Fresh Baked Bluegrass

Bringing bluegrass to NYC since 2005

10 YEARS AGO, ON A COLD DARK NIGHT ...

A BAND WAS BORN

I remember napping, then getting into my 2004 MINI Cooper and driving less than a mile to Sunny's, joining Joe Choina, Rick Shields (the one and only time we've played together besides jams), Charles Puckette and Fred Skellenger for the first gig of a band that was then called Graveyard Shift. We got that name from a great Steve Earle song I used to cover. The bar was surprisingly well attended and the two-set show went by quickly.

As has the last decade. A month later, we played our first brunch at a newish restaurant called Nolita House. A name change to Fresh Baked Bluegrass soon followed. And the rest, as they say, is history. Since April 9, 2005, FBB has played close to 600 shows, public and private, that's around 2000 hours--more than 80 days--of music.

In 2012, Nolita House closed its doors and Fresh Baked Bluegrass moved uptown to Southern Hospitality. Through those changes, the band has included some of the New York area's finest musicians, some for a few weeks or months, some, like fiddler, vocalist and duet partner extraordinaire Diane Stockwell, have stayed with the band for years. A quick, off-the-top-of-my-head list of greats we've gotten to play with includes Jen Larson, Greg Garing, Boo Reiners, Jason Sypher, Juliana Trivers, Jon Mark Fletcher, Ellery Marshall, Jake Tilove, Dave Mignano, Adam Moss, Bennett James Sullivan, Jonah Bruno, Zack Bruce, Jeff Picker, Elio Schiavo, Max Johnson, Dave Speranza, Abe Pollack, David Kaye, Billy Failing, Doug Goldstein and many, many others.

Hopefully, this past decade will be only the first of many. After all, when you get to play with such great pickers, why even think about stopping.

WILL FRESH BAKED BLUEGRASS PLAY GAY, LESBIAN AND TRANS WEDDINGS?

Hell yes, what do you think we are? We love people. We love love. And we would love nothing more than to be part of a special day when two people declare their deep and abiding love for each other. And if you happen to be in one of those states where people confuse their faith with their prejudices, we'll come and play your wedding--for our regular fees and travel/accommodations, of course.

Glad we cleared that up.

In brunches, this week, Randolph Beer will be helmed by Tony Delello, the maestro who keeps the Sunday Bluegrass Jam at Paddy Reillys going week after week. That's 1:30 to 5, 343 Broome Street, NYC.

On Sunday, Doug Hatt, Diane Stockwell, Ellery Marshall and Abe Pollack will be laying down the BG from Noon to 3:30 at Southern Hospitality, 645 Ninth Ave., Hell's Kitchen, NYC.

ALL ABOUT THE BRUNCH, 'BOUT THE BRUNCH, 'BOUT THE BRUNCH, NO DINNER

HERE'S A QUICK NOTE ABOUT Fresh Baked Bluegrass brunches for this weekend, March 28 and 29. First up, on Saturday you can catch Diane Stockwell with Alex Mallett, Douglas Goldstein and Christian Apuzzo at Randolph Beer, 343 Broome Street, NYC, from 1:30 to 5.

On Sunday, Doug Hatt returns to Southern Hospitality after a week off. He'll be joined by Jake Tilove on mandolin and vocals, Jon Mark Fletcher on banjo and Max Johnson swinging the bass.  That happens from 12 till 3:30 at 645 Ninth Ave., NYC.

YOUR WEEKEND BRUNCH ROUND-UP RETURNS

...WITH A RED-HEADED VENGEANCE

It's kind of an all Todd Patrick Livingston weekend so hold on tight and keep your ears open for some sweet, sweet Dobro. On Saturday. Todd joins Dougmore and Nevertheless at Randolph Beer, with Dougmore Goldstein leading the band and picking five strings, Rick Snell on guitar, Elio Schiavo on mandolin and Ian Hutchinson, fresh in from Colorado, on bass.  You may remember Doug from award-winning Cricket Tell the Weather, Elio and Rick from the award-winning Six Deadly Venoms, Todd from winning pretty much everything, including the Dixie Beeliner's latest EP. That all goes down from 1:30-5 at 343 Broome Street.

On Sunday, Todd teams with Fresh Baked Bluegrass for Sunday Bluegrass Brunch at Southern Hospitality, joining Doug Hatt, Diane Stockwell and Dave Speranza on bass. That happens from 12-3:30 at 645 Ninth Avenue at 45th Street, in beautiful Hell's Kitchen. Now here's a little video of Todd playing Foggy Mountain Rock with none other than Earl Scruggs.

