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Greensky Bluegrass Welcomes Billy Strings, Tears Up NYC [Photos]

first_imgLoad remaining images Friday night saw the Greensky Bluegrass and Billy Strings’ tour land in New York City after a week that also saw “casual Weggendsday” stop in Albany and a gig in Boston. Already this year, the traveling circus of progressive bluegrass maestros has managed gigs in Colorado, Tennessee, and Indiana, and they don’t seem to be showing any signs of stopping. As GSBG has really broken through into being able to sell out larger venues in recent years, it seems they’re taking a lesson from the band that they all met following, Phish, and are committed to squeezing as many shows into a tour as is humanly possible, and hopscotching around the country to make it happen.Fans arriving early got the treat of watching Billy Strings picking on some originals. While the Billy Strings show is necessarily hamstrung by his dearth of overall material to work with, the brief early set gave fans a sense of just how hot his licks can get, and the potential that that band really has, with a mandolin player who can rip the same 128th notes right in tune with Billy. With Playstation Theater’s back seats closed off, the more intimate space really gave fans a sense of being close to the action, more reminiscent of a mountain town bar than Times Square’s lavish basement venue.At around 9:20, Greensky Bluegrass hit the stage and came out of the gates roaring with ‘Burn Them,’ a real party-starter of a number that heated up the crowd. After showing off their barn-burning chops, the group settled in and put some of their more composed songwriting chops on display with ‘Worried Man.’Next up was ‘Living Over,’ featuring what was probably the first proper jam of the night, as Paul Hoffman stretched out a mandolin solo before nodding over to Anders Beck on dobro to take over the lead. Beck’s yearning, exploratory tone at the outset played itself out with gusto, developing into quicker and quicker loops with his licks seeming to chase themselves around the rabbit hole, before finally returning to the song’s chorus, the same lyrics they were singing as they rang in 2018 just a little less than a month ago now. A slowdown was in order after the revelation that was ‘Living Over,’ and the more conventionally bluegrass number ‘Room Without A Roof’ fit the bill. With barely a pause following the ballad, the defining banjo riff of ‘Just To Lie’ rang out from Michael Arlen Bont and the group launched into the set’s real meat.The song’s early solo ended and bled into its more improvisational section as it came back to the lyrics, “I told you that I loved you, just so I could lie beside you,” before repeating the lyric “I told you,” with an echoing reverb. This section almost seemed like trance-fusion, as the group played with the pulsating rhythm of the open space in the song instead of letting the intergalactic jam drift—though, Greensky snapped the fans back into their surroundings with the first verse of ‘Hold On,’ whose “shouted, written down, and quoted” lyric resonates enough that the group named a whole album after it. With a smoking banjo solo there, the band pressed their segue further into The Louvin Brothers’ ‘Great Atomic Power,’ whose lyrics they changed from “for your soul will fly to safety and eternal peace and rest” to “enjoy life’s pleasures like drugs and sex.” That more rock ‘n’ roll lyric got a great reaction from the crowd, as the band finally found their way to the end of a wild ride.After a minute of conferring, the band simmered the crowd down from that rolling boil with the heartwarming singalong ‘Tied Down,’ and then inviting Billy Strings to join them onstage for a pair of tunes. The first was ‘I’d Probably Kill You,’ whose lyrics the group fudged to “I’d probably Bill you,” and “I’d burn your house down, if I somehow knew Billy Strings was in it,” giving the younger Billy a bit of good-natured ribbing from some older souls who are rightfully impressed with (and maybe a little envious of) the remarkable speed and dexterity that Billy brings to the stage. Next up of ‘Miss Maggie,’ which each band member got to take for a ride, and then a well-deserved setbreak.After the jump, the band returned with the same inspired lyricism that the crowd knows them for, coming out with ‘Just Listening’. Next up was ‘Train Junkie,’ whose far out and meandering mandolin intro spent a bit of time heating up by riffing on The Grateful Dead’s ‘The Other One’. ‘Wheel Hoss’ followed the high energy ‘Train Junkie’ as the band continued to demonstrate their ability to mix in traditional bluegrass standards with their own, less conventional bluegrass originals.As the band worked its way into the heart of the set, they brought the emotion in the room to a soaring peak with ‘Dustbowl Overtures’ and ‘Handle Me With Care,’ two songs that really demonstrate the band’s ability to summon the better angels of their audience’s nature and well up real feeling from every open ear in the house. After the band’s classic ‘200 Miles From Montana,’ they returned to the world of traditionals with ‘Hit Parade Of Love,’ first made famous by Jimmy Martin. Finally, the set closed with two of Greensky’s best-known originals, ‘Forget Everything’ and ‘Leap Year’.Watching them play songs like those, that they so obviously adore, it becomes clear to even the most casual fan that if this band wasn’t performing on a stage in New York City, they might just as well be picking on their own numbers in their Crazy Creeks at a Phish festival somewhere. There’s just such a radiant joy in every person on-stage, they really look like there’s nothing else in the world they’d rather be doing. Before sending their fans out into the cold, they gave them one last treat: Rayland Baxter’s ‘Yellow Eyes,’ a rarer cover whose use as an encore gave folks something to hum as they bundled up and headed for the subway, looking forward to another night of the same great music on Saturday.You can check out a gallery of photos below, courtesy of Andrew Scott Blackstein.Setlist: Greensky Bluegrass | PlayStation Theater | New York, NY | 1/26/2018Set One: Burn Them (1), Worried Man, Living Over, Room without a Roof, Just to Lie > Hold On > Great Atomic Power, Tied Down, I’d Probably Kill You (2), Little Maggie (2)Set Two: Just Listening, Train Junkie (3), Wheel Hoss (4), Dustbowl Overtures, Handle with Care, 200 Miles from Montana, Hit Parade of Love, Forget Everything, Leap Year Encore: Yellow Eyes(1) w/ Guido Batista & Luke Milanese (tambourine)(2) – w/ Billy Strings(3) – Other One tease(4) – Macarena dance by PaulGreensky Bluegrass | PlayStation Theater | New York, NY | 1/26/2018 | Photo: Andrew Scott Blacksteinlast_img read more

