FIRST NIGHT SARANAC LAKE 2019 PERFORMERS, DECEMBER 31, 2018
First Night Saranac Lake is an all-volunteer organization with a mission to create a family-centered, public celebration that marks the passage of time through music, art, and ritual each December 31st.
Marking the end of one year and the beginning of the next, in a special way, is a human need. First Night offers a shared cultural celebration to mark the passing of 2018 and welcoming of 2019.
First Night Saranac Lake headquarters are located at the Harrietstown Town Hall, Saranac Lake Welcome Center at 39 Main St., Saranac Lake, NY. On New Year's Eve, it will be open 10 a.m. - midnight.
The Gibson Brothers' brand of bluegrass is a visceral mix of heritage and soaring harmony, making them the premiere brother duet of the genre. They are North Country natives, raised in Ellenburg Depot as the sixth generation of Gibsons to grow up on their family farm. Following accolades including the International Bluegrass Music Association's Entertainer of the Year; Song of the Year; Songwriter of the Year and Album of the Year — in some cases multiple times - the Gibson Brothers veer into country and rock on their new record, "Mockingbird," produced by Dan Auerbach (The Black Keys, The Arcs) and set to be released Nov. 9. Their First Night concert will be with the “"Mockingbird" band. http://www.gibsonbrothers.com.
Since 2007, the New York six-piece The Big Takeover has been fulfilling the mission implied in their name: packing clubs in the city and upstate and building their brand and reputation on the road and in the studio. A far cry from the pop-punk of American ska, this Mid-Hudson Valley band takes its cues from Desmond Dekker and the first wave of Jamaican pop music. Led by the powerhouse, Jamaican-born singer and songwriter NeeNee Rushie, The Big Takeover's horn-powered global blend reveals deep fluency in reggae and world music, hints of soul and Motown, and their own infectious brand of pop classicism.
Phil Wiggins also plays with musicians such as Corey Harris and Rev. John Wilkins in acoustic settings. Born in Washington, D.C., he spent his childhood summers at his grandmother's home in Alabama, where he listened to old-time hymns sung in church in the traditional call-and-response style. Besides being a renowned harmonica player, Wiggins is also a gifted songwriter and singer whose material helped to define the Cephas and Wiggins sound. George Kilby Jr. was born in Alabama, and the sounds of the South have never left him. Added to influences from country music to the Allman Brothers, George's 20 years of playing with blues legend Pinetop Perkins always show in his repertoire.
Identical twins Adam and David Moss often lean toward the darker, moody elements of Appalachian folk, klezmer and bluegrass traditions, their songs laden with near-perfect sibling harmonies accompanied by cello, guitar and five-string fiddle. With individual careers in the Americana scene under their belts, the brothers finally teamed up for a 2017 album, and Saving Country Music dubbed them "the closest thing you can find to Simon & Garfunkel in this century." On the road, the Brother Brothers have supported Sarah Jarosz and Lake Street Dive on multiple tours and directly supported Shakey Graves, Big Thief and The Felice Brothers. http://www.thebrotherbrothersmusic.com/.
This comedic contortionist and daredevil is an international street, circus and sideshow performer. Audiences the world over have been left breathless by Al's incredibly freaky body contortions, cheeky comedy and ridiculous, sky-high feats of danger. A mix of traditional vaudeville, circus sideshow and twisted comedy, the Human Knot is a self-contained freak-show suitable for the whole family. Alakazam was a grand finalist on "Australia's Got Talent" and has performed in 37 countries since 1996.
This stand-up comedian was reared in Syracuse, lives in New York and has made numerous TV appearances, highlighted by performances on "Conan," "Jimmy Kimmel Live" and two sets on "The Late Show with David Letterman." He's also been featured on "Last Comic Standing," "Star Search" (the 2003 reboot), "America's Got Talent" and "Gotham Comedy Live." He's a regular at some of the best clubs in the land and can be heard on SiriusXM.
Miss Tess got her musical start at home in Maryland, her childhood nights ending in music. Her parents would sing her to sleep with the gentle, tender sounds of American folk songs, occasionally interrupted by their 1930s swing band rehearsing in the basement. All grown up, Miss Tess & the Talkbacks play something a little rowdier and more eclectic, infused with classic country, rhythm & blues, swamp pop and early rock n' roll.
