Music: Bluegrass guitar whiz Tim O’Brien to play two sold-out shows Wed. & Thurs.

GuitarTownCT Concert Series presents bluegrass guitar star Tim O’Brien for two sold-out shows at Best Video Performance Space on Wednesday and Thursday, Nov. 15-16. The shows start at 7 PM.

Born in Wheeling, West Virginia on March 16, 1954, Tim O’Brien grew up singing in church and in school, and started playing folk and rock music on guitar at age 12. After seeing Doc Watson on TV, he became a lifelong devotee of old time and bluegrass music.

He started making his living as a musician at age 19 in Chicago and in Jackson, Wyoming, eventually relocating to Boulder, Colorado in the fall of 1974. O’Brien found work there as a fiddler with local bluegrass bands and as a member of the Ophelia Swing, recording with them and with Pete Wernick in 1977. In those early Colorado years, he started playing the mandolin, and studied guitar and music theory with local jazz great Dale Bruning.

In 1978, Tim co-founded the bluegrass group Hot Rize with Pete Wernick, Charles Sawtelle, and Nick Forster. Hot Rize and Western Swing alter-egos Red Knuckles and the Trailblazers eventually recorded ten albums and toured the US, Europe, Japan, and Australia. The group was named Entertainer of the Year 1990 by the International Bluegrass Music Association, and their “Colleen Malone” was named IBMA’s Song of the Year in 1991. He won IBMA’s Male Vocalist of the year in 1993, and again in 2005, when he also won song of the year for “Look Down That Lonesome Road”.

Solo recordings started with 1982’s “Hard Year Blues”, and other projects included three duet albums with his sister Mollie O’Brien. Folks in Nashville started noticing Tim’s songs, and he had top ten country hits in 1989 and 1990 with Kathy Mattea’s versions of Hot Rize songs “Walk The Way The Wind Blows” and “Untold Stories”. Other notable covers by New Grass Revival, Nickel Creek, Garth Brooks, and the Dixie Chicks followed. Hot Rize went dormant in the spring of 1990, after which O’Brien performed and recorded on his own, eventually releasing fourteen solo recordings, as well as collaborations with Dirk Powell (“Songs From The Mountain”) and with Darrell Scott (“Real Time”). Landmarks solo releases include a Grammy nominated set of bluegrass Dylan covers – “Red On Blonde”, the Celtic/Appalachian fusion of “The Crossing”, and 2005’s Grammy winning “Fiddler’s Green”.

Tim toured and recorded with Steve Earle’s Bluegrass Dukes in the early 2000’s, and with Mark Knopfler in 2009 and 2010. Other recent collaborations include another CD with Darrell Scott (“Memories and Moments”), a track with Steve Martin (“Daddy Played The Banjo”), a family band set of Roger Miller songs (“Reincarnation”), and the reunited Hot Rize’s “When I’m Free”. A collaboration with Jerry Douglas, Shawn Camp and others -“The Earls Of Leicester” – won a Grammy as well as IBMA’s Record of the Year in 2015.

Tim has produced recordings for Laurie Lewis, the Yonder Mountain String Band, the Infamous Stringdusters, Old Man Luedecke, and early mentor J.D. Hutchison. He has recorded and performed with The Chieftains, Joan Baez, Dierks Bentley, Bill Frisell, and the Wheeling Symphony Orchestra. He contributed to the movie soundtrack of “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” as well as those of “Cold Mountain”, and “The Blob”. He is a former president of the International Bluegrass Music Association, and currently serves on the board of the West Virginia Music Hall of Fame. O’Brien formed his own record label, Howdy Skies Records, in 1999, and in 2015 launched the digital download label Short Order Sessions (SOS) with his partner Jan Fabricius. SOS releases a new track every month. He has two sons, Jackson (34) and Joel (26), and has lived in Nashville since 1996. Hobbies include cooking, skiing, and playing traditional Irish music.

Tim’s latest release, 2017’s “Where the River Meets the Road, is O’Brien’s 16th solo recording. Focusing on the music of his native West Virginia, it features songs by Billy Edd Wheeler, Bill Withers, Hazel Dickens, and two O’Brien originals, as well as traditional material by the Lilly Brothers, the Lonesome Pine Fiddlers, and Doc Williams. Guests include Stuart Duncan, Kathy Mattea, Chris Stapleton, Bryan Sutton, and Jan Fabricius.

