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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Music: Irish/Celtic music jam takes place Sun., Nov. 24, 2-4 PM

Best Video Performance Space hosts a monthly acoustic Irish music jam. The November jam takes place on Sunday, Nov. 24, 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 happened this month).

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

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Music: GuitarTownCT evening bluegrass jam Mon., Nov. 18, at 5:30 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 5:30-9 PM. Admission to this jam is a suggested donation of $5. November’s jam is on Monday, Nov. 18.

Players of all abilities are welcome as well as those who just enjoy listening. Meet your fellow fans of traditional acoustic music and strum, pick and sing up a storm.

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Music: Illinois fiddler Georgia Rae returns, Angry O’Haras play Fri., Nov. 15, at 7:30 PM

Illinois-based fiddle artist and Connecticut’s own bluegrass combo The Angry O’Haras play Best Video Performance Space on Friday, Nov. 15. The show starts at 7:30 PM and the cover is $10.

Fiddle champ Georgia Rae has discovered the magic of the loop pedal and opened a treasure trove of original material and a one-man show. Quirky and catchy, these songs will invade your life if you let them. Watch her build and give flight to song right before your eyes. Inspired by contemporary artists from the Avett Brothers to Mungo Jerry, and a jazzy feel to her bow, with her loop or her band, Georgia Rae’s music and love for life will follow you out the door and into the next day.

Angry O’Haras use bluegrass as their compass to navigate many musical regions while employing fiddle, guitar, banjo and bass as the instrumental foundation for three- and four-part harmonies. The majority of their songs are reinventions of traditional folk, favorites you may have grown up with, plus lots of new music with an added twist. And it seems their music often makes people want to move their body parts around.

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Music: GuitarTownCT presents Joe Walsh & Grant Gordy Fri., Nov. 8, at 7:30 PM

GuitartownCT presents mandolinist Joe Walsh and guitarist Grant Gordy in concert at Best Video Performance Space on Friday, Nov. 8, at 7:30 PM. Advance tickets are $25 and are available through GuitarTownCT.

Grant Gordy is best known for his six years as guitarist for the legendary David Grisman Quintet, a spot previously held by notables like Tony Rice, Mark O’Connor, Frank Vignola and Mike Marshall. Joe Walsh, after four award-winning years as mandolinist with bluegrass stars the Gibson Brothers, splits his time between an inventive string band called Mr. Sun. featuring Darol Anger, Grant Gordy and Aidan O’Donnell, his duo with Grant Gordy, his own band Sweet Loam, and a full load of teaching at Berklee College of Music.

Guitarist Gordy and mandolinist Walsh are prominent voices in acoustic music, coming from the great tradition of guitar and mandolin duets. They draw heavily from bluegrass, but incorporate influences as varied as Jerry Garcia, Bill Frisell, David Grisman, and Django Reinhardt. Their music is an exciting romp through many acoustic styles. Fretboard Journal calls them, “one of the best acoustic duos performing today.”

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