For some venues, particularly those without outdoor space, the question of returning may be if, not when.
For the sixth installment of the Making Records, I spoke with Scott Petito, the area native who, as a bassist and a producer, is well into the fifth decade of his prolific career. Scott has done it at all: he’s played with everybody, and he’s recorded everybody else. Space is tight, so I encourage you to check his website if you want his almost absurd bona fides. Otherwise, just take my word.
On For the Record, his first release in nearly two decades, the guitarist/songwriter, writer/journalist, and Woodstock historian Tad Wise presents a fully realized set of nine substantive, lyrically elaborative tunes, topical art songs disguised as sleek soul pop with an anchor in the sounds and dialects of ‘80s rock — the shimmery guitar, the super crisp and tight rhythm section. An elegant electric guitarist with a command of idiomatic harmony, texture and guitar arrangement, Wise did well to recruit these supra-A-list sidemen (as, I suppose, would we all), and also did well not to festoon too much else on top of this lithe and crisp trio sound — a harmonica here, a keyboard there, some vocal beds and not much else.
On the region’s ever-changing restaurant landscape, we mourn the passing of old favorites; we welcome new arrivals with a hearty good-luck-you’ll-need-it. It is not necessarily newsworthy when some dreamers throw their hat into this long-hours, tight-margins ring. But when said restaurant emerges from the gate with live music as an integral, explicit component of its mission and its design, not just an afterthought, it is big news indeed.
As producer, keyboardist, composer, and—this most of all—arranger, David Baron’s pawprints are all over the music of this moment. If the Hudson Valley has a house style — organic, roots leaning rock, folk, blues and jazz — Baron is one of only a handful of locals who is working far outside that earthy sweet spot, out in the strata of big budget pop. And yet it is not that simple.
Without saying anything, music activates and potentiates causes, social purpose, and all modes of human connection. This mysterious power lies at the heart of Hope Rocks, the Saugerties-based organization that for half a decade has used the catharsis and joy of rock music to combat addiction and suicide among young populations, hosting a yearly festival that draws thousand and conducting year-round outreach and education.
Of the three stages in the process of making a record — tracking, mixing, mastering — it is only mastering that happens behind a veil, performed in optimized listening spaces, employing speakers and amplifiers that cost more than your car and racks of specialized equalizers, dynamics and spatial processors, and metering tools that suggest actions of the highest precision and the finest touch.
In his stunning new memoir The Trouble with Kim: On Transcending Despair and Approaching Joy, the New Paltz writer, musician, and restaurateur Seth David Branitz goes deep into a troubled personal past. It is the story of a wildly dysfunctional New York City family from the 1970s through the end of the century, a family mired in poverty, violence, mental illness, and deepening cycles of futility and struggle. From these antecedents, the youngest child traces his own descent into addiction and inexpressible despair and longing, describing a circuitous route toward — not to — redemption, stability, forgiveness and something like happiness.
The arrows of crisis are all pointed up at precipitous angles, as officials and front-line workers scramble back into response mode, and a fatigued, near-broken populace moans “not that again,” as if it were another pointless Kardashian/Jenner news cycle. Some of the most embittered and suspicious among us arguing that is precisely what it is.
If you start to sentimentalize and tragedize your tinnitus—“for I shall never taste the silence of the night sky again”(pronounced ah-GAYN), then you’re really in for it. You’re ruined. Instead, I recommend considering all the rest of your reality as something equally unverifiable and incommunicable. Imagine all you perceive as your brain and sensory apparatus involved in a complex act of imitative modeling based on incomplete input, and not as the direct experience of creation through the open, undistorted tubes of your eyes and ears.