UPCOMING EVENTS (Music events start at 8 PM unless otherwise noted; screenings start at 7 PM unless otherwise noted):

• Saturday, Nov. 11, 7-10 PM (at ORDINARY tavern in New Haven): ART OPENING: “CREEPSHOW”—A BENEFIT FOR BEST VIDEO FILM & CULTURAL CENTER with art by AUDREY NEFORES & NICK HURWITZ-GOODMAN

• Sunday, Nov. 12, 7 PM. CELTIC & QUEBECOIS FOLK: MINK, SOCK & LUTIE

• Wednesday, Nov. 15, 7 PM. BLUEGRASS: TIM O’BRIEN

• Thursday, Nov. 16, 7 PM. BLUEGRASS: TIM O’BRIEN (SOLD OUT!)

• Friday, Nov. 17. ROCK: HAPPY ENDING

• Saturday, Nov. 18. BVFCC ANNIVERSARY GALA AT THE BALLROOM AT THE OUTER SPACE: 5 IN THE CHAMBER, OLIVE TIGER, NU HAVEN KAPELYE, THE TET OFFENSIVE

• Sunday, Nov. 19, 3 PM. JAZZ: TRIO 149

• Monday, Nov. 20, 7 PM. FILM SCREENING: “SON OF SAUL” (WITH TALK BY PROF. CHRISTOPHER SHARRETT)

• Friday, Nov. 24. ACOUSTIC ROCK: THE BIRDMEN

• Thursday, Nov. 30. BLUEGRASS: EAST ROCK RAMBLERS

• Friday, Dec. 1. JAZZ: JEFF FULLER & TONY PURRONE

• Sunday, Dec. 3, 2-5 PM. GUITARTOWNCT FREE SUNDAY AFTERNOON BLUEGRASS JAM

• Thursday, Dec. 7.ART SONG/SINGER-SONGWRITERS: OLIVE TIGER (SOLO), AN HISTORIC

• Friday, Dec. 8. BLUEGRASS: TWISTED PINE (A GUITARTOWNCT CONCERT)

• Saturday, Dec. 9. JAZZ/AVANT-GARDE: KLEPTOKRAT; WORLD MUSIC/FOLK: DR. CATERWAUL’S CADRE OF CLAIRVOYANT CLAPTRAPS

• Wednesday, Dec. 13, 7 PM. SECOND WEDNESDAY BEST VIDEO OPEN MIC

• Thursday, Dec. 14, 8 PM. JAZZ: PAUL SHANLEY

• Friday, Dec. 15. ROCK ‘N’ ROLL: THE FURORS (CD RELEASE!)

• Thursday, Dec. 21. SURF MUSIC: THE CLAMS

• Friday, Dec. 22. HOLIDAY ROCK ‘N’ ROLL SHOW: DUST HAT, BRONSON ROCK

• Friday, Jan. 5. AFRO-FUNK/ELECTRONICS: ENERGY

• Friday, Jan. 12, 7:30 PM. BLUEGRASS: BEPPE GAMBETTA (A GUITARTOWNCT CONCERT)

• Friday, Jan. 19. BLUES ROCK: VANGE DURST

• Thursday, Jan. 25, 6:30 PM. INDIE ROCK: BONZO

• Friday, Feb. 8. SINGER-SONGWRITER: THE ANNE MARIE MENTA BAND

• Thursday, Feb. 8. BLUEGRASS: JOE WALSH & SWEET LOAM

• Friday, Mar. 16. BLUEGRASS: ZOE & CLOYD (A GUITARTOWNCT CONCERT)

• Saturday, May 12. SINGER-SONGWRITER: THE ANNE MARIE MENTA BAND

Music: Halfway to Guitar Night with Shawn Persinger, Norman Plankey, Nancy Tucker and Robert Messore play Thurs., June 2

Robert Messore hosts an annual “Fabulous Guitar Night” every December 1st. But some things are so fabulous that they are worth doing more than once. So it is that Messore hosts “Halfway to Fabulous Guitar Night” at Best Video Performance Space on Thursday, June 2. Along with Messore, guitarists Nancy Tucker, Norman Plankey and Shawn Persinger will play. The show starts a half-hour early at 7:30 PM and the cover is $5.

