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.

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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.

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Music: Fernando Pinto Presents Ramblin’ Dan Stevens & Opey Chris D’Amato, Mark Crofutt & Peter Menta Sun., Jan. 5, at 6:30 PM

Ramblin’ Dan Stevens and Opey Chris D’Amato.

Fernando Pinto Presents Ramblin’ Dan Stevens and Opey Chris D’Amato with Mark Crofutt and Peter Menta opening Sunday, Jan. 5, at Best Video Film & Cultural Center. Tickets are $15 in advance through BrownPaperTickets.com and $20 at the door. Doors are at 6 PM and the show starts at 6:30 PM.

Ramblin’ Dan Stevens and Chris D’Amato perform an eclectic mix of traditional blues, Americana and originals and are noted for their intricate guitar arrangements Dan has entertained audiences throughout the US, Germany, UK, Canada and Virgin Islands and Chris (aka Smokin’ Opey) has been a fixture in the New Haven music scene for over 30 years and has toured nationally. The duo were finalists at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis TN representing the CT Blues Society.

Mark Crofutt and Peter Menta (aka Washboard Slim) play hot kickin’ Americana seasoned with strains of jug band music, blues, and folk.

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Music: GuitarTownCT bluegrass jam Sun., Jan. 5, 1:30-4:30 PM

The “First Sunday” Hamden Bluegrass Jam—hosted by GuitarTown CT Productions takes place Sunday, Jan. 5, from 1:30-4:30 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.

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Music: Shawn Taylor, Richard Neal kick off 2020 programming Thurs., Jan. 2

Singer-songwriters Shawn Taylor and Richard Neal play Best Video Performance Space Thursday, Jan. 2. The show starts at 8 PM and the cover is a sliding scale of $5-10 (pay what you can in that range).

With a thumping thumb, dancing fingers, wailing harp, deep, gritty, soul stirring vocals and poetic blue collar lyrics, Shawn Taylor’s songs ooze American roots; wandering roots. He’s drawn comparisons from Tom Waites to Ray Lamontagne, Bruce Springsteen to Chris Smither, but his original songs are colored by the experiences of his own working class, wandering roots. He’s been an oysterman, carpenter, hitchhiker, homeowner, familly man, Appalachian Trail ‘thru-hiker’ and a performing musician and song writer, for over twenty years.

He plays venues from New England to Nashville and has shared the stage with artists such as, Maria Muldaur, Peter Mulvey, Vance Gilbert, Garnet Rodgers and Caravan of Thieves.

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.

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Music: Fernando Pinto Presents Nu Haven Kapelye Sun., Dec. 22, at 6:30 PM

Come Celebrate Hanukkah, the Jewish Holiday with The Nu Haven Kapelye at Best Video Performance Space on Sunday, Dec. 22. Doors are at 6 PM and the show starts at 6:30 PM. Advance tickets are $10 at BrownPaperTickets.com and $15 the day of the show. The show is presented by Fernando Pinto and is not an official BVFCC show in which members can use their monthly free pass (or passes).

Join us for a special first night of Hanukkah concert and celebration with The Nu Haven Kapelye. Come hear your favorite holiday songs, spin the dreydl, and dance the hora to begin the festival of lights. A night of Yiddish song, Klezmer and Hanukkah classics at East Rock Concert Series, at Best Video.

Nu Haven Kapelye is Southern New England’s largest Klezmer ensemble, numbering anywhere from 12-30 musicians. A cross between a big band and a Klezmer orchestra, the Kapelye plays innovative arrangements of Klezmer and Yiddish music from Romania, Hungary, Bessarabia, and other Eastern European locales. It isn’t just the size of this group that makes it so very exciting it’s the energy of their performances, the diversity of age, experience, background and especially the commitment of the musicians that comes across in their music. The group recorded and released their first CD, What’s Nu, in 2016.

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Music: Folk, country, and blues from Coda Blue Wed., Dec. 18

Coda Blue

Coda Blue plays Best Video Performance Space Wednesday, Dec. 18. The music starts at 8 PM and the cover is a sliding scale of $5-10 (pay what you can in that range).