The little book that could

first_imgThere’s no trace of bravado in Paul Harding, no austere aura of the revered and seasoned writer.Paul Harding knows rejection.He knows hard work like the characters in his novel “Tinkers,” men of solitude with unspoken troubles.Harding once reconciled with himself that maybe he’d be a writer who never published. He’d sent his book around to agents, but none was impressed by a labyrinthine story interweaving three generations of New England fathers and sons. Agents told him readers weren’t interested in “my quiet, meditative half-novel thingie,” but wanted action and fireworks — car chase and machine-gun style.“I think of ‘Tinkers’ as unlineated poetry,” Harding told an overcapacity crowd at the Barker Center Thursday night (July 29). The former creative writing and composition professor at Harvard Extension School and the Harvard Summer School drew packs of admirers and former students who wanted to hear, and perhaps brag about, their former teacher who won the Pulitzer Prize — seemingly out of nowhere.“I ceased and desisted and put the book in a drawer for three years,” Harding revealed.He had a wife, two children, and used to drum in a rock band. He had a full, good life, he knew, but he just couldn’t let go of his novel. One of his sons suffered with chronic ear infections and would only sleep if being driven around. So in the middle of the night, Harding drove, and when his son finally dozed, he’d pull over and work on his story.“Tinkers” is drawn from Harding’s family history. His grandfather repaired and traded antique clocks, and while Harding apprenticed with him, he heard fragments of the man’s life. The not-quite 200-page novel narrates the death of clock repairer George Washington Crosby, goes back in time to introduce George’s father, the epileptic tinker and backwoods peddler Howard, who then remembers his own epileptic father, who abandons the family when he learns his wife is to have him institutionalized.“I’m not interested in autobiography, but the dramatic premises of the book are factual,” Harding said. “My grandfather did repair and trade antique clocks, and I apprenticed with him. His father did have epilepsy and left the family when my grandfather was 12.”“My grandfather’s family had been very poor, and his father’s leaving was very traumatic, so my grandfather would not talk about these things. He refused to elaborate. So that just made those stories irresistible to me. So when he died and my grandmother died, and all my documentary sources dried up, I just took those stories as points of departure and would write my way out from them until the imagined truth would hit its own momentum.”The novel’s fragmentation, rich detail, and many perspectives are what make “Tinkers” so singular — and arguably convoluted. But Harding said the original version of his book was nearly indecipherable.“The way I write is the way those robot cleaners vacuum,” Harding told the audience. “Fiction doesn’t come to me in linear chronology.” He recalled the night he printed his manuscript, “spread it out on the floor, took scissors and tape, and cut it all up.”But his manual labor paid off.“Tinkers” found its way to Erika Goldman, the editorial director of Bellevue Literary Press, a small nonprofit run out of the New York University School of Medicine. Goldman agreed to publish it.From there, Harding’s success is nothing less than a Cinderella story. “Tinkers” spread largely through word of mouth, with a few good reviews along the way, and garnered the unlikely attention of the Pulitzer judges.“I still don’t believe it’s possible,” Harding said of his award. “Is it an elaborate hoax?”While working on a second novel, Harding is on the road promoting “Tinkers” until next April. After all the rejection, Harding is warming to his newfound limelight.“I’m not sure,” he joked, “but it might be a little like being Miss America.”To read reflections from a student (and a veteran reporter) on what it was like to learn from Paul Harding, click here.last_img read more