Genre-Benders: Early each December, Robert Messore’s Annual Fabulous Guitar Night in New Haven gathers several of the state’s best guitarists from a number of styles of music. The event is well-liked enough that folks randomly walk up to Messore on the street throughout the year excitedly asking about the next one. So this year on June 2, Best Video hosts a “Halfway To Guitar Night” show for even more guitar loving goodness. The evening features Shawn Persinger, Nancy Tucker, Norman Plankey and Robert Messore, all of whom thrive on the multi-faceted love for all things guitar.

Robert Messore has passionately devoted himself to the guitar for 35 years. Voted Best Instrumentalist in a New Haven Advocate readers’ poll, Robert has been called the Heart of the New Haven Folk Scene for his vital and many-faceted contributions as solo performer, side man, recording artist, teacher and concert presenter (working on several concert series and the Connecticut Folk Festival). He also plays percussion and bass. Lately Robert performs with contra dance band Wry Bred, with singer-songwriter Chrissy Gardner, and he presents a program called Toddler Tunes, which is the largest weekly children’s sing-along in CT.

Robert Messore

Robert Messore

With a unique blend of acoustic folk, jazz, pop, classical, bluegrass, humor, and the avant-garde, New Haven, Shawn Persinger is Prester John has a sound that is entirely his own. The Chicago Tribune once said, “Prester John has made a career out of balancing technical prowess with pop accessibility (and) a dash of punk-rock rawness. One minute you’re hearing a pop/rock song in the tradition of Cat Stevens or Jack Johnson, the next you’re listening to music that could have been composed by Stravinsky or Frank Zappa. When it comes to traditional and mainstream styles Prester John’s authenticity is also difficult to match; their bluegrass repertoire sounds straight out of Appalachia (no doubt due to Persinger’s West Virginia roots) and their swing tunes recall the bygone days of The Hot Club of France. The ease and flexibility they display traversing and transcending genres is practically unheard of in this day and age (if ever).”

Shawn Persinger

Shawn Persinger

Nancy Tucker blends outrageous squeaky clean comedy, spirited guitar instrumentals and moving songs of human experience in her shows for people of all ages. Her music and comedy center around a passion for life and laughter. Her guitar instrumentals have been compared to those of Michael Hedges and Leo Kottke, with a flair for unusual and kinetic compositions using every part of the guitar, including a guitar attachment of her own invention. No matter what the venue, Nancy captures each audience’s imagination and heart with gentle invitation and contagious lunacy.

Nancy Tucker. Photo ©Marilyn Catasus

Nancy Tucker. Photo ©Marilyn Catasus

Norman Plankey is an in-demand accompanist/guitarist living in Oxford, CT. He currently plays regularly with Swing du Jour (Gypsyswing), The Fiddleheads (contradance), Norman and the Rockwellians (traditional jazz and swing), as well as The Brooklyn Swing Ensemble and One World Contra. A perennial favorite at Roxbury Pickin’ & Fiddlin’ contest, Norman has won many blue ribbons while pushing the envelope of what the judges might allow.

Norman Plankey

Norman Plankey

• Thursday, May 26. EXPERIMENTAL: ELECTRONHIC

• Friday, May 27. ACOUSTIC ROCK: THE BIRDMEN

• Thursday, June 2. HALFWAY TO GUITAR NIGHT: SHAWN PERSINGER, NANCY TUCKER, NORMAN PLANKEY, ROBERT MESSORE (7:30 START)

• Friday, June 3. SINGER-SONGWRITER: SHAWN TAYLOR

• Sunday, June 5. FREE AFTERNOON BLUEGRASS JAM

• Wed., June 8. INDIE ROCK: GUN SHY, SHIRESE

• Thursday, June 9. CABARET/SINATRA: RICH MORAN & FRANZ DOUSKEY

• Friday, June 10. ROCK: NOTHING SPECIAL

• Sunday, June 12. MARK SCHENKER: HOW TO READ A FILM—FOUR BY BILLY WILDER (“DOUBLE INDEMNITY”)

• Thursday, June 16. CHRISTOPHER ARNOTT & LYS GUILLORN CELEBRATE BLOOMSDAY

• Friday, June 17. SINGER-SONGWRITER: THE ANNE MARIE MENTA BAND

• Sunday, June 19. MARK SCHENKER: HOW TO READ A FILM—FOUR BY BILLY WILDER (“SUNSET BOULEVARD”)

