Almanac Weekly’s local music roundup (Sept. 14-21)

Basilica Hudson photo by Matt Charland

Basilica SoundScape this weekend

The region’s foremost cathedral of hip, Basilica Hudson’s flagship festival SoundScape fills the repurposed industrial space in Hudson on September 15 through 17 with a variety of carefully curated, outré and cutting-edge art, music and literature. Featured visual artists include Marianne Vitale, Emma Kohlmann, Taeyoon Choi and Jesse Draxler. Live music will be performed by Zola Jesus, the Priests, Bing & Ruth, Jlin and many more. Readers include Eileen Myles, former Hole drummer Patty Schemel, BuzzFeed editor Amy Rose Spiegel and others.

Day tickets start at $40; weekend passes and camping are available. For a full lineup of events and ticketing options, visit Basilica is located at 110 South Front Street in Hudson.

James Stewart carries Kim Novak in Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo. (Paramount Pictures)


Score performed live at Vertigo screenings this weekend

In a novel concept reminiscent of the silent movie days, the Bard Conservatory will present a live performance of Bernard Herrmann’s famous score for Hitchcock’s Vertigo, accompanying a showing of the classic film. The performance is the brainchild of film and television director Allen Coulter, known for his work on HBO’s The Sopranos. Herrmann’s score is rarely performed live due to its length, but the Conservatory Orchestra will perform it, as its members are not limited by union overtime rules.

Each screening will be introduced by a special local guest, who will give his or her perspective on the artistry, history and impact of Vertigo and the Hitchcock canon: actress, director and producer Mary Stuart Masterson on Saturday, September 16 at 8 p.m. and Oscar-nominated screenwriter and producer James Schamus on Sunday, September 17 at 2 p.m.

Both performances take place in the Fisher Center’s Sosnoff Theater on the campus of Bard College. Tickets cost $25 to $75; a $125 Upstate Films’ 45th Anniversary ticket includes a membership to Upstate Films. Tickets can be ordered online at or by calling the box office at (845) 758-7900. Bard College is located in Annandale-on-Hudson.

Hardscrabble Day brings Art Neville to Red Hook – free

My goodness! Art Neville & the Funky Meters are headlining Red Hook’s 40th annual Hardscrabble Day, and it is free. We could just stop right there.

Keyboardist of the Meters and a key member of the Royal Family of New Orleans music, Art has kept the flame alive with the Funky Meters since the late ’80s. Also on the Hardscrabble Day bill are the New Orleans Suspects, a quintet featuring some of the most seasoned, highly respected players in NOLA and authors of four records in the last five years.

Saturday, September 16 is the 40th anniversary of Hardscrabble Day in Red Hook, from 10 a.m. until 10 p.m. in downtown Red Hook, rain or shine. Admission is free. Local musicians will also be performing all day on the Hardscrabble stage and covered tent. The day features the annual parade, vendors, antiques, yard sales, activities for children and food.

For more information visit Parking is free all over town, and there is a large lot at the high school football field that is a short walk to the center of town.

– John Burdick


Joe Louis Walker plays the Falcon this Saturday

The blues, above all genres, seems to produce a profusion of hidden legends, undiscovered gems, lost and found major talents, nearly-weres and should-have-beens and reputations made after years of penury and obscurity and, often, only after death. Now, most of this is just the real-world travail of the musician, any musician; but some of it seems to come from the heart of blues mythology itself: These are exactly the kind of hard-luck stories that blues musicians always celebrate in song.

Blues guitarists Joe Louis Walker has his credentials in order. He was a close friend, bandmate and roommate of the doomed Chicago/San Francisco blues legend Mike Bloomfield. After Bloomfield’s death, the scared-straight Walker walked right away from music, enrolling in university and earning degrees in Music and English. Walker resumed his blues guitar career in the mid-‘80s and is widely regarded as an underrated, important and original voice in the field. Like most guitarists of his generation and from his milieu, Walker adds Hendrixian excitations to his blues.

