington Street every week. Multi-instrumentalist, teacher, songwriter, producer & leader of the bluegrass band, HOE, Dick Neal (http://dickneal.com/) also doesn’t do solo acoustic performances often. It is always a treat when he does though, because he fills his sets with great originals & witty banter. The one person on this bill that I had never seen perform before was Jim Allyn, & with good reason since he said he hadn’t performed solo in about 20 yrs. Jim was incredible, starting off his set playing electric guitar, moving to acoustic, then keyboard & mandolin. I personally couldn’t have asked for a better evening of music.
I took the weekend off from videotaping, with the exception of the Thursday show. I have yet to get the videos from that evening uploaded, but keep your eyes open for them as they should be coming soon.
I am looking forward to anther great music filled weekend coming up. Very excited to be going to check out The Professors of Bluegrass (http://www.myspace.com/professorsofbluegrass) on Saturday, 01/28/12 at The Outer Space in Hamden.
I’m certain that wherever you are there s great local music happening close to you, check the listings & recommendations here on LBR, or at http://luckysoulsproductions.com.
Get out to support your the local musicians & venues! They work hard to bring you the music.