• Thursday, June 23. INDIE FOLK: JACKET THOR, CAT THUMBS, PALE MOON PALE WITCH

• Friday, June 24. SOLO GUITAR: GLENN ROTH, ALT-COUNTRY: LINES WEST

• Sunday, June 26. MARK SCHENKER: HOW TO READ A FILM—FOUR BY BILLY WILDER (“STALAG 17”)

• Wednesday, June 29. JAZZ: JEFF FULLER & FRIENDS CD RELEASE SHOW

• Thursday, June 30. SINGER-SONGWRITER: EUGENE GALLAGHER, QUINN HARLEY

• Friday, July 1. POST-PUNK: TELEGRAM SCAM, SPECTRAL FANGS

• Sunday, July 3. FREE AFTERNOON BLUEGRASS JAM

• Friday, July 8. SINGER-SONGWRITER: JOSÉ OYOLA

• Sunday, July 10. MARK SCHENKER: HOW TO READ A FILM—FOUR BY BILLY WILDER (“WITNESS FOR THE PROSECUTION”)

• Thursday, July 15. SINGER-SONGWRITER/INDIE ROCK: DANIELLE CAPALBO

• Friday, July 16. SINGER-SONGWRITER: KATH BLOOM, BOP TWEEDIE

• Sunday, July 24. INDIE, HIP-HOP: RUNNING LAPS & NATHAN CORP, THE FOREST ROOM, CHEF THE CHEF, ZAK G.

• Wednesday, July 27. DR. CATERWAUL’S CADRE OF CLAIRVOYANT CLAPTRAPS PRESENTS THE MUSIC OF ENNIO MORRICONE

• Thursday, July 28. INDIE ROCK: PAINTED FACES, BIG NURSE

• Friday, July 29. ART-ROCK: FE FI FO

• Wednesday, Aug. 3. INDIE ROCK: JELLYSHIRTS

• Friday, Aug. 5. INDIE ROCK: THE LYS GUILLORN BAND, EARTHLINGS

• Friday, Aug. 19. SINGER-SONGWRITERS: PONYBIRD, FRANK CRITELLI, CHRISTOPHER BOUSQUET

• Tuesday, Aug. 30. BLUEGRASS: STACY PHILLIPS & HIS BLUEGRASS CHARACTERS

• Friday, Oct. 7. BLUEGRASS/NEW ACOUSTIC: JOE WALSH & FRIENDS (A GUITARTOWN CT PRODUCTION)

• Saturday, Oct. 8. THE NEW ENGLAND UNDERGROUND FILM FESTIVAL

 

Music: Guitar-based folk by Trevor Healy & Jason Labbe, Chuck Johnson Mon., Mar. 28

Best Video Performance Space presents a rare Monday music show on Mar. 28 when a couple of out-of-state guitarists drop by the room for sets. Easthampton, MA-based guitarist Trevor Healy—with Jason Labbe accompanying him on drums—and Oakland, CA-based guitarist Chuck Johnson play at 8 PM. The cover is $5.

Trevor_Healy_Web

Trevor Healy

Trevor Healy is accompanied by Jason Labbe on drums. They will perform various pieces from their 15-year history playing together, focusing on songs from Healy’s recently finished album of instrumentals.

Healy is a luthier and guitarist based in Easthampton, MA. A life-long musician, he has also devoted his life to instrument making since graduating from the Roberto-Venn School of Luthiery in 1999. He went on to work with guitar maker Roger Sadowsky in Brooklyn, NY and in the repair shop of Gary Brawer in San Francisco, CA.

Through these experiences, Healy gained the knowledge and skills necessary to start his own shop. In 2011 he founded Healy Guitars and now builds his own line of acoustic and electric guitars, and performs all types of repair work for local and touring musicians.

Healy came up playing Irish music at a local pub with his parents. His father was his first guitar teacher and introduced him to DADGAD tuning. Healy went on to study classical guitar at Skidmore College with Joel Brown. Healy’s varied influences include Fugazi, Lou Harrison, Ravi Shankar, and John Fahey.

