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December Music Highlights

The Misfits

Sa 12/11- THE MISFITS, with CHAOTIC, LEFT IN RUINS, and THE JUKEBOX ROMANTICS at the Chance Theater, Poughkeepsie—A punk band that has lasted thirty years is something to truly fear. That takes a powerful combination of toughness, ambition, and straight-up dementia to pull off. New Jersey’s The Misfits fits the bill: formed in 1977 when punk was flailing and screaming fresh from the womb, they took their name from Marilyn Monroe’s last movie and created their own twisted mythology, using black-and-white B-movie horror for a template, keeping the music suitably violent and primal. The result is a massive catalog, a multi-generational international cult following (“The Fiend Club”), and massive peer respect from groups as disparate as Guns ‘N Roses, Metallica, My Chemical Romance, and Hatebreed. A decade-long legal battle with original singer Glenn Danzig in the 80s seemed to sharpen their ferocity, and with the return of founding member Jerry Only (bass/vocals) joining with former Black Flag guitarist Dez Cadena and original Misfits drummer Robo, the trio hasn’t looked back since, touring and recording relentlessly. With Chaotic, Left In Ruins, and the Jukebox Romantics opening. The Chance Theater, 6 Crannell St., Poughkeepsie,, 845.471.1966. 7:30 PM

Happy Traum
by Dion Ogust

John Sebastian
by Catherine Sebastian

Fr 12/17- THE SOLSTICE CONCERT: HAPPY TRAUM & FRIENDS, with JOHN SEBASTIAN, LARRY CAMPBELL, TERESA WILLIAMS, AMY HELM, STEVE EARLE, ALLISON MOORER, and BYRON ISAACS, a benefit for the Woodstock Byrdcliffe Guild (WBG) at Bearsville Theater, Woodstock—Just as the Woodstock Byrdcliffe Guild digs deep into the fertile artistic community of Woodstock for its ever-popular “5 X 7 Show” (please see this month’s roll art & image), so do they also with the regional music community for their Annual Solstice Concert benefit. And what a community it is. Concert leader Happy Traum needs no introduction in these parts, but here’s a quick one for out-of-towners: 1963 with the New World Singers, cut first recording of Dylan’s “Blowing in the Wind,” wrote the influential Fingerpicking Styles for Guitar, multiple tours and recording with brother and guitar virtuoso Artie Traum, guest appearance on Dylan’s Greatest Hits, Vol. 2, with wife Jane founder of Homespun Tapes, a hugely valuable musical resource, where the masters of musical instruments and genres themselves teach the lessons.

Larry Campbell

Teresa Williams

And then, the friends: the incomparable John Sebastian, whose soulful picking and warm smile of a voice just gets better every year, the multi-talented duo of Larry Campbell and Teresa Williams (Bob Dylan, Levon Helm Band), Amy Helm and Byron Isaacs from the gospel/folk/roots-music ensemble Ollabelle, and recent Ulster County transplants Steve Earle and Allison Moorer, bringing a taste of Texas and Tennessee to the party. If you haven’t yet, better get a ticket quick (, because these do tend to go fast. Bearsville Theater, 291 Tinker St. (Rte. 212), Woodstock/Bearsville,, 845.679.4406. 8 PM

Amy Helm

Bryon Isaacs

Allison Moorer

Steve Earle

Su 12/19- An Acoustic Evening with IAN HUNTER & FRIENDS at Towne Crier, Pawling—If you’ve never had a taste of the ass-kicking shot of moonshine that was Mott The Hoople, I feel sorry for you, I really do. ‘Cause that was a proper rock band there, swaggering through the Seventies riding a good-as-the-original cover of David Bowie’s “All The Young Dudes” into initial orbit, and staying there thanks to relentless touring and a string of wicked tunes by leader Ian Hunter: “Once Bitten, Twice Shy,” “All the Way from Memphis,” etc.

Ian Hunter

Ex-Spider-From-Mars Mick Ronson got aboard just as that ship crashed out of the sky, and the Hunter/Ronson team was good for one killer “solo” record for Hunter—the critically-acclaimed All American Alien Boy—and the Hunter/Ronson album and tour of 1988. Since then Hunter has resurfaced from time to time, but so far has resisted the clamor and howl to bring back Mott for one more go-round. He shouldn’t have to, his songwriting has the same hustle and bite it ever did, and he’s been putting a new release out every two years—the most recent being 2009’s Man Overboard. This particular show at the Towne Crier features Hunter in an acoustic setting with frequent collaborators Andy York and Steve Holley, and we recommend getting dinner reservations with this one?the food is great, and reservers get first shot at seating. Towne Crier Café, 130 Rte. 22, Pawling,, 845.855.1300. 7:30 PM

Su 12/19- ANNA CHEEK CD Release for Water Over the Bridge, at Bearsville Theater, Woodstock—It’s been a trying year for pianist/songwriter/chanteuse Anna Cheek, who has spent the better part of it on an unintended hiatus, battling illness that sapped her of energy, making performance all but impossible. But fine music won’t be denied, and though it was recorded last year, her Water Over the Bridge has patiently awaited its proper debut, and it’s well worth the wait (please see this month’s roll CD reviews). Originally from New Orleans, by way of Canada, Maine, and Puerto Rico, the classically-trained Cheek weaves threads from multiple musical sources into a highly individualistic sound that one reviewer has compared to “Eartha Kitt meets Rickie Lee Jones” (though I would add a dash of the Cranberries’ Dolores O’Riordan). With a strong backing unit including longtime collaborators Kyle Esposito (bass) and Manuel Quintana (drums,), plus guitar whiz Todd Nelson, percussionist Bob Resnick, and backing vocalists, this show should serve as a potent reintroduction for an important regional artist we at roll hope to see more of in the coming year. Welcome back, Anna! Bearsville Theater, 291 Tinker St. (Rte. 212), Woodstock/Bearsville,, 845.679.4406. 8 PM

Jay & Molly

Fr 12/31 through 1/3/11- NEW YEAR’S AT ASHOKAN, with JAY UNGAR and MOLLY MASON and others, at Ashokan Center, Olivebridge—If you’re a lover of listening to, playing, singing, and/or dancing to Swing, Cajun, Blues, Waltzes, Contra and Square Dance music, this event might just be irresistible, especially since the party is being thrown by Ashokan Center’s Jay Ungar and Molly Mason. Music and dance lovers can sign on for the full 3-4 days (including Monday), where for a truly modest fee, you can stay onsite at the bunkhouse (or a local hotel if you prefer), get meals, snacks, and beverages, and enjoy daily classes, jam sessions, and singalongs, followed by dances in the evening.

Mike & Ruthy

Participants include Swingology—featuring Jay & Molly with Mike & Ruthy, Peter Davis, Peter Ecklund, Dave Davies, and Harry Aceto, The Red Stick Cajun Band, The Emulsifiers (contra and square dances), dance callers Will Mentor and John Krumm, swing and blues dance instructors Cindy Overstreet and Steve Ryan, and Cajun/Creole dance instructor Corey Porche. If staying the weekend is a bit much, there’s a special New Year’s Eve Dinner & Dance deal, and that night promises to be a hot one in the barn. See the website for full details and options. Ashokan Center, 477 Beaverkill Rd., Olivebridge,, 845.246.2121. Fr 12/31, Dinner 5 PM, Dance 8 PM

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