Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Plenty of Great Free Americana Shows in NYC This Week, Plus St. Vincent

If you're a fan of folk, country, or any of the other genres lumped into the Americana category, this is your time to overindulge in free concerts in New York. This week is the annual Lincoln Center Out of Doors Americanafest NYC, the last week of the LCOOD series that features a blowout of great shows.

See the schedule below for Lincoln Center's big Americanafest.

The 2014 Americanafest is no exception, with a week of shows packed with artists like Rosanne Cash, The Lone Bellow, Emmylou Harris & Rodney Crowell, Cassandra Wilson, and Charles Bradley. Most shows take place at the Damrosch Park Bandshell, but see the Americanafest page for links to specific show pages, where you'll find locations as well as information on the artists (including videos).
  • Wed., 8/6 - Emmylou Harris & Rodney Crowell, Robert Ellis, 7:30 p.m.
  • Thurs., 8/7 - Tift Merritt, 7:30 p.m.
  • Fri., 8/8 - Cassandra Wilson, The Campbell Brothers: "A Sacred Steel Love Supreme" (a film honoring John Coltrane's "A Love Supreme"), 7:30 p.m.
  • Sat., 8/9 - The Devil Makes Three, Old 97s, and John Fullbright, 1:30 p.m.
  • Sat., 8/9 - "Heroes of American Roots: From the Historic Films Archives," 1 and 4 p.m. (a rare film montage of musical performances by artists such as Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Elvis Presley, and Woody Guthrie)
  • Sat., 8/9 - Rosanne Cash, The Lone Bellow, Buddy Miller & Jim Lauderdale, 6 p.m.
  • Sun., 8/10 - Charles Bradley & His Extraordinaires, St. Paul & the Broken Bones, Bobby Patterson, and the Music Maker Blues Revue, 5 p.m.
  • Sun., 8/10 - Roots Symposium, 1 p.m., including "Heroes of Americana: From the Historic Films Archives," introduced by Joe Lauro; "Talkin’ Blues:" Music Maker Relief Foundation’s Beverly “Guitar” Watkins, Ironing Board Sam, Dom Flemons, and Tim Duffy in conversation with Coleman “Spike” Barkin; and SiriusXM’s “Buddy & Jim Show” with Buddy Miller & Jim Lauderdale
If adventurous contemporary rock is more your style, you've got another free option for Saturday night: St. Vincent and San Fermin play a free show at Celebrate Brooklyn at 7:30 p.m.


Sunday, July 20, 2014

Free NYC Shows Honor Pete Seeger

A variety of performers will celebrate the long life and career of folk-music legend Pete Seeger in a pair of free upcoming NYC shows. These events are part of the five-day "Seeger Fest," which has so far featured performances in the Bronx and in the neighborhood of the Seegers' Beacon, New York home.

Free Pete Seeger Memorial Concert at Lincoln Center Today

This afternoon, Lincoln Center Out of Doors presents a memorial concert for Seeger and his wife Toshi at 4 p.m. that will include a bevvy of musical heavy hitters. Judy Collins, Peter Yarrow (of Peter, Paul & Mary), Holly Near, Tom Chapin and the Chapin Sisters, Dar Williams, Sarah Lee Guthrie and Johnny Irion, and many more will be performing at the Damrosch Bandshell concert. Speakers will include Harry Belafonte, Fred Hellerman of The Weavers, and George Wein, founder of the Newport Folk Festival.

Can't make it to Lincoln Center? The event will be streamed live at watch.LincolnCenter.org.

Monday: "New Songs of Justice: An Evening Honoring Pete Seeger"

On Monday SummerStage hosts its own celebration of Pete Seeger, but with a much more diverse cast of performers. Reflecting Seeger's impact on a variety of musical genres, and on the world of activism, "New Songs of Justice: An Evening Honoring Pete Seeger" features acoustic performances by Amanda Palmer (solo) and Anti-Flag, as well as Steve Earle, Elizabeth Mitchell, Aurora Barnes, and some of the artists who appeared at Lincoln Center, including Guthrie and Irion and the Chapin Sisters. And there will be DJ sets by hip-hop pioneer Kool Herc.

"New Songs of Justice" is free and takes place Monday night at 7 p.m. at the main SummerStage location in Central Park.

The weather should be great both days, so if you're interested in folk history get out there for these two unique, multigenerational celebrations of this legend in music and activism.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings, Lake Street Dive Play Free NYC Show Tonight

The Lowdown Hudson Blues Festival returns to lower Manhattan tonight and tomorrow, and as usual the organizers have put together a good lineup. Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings bring their popular old-style soul to the Brookfield Place stage tonight as the headliners. The No BS! Brass Band opens the show at 6 p.m., followed by up-and-coming pop-soul favorites Lake Street Dive at 7. Sharon Jones and her band take the stage at 8:30.

Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings @ Pori Jazz 2.jpg
Above: "Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings at Pori Jazz 2" by kallerna - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

Tomorrow night the headliner is legendary blues-rock singer-songwriter John Hiatt, whose songs have been covered by everyone from Bonnie Raitt to Sheryl Crow. Hiatt is scheduled to take the stage at 8:45 p.m., preceded by the James Carter Organ Trio (6 p.m.) and five-time Grammy-winning blues outfit the Robert Cray Band (7 p.m.).

The shows take place at the waterfront plaza at Brookfield Place (outside the World Financial Center Winter Garden), west of the World Trade Center near the intersection of West and Vesey Streets. (See map.) Seating is limited, but standing room is available. See the Lowdown Hudson Blues Festival website for instructions for getting seats.

A quick recap of the set times for this year's Lowdown Hudson Blues Festival:

July 16
6:00 PM - No BS! Brass Band
7:00 PM - Lake Street Dive
8:30 PM - Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings

July 17

6:00 PM - James Carter Organ Trio
7:00 PM - The Robert Cray Band
8:45 PM - John Hiatt & The Combo

Saturday, July 12, 2014

FREE 4 Knots Festival Today wth Dinosaur Jr., Speedy Ortiz, & More

The 2014 Village Voice 4 Knots Festival is TODAY, and once again it's all totally free. As always, it takes place at South Street Seaport and runs from early afternoon to early evening (1 p.m. to 8 p.m.).

Dinosaur Jr. is the headliner, going on at 7 p.m. Set times were just posting this morning; see the image below for the full lineup.

4 knots set times

Also see a map of the 4 Knots Festival location.

The weather forecast looks great for today, enjoy!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Nicole Atkins Kicks Off Free Madison Square Music Concerts Tonight

Jersey Shore native Nicole Atkins plays the first show of Madison Square Music's annual series of free oval lawn shows tonight at 7 p.m. in Madison Square Park. She's coming off this year's great new album, "Slow Phaser," which was funded partly through Pledge Music crowdfunding and features the infectious tune (and video), "Girl You Look Amazing" (below).

Her vocals can be smoky and sultry, with rock and pop songs that can show blues, country, and torch-song influences, among others. Atkins first made a mark with her song "Neptune City," written about her shore neighborhood, and has since been praised critics ranging from Paste, Rolling, Stone, and American Songwriter. This should be a great show. Oh, and there's a Shake Shack in the park, too, so you can cool off with one of their zillion-calorie milkshakes.

See the rest of Madison Square Park's 2014 oval lawn shows here.

We've written about some of the summer's other free concert series, including SummerStage and Celebrate Brooklyn, in a previous post, so check that out for more free music.

Monday, June 02, 2014

Your Guide to the Best Free Summer Concerts in New York City

hudson square free concerts
Learn about some of the best free summer concert series in NYC (including Hudson Square, above).

Who says going out in New New York City has to cost a lot? There are countless free concerts in the summer, and here's a guide to some of the best series going. We'll add additional events here or in future posts.

And see the Oh My Rockness guide to free summer shows for even more no-cost gigs, including McCarren Park shows and the House of Vans concerts. And if you're an early riser, there are the free concerts put on by the "Today" show and "Good Morning America."

SummerStage - The grandaddy of NYC free summer concerts includes free performances in parks in all five boroughs, with spoken word, dance, and film as well as music. Most shows are free, but several paid, ticketed concerts help pay for the free ones. Highlights include Sisqó, John Butler Trio, Bonobo and Cibo Matta, and Dr. John.

Celebrate Brooklyn! - This long-running Prospect Park attraction has become more and more popular (and has snagged increasingly well-known entertainment). Like SummerStage, most shows are free, but a number of big-name benefit concerts help subsidize the freebees. Among this summer's lineup: Janelle Monae, St. Vincent, Dum Dum Girls, and Flea, Laurie Anderson, David Murray, and Patti Smith (that last one is one show, folks!)

Madison Square Music - Skip the big crowds and long lines with this low-key series. Simply walk into the park & sit yourself down on the lawn. Madison Square Music remains one of the undiscovered free-music gems of summer in the City, offering quality acts in a no-frills atmosphere. (Note: you will probably find a long line at the Shake Shack in the park.) Acts this summer include Nicole Atkins and Forro in the Dark and Debo Band. 

Hudson Square Music Festival - Here's a great idea: a series of right-after-work shows that gives you plenty of time for dinner or another concert later on. These downtown gigs start early (around 5:30pm), so you can see some live music and have plenty of time for other plans (or getting home). The venue is a parking lot outside of City Winery (the series' sponsor). Shows include Commander Cody, former X member John Doe, and Drivin' n' Cryin'.

It's free concerts galore in New York in the summer. Get out there and enjoy!