A highly selective preview of cultural events taking place this weekend in the greater Hudson, N.Y., region, including an Americana hero; a century of jazz; a literary reading; dream-pop; and a whole lot more.
(HUDSON, N.Y.) – Americana singer-songwriter Shannon McNally brings her rootsy songs and soulful vocals to Club Helsinki Hudson on Saturday, May 13, at 9pm. Born in New York but simultaneously roughed up and refined by New Orleans and Mississippi, Shannon McNally has cut a singular path through the musical landscape – one that includes a Grammy nomination and a place on the stage with a who’s who of rock, country, and soul: Willie Nelson, John Mellencamp, Bonnie Raitt, Vince Gill, Levon Helm, Charlie Sexton, Dr. John, Bobby Rush, Luther and Cody Dickinson, and Derek Trucks, among others.
(HUDSON, N.Y.) – Novelist Kristopher Jansma, essayist John Proctor, and poet Jayne Benjulian will read from their works at Spotty Dog Books & Ale on Saturday, May 13, at 7pm, as part of Volume, the free monthly reading and music series every second Saturday of the month. The readings will be followed by book-signing and a DJ set by Rebecca Wolff.
(HUDSON, N.Y.) – Ora Cogan brings her haunted, jazzy chamber-folk and her band to the Half Moon on Tuesday, May 16, at 8pm. Jeffrey Lewis warms up the crowd for the Vancouver-based Cogan, who is touring in support of her forthcoming album, “Crickets.”
Cogan’s hauntingly unique voice and engaging performance lends her live show a dreamy, melodic, psych-rock vibe. She combines the intricate guitar picking of Americana with grunge and psychedelic dreamscapes, drawing comparisons to 1970s folk legend Karen Dalton. As a performer, Cogan has shared the stage with the likes of Grouper and Hope Sandoval while touring extensively in North America, Europe and the UK.
(ANNANDALE-on-HUDSON, N.Y.) – To mark the centennial of the first jazz recording in 1917, trombonist Chris Washburne leads an international group of all-stars in a celebration of the roots and influences of jazz, in the Fisher Center at Bard College on Saturday, May 13, at 8pm. The concert, “Celebrating 100 Years of Jazz,” will explore traditional folk songs to the music of jazz pioneers including Scott Joplin, Jelly Roll Morton, Louis Armstrong, and Bessie Smith.
Washburne’s ensemble will include clarinetist Evan Christopher; vocalists Sarah Elizabeth Charles, Martina DaSilva and Vuyo Sotashe; pianists André Mehmari and Dan Tepfer; trumpeter Dominick Farinacci; and saxophonist Caleb Curtis.
The program, co-presented by Catskill Jazz Factory, features a pre-performance talk at 7pm, “Looking Back: The Global Roots of Jazz,” in which Washburne, bandleader and associate professor of music at Columbia University, will deliver an illuminating talk on the origins, global roots, and influences of the jazz genre.
Long before he was that goofy guy in the hat on MTV, Chris Barron was an even goofier kid with an acoustic guitar. Barron plays nifty chords on an old Gibson to masterfully crafted songs that are poignant yet wistful and funny, all the while singing in a manner that’s sweet and somewhat different from what you would expect if you only knew him from Spin Doctors’ hits such as “Little Miss Can’t Be Wrong” and “Two Princes.”
(PITTSFIELD, Mass.) – Seth Rogovoy, termed “American Jewry’s greatest Dylan scholar” by Religious News Service, will present “The Kabbalah of Bob Dylan,” a multimedia program exploring the Jewish influences in the life and work of the recent Nobel Prize-winner, at Congregation Knesset Israel (16 Colt Rd.) on Monday, May 22, at 7pm.
With the aid of audio clips, video, still images, and textual comparisons, Seth Rogovoy, author of “Bob Dylan: Prophet Mystic Poet” (Scribner 2009), will illustrate how Bob Dylan’s songwriting has always been profoundly rooted in Jewish writings, including the Torah, the Prophets, the Talmud, and mysticism, fusing these inspirations into a genre of “rock ’n’ roll midrash.”
Along the way, the program will examine the Minnesota-born folksinger’s deeply religious and cultural upbringing, his commitment to Jewish practice and causes, and his decades-long connection to the Jewish outreach organization Chabad.