Governor Douglas announces changes in BISHCA leadership

first_imgGovernor Jim Douglas today announced changes at the Department of Banking, Securities and Health Care Administration (BISHCA).  Commissioner Paulette Thabault will be leaving state government to take a position with CVS Caremark MinuteClinic and Deputy Commissioner Mike Bertrand will be appointed Commissioner of the Department.“I want to thank Paulette for her tremendous leadership at BISHCA and her dedicated service to the people of Vermont and congratulate her on her new position,” said Governor Douglas.  “She will bring her clinical nursing expertise and experience helping to lead Vermont’s innovative health care reform efforts to the largest pharmacy health care provider in the country.”“It has been an honor and privilege to serve the citizens of Vermont as commissioner at BISHCA,” said Thabault. “I am confident that the coordinated efforts of the BISHCA team along with others in the state will successfully meet the challenges and opportunities of federal health care reform in the months ahead.”Deputy Commissioner Mike Bertrand will take over from Commissioner Thabault in mid-June.  Bertrand has served in numerous positions in state government.  Before being appointed Deputy Commissioner at BISCHA, responsible for overseeing the Insurance Division, he served as Deputy Secretary of Administration, Commissioner of the Department of Labor and Industry and as deputy legal counsel and special assistant to Governor Douglas.“Mike is a strong leader with a wealth of experience throughout state government,” said the Governor.  “I am confident that he will do an outstanding job and ensure a seamless transition taking over at the helm of the Department.”“I am honored and humbled by this appointment, and I look forward to leading the BISHCA team,” said Bertrand.  “Commissioner Thabault has made the Department stronger, more efficient and more effective than ever.  With the help of all the wonderful and dedicated professionals at BISHCA, I hope to build upon that foundation and continue the Department’s tradition of excellence.”Bertrand received a Bachelor of Arts from Pennsylvania State University and his law degree from Fordham Law School.  He lives in Montpelier with his three children.  BISHCA protects consumers against unfair and unlawful business practices in the areas of banking, securities, and insurance, while ensuring that licensed entities are financially healthy.Source: Governor’s office. 5.19.2010###last_img read more

