UPDATE: Postponed! Washboard Slim & The Blue Lights play roots & jug band music Sat., May 7, at 6:30 PM

UPDATE 5/4/22: Due to a positive covid test, Washboard Slim & The Bluelights will not perform this Saturday, May 7. We hope to announce a rescheduled date soon.

Washboard Slim & The Bluelights play Best Video Film & Cultural Center on Sat., May 7, starting at 6:30 PM. The cover is $15.

This is an indoor show so proof of vaccination is required to enter and masks are required.

After 40 years of playing together, Washboard Slim and the Bluelights has evolved into one of the country’s most versatile and original of jug bands incorporating pure Americana instruments like tub bass, washboard, jug, banjo, harmonica, and fiddle.

Adding drums and powerful vocal harmonies, this band rocks sold-out concerts, dance halls and family shows. Playing their own compositions as well as original arrangements of traditional gospel, blues, country and early rock n’ roll, their music is by turns playful, haunted and uplifting.

The band for this show is Peter Menta (aka Washboard Slim), Howie Horn, John Pendergast, Brooks Barnett, and Mat Kastner.

UPDATE SAT., MAR. 12—POSTPONED Too Blue plays Best Video Sat., Mar. 12

Update, Sat., Mar. 12. Due to the inclement weather & the long distance one of the band members needs to travel, this show is being postponed. We hope to announce a new date soon.

Too Blue plays Best Video Film & Cultural Center Sat., Mar. 12, starting at 7 PM. The cover is $10.

This is an indoor show so attendance is 30 max. Proof of vaccination is required to enter and masks are required.

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.”

GuitarTownCT presents Jake Blount & Friends Fri., Nov. 19, at 6 PM

GuitarTownCT Productions presents Jake Blount & Friends at Best Video Performance Space Fri., Nov. 19. The show starts at 6 PM and tickets are now sold out.

For this show, our covid protocols are maximum 40 attendance, proof of vaccination required at the door, and masks are required inside.

Jake Blount is an award-winning banjoist, fiddler, singer and scholar based in Providence, RI. He is a 2020 recipient of the Steve Martin Banjo Prize.

Blount specializes in the music of Black communities in the southeastern United States, weaving blues, bluegrass and spirituals into the old-time string band tradition he belongs to. He tours domestically and internationally as a solo performer, with his duo Tui, and with his band. His first full-length solo album, Spider Tales, debuted at #2 on the Billboard Bluegrass Chart, and received rave reviews from NPR, Rolling Stone, and Billboard. It was The Guardian’s Folk Album of The Month, and was on “Best of 2020” lists from NPR, Bandcamp, The New Yorker, The Guardian, and more. This is his first GuitartownCT appearance.

Blount will be accompanied by Isa Burke f(iddle and vocals, from Lula Wiles), Gus Tritsch (guitar), and Nelson Williams (bass).

Click here for the complete list of upcoming events.

The Moon Shells play Americana on the Best Video deck Sat., Sept. 18

The Moon Shells play the Best Video Film & Cultural Center deck Sat., Sept. 18. The show starts at 5:30 PM.

The Moon Shells draw from the traditional music of Appalachia, Louisiana, West Africa and elsewhere to try to make something new. Whether performing as an acoustic stringband, a stripped-down trio, or a five-piece making modern sounds on traditional instruments at clubs and festivals, the Moon Shells move hearts and feet.

In 2019 they released two albums—Seaside Asylum, an album of original songs and tunes, and Screech Plank, an album of more traditional fiddle tunes. The Hartford Courant named Seaside Asylum one of its favorite regional albums of 2019. Their next album of original songs, House of Air, came out in 2020 to similar acclaim. Both albums have gotten radio airplay throughout New England. The band is currently finishing its next two albums for release later in the year and this gig will be one of the band’s first chances to play new songs for an audience.

ABOUT OUR SHOWS:

We ask respect for social distancing, please, and conscientiousness on masks. Not everybody is vaccinated yet and our venue wants to advise caution and consideration for others. Masks are optional outside but required if you go inside Best Video.