Yep, that's Todd all right.


YOUR FEB. 21/22 BRUNCH ROUND UP

This Saturday, Randolph Beer welcomes special guests the Feinberg Brothers. Hailing from eastern Long Island, this talented duo features Roark and Patrick Feinberg on a variety of stringed instruments and singing harmonies as only brothers can. They're backed by veteran pickers Ronnie Feinberg, Terry McGill and Pete Elegant and play 1:30 to 5 at Randolph, 343 Broome Street, NYC.

On Saturday night, the boys will headline a night of music at the Fabulous Jalopy Theater and School of Music in Red Hook, Brooklyn. Tickets are $10 and are available in advance or at the door. Jalopy is located at 315 Columbia Street; check their website for directions.

Sunday brunch at Southern Hospitality features Doug Hatt, with Diane Stockwell on fiddle and vocals, Billy Failing on banjo and Jason Sypher on bass. It all goes down from 12-3:30 at 645 Ninth Avenue, NYC.

Here are the Feinberg Brothers at the world famous Wheeling Jamboree USA.

YOUR V-DAY WEEKEND BRUNCH ROUND-UP

Valentine's Day is the biggest breakup day of the year, so before you hit the skids with your soon-to-be-ex, head on over to Randolph Beer to hear Christian Apuzzo and The Idiot Brigade tear it up from 1:30 to 5. 343 Broome Street, NYC.

On Sunday, gather your posse and drown your sorrows to the rough and tumble sounds of Fresh Baked Bluegrass at Southern Hospitality. This week, we'll include Doug Hatt on guitar and vocals, Jake Tilove on mandolin and vocals, Jon Mark Fletcher on the banjo and Dave Speranza on bass. It all happens from 12-3:30 at 645 Ninth Ave., NYC.

Now here's some Marty Stewart to get you in the mood:


RHIANNON GIDDENS ON LETTERMAN

Here's the Carolina Chocolate Drops founder and singer performing "Waterboy" on the Late Show with David Letterman, with backing from her Family Band including Fresh Baked Bluegrass mainstay Jason Sypher on the bass. Great song, great support from a great band. And it looked like the host was suitably impressed. Great job all around.

WHO'S COOKING UP BRUNCH JAN. 31 & FEB. 1

Diane Stockwell hits Randolph Beer and Jen Larson plays her first 2015 Sunday brunch at Southern Hospitality

As January closes out and February makes its brief and hopefully mild annual appearance, Fresh Baked Bluegrass offers two blockbuster brunches for your listening and dining pleasure.

At Randolph Beer, Fresh Baked fiddler and vocalist Diane Stockwell welcomes Christian Apuzzo on guitar, Billy Failing on banjo and Jeff Picker on bass. That happens from 1:30 - 5 at Randolph Beer, 343 Broome Street.

Then on Sunday, Fresh Baked and Southern Hospitality welcome stellar vocalist and guitarist Jen Larson, fresh from the fall release of her awesome EP Burning House, joins Doug on mandolin and vocals, Billy Failing on banjo and bassist Jason Sypher for an afternoon of bluegrass, harmony and barbecue, 12-3:30 at 645 Ninth Avenue in Hell's Kitchen.

Here's Jen with Michael Daves and an all-star mob of bluegrassers on video. Enjoy.

TAILWINDS

WHEN YOU PICK bluegrass at a huge, crowded, noisy Manhattan restaurant, it's often easy to get lost in the sauce. So it always helps to have a person or two who really digs what you're doing and let's you know. And so it was with a guy named Dave Withers who came to our brunch at Southern Hospitality yesterday (1/25/15) from Long Island. Dave hails from Knoxville, TN by way of Backhannon, WV so he knows bluegrass. And because he works on a flight crew, he likes to wish folks "Tailwinds," which is something I think all of us need. He was also nice enough to shoot some video of us singing "Don't Let Me Cross Over (Love's Cheating Line)". It's just a taste, but it starts with the high lonesome and ends, where it should, with a beer. Tailwinds, Dave!

Besides me, this video features Diane Stockwell on fiddle, Billy Failing on banjo and Jason Sypher on the bass (unfortunately, he's hiding throughout, but trust me, it's Jason).

Tailwinds to all of us!