Underrated no more: Hot off a 2017 Grammy nomination for his album Everybody Wants a Piece, Joe Louis Walker returns to the Falcon in Marlboro on Saturday, September 16 at 7 p.m. As usual, there is no cover charge at the Falcon, but generous donation is encouraged in compelling language. The Falcon is located at 1348 Route 9W in Marlboro. For more information, visit

– John Burdick


Music in the Field in New Paltz on Saturday

The outdoor music festival season isn’t quite over yet. Sponsored by New Paltz’s Mountain Laurel School, Music in the Field proves that there is still one great one left on the calendar. Taking place on Saturday, September 16, Music in the Field’s headliner is a nice score: the great and prolific pan-Americana songwriter Howard Fishman and the Biting Fish Brass Band. Also on the lineup are the Rye Straw Bluegrass Band and more.

Food is available on-site as well. This family-friendly outdoor concert benefits the Mountain Laurel Waldorf School and Hasbrouck Park. Tickets cost $12 each or $25 for families. It will take place at the Field of Dreams Pavilion on Libertyville Road in New Paltz, across from the Ulster County Fairgrounds, from noon to 5 p.m. For more information, visit

Colony in Woodstock hosts Rough Shapes’ EP-release show

Proclamations of the death of the electric guitar and guitar-rock are commonplace these days. In truth, punk and indie (before we called it that) were already saying that 40 years ago, but I don’t mean to quibble on such a somber occasion. This is a time when it is safe and encouraged to crap on the electric guitar. Billboard has mostly swept guitars from its Top 100, and BK underground bands have all gone bedroom-electro, supplanting a fully dead cliché with an only-half-dead one.

Only in the backwards, large-niche worlds of country music, blues, jam and metal does the guitar maintain its primacy and the potency of its myths. The coroner’s report will show that it died for two reasons: the Caligulan excesses and calcified clichés of shred in its many forms (very much including your bloody-knuckle punk shred) on one hand, and a super-tight vested association with the patriarchy on the other. You can barely hear a Les Paul when it is strummed unamplified, and the culture juice has been cut off. Air guitar is actually more popular than real guitar.

Let it die, says I. Let it vacate the mainstage of pop music and go back underground to have its urgencies restored and its ego bruised and its voice renewed (but before I turn 60, please). The six-song EP Frequency & Vibration by the Rough Shapes is a strong, hastening step in the right direction. Piloted by the skilled-but-not-too-slick guitarist Jeff Kadlic (the luthier behind the Champtone brand of boutique electric guitars), the Rough Shapes are easy to mistake for a purely retro, pre-rock instrumental rock trio. The six songs alternate between a luminous, Santo & Johnny melodic dreaminess (executed with real command of jazz- and Latin-inflected pop harmony) and a zesty, sinister, dark surf and rockabilly. Both modes occupy the same ’verby space, giving the record the feel of hermetic time travel.

But it is a mistake to call it retro. Frequency & Vibrations shares as much spirit with BK dream-pop and cinematic roots ambiance as with Dick Dale. It is immersive, minimalist, cheeky and non-binding in its referentiality: noir, Morricone, desert psychedelia, Spy and a stinging Munsterslike minor bluesiness. It is concise, meticulous, pretty and weird. “Last Wave” offers maybe the record’s most memorable moody melody, “Social Station” its nastiest. Songs begin with retro evocations and end somewhere else entirely.


To call Kadlic’s playing “tasty” does no justice to its wild imagination, the snaky unpredictability of his lines and the spacious depth of his layers. This record is a tour de force of understated-but-wicked lines and tones to die for, and the guitars contain exactly zero percent shred machismo and ego. In that sense, this is democratized post-guitar rock, akin to what was happening in Chicago in the age of Tortoise and Jim O’Rourke but more rooted in…roots.

Three old friends from the lawless river town of Saugerties, the Rough Shapes boast the super-empathic rhythm section of bassist Colin Almquist and drummer Dan Cartwright, who played together for years in the popular funk/rock band Voodelic. Their role in the Rough Shapes is comparatively yeomanlike, rarely invoking the kind of lockdown riffage and funk counterpoint that made Voodelic such a live treat. But their crisp, moody and sympathetic grooving is absolutely indispensable to the rare buoyancy of Frequency & Vibration. You gotta hear this record.

