Richard Neal to play the Best Video deck Sat., Nov. 21, in final outdoors music show of the year

Richard Neal.

Singer-songwriter Richard Neal plays the Best Video Film & Cultural Center deck in what is likely the last outdoors show of 2020. (It’s getting colder and darker.)

Richard Neal is a student of music, songwriting, record production, and live performance. A multi-instrumentalist (guitar, 5-string banjo, mandolin, dobro, slide), he has been privileged to make a living as a musician and to work in a wide variety of musical settings and styles.

Neal appears regularly in concert as a sideman for any number of acts, and also as a regular member of the bluegrass band HOE. As a solo artist and songwriter, he has released 2 CD’s of original music, HOE and Beacon. Several of his compositions have been recorded by other singers.

We ask respect for social distancing, please, and masks are mandatory. (Yes, you can lower them to take a drink but please raise them up again.)

No cover charge but please bring cash for the musicians’ tip jar. This has been a real hard time for musicians, almost all of whom have seen their live performance income dry up.

Parking available behind Best Video and on Thornton Street.

Music returns to Best Video, socially distanced, on the deck

Making the best of the situation, Best Video Film & Cultural Center will restart its music programming on the new outdoor deck, weather permitting. The Best Video cafe will expand its curbside hours to 4-8 PM Thursdays through Saturday and we will try to schedule acoustic music on the deck for as many of those evenings as possible.

We ask respect for social distancing, please, and masks mandatory. (Yes, you can lower them to take a drink but please raise them up again.)

No cover charge but please bring cash for the musicians’ tip jar. This has been a real hard time for musicians, almost all of whom have seen their live performance income dry up.

The schedule so far is:

Thursday, Sept. 10, 5-7:30. Acoustic Fingerstyle Guitar: Glenn Roth

Friday, Sept. 11, 4:30-7:30 PM. Bluegrass/Roots: David Sasso & Pete Kaufman (members of Five N’ Change)

Saturday, Sept. 12, 5:30 PM. Singer-Songwriter: Anne Marie Menta & Richard Neal

Thursday, Sept. 17, 5-7 PM. Singer-Songwriter: The Bargain (featuring Frank Critelli, Shandy Lawson, & Muddy Rivers)

Saturday, Sept. 19, 5-7 PM. Singer-Songwriter: Shawn Taylor

Friday, Sept. 25, 6 PM. Harmony Pop: Pigeon English

Saturday, Sept. 26, 5:30 PM. Singer-Songwriter Pop: Shellye Valauskas & Dean Falcone

Music: GuitarTownCT bluegrass jam Sun., Mar. 1, from 2-5 PM

The “First Sunday” Hamden Bluegrass Jam—hosted by GuitarTown CT Productions takes place Sunday, Mar. 1, from 2-5 PM.

There is no cover—although donations to support Best Video Film & Cultural Center are gratefully accepted—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 Howling Hound Dogs play jug band music Wed., Feb. 26

The Howling Hound Dogs play Best Video Performance Space on Wednesday, Feb. 26. The show starts at 8 PM and the cover is a sliding scale of $5-10 (pay what you can in that range).

The Howling Hound Dogs are a fun, upbeat washboard trio who play swing standards from the 20’s to the 50’s as well as folk and blues tunes, modern arrangements and funny originals. Their shows include ukulele, guitar, kazoo, harmonica, mandolin, banjo, washboard, jug and even spoons!

As a band and as soloists they’ve appeared at festivals, town concerts, senior facilities, libraries, the New Haven Festival of Arts and Ideas, Nashville’s Bluebird Café and on TV and radio. Thew members of The Howling Hound Dogs are Peter Magrane, Lou Manzi and Tom McVerry.

Click here for the complete list of upcoming events.

Music: Irish/Celtic music jam Sun., Feb. 16, from 2-4 PM

Best Video Performance Space hosts a monthly acoustic Irish music jam. The February jam takes place on Sunday, Feb. 16, from 2-4 PM. The jam, organized by musicians Jim & Willow Sirch, takes place on the third Sunday of each month (unless it needs to be rescheduled due to other Best Video Film & Cultural Center programming).

As with our bluegrass jams, feel free to come and join in or just sit and listen.

Click here for the complete list of upcoming events.

Music: Kat Wallace & David Sasso Duo play Americana Sat., Feb. 8, at 7:30 PM

Kat Wallace and David Sasso play Best Video Performance Space on Saturday, Feb. 8. The show starts at 7:30 PM and the cover is $10.

Come hear songs from their album, Stuff of Stars, released August 2019, along with plenty of new material. They’re thrilled to be joined for the evening by Miriam Liske-Doorandish on cello.

Kat Wallace and David Sasso met playing hard and fast bluegrass with New Haven string band Five ‘n Change (formerly 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.

With fiddle and a variety of mandolin-family instruments, 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 its story. Their debut album, Stuff of Stars, was recorded, mixed, and mastered by Dan Cardinal at Dimension Sound Studios in Boston and produced by acclaimed multi-genre cellist Mike Block.

Click here for the complete list of upcoming events.

Music: GuitarTownCT presents Mile Twelve Thurs., Feb. 6, at 7:30 PM

GuitarTownCT Concerts present the Boston-based bluegrass group Mile Twelve at Best Video Performance Space on Thursday, Feb. 6. The show starts at 7:30. Advance tickets are $30 and are still available at TicketLeap. (Their two previous shows at Best Video sold out.)

This young Boston bluegrass band has been rising fast in the acoustic music world. Winners of multiple IBMA bluegrass awards, their sound is rooted in traditional bluegrass. Their new album, City on a Hill, was produced by Nashville guitar whiz and noted producer Bryan Sutton. It was written and arranged by the all the band members, resulting in a project that feels contemporary, thoughtfully crafted, and relevant.

