Music: Too Blue plays eclectic blend of bluegrass, swing, & more Sat., Jan. 11, at 7:30 PM

Acoustic group Too Blue plays Best Video Performance Space on Saturday, Jan. 11. The show starts at 7:30 PM and there is a $10 cover.

Traveling freely between bluegrass, swing, Celtic and jazz, a Too Blue show is a dynamic dose of serious fun. Smooth harmonies and adventurous musicianship bring stellar arrangements to life and leave the listener anything but “blue.” Original songs as well as fresh covers from Patsy Cline to Bill Monroe keep the show moving and toes tapping.

Seamlessly blending their vocals are guitarist Betsy Rome and banjoist Joan Harrison. Mandolin powerhouse Michael Sassano astounds and entertains, while jazz bassist Jamie Doris brings a creative perspective. Together, Too Blue makes exciting bluegrass that swings and entertains.

Of their second CD, “Trouble With the Grey,” Barry Mitterhoff (mandolinist with Jorma Kaukonen) said, “To quote Bill Monroe, ‘This is powerful music!’ … Swing-grass, original tunes, hot pickin’ & sweet singin.”

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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: GuitarTownCT presents Evan Murphy Sun., Dec. 8, at 7 PM; Sofia Chiarandini opens

Evan Murphy plays Best Video Performance Space on Sunday, Dec. 8. Fiddler Sofia Chiarandini opens. The show starts at 7 PM and advance tickets are available from GuitarTownCT.com for $25.
Evan Murphy, known best for his work as singer/guitarist and a founding member of the groundbreaking bluegrass group Mile Twelve, is touring his debut solo project in the northeast. His new music showcases his songwriting in a new and raw way, focusing on deeply personal topics such as religion, home and family. Evan is backed by Nate Sabat on bass and Sean Trischka on drums. Not bluegrass, but in the tradition of singer/songwriters from that genre.
Sofía Chiarandini is a musician based out of New England. She has been playing violin since age five, and at age fourteen decided to dive into the world of bluegrass. Sofía began studying with Grammy award winning fiddle and dobro player and notable author Stacy Phillips, who was her mentor and main source of inspiration in the non-classical world. As a teenager she studied voice with jazz vocalist Sarah Tolar, and classical violin with Juliet Kurtzman. Sofía has been playing double bass since she was nine, and has studied with Domenick Fiore, who inspired Sofía to diversify and study jazz as well.

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: 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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Music: The Bluegrass Characters play Tues., Oct. 29, at 7:30 PM

The Bluegrass Characters will play Best Video Performance Space on Tuesday, Oct. 29. 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), Pete Kaufman (banjo), Andy Bromage (guitar), and Kat Wallace (fiddle). Three chords and the truth, sung from the heart and through the nose.

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Music: The Elm City Ramblers play bluegrass & traditional folk Tues., Oct. 8, at 7:30 PM

The Elm City Ramblers, led by Phil Rosenthal, play Best Video Performance Space on Tuesday, Oct. 8. The music starts at 7:30 PM and the cover is $5.

The Elm City Ramblers are a talented group of bluegrass/folk musicians, led by local bluegrass legend Phil Rosenthal, playing an assortment of classic, contemporary and original songs. They meet weekly at the Neighborhood Music School, but make occasional appearances in the area, and are delighted to bring their music to Best Video! The group includes Mike Milano on banjo; Lenore Hammers on fiddle; Barbara Dobay Ljungstrom on autoharp; Bill Kaplan, Thom Peters, Rich Walser and Phil on guitar; Brian Funaro, Estelle Baik, Ruth Lively and Matt Light on mandolin; and John Jarvis on bass.

Phil Rosenthal was lead singer and guitarist in the seminal bluegrass band the Seldom Scene. His compositions have been recorded by Johnny Cash, Bill Monroe, Nick Cave and others. He was selected Connecticut State Troubadour in 1994, and has been called “a roots master” by Billboard Magazine and “one of the most expressive singers in traditional country music” by the Washington Post.

He has performed with Jerry Douglas, Bill Monroe, Emmylou Harris, Jonathan Edwards and many others in his career in folk and bluegrass music.

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Music: Frog Hollow plays bluegrass & blues Fri., Oct. 4, at 7:30 PM

Frog Hollow plays Best Video Performance Space on Friday, Oct. 4. The show starts at 7:30 PM and the cover is $15.

Frog Hollow is Phil Rosenthal, Chris Wuerth, Peter Menta and Bobo Lavorgna, local bluegrass and blues musicians. They played together for the first time recently on Phil’s monthly radio show on ICRV Radio. They had such a good time, they decided to form a band. The music is classic bluegrass, rhythm and blues, and some original songs.

Phil Rosenthal was lead singer and guitarist in the seminal bluegrass band the Seldom Scene. His compositions have been recorded by Johnny Cash, Bill Monroe, Nick Cave and others. Peter Menta is the longtime leader of Washboard Slim & the Blue Lights. Bassist David “Bobo” Lavorgna has played bass for some well known regional acts such as Jake & The Family Jewels, Stormin’ Normin and Suzy, Blake Street Gut Band, 1917 Jazz Band, Swingin Jazz, Robert Silverman, Mike Cappezone, Tony Mason and the list goes on, and on and on. Chris Wuerth has played with the bluegrass ensembles Ragweed and the East Rock Ramblers and is well known for helming the popular GuitarTownCT concert series.

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Music: Naomi Sommers & Dan Tressler play Fri., Sept. 27, at 8 PM

The duo of Naomi Sommers and Dan Tressler play Best Video Performance Space Friday, Sept. 27. The show starts at 8 PM and the cover is $10.

Naomi and Dan draw from the traditions of American folk music, bluegrass and blues, using skills honed in their respective family bands. Their repertoire includes original songs, traditional and old-time country tunes. The pair first started as a duo 20 years ago and have now reunited for new musical adventures, featuring sweet vocal harmonies, guitar, fiddle, mandolin, flute, banjo.

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