During his time in San Francisco, he was one half of the duo Meridians, which employed intricate electric, acoustic, and 12-string guitar melodies over pulsing loops of flute, violin, found objects and oscillators. In 2010, his track “Wrapped in Water” was included on the Tompkins Square release “Beyond Berkeley Guitar”, a collection of music from Bay Area fingerstyle guitarists compiled by Sean Smith. Healy recently recorded a collection of solo compositions to be released later this year. The music is performed on 6 and 12 string guitars that he made.

Chuck Johnson

Chuck Johnson

Chuck Johnson is a composer and musician residing in Oakland, CA. He approaches his work with an ear towards finding faults and instabilities that might reveal latent beauty, with a focus on guitar, experimental electronics, and minimalist composition. Recordings of his work have been published by Strange Attractors Audio House, Communion, Amish, Merge, Umbrella, Phaserprone, Squealer and Three Lobed.

Johnson has performed with Eugene Chadbourne, Frank Gratkowsi, Peter Kowald, Miya Masaoka, and Pauline Oliveros, among others. He has performed at the Hopscotch Music Festival (Raleigh, NC), Debacle Fest (Seattle), the San Francisco Electronic Music Festival, Siren Fest (New York), BENT (New York), theFestival of New American Music (Sacramento), Music for People and Thingamajigs (San Francisco), and the San Francisco International Film Festival. Johnson’s credits as a film composer include scores for the HBO documentary Private Violence and the popular PBS show A Chef’s Life.  In 2009 he received an MFA in Electronic Music and Intermedia Art from Mills College.

UPCOMING EVENTS:

• Friday, Oct. 18. ALT-COUNTRY: NO LINE NORTH, THE VONZELLS

• Wednesday, Mar. 23. EXPERIMENTAL: THE FOREST ROOM, NICK Di MARIA: ZERO DOLLAR SOLO

• Thursday, Mar. 24. ROCK: PARKER’S TANGENT

• Friday, Mar. 25. SINGER-SONGWRITER: DICK NEAL

• Monday, Mar. 28. FOLK: TREVOR HEALY/JASON LABBE DUO, CHUCK JOHNSON

• Wednesday, Mar. 30. INDIE ROCK/SINGER-SONGWRITER: WESTERN ESTATES, ZACH ANDERSEN

• Thursday, Mar. 31. SINGER-SONGWRITER: FRANK CRITELLI, JOE FLOOD

• Friday, Apr. 1. BLUES ROCK: JUST US featuring NOAH KESSELMAN

• Sunday, Apr. 3. FREE 2 PM AFTERNOON BLUEGRASS JAM

• Monday, Apr. 4. FILM SCREENING: “THE BEST MAN”

• Wednesday, Apr. 6. INDIE ROCK presented by Redscroll Records: HEX INVERTER, DIRT DEVIL, NOTHING ISRAEL

• Thursday, Apr. 7. BLUES: THE MOODY’S BLUES

• Friday. Apr. 8. FOLK: HUGH BIRDSALL & DANA TAKAKI

• Monday, Apr. 11. FILM SCREENING: “THE CONTENDER”

• Thursday, Apr. 14. INDIE ROCK: SPIT-TAKE, BOX FAN

• Tues., Apr. 19. FILM SCREENING: “BULWORTH”

• Wednesday, Apr. 20. JAZZ: BADSLAX

• Thursday, Apr. 21. INDIE FOLK: THE MID SEASON

• Friday, Apr. 22. JAZZ: REBECCA ABBOTT, GARY GRIPPO & FRIENDS

• Monday, Apr. 25. FILM SCREENING: “A FACE IN THE CROWD”

• Thursday, Apr. 28. SEPHARDIC MUSIC: THE HERETICS OF CORDOBA

• Monday, May 2. FILM SCREENING: “THE CANDIDATE”

• Friday, May 6. BRAZILIAN MUSIC: SAMBELEZA

• Saturday, May 7. SOFT ACOUSTIC/ROCK: THE HERNANDEZ BROTHERS

• Monday, May 9. FILM SCREENING: “FRUITVALE STATION”

• Friday, May 13. THREE SONGWRITERS IN THE ROUND: ANNE MARIE MENTA, DICK NEAL, GLEN ROETHEL

• Friday, May 20. JAZZ VOCALS & GUITAR: LINDA SATIN & JOE CARTER

• Tuesday, Aug. 30. BLUEGRASS: STACY PHILLIPS & HIS BLUEGRASS CHARACTERS

• Saturday, Oct. 8. THE NEW ENGLAND UNDERGROUND FILM FESTIVAL

 

Music: Guitarist Robert Messore on Wed., Mar. 16

Robert_Messore_Tinto_green_WebRobert Messore brings his take on acoustic music to the Best Video Performance Space on Wednesday, Mar. 16. The music starts at 8 PM and the cover charge is $5.  Robert will play a program of Celtic music to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day (which is the day after).