Tim O’Brien said, “Serious players who have serious fun, Mile Twelve is a group to watch in the coming decade.” Banjo legend Tony Trischka noted, “Mile Twelve’s instrumental skills reflect natural abilities enhanced by serious study of bluegrass tradition and a fearless desire to create fresh pathways.”

They beautifully walk the line between original and traditional bluegrass. Fast gaining recognition for their outstanding performances in bluegrass and folk circles, Evan Murphy, Bronwyn Keith-Hynes, Nate Sabat, BB Bowness and David Benedict write captivating songs and daring instrumental pieces from diverse influences.

The quintet is comprised of Evan Murphy (guitar), David Benedict (mandolin), Bronwyn Keith-Hynes (fiddle), Nate Sabat (bass), and BB Bowness (banjo).

Since their formation in the fall of 2014, Mile Twelve has quickly been on the rise. They released their debut 6-track self titled EP, and performed extensively throughout the U.S., Ireland and Canada, including several major festivals; Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival, FreshGrass Festival, Wind Gap Bluegrass Festival and Joe Val Bluegrass Festival. A track from their debut EP was featured on Sirius XM Bluegrass Junction’s “Hand Picked with Del McCoury”, while another track was featured on Spotify’s “Fresh Bluegrass” 2015 playlist. That same year, they were selected as formal showcase artists at the North East Folk Alliance. The summer of 2016 held more milestones for this young group: opening for Tim O’Brien at the Station Inn in Nashville, winning the Podunk Bluegrass Festival Band Contest and being nominated for a Momentum Award by the International Bluegrass Music Association and adding a fifth band member: mandolin player David Benedict.

Click here for the complete list of upcoming events.

Music: Fernando Pinto Presents Claudia Schmidt Sun., Feb. 2, at 6:30 PM, with Cathy Kreger & Caroline Doctorow Duo

Fernando Pinto presents Claudia Schmidt at Best Video Performance Space on Sunday, Feb. 2. The show starts at 6:30 PM and the Cathy Kreger and Caroline Doctorow Duo opens. Advance tickets are $20 and tickets the day of the show are $25.

If it were the intention of the creator or creators of this universe to perfectly blend together the night sky with moon and stars, it might have been their intention as well to deliver Claudia Schmidt as their messenger of reminder. To say that Schmidt is simply a performer with a talent to entertain would be a miscarriage of understatement. Schmidt takes her audiences into her world as easily as the child who discovers the endless universes that exist in a cardboard box.

From lying on sandy beaches under an endless barrage of northern lights, to the expected anguish and frustration of spinning tires on cars stuck deep in snow, from the age-old struggle of change between adolescence and adulthood to the observation of sheer idiocy, she leaves it to the imagination of her audience to conjure their own images of her storytelling and song. No interpretation of a Claudia Schmidt song or story is wrong-she invites audiences to tie their associations to her style.

Schmidt weaves her way through her concert in much the same manner as a jester. Interwoven anecdotes, revealing her past and present, bring people to expect a relationship between themselves and memories driven deep with the passage of time. The concert is an endless display of self-realization through humor and longing, leaving audience members yearning to become an integral part of her world.
Having performed on stages across the country, Schmidt has developed the ability to remain fresh. She enjoys her talent to entertain as much as the audience enjoys being entertained.

Long-time veterans of the acoustic music scene, Cathy Kreger and Caroline Doctorow join forces to perform a seasoned set of folk. Cathy’s powerhouse blues-style vocals blends beautifully with Caroline’s delicate, more sorrow-filled soprano. Both women are excellent guitar players and can really deliver any song they choose to perform.

Armed with only an acoustic guitar and a voice as clear as cool water, Cathy Kreger delivers more pure music per minute than a bevy of roadhouse rockers. Her irresistible voice and guitar playing has earned her a place on stage opening for world-class acts, including: Bonnie Raitt, David Bromberg, The Band, Patty Larkin, Maria Muldaur, Taj Mahal and Aztec Two-Step and many others. Her musical style is a unique combination of adult contemporary and old blues, with an alternative folk flair.

Singer-songwriter Caroline Doctorow has been called a great champion of American folk music. Her most recent album, Dreaming in Vinyl, reached #2 on the national folk radio airplay charts. She has opened for The Band, Alison Krauss, and Tim O’Brien, among others. Her songs and her voice have been heard on soundtracks on the large and small screen. She is the daughter of the late world-renowned author E.L. Doctorow.

Click here for the complete list of upcoming events.

Music: GuitarTownCT bluegrass jam Sun., Feb. 2, 1:30-4:30 PM

The “First Sunday” Hamden Bluegrass Jam—hosted by GuitarTown CT Productions takes place Sunday, Feb. 2, from 1:30-4:30 PM. (It starts an half-hour earlier than usual to accommodate the evening’s show featuring Claudia Schmidt presented by Fernando Pinto.)

There is no cover—although donations to support Best Video Film & Cultural Center are gratefully accepted—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 Bluegrass Characters play Tues., Jan. 28, at 7:30 PM

The Bluegrass Characters will play Best Video Performance Space on Tuesday, Jan. 28. The show starts at 7:30 PM and the cover is a sliding scale of $5-10 (pay what you can in that range).

Formerly led by the great Stacy Phillips—who tragically passed away last year—The Bluegrass Characters are a local bluegrass super-group who play the great straight-ahead, hard-driving bluegrass from the 50s and 60s.

The group features a rotating cast of acoustic roots music virtuosos. This month’s line-up features Phil Zimmerman (mandolin), Pete Kelly (bass), Peter Kaufman (banjo), Andy Bromage (guitar), and Tom Hagymasi (fiddle). Three chords and the truth, sung from the heart and through the nose.

Click here for the complete list of upcoming events.