She’s back. And she’s brought the East End’s hottest concert series with her. Nancy Atlas has returned to Sag Harbor’s Bay Street Theater with her Fireside Sessions.
The Dan’s Best of the Best Hall of Famer kicked off second season of Friday-night shows on January 2 with special guest Chad Smith, the drummer for the Red Hot Chili Peppers, delivering the “magic and mayhem,” as she calls it, that made last winter’s inaugural series such a hit.
“Last year was truly magical,” Atlas says. “I had so many people come up to me this summer and just thank the band for getting them through last winter—which we all know was a bear.” Blending the talents of that band, The Nancy Atlas Project, with guest musicians ranging from Smith to violin sensation Randi Fishenfeld, Atlas created a unique musical experience that had audiences raving and helped the “End End Run” performer discover something new in her music as well.
“It was such a wonderful gift to share with the East End community and I loved seeing everyone each week,” she says. “Getting a chance to jam with world-class musicians who also happen to be my friends on a weekly basis in the dead of winter was very cathartic.”
This year the series, once again presented by Dan’s Papers, runs throughout January, then takes a break in February before resuming in March. Along with the return of 2014 guests Smith, Fishenfeld, Arno Hecht and Brian Mitchell, the Fireside Sessions will welcome a number of new special performers.
“For January we will be rolling out two new amazing performers who I met in my NYC days,” Atlas reveals. “We all used to play at this hip bar called The Parkside Lounge. The first one is Clark Gayton, who is a multi-instrumentalist currently on tour playing in the horn section for Bruce Springsteen. His résumé is beyond the beyond—Sting, Marsalis, it goes on and on. Clark has a reggae funk style, and I am just starting to work out a set list. He is truly an amazing musician—it will be a lot of fun to introduce Bay Street to him.
“And also Bill Sims Jr., who is just this badass blues singer/guitarist—think B.B. King style,” Atlas continues. “Just mind-numbing. I am so excited for everyone to hear them. Then on March 6 I have Bill Ryan and Billy Campion of the Bogmen. I have performance crushes on both of them—just amazing singer-songwriters. What a treat for me to play with them all. I feel like a kid in a candy shop holding a hundred dollar bill.”
Nobody would have questioned her if she’d simply repeated the lineup of last winter’s guests, but as always Atlas wants to up the ante. “I could have very easily just booked the same people as last year and called it a day, but the reality is that I have these amazing people in my life who are just as good as any über famous person out there. Yet for many reasons, my guests are often sidemen to the greats or just keeping up the good fight. What a gift to put the spotlight on them and let them shine. The absolute most wonderful part of The Fireside Sessions at Bay Street shows is that they are a total love fest each week between the guest and the audience. I’m just in between, greasing the wheels to make it all spin.”
Admission is $20 per show. To purchase tickets in advance, visit baystreet.org.