Robert Messore (meh-sor’-ee) has been called “Connecticut’s finest fingerstyle guitarist.” He plays beautiful instrumental guitar music and he is noted for composing tuneful pieces that work well as music, and not simply as fancy guitar playing.

Robert has been called “the Heart of the New Haven Folk Scene” for his vital and many-faceted contributions as solo performer, side man, recording artist, teacher and concert presenter (working on several concert series and the Connecticut Folk Festival). Robert has passionately devoted himself to the guitar for 30+ years and was voted Best Instrumentalist in a New Haven Advocate readers’ poll.

UPCOMING EVENTS:

• Thursday, Mar. 10. EXPERIMENTAL: HUMAN FLOURISHING, LIGHT UPON BLIGHT

• Friday, Mar. 11. ACOUSTIC GUITAR: SHAWN PERSINGER IS PRESTER JOHN

• Sunday, Mar. 13 FREE AFTERNOON BLUEGRASS JAM

• Wednesday, Mar. 16. ACOUSTIC GUITAR: ROBERT MESSORE

• Friday, Oct. 18. ALT-COUNTRY: NO LINE NORTH

• Wednesday, Mar. 23. EXPERIMENTAL: THE FOREST ROOM, NICK Di MARIA: ZERO DOLLAR SOLO

• Thursday, Mar. 24. ROCK: PARKER’S TANGENT

• Friday, Mar. 25. SINGER-SONGWRITER: DICK NEAL

• Wednesday, Mar. 30. INDIE ROCK/SINGER-SONGWRITER: WESTERN ESTATES, ZACH ANDERSEN

• Thursday, Mar. 31. SINGER-SONGWRITER: FRANK CRITELLI, JOE FLOOD

• Wednesday, Apr. 6. INDIE ROCK presented by Redscroll Records: HEX INVERTER, DIRT DEVIL, NOTHING ISRAEL

• Friday. Apr. 8. FOLK: HUGH BIRDSALL & DANA TAKAKI

• Thursday, Apr. 14. INDIE ROCK: SPIT-TAKE

• Friday, Apr. 15. JAZZ: REBECCA ABBOTT, GARY GRIPPO & FRIENDS

• Thurs., Apr. 7. BLUES: THE MOODY’S BLUES

• Wednesday, Apr. 20. JAZZ: BADSLAX

• Thursday, Apr. 28. SEPHARDIC MUSIC: THE HERETICS OF CORDOBA

• Saturday, May 7. SOFT ACOUSTIC/ROCK: THE HERNANDEZ BROTHERS

• Friday, May 13. THREE SONGWRITERS IN THE ROUND: ANNE MARIE MENTA, DICK NEAL, GLEN ROETHEL

• Friday, May 20. JAZZ VOCALS & GUITAR: LINDA SATIN & JOE CARTER

• Tuesday, Aug. 30. BLUEGRASS: STACY PHILLIPS & HIS BLUEGRASS CHARACTERS

• Saturday, Oct. 8. THE NEW ENGLAND UNDERGROUND FILM FESTIVAL

 

Music: Shawn Persinger is Prester John this Fri., Mar. 11, at 8 PM

Shawn_Persinger_WebGuitarist Shawn Persinger—Shawn Persinger is Prester John—plays a solo show at Best Video this Friday, Mar. 11. The music starts at 8 PM and the cover is $5.

With a unique blend of acoustic folk, jazz, pop, classical, bluegrass, humor, and the avant-garde, New Haven, Shawn Persinger is Prester John has a sound that is entirely his own.

