UPDATE 3/12: Postponed Music: Pigeon English, Jeff Burnham play Thurs., Mar. 12

UPDATE 3/12: Due to concerns raised by COVID-19, tonight’s show at Best Video Film & Cultural Center is being postponed to a later date. Our apologies to all who were looking forward to the show, but the musicians and the staff of Best Video Film & Cultural Center think it is prudent to err on the side of caution. We look forward to rescheduling this event when circumstances allow.

Pigeon English, the harmony pop duo comprised of Rob Nelson and Brian Larney, play Best Video Performance Space on Thursday, Mar. 12. Singer-songwriter Jeff Burnham opens. The show starts at 8 PM and the cover is a sliding scale of $5-10 (pay what you can in that range).

Pigeon English is a collaboration between songwriters Brian Larney (of Lines West) and Rob Nelson (of Elegant Primates), exploring close harmony vocals and the mysterious paths of melody. Drawing inspiration from The Everly Brothers and The Beatles, Larney and Nelson craft songs about love and misunderstanding.

When Pigeon English released their 6-song debut EP “Coo” in January, Rick Allison of Cygnus Radio called it “one of the new treasures of 2019.” Brian Slattery of the New Haven Independent wrote that Pigeon English “melodies, chords, and lyrics consistently make clever turns that feel both unexpected, satisfying — and emotionally complicated…thanks to songwriting this fun and sharp, complicated, agonizing relationship troubles have rarely been so catchy.”

In July, the band released its first full-length album, “Places, Everyone!” featuring 10 new songs.

Singer-songwriter Jeff Burnham takes listeners on a journey across a gritty, haunted landscape, where sunlight flickers through the rain, framed in the tradition of Americana and folk-rock. After several years writing for and performing with his band Tuesday Saints, Jeff has reoriented his sound with heartland rock elements, as a solo project called Jeff Burnham and the Insiders.

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Music: Glenn Roth, Shawn Taylor play Thurs., Mar. 5

Guitarist Glenn Roth and singer-songwriter Shawn Taylor play Best Video Film & Cultural Center Thursday, March 5, 2020. The show starts at 8 PM and the cover is $10. Advance tickets are available at BrownPaperTickets.com.

Glenn Roth is not your typical commuter from Connecticut. Instead of a briefcase, he carries a gig bag. His workspace is the vaulted splendor of Grand Central Terminal or the tunnels and platforms of the New York City subway system. A literal underground sensation, Glenn is a licensed performer in the MTAs Music under New York program, playing for the most distracted and demanding audience in the world: legions of workers rushing to jobs throughout the Big Apple. And his fingers work magic, creating a soundscape of compelling melodies that invite them to leave the cityrush behind on an aural escape.

Glenn is a fingerstyle guitarist, his thumb riding the bassline and the melody driving all. His compositions suggest multiple guitars, but its really just one guy, ten flying fingers, one instrument. All instrumental, Glenns songs suggest moods and narratives that compel the listener to fill in the details.

Glenn has released six CDs to date: Innovations (2005), Busker (2006), Into the Unknown (2010), Welcome Home (2016), and a holiday CD. His original compositions have been hailed as sheer virtuosity and delicate, accomplished solo acoustic guitar work (PLAY: New Haven Arts & Entertainment Weekly). Glenn has shared bills with Stephen Bennett, Monty Montgomery, Tuck & Patti, Bucky Pizzarelli, Carl Verheyen, Don Ross, Antoine Dufour, and Vicky Genfan, among others.

Glenn plays regularly throughout the northeast and tours nationally & internationally to bring his music to new fans and locales. Glenn just released a new “Got It Covered” CD in June 2017 & Jazzed CD in September 2018.

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, Sarah Potenza, Peter Mulvey, Vance Gilbert, Garnet Rodgers and Caravan of Thieves.

