Caffe Lena’s anniversary show moves on Saturday to Skidmore’s Zankel Music Center (815 Broadway, Saratoga Springs); its heritage has outgrown its soon to expand home-since-1961 at 47 Phila St.
Troy-born troubadour Sean Rowe headlines, with Anna & Elizabeth, the Suitcase Junket and Lindsay Lou & the Flatbellys also playing.
“Nobody talks while you’re playing in Lena,” said Rowe, who first went there with his dad to see Rick Bolton in the 1990s. Rowe started playing open mics there soon after, and Caffe Executive Director Sarah Craig said he played his first full gig there with Mudfunk in 2005.
Rowe said, “As an artist, you are given a certain amount of respect no matter what level you're at, and it’s given younger artists an opportunity to play in an intimate space where people are there to share the love of the music.” He performs Saturday with “my hometown band!” — Eric Margan, upright bass; Chris Carey, drums; Cara Gorman and Mira Stanley (of the Sea the Sea) backup vocals.
This week, Rowe launched a Kickstarter campaign for his new album at www.kickstarter.com/projects/1860899269/sean-rowe-is-going-rogue. “Every artist wants to be heard,” he stressed, excited about his new album-in-the-works and grateful to Caffe Lena for its respect and support. I share that gratitude, for great music by many giants since my first show there: Mississippi John Hurt when I was in high school.
The 2016 Caffe Lena Anniversary Concert: Saturday at 7 p.m. $50-$15. 583-0022, www.caffelena.org.
Phil Ochs Night
Caffe Lena’s Anniversary isn’t the only folk extravaganza here on Saturday: WAMC’s The Linda (339 Central Ave., Albany) presents its annual Phil Ochs Song Night on Saturday. The late great singer-songwriter’s sister Sonny Ochs hosts, as usual, with The Burns Sisters, Cliff Eberhardt, Colleen Kattau, John Flynn, and Horowitz & Malkine. 8 p.m. $18. 465-5233, ext. 4, www.wamcarts.org. Can’t get there? Tune in: WAMC airs it live.
In the rearview
Hitting (and loving!) the Cohoes Music Hall on May 11 on a between-albums tour, Alejandro Escovedo played electric and acoustic guitars with Brian Stendefer, cello, and Sean Giddings, keyboards and vocals. Escovedo went autobiographical very effectively and was in good voice and fine spirits, grateful to the audience for showing up and supporting his music for years. Solos were mostly from Standefer and very good.
Set list: 9:30 p.m. (after Lucette’s youthfully self-important powerfully sung opener) to 11:04: Five Hearts Breaking, Bottom of the World, Sally Was a Cop (angry!), Rosalie (sweet!), Velvet Guitar, Chelsea Hotel 1978 (with revved up punk-rock guitar noise), Arizona, Always a Friend (dedicated to Michael Eck, in attendance, with a segue into The Tracks of My Tears [Smokey Robinson & the Miracles] and back). Encores: Spanish-language ballad (I Wish You Love?), All the Young Dudes (Bowie cover, after eloquent recollections) — the crowd sang the chorus.
Val at Hangar
One of many stars mourning/paying tribute to Merle Haggard recently at the Hangar, the too-seldom-seen Val Haynes, AKA Lonesome Val, returns there (680 River St., Troy) on Friday for a full show of her own music and other favorites, dating back to the Units/Fear of Strangers and her later country-folk solo albums.
She’ll sing with the Toddfellows Society: former Units bandmates Todd Nelson, guitar, and Al Kash, drums; with James Kirk, bass; and Mike Kelley, keyboards. Kyle Esposito (bassist with Nelson Esposito Quintana) opens in a duo with Julia Nichols of Woodstock rockers Naked. Also – BONUS! – Local 518 pedal steel wizard Kevin Maul will support both acts. 8 p.m. $12. 272-9740, www.alehousetroy.com.
Gaudet at WAMC
Jim Gaudet and The Railroad Boys roll into WAMC’s The Linda (339 Central Ave., Albany) on Friday, delivering new tunes from “When It Rains,” their soon-to-hit fifth album. Guitarist-singer Gaudet wrote all 14 fresh ones, one with an assist from Boston tunesmith Susan Cattaneo. The Railroad Boys are Bog Ristau, bass; Sten Isacsen, mandolin; Scott Hopkins, banjo; and special guest Sara Milonovich, fiddle. 8 p.m. $15. 465-5233, ext. 4 www.wamcarts.org.
Reach Gazette columnist Michael Hochanadel at [email protected]