Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Tour Report, Day 2: Musica, Hudson

On our way down to Hudson from the Albany Ramada on Tuesday morning, one of the hosts from a show on WGXC, Hudson’s local radio station, called to confirm an interview. We got into town with hours to spare. Rob, the owner of Musica, the music shop above which we’d be performing that night, gave us a little local history as he drew us a map of the places in town we might want to check out. “Until 1950, Hudson was whore town,” he said. “Every one of those buildings on the main drag was originally a whorehouse – there were a hundred years of whores here.” In 1950 the feds came in with 20 panel trucks and there was a big raid, and since then the town has not been quite so colorful. Nevertheless, we managed to amuse ourselves in town. Most excitingly, Heather scored a pair of black and white polka-dot shoes at a thrift store that are a perfect match for one of her show dresses.

Rob’s daughter Chloe ferried me over to the radio station, which is so new the doors inside still have stickers on them instructing the contractor how to hang them properly. In the studio there was a blackboard over the window with phonetic spellings of all the nearby towns so that the DJs would pronounce them properly: Delhi = dell-high, Milan = my-lon, and so forth. We did a quick interview and I played “Stick Around” into the microphone on a uke that had already gone out of tune since I had tuned it a few minutes ago.

The Musica loft is also where Rob lives, and it was clean and light and homey. We ate dinner with him and Chloe and a friend, and then moved tables to make way for more seating. Our preparations made it feel like we were getting ready for a wedding at someone’s home, the funny combination of formal and informal, women in fancy dresses and stocking feet arranging chairs, putting on our makeup in Chloe’s bedroom. Liv Carrow, a songwriter from Brooklyn who recently moved upstate, opened with a set of beautiful, witty songs. The chairs in the room filled with people as the windows got dark. After she finished, we followed with the same marimba set we had played at Valentine’s the night before but to a very different crowd, quietly sitting and listening.

Afterwards almost everyone went across the street to get drinks at Helsinki, where Sweet Soubrette played in February and where their weekly open mic was going on. The Helsinki folks gave us a warm welcome back, and the emcee of the open mic asked if I would play a song in the show. When I told him I’d packed up my ukulele, the sound guy went and got his ukulele for me to borrow, a 1920s Martin that sounded beautiful. I played a new song called “Catch and Toss” that no one has heard yet other than there. All I could see from the Helsinki stage were the twinkling lights of the table votives.

Stephanie of the Bindlestiff Family Cirkus put us up for the night. Before we went to bed she fed us snacks and gave us a tour of the hot sauce museum that lives in her fridge. I got to sleep in the juggling room.

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