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After the Fall

Rough Mix

I CAN’T GO ON, I’LL GO ON Western Massachusetts-based singer-songwriter Mark Mulcahy is well acquainted with the Capital Region music scene, having played our area’s finer nightclubs—both solo and with his former band, Miracle Legion—since the 1980s. But to the world at large, his star has never risen above cult status: Radiohead’s Thom Yorke calls Mulcahy his favorite singer, and author Nick Hornby gave him a chapter in his Songbook, but you won’t see Fathering on too many of your friends’ playlists. Last year, Mark’s beloved wife, Melissa, the inspiration for many of his excellent songs, passed away suddenly and unexpectedly, leaving Mark to care for their two young daughters by himself. For a songwriter of modest renown, this kind of event could prove damning, both emotionally and financially.

Thankfully, Mark has some great friends and supporters. This week, Shout! Factory released Ciao My Shining Star, a compilation of covers of Mulcahy-penned songs, performed by folks like Yorke, Michael Stipe, and the National, plus a bunch of regional acts (Spouse, School for the Dead, Winterpills). The tribute aims to raise money to help Mark continue on his creative path in this difficult time. It’s available as a 21-track CD with the option to download the additional 20 tracks; or, the entire 41-song bundle can be downloaded for one price from iTunes. It’s a beautiful project, and you should buy it. Info is at

A DIFFERENT KIND OF TRIBUTE Heralded as the area’s foremost jug band—hell, they may be the area’s only jug band—Ramblin Jug Stompers have been winning over crowds for the last four years now, with their good-time live shows and as unique a songbook as you’re likely to hear. (A typical Jug Stompers show might feature tunes penned by anyone from Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs to Ronnie Lane and Ronnie Wood.) This week the jolly foursome unleash Hobo Nickel, their first studio CD. The disc follows in the vein of their 2006 debut, Crooked Songs: Live at Caffe Lena, with a slightly slicker sound (naturally); its 10 songs dip into blues, bluegrass, and “Down in the Boondocks,” with a few sprightly instrumentals added to the mix. Get in on the fun when the Stompers celebrate the album’s release at the Linda in Albany tomorrow (Friday, Oct. 2). More info is available at or jug

EUROPEAN VACATION The chaps in Albany punk-rock act After the Fall are, contrary to their name, planning a very busy autumn. Tomorrow (Friday), they begin a two-week European tour with Dutch band Antillectual; the trip takes them through several cities in Germany, plus dates in the Czech Republic, Switzerland, Austria, France and the Netherlands. There’s little rest upon their return: They’ll do a week’s worth of shows between Manhattan and home before heading to The Fest 8 (that is, indeed, the name) in Gainesville, Fla., where they’ll play alongside acts like 7 Seconds and Snuff.

Two other Capital Region acts are jetting off across the pond this month. Sean Rowe got a surprise call last week to open two weeks of shows for U.K. buzz act Noah and the Whale, requiring him to pack and get to the airport in about 36 hours. He must have made it, because his last Twitter dispatch was, he claims, from Leeds, England. Also heading in that direction are Phantogram, whose seemingly neverending tour will take them overseas for a month starting in late October. We’ll be publishing tales from the road from all three acts in our upcoming Local Music Issue, which will be out Nov. 5.

PLAYIN’ AT THE TALENT SHOW The preliminary rounds are over, and tonight (Thursday) marks the first round of finals for Capital Region’s Got Talent at Revolution Hall. The field is down to 20 performers, an interesting blend of established singer-songwriters and promising newcomers. Tonight’s round will thin the herd to 10, and it should go down in dramatic fashion as the contestants must choose from the hits of the 1980s. Will anybody dare to take on “Take on Me”? You’ll have to show up to see. Next Thursday’s round is Beatles-themed; the five that survive move on to the finale on Oct. 16, where they’ll compete for a $5,000 prize. All the shows are free and audience members have a say in the voting, so be sure to get to Troy and do your civic duty. Visit to view last week’s performances and learn more about the competition.

PET PROJECT You like animals, we like animals. Rory Block likes animals, too: The blues singer performed before a packed house at the Church of St. James in Chatham on Sept. 18, in a benefit for the Columbia-Greene Humane Society/SPCA. Her efforts helped to raise more than $6,500 for the shelter, which helps more than 1,000 animals each year supported only by the generous donations of those in the community.

—John Brodeur

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