Perhaps the region’s most organic venue, the Rail Trail Café in Rosendale announces another season of rigorous and substantial trailside music and performance. When the Café first began presenting live music, no one in the know was much surprised that the booking choices were adventurous, nor that they attracted many of the area’s premier players and writers. This Rail Trail Cafe is the visionary brainchild of Tara Johannessen, who intuited the economic implications of the region’s linear parks and began the initiative with a successful Kickstarter campiagn. Johannessen also happens to be married to the great world/jazz drummer Brian Farmer, the engine behind Woodstock’s Futu Futu, an early and brilliant proponent of global fusion and one of the greatest live bands that the mid-Hudson Valley has ever produced (an opinion that world music scholar/appropriator Peter Gabriel heartily shared).
What may be surprising is the legs this idea has shown: a venue on the migratory path of bikers, hikers, tourists and those without cars who need to get somewhere. And it works. Imagine the joy of stumbling upon a tango-obsessed saxophone quartet or an actual harpist shredding while on a hike in the woods. Too enchanted, right? Fortunately, the Café is also accessible by car and on purpose.
The Café serves on Friday from noon to dusk and Saturdays and Sundays from 9 a.m. to dusk. The young Woodstock singer/songwriter Alyssa Dan performs on Saturday, June 29 at 1 p.m. Later on the same day, the Guzmango Saxophone Quartet, led by tango enthusiast Guzman Blackburn, plays saxophone quartet arrangements of the standard tango repertoire, including such favorites as “La Cumparsita” and “El Choclo,” as well as various pieces by one of tango’s best-known composers, Astor Piazzolla.
On Sunday, June 30, Spero takes the early 1 p.m. shift. The performing alias of Krista Speroni, Spero is a singer/songwriter whose work is colored by her affection for Afro rhythms and textures. At 4 p.m. on the same day, the Gold Hope Duo will rock the trail: the tireless married duo of Lara Hope and Matthew Goldpaugh. Rockabilly is their home turf, but as writers and interpreters, Lara and Matt can go just about anywhere.
On Friday, July 5 at 5 p.m., harpist and songwriter Julia Haines weaves together classical, traditional, improvisation and contemporary influences to create a radiant, original music. On Saturday, July 6 at 1 p.m., the veteran songwriter Steven Michael Pague performs – yet another artist who balances on the razor’s edge between contemporary styles and world-source roots, which is kind of the “house style” at this venue without a house.
On Saturday, July 6 at 6:30 p.m., Hudson Valley Playback Theater presents Sky Above, Earth Below, an improvisational performance of stories told by audience members. Stories from the natural world – a memory, a moment from right now, a vision or hope for the future – will be enacted on the spot by Hudson River Playback Theatre’s performers, along with music.
Serving delicious food and drinks, the Rail Trail Café is located right beside the parking lot on Stone Mountain Farm off Springtown Road. For more information, visit www.railtrailcaferosendale.com.