Upshot on the Upstate

With the pace I’ve been keeping lately, it has been challenging to keep up with this blog. I’d like to quickly catch up my last few days in upstate New York lest I fall too far behind. Hmmm, seems I left off with the wonderful yodeling workshop at Bernunzio’s Uptown Music in Rochester last Wednesday night. Thursday I played at the Abilene Bar and Lounge in Rochester. It is a friendly neighborhood-style bar with an amazing calendar of musicians. I was pleased to play there! Had a decent turnout, including Ray Baumler from WRUR radio. I played an upbeat set of what I figured was “bar” music. Went fairly well.

Friday I drove to Buffalo for my gig at the Sportsmens Tavern. As you might recall, I had made the trip to Buffalo from Syracuse the previous Monday in order to rehearse with the Stone Country Band. I saw a lot of Interstate this week! Back in Buffalo on Friday, I met guitarist/singer Carl Eddy at the world famous Anchor Bar – the birthplace of Buffalo Hot Wings. It was cool to eat wings where the wings began, though I must admit the Anchor Bar’s wings were nothing special. Tasted like they had fried up a huge batch earlier in the evening and were still working their way down the pile. Not bad, plus great atmosphere.

The evening at the Sportsmens was a musical highlight of the trip. As most of you know, my new Cold Comfort CD features some great musicians and a full-band sound. This night in Buffalo was my chance to play that music the way it is intended to be heard – with a stage full of accomplished musicians and singers. And the Stone Country Band are exactly that. The three-hour show went great! The band opened with a few numbers then “vamped” me up. I loved that part! They did a stellar job on all 16 original songs, as well as covers of several country classics. There was a nice crowd of enthusiastic listeners. What a memorable night!

Saturday I drove back to Syracuse and did my show at the Westcott Community Center. The center is in an old firehouse. The audience was small, but they seemed to enjoy the show. Hats off to Larry Hoyt for his efforts and generous hospitality. I stopped by Larry’s radio show Sunday morning at WAER radio on the Syracuse University campus and sang a few songs on my way out of town.

I drove on to Ithaca where I played at Felicia’s Atomic Cafe. This is a unique little place, specializing in exotic liquors – pear infused vodka, etc. A nice crowd showed up to hear me, though I must admit to some disappointment that only one of my Ithaca friends made it out on Sunday night. I was glad to see George Mann, however, and appreciated him taking me home and feeding me. George is a labor activist and a fine musician and singer in his own right. Here’s to you, George!

Monday was the start of my 1,400-mile drive to Louisiana. I’ll write about that another day…

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