Around New York there are some fine choices for some great music this coming weekend.
For those of you who are hankering for a very eclectic selection of roots-oriented folk music and dance non-stop over the weekend, aim for the Albany area for the 33rd annual Old Songs Festival (www.oldsongs.org/festival) at the Altamont Fairgrounds.
This is very intimate festival that still harvests a great crop of entertainers with varied backgrounds and places of origin, though I’m usually on the lookout for the Celtic genre myself and there is plenty on tap this year.
Over the three days from Friday, June 28-30, you can see and hear acts like Seamus Begley and Oisin MacDiarmada, Anglo-Irish ballad singer Maggie Boyle and Paul Downes, Scottish fiddler Hanneke Cassel, bluegrass star Claire Lynch, the one and only Scottish folk legend Archie Fisher, Quebec folk artists Genticorum, Singer John Roberts, the percussive dance ensemble Footworks and loads more entertainers. Call 518-765-2815 for more info or visit the web.
On Saturday night, June 29, there are some choices in New York City that are sure to yield a great night’s entertainment. Out at the very active New York Irish Center, the rambunctious lads of Jameson’s Revenge (Dennis and Brian McCarty, Andrew McCarrick and John Walsh) bring their rambling act to Queens for a return engagement. They’re bringing along the Tyrone terror Mickey Coleman.
They better reinforce those storefront windows on Jackson Avenue because Jameson’s Revenge brings a salvage attack to traditional Irish music wherever they take the stage, and no one enjoys performing the old chunes the way they do.
Coleman also has a way with the audience, especially in spaces where the lyrics fall softly on the ears which is what singer-songwriters crave the most. The seats fill up quickly so visit www.nyirish.org to reserve. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. for some get-acquainted snacks and drinks until showtime at 8:30 p.m. Irish time.
In the financial district of Manhattan the hurried pace of the weekday grind gives over to a more relaxed vibe over the weekend when historic cobblestone streets and city landmarks and waterfront attractions abound for a more leisurely jaunt.
One of those cobblestone streets is Stone Street, where the Ulysses Bar and Restaurant offers fine fare for food and drink at all times as a bit of an oasis. Since part of its title is Ulysses: A Folk House it is also known for serving up some mighty fine music on Saturday nights during their Summer Music Series in their special music room behind the main dining room and bar alongside the outdoor patio setup on (58) Stone Street.
Their featured act this Saturday night is the Pride of Pearl River, otherwise known as Girsa, who go on at 10 p.m. and are sure to please the punters who make their way to 95 Pearl Street which is the front entrance for Ulysses. Call 212-482-0400 or visit www.ulyssesnyc.com.