Jukebox: ‘Scorching’ good Dona Oxford returns to region

Blues-jazz-soul diva Dona Oxford, left, was born in New York City, lived here for a time, studied at

Blues-jazz-soul diva Dona Oxford was born in New York City, lived here for a time, studied at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts and the Lone Star Café. She now lives in Los Angeles, where she makes music for films, and big-voiced, piano-pounding soul/blues/rock albums.

She returns for a homecoming show on Friday at The Van Dyck (337 Union St., Schenectady). Here, she’ll launch “Step Up,” the superb new record (her third, or fifth if you count the soundtracks to the films “Norbit” and “Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins”) that should make her a star coast to coast.

If Oxford had walked into Berry Gordy’s Motown studios in the 1960s, or Willie Mitchell’s Hi Records in Memphis in the 1970s, sounding as powerful she does on “Step Up,” those guys would have said the same thing I did on hearing its pulsating deep-fried R&B grooves, soaring vocals and essence of pure soul. They’d say: “Wow! Scorching!” and offer her a record deal.

Show time is 7 p.m. Admission is $10 in advance and $12 at the door. Phone 346-7999 or visit www.vandycklounge.com.

River Street Festival

Pop-rock diva Paula Cole headlines Troy’s River Street Festival on Saturday, and all the other performers on the main stage of this daylong, two-stage show are also women.

A free-admission, family event with food, other vendors and activities, the festival fires up at 11 a.m. and runs through 6 p.m. The World (main) Stage performers are (in this order) Ashley Pond, Maria Zemantauski, Taina Asili, the Erin Harkes Band and Paula Cole. On the Local Stage, it’s Simple Theory, Jenna Rowe, the Emeralds of July, Walt Peters, Elizabeth Woodbury Kasius & Heard, and the Mysterios.

Cole won a Grammy as Best New Artist in 1997, has scored major hits including “Where Have All the Cowboys Gone,” “I Don’t Want to Wait” (theme of the TV show “Dawson’s Creek”), “Hush, Hush, Hush” and “Feelin’ Love.” She has toured with Peter Gabriel and Sarah McLachlan’s Lilith Fair, and she plans to release her sixth album, “Ithaca,” later this year. For more information on the festival, visit www.troyny.gov/visittroy/riverstreetfestival.html.

Road trips

In the immortal words of John Hiatt, “drive south” — to Clearwater’s Great Hudson River Revival on Saturday and Sunday (Croton Point Park, Croton-on-Hudson) and/or to the Terry Adams Rock and Roll Quartet on Saturday at the Bearsville Theater (291 Tinker St., Woodstock).

– The Revival features a weekend full of music on seven stages, including this lineup on the Rainbow (main) Stage. Saturday: Pete Seeger, Toshi Reagon & Friends, the Felice Brothers, Keller Williams, Railroad Earth, and Steve Earle. Sunday: The Lee Boys, Hazmat Modine, Donna the Buffalo, Joan Osborne, Shawn Colvin, and the David Bromberg Quartet. Playing on the other six stages are too many artists to list here, but including the subdudes, Buckwheat Zydeco, Steve Forbert, Jonatha Brooke, Rhett Miller, Dan Bern, Lucy Kaplansky, Mike Doughty, David Amram, Sara Watkins, Dala, Angel Band, the Tao Rodriguez-Seeger Band, Milton, Sara Lee Guthrie & Johnny Irion, Eileen Ivers, Kakanade, Jay & Molly’s Pura Vida Quartet with Rick Mohr, CJ Chenier & the Red Hot Louisiana Band, Brother Joscephus & the Love Revival Revolution, Nightingale, Le Vent du Nord, Slavic Soul Party, Folklore Urbano, and Bonga & the Vodou Drums of Haiti.

Tickets for the full weekend are $125 with camping, $115 without. Saturday or Sunday tickets are $80, but you can get a discount on single-day tickets if you order today or Friday. Phone 845-418-3596 or visit www.clearwater.org/festival/tickets.html.

— The Terry Adams Rock and Roll Quartet is playing only three U.S. shows before flying off to Spain for three more shows. On Friday, they play Lily’s Pad in New Haven, on Saturday they’re at the Bearsville Theater, and on Sunday they play the Knickerbocker Café in Westerly, R.I. If you loved NRBQ, you know — and probably have tickets already.

Since playing last year at WAMC, the Terry Adams Rock and Roll Quartet released a live CD of that show, “Crazy 8s”; toured Japan; and played as the house band at TV38’s Official Three Stooges New Year’s Eve Marathon in Boston.

Last time I saw Terry and the boys in Bearsville, I met a fan there who had flown in for the show, from Vancouver! This situation reminds me of seeing the Grateful Dead at Buffalo’s War Memorial Auditorium the night before seeing the Rolling Stones at Rich Stadium. The Dead were getting ready for a European tour and were sharp and quick as a switchblade — better than the Stones. So, here come Terry and the boys, before THEY head off for Europe. Doors open at 8 p.m., show time is 9 p.m. Phone 845-679-4406 or visit www.bearsvilletheater.com.

Tonys rock

The four productions nominated for Best Musical at the Tony Awards last Sunday didn’t just include rock: They were all ABOUT rock. Possibly a first, it probably won’t be the last time this happens.

“American Idiot,” built on Green Day’s album of that name, is loudly, proudly, angrily obscene.

“Memphis” tells the musical/romantic tale of a white Memphis DJ in love with a black singer in the 1950s and their struggles to be together despite segregation and to earn early rock ’n’ roll the respect it deserved.

“Million Dollar Quartet” evokes an actual recording session (in Memphis, on Dec. 4, 1956) of Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins.

“Fela!” is another tribute, celebrating the Afro-pop music, struggles and international stardom of the late, great Fela Kuti.

“Memphis” won the Tony (and has won several other awards as well) — possibly because it has the best romance. Can “Never Mind the Bollocks! Here’s the Sex Pistols” be far behind? Or, a San Francisco Summer of Love romance based on the real-life love of Country Joe McDonald and Janis Joplin?

Duet jazz requiem

Two area jazz giants have left the bandstand.

Sal Maida (pianist, 77) died a week ago today, and Sam Farkas (guitarist, 56) died last Saturday, reportedly at or after a gig in Saratoga Springs. Both leave behind grieving families, friends and fans; and memories of hundreds of gigs here. Visit Sal’s online guestbook at www.brbsfuneral.com and Sam’s at www.levinememorialchapel.com.

Reach Gazette Columnist Michael Hochanadel at [email protected]

Categories: Life and Arts

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