Many scoffed when the streaming service giant Spotify recently announced, with a grand tone of philanthropy and largesse, that it would be setting out a virtual tip jar so its customers could help support struggling artists with direct donations through Spotify’s money-handling infrastructure. Spotify, they of the infinite catalogue and the mustard-seed payouts, was once again calling upon us, the hive wallet, to prop up what is left of the record industry “in these uncertain and unprecedented times,” rather than, say, redirecting a million or two of the mustard seeds of their own cut to the hat on the curb. Do they not recognize that many of their subscribers are out of work as well?
The irony upon irony here, of course, is that artists are looking to record sales and streaming proceeds to help sustain themselves. These have been dead revenue streams, dry beds, for more than a decade. It’s not even news any more.
A mere global pandemic is not likely to revive the old world. But with live music essentially verboten for the foreseeable future, what is there to do but act like there is still a chance people will remember paying for music one clump at a time, rather than 15 bucks a month for on-tap access to everything ever? Not long ago, I wrote that what we once called “payola” is now what we call “the music industry.” An update: what we once called “busking” is what we now call “the music industry.”
Live music still kicks in the Hudson Valley, as several of our stoutest venues present programs of archival performances, musicians continue to stream live and prerecorded shows and, most of all, Bandcamp and SoundCloud swell with new releases like bellies swelled with babies after the boys got home from the war (more on that later this month).
My observations suggest that the pace of virtual performance is slowing slightly as people nervously await word on the return of some kind public life, the timing and exact nature of which remain alarmingly uncertain.
It’s not all on you, but do what you can. Get some local music product in you this month. Here are a few places to start:
The Falcon on Facebook Live
Our premiere jazz, blues, roots and world venue, the two-stage beauty that is the Falcon is maintaining an aggressive schedule of streaming archival shows on Facebook Live. The lineup of shows this week reminds us of the caliber of talent the venue routinely books. On Wednesday, May 6 at 8, the Falcon plays a 2009 performance by Julian Lage, one of the world’s most admired living guitarists, a former child prodigy who has, if anything, exceeded those outlandish expectations in his maturity. On Saturday, May 9, it’s a Falcon regular, guitarist Oz Noy, accompanied by two of New York City’s most revered sidemen, Will Lee and Anton Fig. The streams keep streaming. so stay up to date at www.liveatthefalcon.com.
Bearsville Uncut, Facebook Live, Saturdays at 8 p.m.
Albert Grossman’s legendary barn theater has some archives, too. As the recently sold and renovated theater deals with a nerve-wracking delay in its grand reopening, it dips into the vault for recorded shows by Tony Levin, Robbie Dupree, the Roches and many others. Check out Bearsvillecenter on Facebook to see what’s next. Also note that these shows head straight for YouTube after the initial streaming, so you can catch up any time you want.
Colony Open Mic Online
The thriving boutique venue on Rock City Road hosted a hopping Monday night open mic (Woodstock is known to have some pretty deep reserves of talent — every plumber had a major label deal at one time or another) and the community is not going gentle into that good quarantine. Head over to https://www.facebook.com/groups/851440375281157/. You submit a video performance of under four minutes via WeTransfer, and you get the virtual stage. Great idea, guys.
Andy Stack’s The 5 O’clock Mix
Talented songwriter, guitarist and producer Andy Stack has come up with a novel and welcome alternative to the barebones live solo performance. At 5 o’clock each weeknight, Stack invites the world into the studio, and, really, right his Pro Tools sessions as he plays, and plays back, music he is working on, discusses the art and science of recording and reflects in the mysteries of the creative process. Find it at @buffalostack on Instagram.
Winnebago Vacation live, Friday, May 8, 9:00 p.m.
The New Paltz-stationed indie rock project Winnebago Vacation released the luminous Camp Somewhere in 2019. It’s quite a different sound than Eli Frank’s other notable local band, the downhill glee punk of Top Nachos. Eli takes it live on Friday, May 8 at 9 p.m. at @rbbcradio on Instagram.
Radio Woodstock and USB Sofa Sessions, Thursday, May 7, 7 p.m.
Radio Woodstock and Ulster Savings Bank keep the at home live music shows going this week with a night of mini sets by Kate Yeager a 7 p.m., piano-based songwriter Luis Mojica at 7:20, and New Paltz’s man of many hats Michael Hollis, featuring Jeremy Boniello (Ark-Tones, etc.), at 7:40.
The Restless Age, Live on Scanner.FM, Sunday, May 10, 2 p.m.
The inventive, supertight, and genuinely restless guitar-free pop rock trio of Will Bryant, Lee Falco, and Brandon Morrison performs live on Barcelona’s ScannerFM’s Facebook page on Sunday, May 10 at 2 p.m. It’s almost like traveling! https://www.facebook.com/scannerFM/
Love in the Time of Quarantine International Drag Performance on YouTube, Friday, May 8
Drag couple Strawberry (of New Paltz’s Haus of Peculiar) and Mauve (from Alberta) host and international drag spectacular on YouTube on Friday, May 8 at 9 p.m. The adventurous lineup features a dozen performers the USA, Canada, and South Korea.
Clearwater’s Mother’s Day Tribute to Toshi Seeger, Sunday, May 10
This twelve-hour Mother’s Day virtual tribute concert honors the late Toshi Seeger. Curated by a favorite Clearwater Festival performer, Fred Gillen Jr., it runs from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Performers and presenters include: David and Jacob Bernz, Laura Bowman, Tom Breiding, Sarah Browne, Kitama Cahill-Jackson, Julie Corbalis, John Cronin, Moraya DeGeare, KJ Denhert, Emma’s Revolution, Susan Fisher Wright, Lori Frazer-Gross, Fred Gillen, Jr, Shirl and Steve Kaplan of Great Blue, Manna Jo Greene, Lisa Gutkin, Reggie Harris, Markley & Balmer, Mel and Vinnie, Rick and Donna Nestler, Tinya Seeger, Carolann Solebello, Spook Handy, and Matt Turk. Explore the complete schedule and link information here: https://www.facebook.com/events/3086082568081247/