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 markmulcahy.com.
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 thelinda.org or
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
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.
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 518fever.com/CGRT.htm
to view last week’s performances and learn more
about the competition.
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.
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