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. (There will also be a Best Video tip jar for donations.)

Parking available behind Best Video and on Thornton Street.

Five ‘N Change play bluegrass Thurs., Sept. 9

Bluegrass quintet Five ‘N Change play the Best Video Film & Cultural Center deck Thurs., Sept. 9. The show starts at 5:30 PM.

Five ‘n Change 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 American roots music which both reinterprets and redefines the bluegrass songbook.

Formed in 2011, the band has spent the last several years building a catalog of music that showcases 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 followed up with a self titled EP release. (Both CD’s are available in the MUSIC section of this website).

The group is Ken McEwen (guitar & vocals), Pete Kaufman (banjo), Dave Casali (bass), David Sasso (mandolin) with Ryan Mooney (dobro, guitar).

ABOUT OUR SHOWS:

We ask respect for social distancing, please, and conscientiousness on masks. Not everybody is vaccinated yet and our venue wants to advise caution and consideration for others. Masks are optional outside but required if you go inside Best Video.

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. (There will also be a Best Video tip jar for donations.)

Parking available behind Best Video and on Thornton Street.

Frog Hollow brings roots & blues music to Best Video Sat., Sept. 4

Frog Hollow returns to Best Video Film & Cultural Center for an outdoors show on Sat., Sept. 4. It starts at 5 PM.

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, and this is their first gig. The music is classic bluegrass, rhythm and blues, and some original songs.

ABOUT OUR SHOWS:

We ask respect for social distancing, please, and conscientiousness on masks. Not everybody is vaccinated yet and our venue wants to advise caution and consideration for others. Masks are optional outside but required if you go inside Best Video.

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. (There will also be a Best Video tip jar for donations.)

Parking available behind Best Video and on Thornton Street.

RESCHEDULED! Shawn Taylor plays Wed., Apr. 28, instead of Apr. 15 due to rain forecast

Shawn Taylor.

UPDATE: Due to the strong expectation of rain on the originally scheduled date of Thursday, Apr. 15, the show by singer-songwriter Shawn Taylor on the Best Video Film & Cultural Center deck has been rescheduled to Wednesday, Apr. 28, starting at 5:30 PM.

Singer-songwriter Shawn Taylor plays the Best Video Film & Cultural Center deck Thursday, Apr.15, starting at 5:30 PM.

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.

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.

Click here for a complete list of upcoming shows.

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.”

Click here for the complete list of upcoming events.

Music: The Moon Shells, Kat Wallace & David Sasso serve up Americana Sat., June 1, at

The Moon Shells and the duo of Kat Wallace & David Sasso play Best Video Performance Space on Saturday, June 1. The show starts at 8 PM and the cover is a sliding scale of $5-10 (pay what you can in that range).

The Moon Shells are a new project from Maggie Shar, Laura Murawski, and Brian Slattery, who met one another through the Appalachian fiddle community in 2015 and started playing together as often as they could. As musicians they were drawn to each other by a shared sense of rhythm and improvisation, grounded in the Appalachian fiddle tradition but drawing from the many kinds of music they love from Louisiana, West Africa, Eastern Europe, and elsewhere, to create a sound that’s emotional and groovy at the same time.

Kat Wallace and David Sasso met playing hard and fast bluegrass with New Haven string band 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. Both singers and multi-instrumentalists, 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 it’s story. In April 2019, Kat and David will be recording their debut album in Dimension Sound Studios in Boston, produced by acclaimed cellist Mike Block.

Click here for the complete list of upcoming events.

Music: Bluegrass and blues from roots super-group Frog Hollow Fri., May 24 (UPDATE: Starts at 7:30 PM)

Frog Hollow plays Best Video Performance Space on Friday, May 24. The show starts at 8 PM starts at 7:30 PM and the cover is $10 ($5 for students).

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, and this is their first gig. 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.

Click here for the complete list of upcoming events.