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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Music: GuitarTownCT Concerts presents John Reischman & the Jaybirds Fri., Sept. 20, at 7:30 PM

GuitartownCT presents John Reischman and The Jaybirds on Friday, September 20, at 7:30 PM, at Best Video Film & Cultural Center, 1842 Whitney Avenue, Hamden, CT. Tickets are $30 at guitartownct.com.

John Reischman was a member of the legendary Tony Rice Unit for 7 years in the 1980’s, recording the albums Mar West, Backwaters, and Still Inside. He has been based in Vancouver for twenty-five years, and an appearance on the East Coast is a rare treat! With a fifth critically-acclaimed album and expanded touring schedule, John Reischman and the Jaybirds are a top-flight band delivering a truly fresh blend of original songs and instrumentals, old-time heritage, and bluegrass power.

In a marketplace flooded with virtuosic bluegrass ensembles, John Reischman & The Jaybirds have found a recipe to stand out from the rest; they go back to the roots of bluegrass and old-time music for their inspiration, then spin these roots into a new sound.

On their new album, Vintage & Unique, this twice Juno Nominated band covers songs and tunes from Bill Monroe, Hobart Smith, and Hazel Dickens & Alice Gerrard, but the real gems of the album are the band’s originals. While these songs and tunes are clearly informed by the tradition, John Reischman & The Jaybirds have an eclectic creativity that guides their refreshing excursions in acoustic roots music. Throughout, the bluegrass harmonies are spot-on, and each instrumental break crackles with energy. Being such a tight band, John Reischman & The Jaybirds don’t need to play fast to show off. They vary tempos, and some of the most compelling tracks on the album are the slower tunes, where they can really get at the heart of the music. This is bluegrass done right, true to the roots but not afraid to look forward to new ideas.

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Music: GuitarTownCT evening bluegrass jam on Mon., Sept. 16, 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 6-9 PM. Admission to this jam is a suggested donation of $5. September’s jam is on Monday, Sept. 16, from 5:30-9 PM.

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

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Music: GuitarTownCT presents Phillips, Grier & Flinner Fri., Aug. 16, at 7:30 PM

GuitarTownCT Concerts presents Phillips, Grier & Flinner on their 20th Reunion tour at Best Video Performance Space Friday, Aug. 16. The show starts at 7:30 PM. Advance tickets are $35 and available through GuitarTownCT.com.

David Grier, guitar, Matt Flinner, mandolin, and Todd Phillips, bass, are three of the most accomplished and well-known musicians in acoustic music. “Bluegrass supergroup,” an overused phrase, is true in this case. This tour marks 20 years since their debut album. Their resumes are too long to list. Suffice it to say that they are the best of the best. They have all appeared at GuitartownCT in various configurations, but never together.

Bluegrass Unlimited, “It’s amazing how full an acoustic trio can sound. Fans of exquisitely played acoustic music will want to check out the newest ‘power trio’ in string music.” JazzTimes: “Their playing is exquisite without exception!”

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Music: On the Trail, new bluegrass quartet, plays Wed., Aug. 7

On the Trail plays Best Video Performance Space on Wednesday, Aug. 7. The show starts at 8 PM and the cover is $5.

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 also features Austin Scelzo-fiddle and vocals, Tom Polizzi-mandolin and vocals, and Charlie Widmer-guitar and vocals.

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