New! Oldtone Roots Music Festival

The Oldtone Roots Music Festival Sept. 8-11, 2016 will feature traditional mountain fiddling, bluegrass, hot swing, classic country, brass, cajun and contra music. A family-friendly full camping festival with kids activities, dancing, hands-on instrument workshops led by world-class musicians, instrument and band contests, Hudson Valley farm-to-table food, libations, and exceptional national & regional acts on our main, dance, & workshop stages. For festival information and to get your Read more [...]

How to Get to Jalopy from Manhattan

Jalopy Theatre in Red Hook is arguably the best place in the five boroughs to find old-time and bluegrass music. But whenever I make the pilgrimage from the Upper West Side not only is it a major trek, but I get lost. In particular there's one scary moment when Hamilton Ave. threatens to return you to Manhattan through the Battery Tunnel. I always yield to my terror, and wind up in a labyrinth of one-way streets. Back in 2011 I worked on a map to make getting there easier. I found it on my Read more [...]

What’s Going On?

Sorry if the calendar hasn't been up-to-date recently. Due to tech trouble, I had to shut down for most of December, and pay some hefty penalties to my *premium* hosting company for innocently using too much bandwidth. What a shock! As it turned out, my former calendar plugin caused of it all, so I had to replace it with a new one. This evolved into overhauling the site. So now while it's mostly functional it's not perfect. I need to repair and expand the Venues and Links sections, as well Read more [...]

Well May the World Go: Remembering Pete

Pete Seeger at home in Beacon, NY with Jonah, 11 months and father Adam Green; October, 2013.
Pete Seeger at home in Beacon, NY with Jonah, 11 months and father Adam Green; October, 2013.
I had played the five-string banjo in just about every spare moment of my pre-medical education at U.C. Berkeley. Pete Seeger's records were my main teacher. Deciphering the techniques in his How to Play the Five-String Banjo would always lead me to his home address inside the back cover. After many years of waffling, I wrote to him in 1994. My letter described the friends I had made playing the banjo. I included the cassettes I had recorded of mostly knock-offs of his songs with a few of my own, and I described playing and singing with Read more [...]

Song Brothers Song

The Gibson Brothers at The Old Time Pickin' Parlor; Nashville, TN. Eric and Leigh Gibson have opened up their hearts wide with They Called It Music (Compass Records, 2013), an exquisite album of aching songs recorded at the end of 2012, less than a year after the death of their father. The charging intuitive ensemble rings with lump-in-your-throat truths and Gibson trademark harmonies. The recording and mixing of the album make me Read more [...]

My Children and Yours

JoeJoe and Mark Saroyan, Christmas 2012; New York City Father Asbury used to play his guitar on Fridays during Religious Studies when I was in fourth grade. He'd strum with his fingers until they bled, while he led us singing "John Henry," "The Battle of New Orleans," and "This Little Light of Mine." Church Bazaars in October always had Armenian folk music with driving Turkish and Arabic rhythms on oud, kanoun, doumbek, clarinet and guitar. Line dancing late into the night preceded the Sunday liturgy Read more [...]

Quebe Sisters at the Triad

The Quebe Sisters Band at the Triad NYC, August 30, 2012There was nothing half-pint, half-assed or half-fast coming out of Texas on the Upper West side last night. If you saw Fort Worth natives, the Quebe Sisters at the Triad NYC, you'd know what I'm talking about. They shine like the sun. Pound like the rain. And let the yellow rose rest easy in retirement. Sometimes awesome talent and beauty can be intimidating. Their performance was relief and inspiration. Grace, Sophia and Hulda Quebe Read more [...]

Bassist Mike Barber

JoeJoe with Leigh and MikeLast Friday when the Gibson Brothers performed at the Lake Placid Center for the Arts, Leigh Gibson mentioned a band member's birthday. Bassist Mike Barber was turning 42. The audience spontaneously broke into "Happy Birthday" for the most youthful and senior citizen of the group. I had a big grin on my face when I heard that story. Mike is not only "off the grid" as an expert angler in the North Country, he Read more [...]