The Chicago Tribune once said, “Prester John has made a career out of balancing technical prowess with pop accessibility (and) a dash of punk-rock rawness.” One minute you’re hearing a pop/rock song in the tradition of Cat Stevens or Jack Johnson, the next you’re listening to music that could have been composed by Stravinsky or Frank Zappa. When it comes to traditional and mainstream styles Prester John’s authenticity is also difficult to match; their bluegrass repertoire sounds straight out of Appalachia (no doubt due to Persinger’s West Virginia roots) and their swing tunes recall the bygone days of The Hot Club of France. The ease and flexibility they display traversing and transcending genres is practically unheard of in this day and age (if ever).”

UPCOMING EVENTS:

• Monday, Mar. 7. OSCAR SERIES FILM SCREENING: “SUFFRAGETTE” (Rescheduled from 2/15 due to snow)

• Wednesday, Mar. 9. SINGER-SONGWRITER: PAT STONE

• Thursday, Mar. 10. EXPERIMENTAL: HUMAN FLOURISHING, LIGHT UPON BLIGHT

• Friday, Mar. 11. ACOUSTIC GUITAR: SHAWN PERSINGER IS PRESTER JOHN

• Sunday, Mar. 13 FREE AFTERNOON BLUEGRASS JAM

• Wednesday, Mar. 16. ACOUSTIC GUITAR: ROBERT MESSORE

• Friday, Oct. 18. ALT-COUNTRY: NO LINE NORTH

• Wednesday, Mar. 23. EXPERIMENTAL: THE FOREST ROOM, NICK Di MARIA: ZERO DOLLAR SOLO

• Thursday, Mar. 24. ROCK: PARKER’S TANGENT

• Friday, Mar. 25. SINGER-SONGWRITER: DICK NEAL

• Wednesday, Mar. 30. INDIE ROCK/SINGER-SONGWRITER: WESTERN ESTATES, ZACH ANDERSEN

• Thursday, Mar. 31. SINGER-SONGWRITER: FRANK CRITELLI, JOE FLOOD

• Wednesday, Apr. 6. INDIE ROCK presented by Redscroll Records: HEX INVERTER, DIRT DEVIL, NOTHING ISRAEL

• Friday. Apr. 8. FOLK: HUGH BIRDSALL & DANA TAKAKI

• Thursday, Apr. 14. INDIE ROCK: SPIT-TAKE

• Friday, Apr. 15. JAZZ: REBECCA ABBOTT, GARY GRIPPO & FRIENDS

• Thurs., Apr. 7. BLUES: THE MOODY’S BLUES

• Wednesday, Apr. 20. JAZZ: BADSLAX

• Thursday, Apr. 28. SEPHARDIC MUSIC: THE HERETICS OF CORDOBA

• Saturday, May 7. SOFT ACOUSTIC/ROCK: THE HERNANDEZ BROTHERS

• Friday, May 13. THREE SONGWRITERS IN THE ROUND: ANNE MARIE MENTA, DICK NEAL, GLEN ROETHEL

• Friday, May 20. JAZZ VOCALS & GUITAR: LINDA SATIN & JOE CARTER

• Tuesday, Aug. 30. BLUEGRASS: STACY PHILLIPS & HIS BLUEGRASS CHARACTERS

• Saturday, Oct. 8. THE NEW ENGLAND UNDERGROUND FILM FESTIVAL

 

Music: John Thomas, playing acoustic guitar, on Wednesday, Jan. 2, at 8 PM

John Thomas will play in the BEST VIDEO PERFORMANCE SPACE this Wednesday, Jan. 2. The music starts at 8 PM and there is a $5 cover.

John Thomas is a fingerstyle guitar player living in Hamden, in southern Connecticut. He plays instrumental acoustic music, mainly blues and ragtime. His influences range from the blues greats of the 1920s and 1930s to Merle Travis, Chet Atkins, and Jerry Reed. Thomas’ guitar playing is deeply steeped in American roots music of the 19th and early 20th centuries.

Playing solo, acoustic music for more than 40 years, his live performances and recordings feature music that ranges from the compositions of classic blues guitarists like Blind Lemon Jefferson and Rev. Gary Davis, to the classic ragtime tunes of Scott Joplin, to the Nashville playing of Chet Atkins and Jerry Reed, and to his own original compositions that echo these influences. For many of the blues tunes and rags in his repertoire he has created original arrangements, including adapting ragtime piano pieces to the guitar.

Check out a John Thomas performance on YouTube: