Music: Evening bluegrass jam hosted by GuitarTownCT on Mon., June 17, at 6:30 PM

The monthly first Sunday GuitarTownCT bluegrass jams became so successful that Chris Wuerth added a new jam to the schedule. For those who need to twang community-wise more than once a month—or can’t make the Sunday afternoon events—we now have a bluegrass jam (usually) on the Third Monday of every month from 6-9 PM. Admission to this jam is a suggested donation of $5. June’s jam is on Monday, June 17, from 6:30-9:30 PM.

Players of all abilities are welcome as well as those who just enjoy listening.

Click here for the complete list of upcoming events.

Music: Clare Byrne plays LP release show for new record “Celestials” Sat., June 15

Singer-songwriter Clare Byrne plays Best Video Performance Space Saturday, June 15, as a release party for her new vinyl LP “Celestials.” The show starts at 8 PM and the cover is a sliding scale of $5-10 (pay what you can in that range).

Clare Byrne’s songwriting and music bring together folk, rhythm & blues, & gospel in an astral acoustic/electric mix, with incisive, poignant lyrics. Her 2019 double LP Celestials assembles a diverse and multi-talented group of New York City and Vermont musicians for a vinyl album release party on June 15, 2019 at Best Video & Cultural Center.

Celestials is a conceptual “chamber music” album, arranged in suites of songs. It features Byrne along with thirteen musicians in vocals, acoustic and electric guitar, hand percussion, cello, sleigh bells, piano, flute, saxophone, and synthesizer, recorded over a year of studio sessions in Burlington, VT. The twin albums, “Sister” and “Brother” take listeners on a journey across landscapes of relationship, gender, and race, ranging from Vermont to New York City to Italy to introspective chambers of the heart. It contains fourteen original songs by Byrne, a song by New York songwriter Rodrigo Alonzo, and the Irish traditional, “The Water is Wide.”

The limited vinyl pressing, with photographs by New York City photographer Hiroyuki Ito and design by Vermont graphic and font designer Alec Julien, will be available at Best Video for sale. The album includes a download card for digital download.

The release party will include performance by very special guests The Elm City Ramblers, led by local bluegrass phenom Phil Rosenthal. Other special New Haven musical guests TBA!

Clare is a dancer-and-choreographer-turned-musician who has performed and taught in New York City and environs, Burlington VT, and around the world. She began songwriting through guitar, harmonica and piano in 2011; her EP Seed was released in Vermont in 2017, after which she toured Ireland with Ink the Octopus (Dan Strauss and Remy DeLaroque).

In her career she has performed in many venues, including Dance Theater Workshop, Danspace Project, The Joyce Theater, P.S. 122, Dixon Place in NYC and The Flynn Center for the Arts in Burlington, VT. Multi-year projects have included Weekly Rites (2007-2012), a weekly online video, dance, and writing improvisational blog, and The Poor Sister Clares Traveling Dancing Monk Show (2009 – 2013), an experiment in contemplative community, gardening and performance in Vermont. She is a recipient of grants and residencies through The Joyce Theater Foundation, Dixon Place, The Yard on Martha’s Vineyard, The Dragon’s Egg, The Silo Residency, Brooklyn Arts Exchange, Greywood Arts in Killeagh, Ireland, and the Bogliasco Foundation in Bogliasco, Italy, among others. Clare was a founding member of Nicholas Leichter Dance, the artistic director of Clare Byrne Dance for ten years, and has written dance reviews for the online publication offoffoff.com. Clare has taught dance at Muhlenberg College, Long Island University, Manhattanville College, and was a Senior Lecturer in Dance in the Department of Music and Dance at the University of Vermont.

Clare currently lives in New Haven, studies music at the Neighborhood Music School, and is a member of the Elm City Ramblers.

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Music: Washboard Slim & The Bluelights play Fri., June 14, at 7:30 PM

Washboard Slim & The Bluelights play Best Video Performance Space on Friday, June 14. The show starts at 7:30 PM and the cover is $10.

After 40 years of playing together, Washboard Slim and the Bluelights has evolved into one of the country’s most versatile and original of jug bands.

Incorporating pure Americana instruments like tub bass, washboard, jug, banjo, harmonica, and fiddle, adding drums and powerful vocal harmonies, this band rocks sold-out concerts, dance halls and family shows. Playing their own compositions as well as original arrangements of traditional gospel and blues tunes, their music is by turns playful and haunted. It’s no wonder legendary blues/folk artist, Eric Von Schmidt described Washboard Slim and the Bluelights as “traditional music on overdrive.”

The members of Washboard Slim & the Blue Lights are Peter Menta (aka Washboard Slim, drums, harmonica, kazoo, washboard, vocals), Brooks Barnett (accordion, banjo, drums, guitar, mandolin, piano, vocals), Howie Horn (banjo, jug, washtub bass, vocals), Mat Kastner (banjo, guitar, National steel guitar), Johnny Pendergast (guitar, fiddle, mandolin, vocals),and Lauren Agnelli (guitar, ukelele, kazoo, vocals).

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Music: Flint Ladder plays folk and string band music Thurs., June 13

Flint Ladder plays Best Video Performance Space on Thursday, June 13. The show starts at 8 PM and the cover is $5.

Flint Ladder grew out of the creative, environmentally-conscious New Haven arts community in the late 1980s. During that time, a community member offered the use of his barn—which previously housed The Flint Ladder Company—to form a home for a neighborhood circus. Cellist Shula Weinstein was one of the first members of the accompanying circus band. Shortly after, guitarist Frank Panzarella joined. Bassist Jim Baldoni was soon recruited by Panzarella. Anne Cherry, another community member, joined on fiddle, glockenspiel, and various percussion.

After the circus, the band continued performing, shortening its name from The Flint Ladder Circus Band to simply Flint Ladder. Along the way, they picked up mandolinist Karen Hogg via a random yoga class that Baldoni attended. Today, Flint Ladder is an eclectic, fun string band that specializes in unique arrangements of old jazz, folk, classic rock, country, and other popular tunes.

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Second Wednesday Open Mic at Best Video Wed., June 12, at 7 PM

Musicians! Comedians! Poets! Magicians! Spoken word artists! The Second Wednesday Open Mic takes place Wednesday, June 12, starting at 7 PM. Admission is a Suggested Donation of $3-5 to support BVFCC.

Poet Karen Ponzio (aka KP The Word) — who writes for the New Haven Independent and has a show on Cygnus RADIO — is the host for this show.

The sign-up sheet will be put out at 6:45 PM in order for prospective performers who haven’t been able to get here earlier to have a chance at performing slots. No sign-ups will be taken before 6:45.

Each slot is 10 minutes or two songs (whichever is shorter) with a 5-minute break between each performer. We have a total of 10 slots from 7-9:30 PM if people use their maximum time.

We will play it by ear after that with any “extra” performers getting time as available in order of signing the sheet. While 9:30 PM is the official cut-off time, we may at our discretion continue with performers up to 10 PM.

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Music and Literary Reading: Marykate O’Neil and Rachel Cline share evening Sat., June 8, at 8 PM

Singer-songwriter Marykate O’Neil plays Best Video Performance Space on Saturday, June 8. Sharing the bill with O’Neil is her friend Rachel Cline, who will read from her recent novel The Question Authority. The event starts at 8 PM and the cover is a sliding scale of $5-10 (pay what you can in that range).

New England-born and New York City-based indie pop songwriter Marykate O’Neil has released six albums, a couple of 45s, some cassettes; been featured in movies and television shows; played to big festival crowds and empty seats in darkened basements throughout the US and Europe. Her music has been called “Elvis Costello meets Astrud Gilberto”; “a female George Harrison”; a “Capote-esque story teller”; and most frequently like herself. The Boston Globe might have captured it best—or at least the funniest—when they said: “O’Neil’s literate lyrics feature the sort of off-kilter insights Emily Dickinson might make if alive today. After listening to commercial radio, hearing O’Neil sing is like reading Sylvia Path’s brutally honest poetry in the wake of watching “American Idol.” O’Neill will be accompanied by Gerry Giaimo (guitar), Dave Shuman (bass), and Pete Riccio (drums).

Rachel Cline is the author of the novels What to Keep and My Liar (both from Random House). She has written for The New York Times, New York, More, SELF and Tin House and is a produced screen and television writer. She was a screenwriting instructor at University of Souther California and has taught fiction at New York University, Eugene Lang College and Sarah Lawrence College. She has been a resident of Yaddo, a fellow of Sewanee, and a Girls Write Now mentor. She lives in Brooklyn Heights, a few blocks from where she grew up. The Question Authority, published by Red Hen Press this past April, is a timely and moving novel about what happens when childhood best friends face the damage done by the teacher who molested them both.

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Music: The Steve Nystrup Trio, Mad Agnes play folk-influenced acoustic music Fri., June 7

The Steve Nystrup Trio and Mad Agnes play Best Video Performance Space on Friday, June 7. The show starts at 8 PM and the cover is $10.

Steve Nystrup Trio is a true family affair. Steve on guitar and vocals, his son Aaron on bass guitar and wife Maureen Wasik on lead vocals “blend perfectly to make transcendent and uplifting music. Whatever they play becomes their own (not to mention their own compositions!).” The band plays a colorful mix of folk, blues, Americana and popular songs. The harmonies are tight and the interplay between father and son on guitar and bass is always compelling!

Steve is an award winning guitarist, composer and educator. His music has been featured on several “Folk Next Door” CD”s from WWUH and on many CT Classical Guitar Society recordings. Maureen has been singing all her life and is well know to audiences in NYC and along the CT shore where she has performed as a member of Acoustic Exile, Freefall, and Step Edna. Aaron has been playing bass guitar with his dad since he was 14 years old and appears on several recordings with him. He lives in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn, NY and is a member of the very popular band Everest Cale.

Even though Mad Agnes officially stopped performing in 2011, they are doing rare performances. Margo Hennebach, Adrienne Jones and Mark Saunders reunite to bring you the sculpted harmonies and compelling songwriting for which they are known. The trio has a decade-long musical history together, performing across the U.S. and overseas. Margo and Adrienne have been performing together on and off for over 30 years. Individually and collectively they’ve recorded twelve albums and a DVD.

Hennebach and Jones write most of the songs, which they arrange in a purely fair and democratic fashion. With “three-part harmonies as tight as jeans from the dryer” (Rob Weir, The Advocate), the resulting sound is captivating, uplifting and rare.

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Music: Toby Driver, An Historic perform Thurs., June 6

Toby Driver and An Historic play sets at Best Video Performance Space on Thursday, June 6. The show starts at 8 PM and the cover is a sliding scale of $5-10 (pay what you can in that range).

Toby Driver, the artist behind such infamous, progressive, cult, chamber-oriented projects as maudlin of the Well and Kayo Dot injected new life into his long-dormant solo project early last year with his first album in a decade.

Driver returns with They Are the Shield, the prolific composer’s first album in over twelve years that harks back to songwriting structures developed and perfected in his maudlin of the Well days. Notes of singer-songwriter sensibilities simmer beneath a fog of synthesizers, expansive soundscapes, lush chamber orchestrations, and sullen atmospheres, punctuated and driven with a soft percussive heartbeat.

An Historic is the songwriting alias of composer/accordionist/vocalist Adam Matlock, focusing on frenzied and narrative songs with elements of Balkan music, cabaret, many varieties of art-song and American soul and punk. Songs are performed live with a core of solo accordion and voice, and sometimes fleshed out and fully inhabited with the confident interplay of guitarist Chris Cretella, percussionist Michael Paolucci, multi-instrumentalist Brian Slattery and bassists Mike Tepper or Carl Testa.

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Music: GuitarTownCT monthly afternoon bluegrass jam takes place Sun., June 2, 2-5 PM

The “First Sunday” Hamden Bluegrass Jam—hosted by GuitarTown CT Productions—takes place on Sunday afternoon, July 2, from 2—5 PM in Best Video Performance Space.

There is no cover so come on down—have a coffee, beer or glass of wine and enjoy the music. It’s all acoustic and mostly traditional. Any and all bluegrass players are welcome.

Bring your instrument or just bring your ears. Come to pick or just to listen.

Click here for the complete list of upcoming events.

Music: The Moon Shells, Kat Wallace & David Sasso serve up Americana Sat., June 1, at

The Moon Shells and the duo of Kat Wallace & David Sasso play Best Video Performance Space on Saturday, June 1. The show starts at 8 PM and the cover is a sliding scale of $5-10 (pay what you can in that range).

The Moon Shells are a new project from Maggie Shar, Laura Murawski, and Brian Slattery, who met one another through the Appalachian fiddle community in 2015 and started playing together as often as they could. As musicians they were drawn to each other by a shared sense of rhythm and improvisation, grounded in the Appalachian fiddle tradition but drawing from the many kinds of music they love from Louisiana, West Africa, Eastern Europe, and elsewhere, to create a sound that’s emotional and groovy at the same time.

Kat Wallace and David Sasso met playing hard and fast bluegrass with New Haven string band Five in the Chamber. Their shared background in classical music and affinity for all things trad brought them together to form an intimate and virtuosic duo. Both singers and multi-instrumentalists, Wallace and Sasso orbit around traditional folk, original songwriting, and the ever-evolving Americana movement. Their effortless vocal lines and innovative harmonization command the stage while allowing space for each song to tell it’s story. In April 2019, Kat and David will be recording their debut album in Dimension Sound Studios in Boston, produced by acclaimed cellist Mike Block.

Click here for the complete list of upcoming events.