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Music: Vicki F, Brian Larney perform Fri., Feb. 21, at 7:30 PM

Singer-songwriters Vicki F and Brian Larney play sets Friday, Feb. 21. The show starts at 7:30 PM and the cover is a sliding scale of $5-10 (pay what you can in that range).

Vicki F is a rock musician and songwriter who was the lead singer and founder of The Dini Band from 2010 to 2016, and was one of the the lead singers and guitar players for the 80s post-punk band, Troupe DiCoupe, that headlined at CBGBs, Max’s Kansas City, other NYC venues and also Ron’s Place, New Haven. She is now performing originals in and around Fairfield County, Connecticut.

Haunted by hooks and good old fashioned song-craft, Brian Larney is an eclectic, non-stop music-making machine. The Connecticut native and New England Music Awards nominee splits his time performing as a solo acoustic act, as the front-man of his band Brian Larney and The Town Hall, and as part of the harmony pop group Pigeon English. He’s an alternative folk-rock singer-songwriter with an honest and thoughtful style that has been described as “quirky, earnest, and vulnerable.” Larney’s music is as influenced by pop songs of the mid-1960s as it is by the contemporary artists he’s often compared to, such as Jason Isbell and The Decemberists.

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Music: Tiny Ocean plays Thurs., Feb. 20

Tiny Ocean plays Best Video Performance Space on Thursday, Feb. 20. The show starts at 8 PM and the cover is a sliding scale of $5-10 (pay what you can in that range).

Tiny Ocean is dreamy indie Americana. Front woman and songwriter, Kierstin Sieser’s songs are beautiful and strangely haunting dioramas that somehow feel familiar. They released their first album “Sometimes You’re Right” at the beginning of September. The group is Kierstin Joy Sieser, Jeremy Coster on guitar, Jon Morse on drums and Keith Newman on bass.

In a New Haven Independent report on a May, 2018 show, arts editor Brian Slattery wrote:

Coster, Neuman, and Morse together proved to be a subtle and supple band, always keeping the rhythm breathing. They sounded relaxed and confident, musicians making exactly the sound they wanted to hear. But the real hook was Seiser’s songwriting, an evocative Americana that was somehow frank and elusive, bitter and funny, all at the same time. She could take the vibe from dreamy to gritty in the space of a song or two, sometimes within a beat or two, the band always moving with her.

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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: Sid & Sonia, Gregory Frost play Best Video Sat., Feb. 1, at 7:30 PM

Sid & Sonia and Gregory Frost play Best Video Performance Space Sat., Feb. 1. The show starts at 7:30 PM and the cover is a sliding scale of $5-10 (pay what you can in that range).

Sid & Sonia blend Sonia’s sweetly powerful voice and unique styling and Sid’s musical versatility (on electric and acoustic guitar, harmonica, and piano). Their shows feature an eclectic selection of rock, folk, country, jazzy, gospel-tinged, and bluesy songs from then and now, arranged in often original and always distinctive ways. Boston-based, join them at one of their infrequent Connecticut performances.

Gregory Frost is a multi-talented musician and multi-media artist, prolific songwriter, longtime leader of the innovative bands Ghost Radio and Ice Brothers, and architect of two legendary Beatles shows at Sacred Heart University.

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Music: Cimiotti, Trevor Babb perform Fri., Jan. 31, at 8 PM

Guitarist Trevor Babb and ambient singer-songwriter Cimiotti play sets at Best Video Performance Space on Friday, Jan. 31. The show starts at 8 PM and the cover is a $5-10 sliding scale (pay what you can in that range).

Cimiotti (chim-e-ought-e) is the ambient singer-songwriter project of Paul Collins. Since 2014, Cimiotti has been releasing small run experimental/ambient cassette tapes through his label, Cimiotti Recordings. The label has provided him and other like minded artist with an outlet for their more intimate experimental material.

With “Va Piano,” Cimiotti’s nuanced take on Ambient music is on full display. While most ambient music strives to achieve a state of bliss, Cimiotti uses it as a vehicle to explore more conflicted states of being.