Coda Blue brings together three New Haven area musicians—Louis Audette, James Weisser and Ron Guerrette—to play their unique arrangements of blues, country and folk songs, as well as some originals. They will be joined at this show by Tim Quinn on harmonica.

The members of this trio have played in a variety of settings and each brings a wealth of understanding and experience to their performances.

Louis Audette on bass provides a solid foundation for the music. He started out playing with the Grey Sky Boys and then with the Greenbriar Boys. He chose not to follow that band when they hit the road to back Joan Baez. As he explains it, he was “tied to the mast.” He helped Frank and Barbara Shaw to start the popular bluegrass band Shoregrass. He has played in other bands: CornBread, the Moonshiners, Fairfield Crossing, and Chicks ‘n Sync. Louis is also a member of the ZuZazz String Orkestra.

James Weisser adds guitar and vocals to the mix. He has been known to pull out a blues harp. He will sometimes double on mandolin or concert ukulele. He is half of the songwriting duo of Nyren and Weisser. James founded the duo Woodrock with Steve Nyren. The duo performed in many of the venues in and around New Haven. As a founding member of the Dudley Farm String Band he played guitar and provided the lead vocals.

Ron Guerrette, an acoustic finger style and slide guitar player also known to torture an electric guitar from time to time, has played in many settings. The name of the trio is derived from Ron’s uncanny “ability” to tag any song with an unusually long ending. These inventive codas challenge an audience to determine if a song has reached its conclusion. Ron provides vocals as needed.

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Music: Five In the Chamber revs up their high energy bluegrass for last show under that name Sat., Dec. 14, at 7:30 PM

Bluegrass quintet Five in the Chamber play Best Video Performance Space on Saturday, Dec. 14. The show starts at 7:30 PM and the cover is $10.

Five in the Chamber is a New Haven, Connecticut based bluegrass band that drives hard and carries a big pick. They respect the tradition. They respect the trailblazers. And they respect the renegade outlaws. Our final product is an eclectic balance of unique music which both reinterprets and redefines the bluegrass songbook.

Formed in 2011, the band has spent the last several years building a catalog of original catalog that showcase the group’s strong vocals, musicianship, and passion for genre busting. The band released their debut album in the Fall of 2013 entitled Live in the Chamber to rave reviews and is currently working on a new EP.

Five in the Chamber is Ken McEwen (Guitar, Vocals), Pete Kaufman (Banjo), Kat Wallace (Fiddle, Vocals), Dave Casali (Bass, Vocals) and David Sasso (Mandolin, Vocals).

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Music: Acoustic folk from The Steve Nystrup Trio, Hugh Blumenfeld Trio Fri., Dec. 6, at 7:30 PM

The Steve Nystrup Trio and the Hugh Blumenfeld Trio play Best Video Performance Space Friday, Dec. 6. The show starts at 7:30 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.

Hugh Blumenfeld has been called “a songwriter’s songwriter,” ranging from romantic ballads to biting satire. The Boston Globe described his work as “words and music full of passion and poetry” while DJ/columnist Ed McKeon calls him “as sharp a political and social satirist as any songwriter writing today.”

Hugh has performed across the U.S. and abroad, with tours in Europe and Israel. He opened the Kerrville Folk Festival in 2000 and closed the Falcon Ridge Folk Festival with Ani DiFranco in 1996. He has played house concerts and coffeehouses as well as major clubs and theatres including NYC’s legendary Bottom Line, D.C.’s Birchmere, Philly’s Theatre of Living Arts, and the Kennedy Performance Center’s Millenium Stage series.

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Music: On the Trail returns to play bluegrass Wed., Dec. 5, at 7:30 PM

On the Trail plays Best Video Performance Space on Wednesday, Dec. 4. The show starts at 8 PM and the cover is $10.

Featuring four musicians from four very different backgrounds, On The Trail is a modern acoustic quartet that explores everything from bluegrass to contemporary pop, from stunning instrumentals to beautiful traditional songs. The band bonded from their love of bluegrass and the band Punch Brothers, and has already gained recognition and praise for their exploration and strong execution of the challenging music, as well as for their new original music. On The Trail features Austin Scelzo (fiddle and vocals), Tom Polizzi (mandolin and vocals), Charlie Widmer (guitar and vocals), and Chet Duke (banjo).

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