The Rough Shapes celebrate the release of Frequency & Vibration with a show at Colony in Woodstock on Thursday, September 21 at 8 p.m. Tickets cost a mere $5. Colony is located at 22 Rock City Road in Woodstock. For more information, visit

– John Burdick


(Photo courtesy of The John & Mable Ringling Museum of Art)

ETHEL’s Circus: Wandering City in Hudson

In a variety of ways, ETHEL is a kind of progressive string quartet, equally at ease with classical repertoire of all eras and with new music (often written expressly for ETHEL), known to dabble in rock music as well as in rock gesture. Like so many contemporary serious music ensembles, it has shown a keen interest in world music fusions. In a telling break from tradition, ETHEL often performs music composed by its own members, aligning itself in that way with rock and jazz and with such outliers of serious 20th-century music as the Argentinian composer and bandleader Astor Piazzolla.

It almost goes without saying, then, that ETHEL is an ensemble especially congenial to multimedia collaborations, performance art and other non-traditional performance conceptions. Their 2015 record Documerica features music written by eight composers (including several ETHEL members) inspired by 3,000 environmental-themed photographs of America of the 1970s.

Next up for ETHEL is another collaboration, Circus: Wandering City, a new multimedia work inspired by the American circus and its people. Under the direction of projection designer Grant McDonald, the work combines imagery and film from the Ringling Museum’s vast archive with original music composed and performed live by ETHEL.

ETHEL performs Circus: Wandering City at Hudson Hall in the Hudson Opera House on the weekend of September 15 through 17. The production has been two years in the making, which included a workshop residency last summer hosted by Hudson Hall at the Second Ward Foundation. Performances take place on Friday the 15th at 7 p.m., Saturday the 16th at 7 p.m. and Sunday the 17th at 3 p.m. Tickets cost $35, $15 for those 18 and under.

Hudson Hall is located at 327 Warren Street in Hudson. For more information, visit

– John Burdick


Matthew Sweet plays Helsinki Hudson on Wednesday

Power-pop icon Matthew Sweet made a pair of records in the ‘90s (Girlfriend and Altered Beast) that are canonical and revered in their niche, featuring the dream pairing of lead guitarists Robert Quine and Richard Lloyd. After a variety of hiatuses, Sweet had been making a quiet return to form with a pair of albums released in the past five years.

Still the author of pop songs so easygoing that you think you could have written them yourself, Matthew Sweet and his band perform at Club Helsinki in Hudson on Wednesday, September 20 at 8 p.m. Tickets cost $30 and $45. For tickets and additional information, visit Club Helsinki is located at 405 Columbia Street in Hudson.


Boston Trio performs on Sunday in Saugerties

Opening its 2017/18 season, Saugerties Pro Musica presents the return of the Boston Trio: violinist Irina Moresanu, cellist Jonah Ellsworth and pianist Heng-Jin Park, each of whom enjoys a distinguished career as soloist, recitalist, chamber musician and orchestral performer. The Boston Trio will be performing Jennifer Higdon’s Piano Trio, Korngold’s Piano Trio, op. 1 and Dvorák’s Piano Trio in F minor, op. 65 on Sunday, September 17 at 3 p.m. in the Saugerties United Methodist Church, located on the corner of Washington Avenue and Post Street in Saugerties.

Adult tickets cost $15, seniors $12. Students are admitted free. For more information, visit


Professor Louie & the Crowmatix to play Hurley Heritage Society fundraiser

The Hurley Heritage Society will present Grammy-nominated Professor Louie & the Crowmatix in concert on Saturday, September 23, with all proceeds to support the mission of the Society. The show will begin at 7 p.m. in the Hurley Reformed Church, located at 11 Main Street in Hurley.

Professor Louie & the Crowmatix are a Woodstock-based American roots musical group led by Aaron Louis Hurwitz, nicknamed Professor Louie by Rick Danko of the Band. Professor Louie has recorded and produced music for many artists in LRS Studios in Hurley for more than 30 years. Located on the farm of John and Anna Kaufman, the studio looks out over the fields that inspired the critically acclaimed 2016 album, Music from Hurley Mountain.

Professor Louie collaborated with the Band for more than 15 years, co-producing the Band’s Jericho, High on the Hog and Jubilation. The Crowmatix are made up of Professor Louie (vocals, keyboards, accordion), Miss Marie (vocals, piano percussion), Gary Burke (drums), Frank Campbell (bass and backing vocals) and John Platania (guitar and backing vocals).

Tickets cost $25 at the show or $20 in advance online at or at the museum at 52 Main Street in Hurley on weekends from 1 to 4 p.m. More information is available by calling (845) 338-7686.