McCoy third on Sandown swansong

first_img McCoy bows out having been crowned the leading rider for the last 20 seasons, with the trophy awarded for one final time before his ride in the Celebration Chase earlier in the afternoon. A total of 4,357 career winners have been banked since he first struck gold with Legal Steps at Thurles in March 1992, with Capard King giving him a final triumph at Ayr on April 17. He has set reams of records during that time, most notably posting an incredible 289 winners in the 2001-2 season, surpassing Sir Gordon Richards’ long-standing record of 269 victories. McCoy said: “I’ve been very lucky and very blessed to have the life I’ve had. What I’d say to the young lads in the weighing room is to enjoy every minute of it. I’m a little embarrassed by everything’s that’s gone on and I feel very privileged. I wish it could go on a little longer. “I’m sure someone will beat them (his record-breaking achievements) but I hope it’s not any time soon.” McCoy has yet to announce what he will do next, but admits his next challenge will be transitioning to life outside of the weighing room. He said: “The biggest regret is that I don’t have any qualifications. Training is not an option and I don’t do comebacks. I have been in racing so long it will take a little while to get out of that regime and start to eat like a normal person. “From my own personal point of view, announcing it when I did was the best thing for me.” McCoy is a renowned Arsenal fan and hopes to make a few more trips to the Emirates Stadium now he is no longer required on track every weekend. He said: “The last time I had an Arsenal season ticket I only went to about two games. I seem to go more often when I don’t have one. The club have been very good to me in getting me tickets sorted when I want one.” Referring to Box Office’s third place, O’Neill joked: “The way he rode that, he’ll never ride for me again! “He’s the greatest man in the game. He’s good to work with, a true professional. What I can say does not justify how great he is. We will not see the like of him again.” Winning rider Richard Johnson has continually finished runner-up in the title race to McCoy and paid an emotional tribute to his long-time rival and friend. He said: “It’s a sad day. He’s been one of my best friends for a long time. It’s great to ride a winner but it’s an amazing day for him, he’s the one we should look at today. “He’s been a great friend and to work with, I couldn’t sit next to a better fellow. Twenty years of good memories and we will still be friends for a long time.” McCoy also finished third on his penultimate ride aboard Mr Mole in the bet365 AP McCoy Celebration Chase. He raced prominently on the Paul Nicholls-trained runner but the writing was on the wall as he began to push along at the third-last fence as eventual winner Special Tiara kicked for home. While Mr Mole kept on at the one pace, McCoy could not reel back the 3-1 favourite, who ran out a six-length victor. McCoy was given a thunderous reception upon his return from the track with Mr Mole, and said: “This is all way beyond my expectations. I’ve had a great way of life for the last 25 years, and working with great people has made it that much more enjoyable.” The crowds cheered McCoy from the moment he entered the paddock to mount the 5-2 favourite, applauding him past the stands on the way to the start of the two-and-a-half-mile heat. Another shout of approval heralded the start, with McCoy settling Box Office towards the rear in the early stages before he started to manoeuvre across the track as the race began in earnest. However, despite travelling well three flights from home, the Jonjo O’Neill-trained runner found little under pressure and had to settle for a place behind Brother Tedd (9-1). Press Association Tony McCoy had to settle for third aboard Box Office on the final ride of his career in the bet365 Handicap Hurdle at Sandown. A tearful McCoy said: “It’s amazing. I’ve been so lucky all my life. I’ll never forget this day.” He was mobbed by fervent racegoers upon his return from the track, where he was given a hero’s welcome. “It’s been a very emotional day and thanks to everyone for coming,” he said. “It’s fantastic, it’s very special. I would like to thank all the racing public for coming here. It’s a day I’ll never forget.” McCoy admitted he had endured a sleepless night ahead of his final hurrah. He said: “I have kind of been getting used to it over the last couple of weeks and that is the reason I haven’t ridden much over the last couple of weeks – to get me used to retirement. “Last night was probably the only time in 40 years that I have not slept and I am a very good sleeper.” The 40-year-old’s departure marks the end of his long domination of the National Hunt sphere, which yielded 31 Cheltenham Festival winners as well as two Gold Cups and one famous Grand National success. last_img read more

