The Upstate Beat: Songwriter Lucas Garrett to celebrate new album release at Caffè Lena

From left are bassist Kevin Kosach, singer Madison Lewis and singer-songwriter Lucas Garrett. (Katrina Moessner photo)

From left are bassist Kevin Kosach, singer Madison Lewis and singer-songwriter Lucas Garrett. (Katrina Moessner photo)

Pandemic isolation was hard on all of us, but especially for members of the local music scene, which essentially shut down for months as COVID-19 first appeared. But there is opportunity in crisis, and the local music scene has rebounded strongly, with new venues and many musicians and fans making up for lost time.

Although local singer-songwriter Lucas Garrett almost quit music entirely out of frustration, he instead rebounded. The self-proclaimed “anti-pop” bluesman, with a rumbling baritone and inventive instrumentation, celebrates new love, a refreshed approach to music and a musical release, “Reaching Through Dreams,” at Caffè Lena in Saratoga Springs on Thursday, Dec. 1.

“Lena is one of the places that initially reached out to me in the winter of 2020 during the throes of the pandemic,” Garrett said. “They gave me a ‘stage,’ so to speak — venues were all virtual at that point — to play music. It was a very bright light for me in a time that was otherwise very bleak, as it was for so many in the art world. I was so thankful for their support.”

Audiences can expect a full-band representation of Garrett’s new album, “Reaching Through Dreams,” with Madison Lewis of Under the Den lending additional vocals. The album includes an A-list roster of area musicians, including Garrett’s longtime friend and collaborator Kevin Kosach, as well as guests like guitarist Todd Nelson, pianist Jonathan Newell, late cellist Bob Bates, and violin and viola player Tania Susi, also known for playing with Trans-Siberian Orchestra.

“The album started being written in December 2020,” Garrett says. “At the time, I wasn’t sure if I was quitting music or not — it changed day to day — when I found a demo of one of the songs, “So Many Times.” One song became the next and the next. The loving support of my friends I’d made over the years in the music community, as well as the generosity of this area’s venues, inspired me to make the record.”

Garrett’s new lease on life also came from a new relationship — and the redemptive power of love.

“During that time of uncertainty, I’d met someone that changed my entire life’s perspective on love, what it is, and what truly loving someone who isn’t in your family might look like for me,” he adds. “It was a time of turmoil, to say the least. While great things came of this, the album addresses the anxiety of life in general, takes you through the process of a new kind of love, and the acceptance and realization of what I want in life, and have in more ways than I ever realized.”

Check out the album at and obtain tickets for the show at

Rock Black Friday with the Coal Palace Kings

The post-turkey happy hour celebration with Albany roots-rock band Coal Palace Kings is a longstanding annual tradition. Launched at the now-defunct Garden Grill in Albany and then held at Valentine’s followed by the Low Beat — the former Albany clubs owned by CPK frontman Howard Glassman — the annual Black Friday show returns this year to the Hangar on the Hudson (675 River St., Troy).

We caught up with Glassman, now the proprietor of Nighthawks Restaurant and Bar in Troy, and found him feeling reflective about the importance of living in the moment — and not taking our local music scene for granted.

“We’ve been doing Black Friday Happy Hour shows almost non-stop — thanks for nothing, COVID — since about 2001. If the last couple years haven’t hammered home the point that next year isn’t guaranteed, I don’t know what will. We start at 6 p.m. Come get happy,” Glassman says.

Hanging closer to Saratoga Springs and parts north? Check out the Eastbound Jesus Black Friday Blowout at Putnam Place (63a Putnam St., Saratoga Springs) with the popular local group that blends country, bluegrass, rock and rural soul. 9 p.m.

The Week Ahead

The death of musician George Harrison at age 58 from lung cancer on Nov. 29, 2001, was a sad, sad day for the music world. Exactly one year later, his surviving bandmates in the Beatles — Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr — paid tribute to the guitarist at an all-star concert at London’s Royal Albert Hall. The concert on Nov. 29, 2002, which also featured Eric Clapton, Tom Petty, Jeff Lynne and many other musical artists, was captured in a documentary film.

The film of the historic concert has now been restored, and Proctors (432 State St., Schenectady) will show it on Tuesday on the concert’s 20th anniversary.

Highlights include McCartney, Starr, Clapton and others performing timeless Harrison tunes like “All Things Must Pass,” “Something” and “While My Guitar Gently Weeps.” 7 p.m.

Reach Kirsten Ferguson at [email protected]

Categories: Entertainment, Life and Arts, Life and Arts

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