Upstate Beat: Howlin’ at the Moon series launches at Rotterdam Junction’s Mabee Farm

Five band members pose with instruments

Everest Rising, which hosts Howlin' at the Moon.  

UPSTATE BEAT – Mabee Farm in Rotterdam Junction, owned and operated by the Schenectady County Historical Society, is the oldest farm in the Mohawk Valley, with a hand-pegged Dutch Barn that dates to the 1760s.

That barn serves as the location for the Howlin’ at the Moon concert series, which kicks off tonight with a performance by indie-folk group Hold on Honeys. With speakers outside the barn, attendees are welcome to bring blankets or chairs and sit on the lawn.

“It is a beautiful property with a relaxed vibe,” said Bill Flanagan, banjoist for the Capital Region bluegrass-Americana group Everest Rising, which hosts the series, curates the featured artists and opens each show.

In addition to Flanagan, Everest Rising features Dale Wade-Keszey on vocals and harmonica, Mark Baptiste on mandolin, Trevor Wood on guitar and Pete Gernert-Dott on bass. The group warms up each Howlin’ at the Moon show with a 45-minute set of acoustic originals and covers that combine heartfelt laments, all-out jams and thoughtful storytelling.

“We have a few surprises in store, but let’s just say that we’ve got a nice mix of originals along with some classic recognizable songs by Creedence Clearwater Revival, Orleans and The Band,” said Flanagan.

Wade-Keszey, Everest Rising’s lead vocalist and a Schenectady native, launched the Howlin’ at the Moon series 15 years ago with his wife, Joan, in partnership with the historic site.

“The concert series nurtures local and regional musical talent in a setting that inspires and reminds us of our place within history,” said Flanagan. “In order to revive the series postpandemic, Everest Rising offered to play a larger role in its organization. The Mabee Farm staff have been incredibly supportive.”

The 2023 season features Hold On Honeys (tonight), Jim Gaudet and The Railroad Boys (July 6), Sara Milonovich & Daisycutter (Aug. 3), Big Fez & the Surfmatics (Aug. 31) and The Moon Shells (Oct. 5).

Hold On Honeys often perform as a trio, showcasing the gorgeous vocals of Emily Curro, Raya Malcolm and Shannon Rafferty.

“We focus on tight-knit harmonies and sounds that make us and those listening feel good. It’s a lot of fun and we love to dance and groove when we are singing,” said Hold On Honeys in a joint statement.

The group will have a backing band in tow for tonight’s Mabee Farm show, including Matt Malone on guitar, Connor Armbruster on fiddle and special guest banjo player Carolyn Shapiro filling in for the group’s usual banjoist, Michael Gregg.

“We love Carolyn and can’t wait to make music with her on Thursday,” said Hold on Honeys. “Mabee Farm is a beautiful and historic property, and we are really excited to bring music to it.”

Admission is $10 (cash only) at the door. No advance tickets are required. Beer and wine will be available for purchase. Shows begin at 7 p.m. at Mabee Farm Historic Site, 1100 Main St., Rotterdam Junction.

The Week Ahead

  • The 2023 Jazz on Jay season kicks off today with a lunchtime show by the Empire State Youth Orchestra’s Jazz Combo, an all-star ensemble of young jazz students. The free shows take place on Thursdays during summer at the Jay Street Marketplace next to State Street in downtown Schenectady. 12 p.m.
  • California rock band Rival Sons bring their 1970s-inspired hard rock and “Darkfighter” album tour to Empire Live (93 N. Pearl St., Albany) on Sunday with Starcrawler as an opening act. Starcrawler is a group of young Los Angeles rockers with killer style and an over-the-top, crazy-kinetic lead singer, Arrow de Wilde. 8 p.m.
  • Area musicians celebrate the life of beloved local guitarist Frank Daley, who spent 10 years playing with the legendary Bo Diddley, on Sunday at the Hangar on the Hudson (675 River St., Troy) during the Concert for Frank. Featuring Super 400, Jack Daley, Felicia Collins, Penny Knight, Family Tree, Chris Busone Band, Soul Sky, Tommy Love and more. 4 p.m.
  • 1970s Zambian band W.I.T.C.H., which fuses influences ranging from the Rolling Stones to Black Sabbath and James Brown, and mixes them with traditional African rhythms and bush village songs, makes a once-in-a-lifetime appearance at No Fun (275 River St., Troy) on Tuesday with L.A.’s superb Death Valley Girls and Abraxas. 7 p.m.
  • DJ Big Ed (Conway) from Big Ed’s Little Rock and Roll Show launches a weekly dance party on Wednesday at Happy Days (4470 State Highway 30, Amsterdam), where he spins tunes weekly at the classic car cruise-ins. 5:30 p.m.

Contact Kirsten Ferguson at [email protected].

Categories: Entertainment, Life and Arts, Life and Arts, Rotterdam

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