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Marty Wendell (right) marks 60 years as a professional musician with a show at Caffe Lena this Saturday. He’ll be accompanied by The Bluebillies for a fun romp through his rockabilly and country originals, along with tributes to the artists who inspired him, including Marty’s one-time band leader, Johnny Cash.
Click photo for sample. Join Marty Wendell’s 60th Anniversary Celebration!
Greetings – For the last week before Saratoga’s horse racing season gets underway, we decided to give our stage to homegrown talent. Country music mainstay and Ticonderoga native Marty Wendell is celebrating 60 years in the business. Marty first met Johnny Cash in 1960, the year this venue opened. Two years later, when Marty was 16, he started playing opening sets for Cash, and then became part of the band. After a few thrilling years on the national stage, he opted to come home to the North Country to raise a family, and he’s been our own country music hero ever since. Marty was inducted into the Eddies Music Hall of Fame last year. We’re proud and excited to host his 60th Anniversary show, backed by The Bluebillies, this Saturday.

Albany favorite Erin Harkes splits her time between comedy and music. She has announced that this will be her last original music show for the foreseeable future, so that makes Friday’s show a don’t-miss event. Saratoga’s John Dillon is our 3rd local artist. He’s celebrating the culmination of a major songwriting project with people in recovery from substance abuse. If your life has been touched by this issue, we invte you to come connect with a community that cares and understands.

See you at the show,

Novelist Rick Moody (The Ice StormHotels of North America) and Novelist Adam Braver (November 22, 1963; Rejoice the Head of Paul McCartney) read from new works of fiction. The writers are in residence at Skidmore College for the New York State Summer Writers Institute, sponsored by the Office of Special Programs.
Sample Song In-Person Tickets | Watch on Caffe Lena TVLocal favorite Erin Harkes has been called “the busiest woman in show biz” (NYS Music). She is regularly voted Best Singer/Songwriter, Solo Musician and Comedian in the Capital Region by the Times Union Reader’s Poll and The Alt. She took home the 2020 Thomas Edison Award for Best Solo/Duo Artist of the Year. Her music comes from triumphs over tragedy, always with a resounding theme of resilience, and with a voice that’s been compared to Stevie Nicks and Janis Joplin.

Opener Sofia Corts is an 18-year-old singer-songwriter from Albany, New York, and a senior at Bethlehem Central High School. Her original songs blend pop, R&B, and jazz. She’ll be attending Berklee College of Music on full scholarship this fall.

Sample Song | In-Person Tickets | Watch on Caffe Lena TVTHE LIGHTHOUSE PROJECT is a collection of songs, poems and essays written by members of the Creative Recovery Group and John Dillon, a singer-songwriter in long-term recovery from substance use disorder. The book contains lyrics and the poems and stories that inspired them, as well as supportive material on the power of creativity in recovery. The group collaborated on lyrics, and John created the music and produced the recordings.

This event is co-sponsored by Recovery Advocates in Saratoga (RAIS), who will be tabling in the Caffè Lena atrium prior to the event.

Sample Song | In-Person Tickets | Watch on Caffe Lena TV |On stage and on his 18 albums, some recorded at the legendary Sun Studios in Memphis, Rockabilly Hall of Famer Marty Wendell weaves roots, Americana and, of course, Rockabilly. In addition to fronting his own band, he has toured with some of the biggest names in the music business, including Johnny Cash. Tonight’s 60th Anniversary Retrospective brings us the songs and stories old and new, classics and originals, that have shaped his remarkable life in music.

Special guest artists The Bluebillies will join in celebrating this 60th Anniversary show, with a special performance by Greg Bucking honoring Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash’s recording of “Girl From The North Country.”

Sample Song | In-Person Tickets | Watch on Caffe Lena TVThe Pousette-Dart Band carved a place in the landscape of American music in the 1970s. They were a mainstay of FM radio, a favorite on the college circuit, and became one of the busiest touring groups in the US, working with such acts as The Byrds, Bonnie Raitt, The Eagles, James Taylor, Emmylou Harris, Billy Joel, and many more. Jon has kept releasing albums ever since, plying the lessons of maturity while maintaining the fun-loving outlook of his younger years.


Over many decades, Caffe Lena has played an important role in fostering the Capital Region’s thriving original music scene. Nearly every local musician has honed their chops at our all-ages, alcohol-free, listening room Open Mic. We’ve hosted career-development workshops for local musicians who show dedication and talent. Our annual free health clinic for musicians is growing in popularity. This is all possible because of your generous support. Thanks for cultivating new songwriters!

Caffe Lena’s members are planting songs and growing community with their annual donations. They also get the best seats in the house, early access to special shows and some neat swag.

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