This classical music group assembled in Saranac Lake more than 20 years ago when professional musicians from the Gregg Smith Singers spent evenings after concerts at the Waterhole, dominating the ping-pong and pool tables. One night, the bar's then-owner Billy Allen asked the group to play between sets, and over the ensuing years, various iterations of the Ouluska Pass Chamber Ensemble have performed around Saranac Lake. Their name comes from the Ouluska Pass between the Seward and Seymour mountains. In the meantime, they are prominent musicians in New York City, frequently performing at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, etc..
Plattsburgh's premiere improv comedy troupe performs in the style of the hit television show "Whose Line Is It Anyway?" creating on-the-spot characters and situations from the wacky, unpredictable suggestions of the audience. Playing games such as "Party Quirks," "Film, Theatre and TV Styles," and "Sound Effects," Completely Stranded will deliver an evening of fully improvised comedy and side-splitting laughs without a script.
This Saranac Lake-based swing jazz ensemble features close vocal harmony and tight instrumental arrangements. Influences include the Boswell Sisters, Anette Hanshaw, and Django Reinhardt as well as vaudeville and Hawaiian music of the early 20th century. Mark Hofschneider founded the band in 2010 after his wife suggested he play less clawhammer banjo and more ukulele.
High Peaks Opera was founded by bass-baritone George Cordes and pianist Elizabeth Cordes of Tupper Lake. George was a principal artist with New York City Opera for six seasons and was a Metropolitan Opera artist for four seasons, and has also sung with Chicago Lyric Opera, Houston Grand Opera and Dallas Opera, as well as many other companies. Elizabeth spent seven years with Tri-Cities Opera in Binghamton as accompanist, coach and director of the education-outreach program, plus six seasons with Ohio Light Opera and three years at the University of Akron School of Music. In recent years she has been the choral music teacher at Tupper Lake Middle/High School and directed numerous musical theater productions.
"With Elvis Costello and Talking Heads in its densely nuanced lineage" (according to Brooklyn's Two Coats of Paint), Famous Letter Writer gets praise for its "cultured brand of indie meta-pop ... a fusion of hyper-literate lyrics and gorgeously crafted arrangements" (Burlington's Seven Days). Fresh off of making a record with New York City underground legend Keith Zarriello (The Shivers), the band delivers a high-energy live show — synth-driven, part spoken word, all CBGB spectacle — to capture the poetry of pop.
Born and raised in Birmingham, Alabama, Eddy Lawrence spent a decade in New York City before settling in the North Country in 1992. He has recorded nine albums of his original songs and has appeared at clubs, coffeehouses, and festivals across North America, both as a headliner and as an opening act for well-known artists. These days he performs in concert with his wife, Kim, who accompanies him on upright bass.
This nylon-string guitarist and composer's style is most significantly influenced by the Spanish classical and flamenco repertoire. She has performed in Spain, Italy and across the continental U.S., and released her fifth album this year. She maintains an active career as a teacher, lecturer and performer. She maintains a private teaching studio at the Troy Music Academy in Troy and is on the faculty in the Department of Fine Arts, Theater Arts & Digital Media at Hudson Valley Community College, where she has also been the coordinator of cultural affairs since 2004.
LoonWorks Family Entertainment formed in 1988 in Saranac Lake as a puppet troupe. Magic and clowning were soon employed, and LoonWorks was born. Founding members Scott Eichholz, Maria DeAngelo and Matt Paul bring quality wholesome and affordable entertainment to families, businesses and organizations throughout New York and Vermont. In 2013, Scott returned to Long Island and now delivers these services along with master-level balloon sculpting, face painting and party games there.
The Rustic Riders, based in Coreys, craft their sound with music old and new, and this First Night they will perform a program especially for children and their families. They invite you to sing, move, reflect and renew with voice, strings and percussion. They have recorded three CDs and played across the North Country, Vermont and New Hampshire.
Blues singer-guitarist Steve Langdon went from busking on the streets of Germany with Professor Washboard to playing for the bears in a cabin in the High Peaks Wilderness. This Adirondack native still works in the woods but now lives with his family in Saranac Lake, where he fronts blues-rock band The Biscuit Rollers. Fiddler, singer and maple syrup maker Addison Bickford came here from the Buffalo area to attend Paul Smith's College and never left. He played in the Old Mountain String Band in the 1980s and early '90s, leads old-timey band The Barn Cats, is the proprietor of Thunderchief Maple Works in Rainbow Lake and is a tenured full professor at the Shamrock's Wednesday night jam session.