LOOK WHO'S BRUNCHING, JAN. 24 & 25

On Saturday, Randolph Beer welcomes Abby Hollander and her band from from 1:30 to 5 PM. Abby recently got a write up in Bluegrass Today and will drop an album soon. It all takes place at 343 Broome Street in beautiful Nolita.

Then on Sunday, Fresh Baked Bluegrass, the band, returns to Southern Hospitality-Hell's Kitchen for more of that good old fashioned stuff, this week featuring Doug Hatt on guitar and vocals, Diane Stockwell on fiddle and vocals, Billy Failing on banjo and vocals and Jason Sypher on bass holding it all together. That's at 645 Ninth Avenue at 45th Street from 12:15 till 3:30.

PICKING ON BRUNCH, JAN. 17 & 18

This weekend's two Fresh Baked Bluegrass brunches welcome back a couple of favorite combos.

On Saturday at Randolph Beer, 343 Broome Street, NYC, from 1:30 to 5 PM, Morningside Drive will bring its always excellent, hard-drive, tight-harmony style. Led by singer/guitarist and mandolinist Brad Einhorn, fiddle whiz Bruno Bruzzese, and dobro bro Joel Turoff, they'll be joined by 5-string stylist Matt Check and bassist Larry Cook.

At Southern Hospitality, 645 Ninth Ave, NYC, the next day, January 18, the Fresh Baked Bluegrass band will consist of Doug Hatt along with mandolin genius Jake Tilove of the Lonesome Trio and All Night Cookin', along with his 5-string Cookin' cohort Jon Mark Fletcher, with Jason Sypher -- currently making music with the Carolina Chocolate Drops' Rhiannon Giddens, among many, many others -- on the doghouse base.

Now here's a little Lonesome Trio video to get you through to the weekend:

 

LOOK WHO'S COMING ... JERRY WICENTOWSKI

One of the things I'd like to do with this blog is to highlight artists and events coming to our neck of the woods, so I was excited to see that Jerry Wicentowski is putting on a mini tour this month, with a local version of his band Lucky Break. Players will include Marty Cutler on the banjo, Kenny Kosek on fiddle, Zack Bruce on mandolin and either Larry Cook or Jeff Picker on bass. Dates, times and locations follow:

January 20, 7:00 PM (doors open at 5:00)
Lucky Break appears at The Outer Space, Hamden, Connecticut

January 21, 7:00 to 9:00 PM
Lucky Break appears at The Old Stone House, Brooklyn, NY.

January 24, 8:30 PM
Lucky Break appears at a house concert for Ken Jewell. Due to space limitations the seating is limited on a first come first serve basis and is limited to 30 people. Please RSVP to kjewell21@optonline.net and include your name and numbers seats to reserve..

January 25, 7:00 PM
Lucky Break appears at The Davar Institute, 1500 Sussex Ave., Teaneck, NJ

Be sure to catch one of these shows to see one of the truly authentic voices in bluegrass music today.

IT'S BEEN 10 LONG YEARS (ALMOST) ...

This April, we'll mark 10 years as a band; in May, we'll observe a decade playing Sunday bluegrass brunches. In that time, we've logged about 1,560 hours of live music for New York audiences (not counting evening performances, weddings, events and the like). That's about 65 days out of the last 10 years doing nothing but playing bluegrass/folk/Americana/Old Time for Sunday audiences alone, not to mention our Saturdays at Randolph Beer.

It's all been tremendously gratifying, and not least because of the amazing musicians who have chosen to spend their weekend afternoons with us, everyone from Diane Stockwell to Greg Garing, from Jen Larson to Boo Reiners and Jason Sypher, Jake Tilove and more. In fact, I could spend this entire blog just listing the great musicians I've been honored to play with. And maybe I'll do that some time.

Right now, though, I'm here to introduce Fresh Baked Bluegrass, not as a band, but in our upcoming reinvention as a complete bluegrass resource for those looking to find the New York area's very best musicians for their events, parties, venues and more, as well as a way for pickers to connect with each other and find even more paying gigs. In the coming days, weeks, months and years, it's our hope that you will make this blog a must-read and that you will recommend this web site to anyone hoping to find out where the music is.

In that spirit, go to the CONTACT page on this website and let us know what you're looking for. If you are a musician hoping to land some more gigs, please, by all means, let us know. If you are a restaurant, club, bar or event sponsor hoping to add the excitement and authenticity of bluegrass to your establishment or event, let us know. And finally, if you're a fan, drop us a line and we'll point you in the direction of some of the best music this side of the Mason-Dixon line.