The Scene: July 2021

The Scene
By Jane Harrison

The music scene has exploded! Whether one chooses a favorite performer, a favorite group, or the variety of an Open Mic, all seem to be EVERYWHERE! I can also say with certainty, the best audience attended continue to be the outdoor venues. The following are a few of June’s highlights:

I met friends at THE PICKLED OWL in Hurleyville for dinner, and who do you think was there with his guitar? Grahamsville’s favorite son and Mr. Cool himself, ALBI BELULI. He’s been playing out and about all over, but live music is still catch-as-catch-can, last minute notifications. I did not know he would be at THE PICKLED OWL but my NYC friends did! ALBI has always been an exceptional solo act. Seeing him for the first time since the pandemic drove everyone underground, I noticed his voice was a lot stronger and so was his guitar work. What I heard was the absolute joy of a musician being out with an audience for feedback.

The music of SARAH HULSE is rich and earthy, whether it’s her own creation or a cover, with her lilting voice adding an ethereal quality which is totally unique. So are the instruments she has chosen, which all appear to be either vintage or handmade, and, in the case of her banjo, something handed down from her grandfather, all of which compliment her voice. All this adds up to a one-of-kind blend that kept her booked solid in Blue Grass and Folk festivals up and down the East Coast in the summer of 2019. As for a guitarist, JASON MOWER is one of the finest to come along in quite a while. His mastery intertwines beautifully with SARAH’S adding depth to the earthy and underscoring her voice. It was gratifying to see so many come out to see their first appearance anywhere since September of last year at CABERNET FRANK’S in Parksville and it had people up and dancing. Whatever your taste in music, you will love this duo. But catch them now while you can. The festivals are already knocking on their door.

I also made it to the opening of the ROCK HILL FARMER’S MARKET, and a chance to see and hear DEBBIE FISHER for the first time in well over a year. She too, is in fine form. She and her partner under FISHER & KEAN, recently released a double CD titled PURE LOCAL HONEY, and premiered in the opening of HEARTBEAT MUSIC HALL right there in Grahamsville last month. There are billboards for this CD on 17B, as well as on Route 17 on the way to Parksville. Good for them!

I wasn’t sure what to expect of THE KRISPY APPLE, just down the street in Rock Hill where CASWYN MOON and MOSHA were performing that same afternoon. I found that its being tiny does not preclude the powerful punch it delivers. Because it’s small, it has a coffee-house-of-yore feel, but in a bright updated version.

Out of touch with what music is out there? These are some of my favorite Open Mics because of the variety of music and quality of the musicians. Each serves food.

DEFILIPPI’S BAKERY in Monticello: Sundays from 10 a.m. to 1-ish (indoors); 506 Main Street, Monticello

RAFTERS in Callicoon: Every Sunday (weather permitting) from 3 p.m. Strictly outdoors; 28 Upper Main Street, Callicoon

CABERNET FRANK’S in Parksville: Every Wednesday night from 7 p.m. Outdoors when weather permits, indoors when it does not; 38 Main Street, Parksville

Stay safe, stay well and if it makes you feel more comfortable….stay masked!
Until next time…..