EPL: Man City Wins to Reduce Liverpool’s Lead at the Top

first_imgFree scoring Man Utd earn third straight win under SolskjaerManchester City survived a brief scare to beat Southampton and reduce league leaders Liverpool’s advantage to seven points.Southampton responded to David Silva’s early opener when Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg took the ball off Oleksandr Zinchenko and fired it into the top corner.City had luck on their side when Raheem Sterling’s shot deflected off James Ward-Prowse to make it 2-1. Sergio Aguero’s back-post header completed the scoring before half-time.Southampton goalscorer Hojbjerg – who had only just returned from suspension – was shown a straight red card for a lunging tackle on Fernandinho with just over five minutes to go.City had a number of decent chances as Silva, Aguero and Riyad Mahrez all went close in the first half and Aguero smacked the crossbar after the break.Southampton threatened too and Charlie Austin was twice denied by City keeper Ederson in the first half before Hojbjerg’s equaliser.But the Saints were ultimately undone by Pep Guardiola’s free-flowing side, who move up to second place in the table.Liverpool went 10 points clear of City at the top of the table with a devastating 5-1 thrashing of Arsenal on Saturday, meaning the defending champions needed victory to keep pace in the title race.City appeared to feel the pressure on Boxing Day when they squandered an early lead and allowed Leicester to win 2-1 at the King Power Stadium.But they stood up to the challenge at St Mary’s – peppering Southampton’s goal from the off and responding to the equaliser with two quick goals on the stroke of half-time.City’s opening goal was straight from Guardiola’s textbook: Bernardo Silva’s neat build-up down the right and cut-back into the centre was comfortably put away by an unmarked David Silva.Sterling’s shot was then deflected by Ward-Prowse and flapped into the net by Alex McCarthy to make it 2-1 before Aguero headed in Zinchenko’s cross at the back post with ease.It means City can cut Liverpool’s lead to four points when the two teams meet at the Etihad Stadium on 3 January.Elsewhere, Manchester’s United’s transformed attack once again combined devastatingly to give caretaker manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer his third successive win with an impressive victory over Bournemouth.A first half of cavalier attacking football saw United score three times, with Paul Pogba netting his second double in successive games and Marcus Rashford grabbing the other.They are now only three points behind fifth-placed Arsenal, having trailed by eight following the morale-sapping 3-1 defeat at Liverpool earlier this month.Pogba poked in his first after Rashford had mesmerised both Nathan Ake and Diego Rico on the right, before the French World Cup winner headed in from Ander Herrera’s precise delivery.It was 3-0 when Anthony Martial, back in the XI after recovering from a bug, provided a wonderful cross for Rashford to slide his shot past Asmir Begovic.Bournemouth, who had looked dangerous on set-pieces, pulled a goal back in first-half stoppage time when Ake headed in following good work by David Brooks.Substitute Romelu Lukaku scored United’s fourth from Pogba’s pass two minutes after coming on, before defender Eric Bailly was shown a straight red card for scything down Cherries midfielder Ryan Fraser.United have now found the net 12 times in the three matches since Solskjaer took over. This victory means the the 45-year-old has emulated Sir Matt Busby and Jose Mourinho by winning his first three league games in charge.Solskjaer will be looking to make it a fourth at Newcastle on Wednesday, while Bournemouth remain 12th in the table.Also yesterday, Chelsea increased the gap between themselves and fifth-placed Arsenal to five points as N’Golo Kante’s second-half strike earned them victory at Crystal Palace.Kante scored the only goal of the game in the 51st minute when he broke forward from midfield to convert David Luiz’s through ball.There were few clear-cut chances as the Blues dominated possession and Palace sat back hoping to catch the opposition on the counter-attack – a tactic which failed to work as Roy Hodgson’s Eagles took 85 minutes to register their first effort. That is now two successive games without a goal.Chelsea’s Willian came close to scoring with a free-kick that struck the post, and Ross Barkley also hit the woodwork with a hooked effort.Fourth-placed Blues now have 43 points, one behind City and two behind Spurs. Palace remain in 14th with 19 points.Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegramlast_img read more