Recorded in Southern Italy, and Jackson Heights, NY, “Va Piano” is varied in its musical approaches. From solo electric guitar work, to immersive synthesizer tapestries, to narcotic ballads, Cimiotti’s “Va Piano” is a record for the ambient listener who still wants to turn on Townes Van Zandt and have a good cry.

American guitarist/composer, Trevor Babb, is a versatile and adventurous musician based in New Haven, CT, primarily devoted to music by living composers. He has collaborated with the New Hampshire Music Festival Orchestra, Hartford Independent Chamber Orchestra, Caution Tape Sound Collective (Toronto), New England Chamber Players (Boston), Black House Collective (California), and Aeon Ensemble (New York City).

A passionate advocate of contemporary music, Trevor has given dozens of premiere performances of works by established and emerging composers. His debut recording on Innova Recordings, Warmth, features several premiere recordings of works by emerging composers for multiple electric guitars. Babb studied at the Eastman School of Music (BM), Yale School of Music (MM, MMA, DMA), and the Haute École de Musique de Genève in Geneva, Switzerland under the support of a Fulbright Scholarship. He is an Adjunct Artist Instructor at Vassar College.

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Music: Singer-songwriters Frank Critelli, Shandy Lawson, Muddy Rivers play Thurs., Jan. 9

Singer-songwriters Frank Critelli, Shandy Lawson, and Muddy Rivers play Best Video Performance Space on Thursday, Jan. 9. The show starts at 8 PM and the cover is a sliding scale of $5-10 (pay what you can in that range).

Frank Critelli writes songs. He dabbles in haiku and other short poetry. Sometimes he writes other stuff too. Like postcards. His songs are available on compact disc and for download at places like CD Baby.

Frank Critelli often performs live. Sometimes he performs solo, and sometimes he is accompanied by one or more musical co-conspirators. Over the years he’s played in streets and subways, clubs and coffeehouses, barrooms and classrooms, colleges, festivals, theaters, and (most recently) in his kitchen.

Shandy Lawson, who now makes his career as an author, was a longtime fixture on the Connecticut folk and singer-songwriter scene. The New Haven-based Lawson describes his approach as “singer/songwriter, Folk, Americana, Alt-country or some such.”

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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: Anna p.s., Meggie Czepiel perform Fri., Dec. 13

Indie folk musician Anna p.s. plays Best Video Film & Cultural Center on Friday, Dec. 13, 2019, sharing the bill with local singer-songwriter Meggie Czepiel. The show starts at 8 PM and the cover is a sliding scale of $5-10 (pay what you can in that range).

Michigan-based indie folk musician Anna p.s. conveys a sense of weariness throughout her simple yet resonant songs, but it’s a weariness that keeps a blanket of hope tucked up under its chin, even as the rain keeps falling outside the windows. Grace always lurks around the corner on tunes that layer delicate vulnerability over the hearty stock of this songwriters’ spirit. With technical acumen acquired during an early career as an audio engineer, and a humble but confident stage presence groomed as a founding member of indie roots rock band Shiny Shiny Black, Anna stepped out as a solo musician in 2014. She’s been on the road intermittently ever since. Her debut LP Umbrella, released in July 2016, showcases her signature sonic blend of melancholy, hope, and resilience.

In concert, Anna plays acoustic guitar, foot percussion, and—perhaps unexpectedly—the flute. She uses a looper pedal to sample her guitar and loop it back while she plays flute interludes during her songs, bringing a unique element to her concerts.

Meggie Czepiel is an emerging songwriter from the local area. Her songs display well-crafted scenes that capture the magic and emotional themes akin to an intuitive poet growing up and marveling over the oddities of time. She has been writing songs in her head for as long as she can remember and on paper since she was 13. Meggie works with Ponybird and will soon work with other young female songwriters, in the hopes of creating a supportive, inspiring community for girls like her.

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