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Joanna Smith

It’s one of the great traditions in country music: The singer-songwriter who first comes to prominence when other artists perform their songs. That’s what happened to Joanna Smith when two of her tunes were recorded by Billy Ray Cyrus on his 2007 album Home at Last. Regular gigging in Nashville, however, soon landed Smith her own recording deal. And now here she is, on tour in support of her 2010 release Gettin’ Married, and headlining a “Rising Star Country Series” show at the GE Theatre at Proctors.

There’s another tradition in country music: The artist who grows up on a farm. Smith fits that bill, too, as a member of a farm family that goes back seven generations in Georgia and now, among other products, sells grass-fed beef to the Whole Foods chain. So when she sings about being a farm girl, it isn’t just show biz.

Joanna Smith will perform tonight (Thursday, Jan. 13) at 7:30 PM at the GE Theatre at Proctors (432 State St., Schenectady). Admission is $17. For more info or to buy tickets, call 346-6204.

 

Bill Sullivan: A Landscape Artist Remembered

Last October, the City of Hudson and the greater art world lost a treasured member of the community with the passing of landscape painter Bill Sullivan.

An integral part of the New York City artscape in the ’60s, Sullivan was deeply inspired by the work of Frederic Church. Sullivan’s fascination with the Hudson River School artist led him along the same path Church followed painting the mountains and rivers of South America and, eventually, to the banks of the Hudson River, where he made his home and captured the region’s lanscapes with deft vision.

“Landscape for him was no longer an attempt to capture a slice of life,” wrote Jamie Manrique, Sullivan’s partner and biographer in The Autobiography of Bill Sullivan. Instead, it became a metaphorical attempt to make a spiritual connection, to find the soul of a place.”

Sullivan’s presence on Warren Street may be gone, but his work remains—and has earned a place in major collections, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the New York Public Library.

To honor Sullivan’s life and work, the Albany Institute of History & Art is presenting an exhibition of five of the artist’s major canvasses from the Institute collection, including the recently promised (and pictured) View of Albany From Route 9J—a glimpse, through Sullivan’s eyes, of the soul of the Hudson Valley.

Bill Sullivan: A Landscape Artist Remembered opens at the Albany Institute of History & Art (125 State St., Albany) tomorrow (Friday, Jan. 15) and runs through Feb. 27. For more info, call 463-4478.

 

The Sweepers

Playwright John C. Picardi has ambitious plans. He intends to write a series of 10 plays chronicling the Italian-American experience in the 20th century. Yup. One for each decade.

He has two under his belt so far, and the first, The Sweepers, explores war-torn immigrant life during the 1940s. This is when many Italian-American immigrants found themselves caught up in a war with their homeland, struggling to find balance between their cherished traditions, their desire to adapt in a new culture and the shifting times of the dawning atomic age.

But Picardi treats the tumultuous decade with a comic touch, drawn from the lives, laughter, and woes of real people, and presents a window into a neighborhood—like so many others—learning to survive.

The New York Times called it “often humorous and eventually gripping,” when it debuted off-Broadway, and now The Sweepers is getting the Latham treatment as part of Curtain Call Theatre’s 11th season.

The Sweepers opens at Curtain Call Theatre (210 Old Loudon Road, Latham) tomorrow (Friday, Jan. 15) at 8 PM and runs through Feb. 12. All tickets are $20. For more info, or to purchase tickets, call 877-7529.

 


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