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March 4 – 10

March 4 – 10

This Sunday, Steve Poltz (above) and Paul Thorn will give us a wild, joyful, poignant and brilliant night to remember! Singer-songwriter Thorn has jumped out of airplanes, boxed four-time world champion Roberto Duran on national TV, performed with Raitt, Knopfler, and Prine, and charted multiple times on the Billboard Top 100. Poltz co-wrote Jewel’s multiplatinum “You Were Meant For Me”and continues to work with her. “Part busker, part Iggy Pop and part Robin Williams, a freewheeling folkie with a quick wit and big heart.” (AP)

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Feb 19 – 25

Feb 19 – 25

There are no words to describe the power of blues-rock-soul singer Alexis P. Suter’s artistry. She’s coming up from NYC with her 6-piece band on Friday to play our Momentum Series. Her mother was a backup vocalist for Mahalia Jackson, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Harry Belafonte, Mavis Staples and Dionne Warwick. Alexis is a vocalist with a gale force bass/baritone voice. She’s a fixture on the festival circuit with a repertoire ranging from old-time Delta blues (“John the Revelator”) to classic electric blues (“Got My Mojo Working”) to vintage soul (“Take Me to the River”).

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February 12 – 18

February 12 – 18

While the major pop stars get the lion’s share of attention, there are many awards given out at the Grammys and Caffe Lena artists had some wins! The biggest stand-out is Allison Russell (two Grammys!) who first played our stage with Po’ Girl in 2008, and then several times with Birds of Chicago. We also congratulate Bela Fleck, Molly Tuttle and Bobby Rush. Larry Campbell (at Lena’s June 7 & June 8), who played violin for the best moment of the night: Tracy Chapman and Luke Comb’s performance of “Fast Car.” Combs’ 2023 cover resulted in Tracy Chapman being the first Black songwriter to win the Country Music Association’s Song of the Year.

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Jan 29 – Feb 4

Jan 29 – Feb 4

This is a great time of year to try new things. The weather has been dreary, the holidays are in the rearview, and most of us could use a little mood boost. Aleksi Campagne (Thursday) is a classically trained musician, son of one of Canada’s premier folksingers, and does incredible things with a looping pedal and a violin. His new bilingual album has critics raving. You’re probably not busy on Thursday, so come check him out.

And then there’s Joy Clark, with her contagious smile and an artistic practice focused on love and peace. After years of being mentored by Cyrille Neville, and accompanying Allison Russell and Rhiannon Giddens, she’s getting a barrage of gig offers across the country. You won’t want to miss her Capital Region debut this Friday.

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January 22 – 28

January 22 – 28

Charming, eccentric showman Chandler Travis, longtime opening act for George Carlin, pairs two of his favorite new projects in this special split bill, both featuring Chandler. The Buttercups finds him getting noisy, nutty and electric with Legendary Casuals drummer Rikki Bates. Channy n Johnny shows us Chandler’s quiet, acoustic, dignified side in a duo with longtime string-bass partner John Clark. Tickets still available for Saturday’s show!

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January 15 – 21

January 15 – 21

The Brother Brothers hook the audience from the first song with exquisite singing and playing. They return to our stage this Thursday. “Right at home between the Everly Brothers and The Beach Boys”  — Wide Open Country With their close harmonies, bright wit and Simon & Garfunkel-esque songs, identical twins Adam and David Moss are instant crowd-pleasers. Their songs are streamed nearly a quarter-million times every month on Spotify because this is music everyone wants to hear!

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January 8 – 15

January 8 – 15

Haitian guitarist and singer Wesli Louissaint built his first guitar at age 8 by stringing an oil can with nylon fishing line. He has become one of Haiti’s most inspiring and celebrated musical ambassadors, bringing gospel, reggae, Afrobeat, funk and the diverse roots music of Haiti to the world. Full band show!

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January 1 – 7

January 1 – 7

Greetings & Happy New Year! Let’s start with some great news. This community of good folk has set Caffe Lena up for a busy and joyful 2024. The Annual Fund Drive passed its goal, thanks to the generosity and commitment of hundreds of caring donors. We can look forward to the shows, classes and outreach work to continue unabated in the coming months. Thank you for believing in the value of this grassroots venue.

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Dec 18 – 23

Dec 18 – 23

Thank you for taking a moment to read this weekly update from Caffe Lena. I’m sure you have no shortage of emails to read. I want this virtual visit to remind you of what it feels like to come in person to a place where tables are shared, kindness reigns, and the music is superb.

Tuesday’s Rochmon Record Club will be devoted to honoring all those musicians who went on to the angel choir in 2023. I know it will be a tender, heartfelt night of great songs. The Lost Radio Rounders (Friday) will be full of nostalgia, as well. They specialize in lots of laughter and songs of long ago, including some you’ll definitely sing along on. Nefesh Mountain (Saturday) has sold out in-person, but you can stream the show. Their Jewish-American roots music brings love and light during a time of heartbreak for all those affected by the war in Gaza–which is all of us.

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December 11-17

December 11-17

With “Heavenly harmonies on top of furious fingerpicking” (Time Out Chicago), the Henhouse Prowlers bend and squeeze bluegrass into a sound all their own. The quartet has toured more than 25 countries, including Siberia and the Middle East, where they have picked up a few worthy songs for their repertoire. Wherever they are, the Henhouse Prowlers forge warm connections through the universal language of music. They start our weekend early on Thursday night. Explore the rest of our schedule . . .

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