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IN PASSING One-time Schenectadian and longtime area folk-music-scene mainstay Jackie Alper passed away on Sept. 5, at the age of 86, in Lexington, Mass. Sometimes called the Button Lady (she typically sported a vest covered with buttons, with messages like “Question Authority” and “Peace Through Music”), Alper was best known as the First Lady of Folk Music, and for good reason: She performed alongside Woody Guthrie in the Almanac Singers, a precursor to the Weavers; she hosted the popular WRPI program Mostly Folk for 25 years; and she was reportedly the personal secretary for musicologist Alan Lomax. The Eighth Step, in their new home at the GE Theatre at Proctor’s in Schenectady, will host a tribute/remembrance concert on Dec. 2. Artists are still being announced; check for updated information.


WE COULD HAVE TOLD YOU THAT The move to reincarnate legendary Route 9 roadhouse Saratoga Winners seems to have hit a speed bump. Last month, a few show dates began appearing on tour-date database, which seemed a bit presumptuous considering the general disarray the venue was in when it closed down last fall. Just a few weeks ago, the newly minted Winners Web site posted a call for donations to assist with repair costs and help the run-down venue meet its targeted re-opening date. But it appears that reality has now, unfortunately, set in: A message on the venue’s MySpace site informs that all scheduled shows have been cancelled, and that doors are now expected to open in Spring 2008. We here at Metroland wish the new owners good luck and Godspeed with the venture.


ROCK AND ROLL CASSEROLE The enterprising folks over at the Capital District Federation of Ideas have come up another good, er, idea. This time, they’ve found a way to feed the starving artists of the Capital Region: by hosting a potluck dinner for musicians. According to the organizers, there is “no flashy agenda for what could happen. . . . Just a dinner to hopefully meet some others who might have similar interests.” Musicians wishing to attend are encouraged to bring a dish to pass, as well as fliers for upcoming shows, CDs, and whatever else they’d like to share. The event takes place at 7 PM this Tuesday at Point 5 (383.5 Madison Ave., Albany). Check for more info. Pass it on.


POSITIVE FEEDBACK . . . as in, that kind of thing never hurts. This Tuesday sees the launch of a new songwriters workshop over at Hudson Valley Community College. Led by regional song- and script-writer Sandy McKnight, the six-week session promises to help aspiring songwriters on such points as lyric-writing, song structure, and melodic composition. Says McKnight, “Even experienced writers benefit from the constructive criticism that happens in our group.” Those wishing to attend the workshop should visit the HVCC Web site,, to sign up.


PATTING OWN BACK I really, truly try to avoid writing about my own projects, but if you know me, you know there are a lot of them; it’s going to happen sooner or later. That said, the Sense Offenders, a band I’ve played drums with since 2005, released our debut CD this week. The disc contains 11—12, actually—tracks of anthemic rock & roll with a distinctly ’70s vibe, featuring the tuneful bluster of Tom McWatters, who is, for my money, as good a songwriter as the Capital District has to offer. The disc will be available for online ordering soon; in the meantime, check us out at That is all.

—John Brodeur

Let us know about local-music news and happenings for inclusion in Rough Mix: E-mail John Brodeur at jbrodeur@metro or call (518) 463-2500 ext. 145.

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