This has been a brutally cold February, and it’s been even harder to bear because, unlike in January, we haven’t had Nancy Atlas’s Fireside Sessions at Bay Street Theater to look forward to on Friday nights. This series of one-of-a-kind shows sponsored by Dan’s Papers started in 2014 and has quickly become the number one Hamptons strategy for beating back the winter blues. This year, Atlas took February off for a well-deserved getaway to somewhere warm. But, as was promised, Atlas is coming back to Bay Street for four Fridays in March, bringing an array of dazzling guest performers to help her give us all a push over the hump of winter and into spring. Here’s a rundown of Atlas’s exciting guests in March.
Billy Campion and Billy Ryan
The Fireside Sessions restart with a roar on March 6 as singer Billy Campion and guitarist Billy Ryan of the Bogmen join Atlas at the Fireside Sessions. Originally from Huntington, the now-disbanded Bogmen were a fixture at the Stephen Talkhouse in the ’90s and played there with Atlas quite a bit. So it will be great to see the three reunite at Bay Street. Ryan says they’ll be bringing the Bogmen’s trademark indie-rock sound to the show, along with some select covers of Johnny Cash, Talking Heads and, of course, a little Irish music (think The Pogues) in an early celebration of St. Patrick’s Day.
Danny Kean brings his mix of soul, blues, funk and gospel keyboards and vocals on March 13. Kean loves playing with Nancy Atlas and her crackerjack band—“They can grab onto anything really quick,” he says. Atlas’s band loves him right back, and the fans all benefit from their warm interaction. Kean has an album coming out, so he might spin some new material on the audience at Bay Street as well as some more familiar tunes. There will also be some carefully considered covers—tunes that Kean would rather not give away right now (“I like to surprise people,” he says.). He does mention that he’s been doing some personalized takes on the Beatles, hint, hint. But no matter what, the audience can be sure they’ll get a great big dose of soulful keys and singing when Kean comes to town.
Piano man Henry Haid joins the Fireside Sessions with Nancy Atlas on March 20, bringing his expert take on the Billy Joel songbook. Haid, a veteran of the Billy Joel musical Movin’ Out on Broadway, will be movin’ into Bay Street with renditions of Joel classics—he mentions “New York State of Mind,” “Scenes from an Italian Restaurant,” and, of course, “Movin’ Out”—along with some originals. Informed that Joel’s Sag Harbor house is just a stone’s throw from the theater, Haid is unfazed: “I once played a whole Billy Joel set for Billy, his [now ex-] wife and his mother. They loved it!” Haid will be joined by George Cortes on saxophone.
Sax man Arno Hecht will be Atlas’s guest at the Fireside Sessions on March 27, making a most welcome return to Bay Street to close out the season. Those who were fortunate enough to see Hecht play with Atlas last year will remember his charming traversal of a range of classics from the solo sax repertoire. Henry Mancini’s “Pink Panther” theme, the classic blues “Night Train,” and Traffic’s “Glad” all get a powerful treatment from this master of the tenor sax, and once again Atlas’s band demonstrates an amazing flexibility to adapt to any style. Hecht is a veteran sideman, with stints with the likes of the Rolling Stones and the J. Geils Band. As of press time, there are unconfirmed rumors that this year Hecht might bring the Uptown Horns with him to Bay Street.
To purchase tickets to any of the upcoming “Fireside Sessions” at Bay Street Theater visit baystreet.org or call 631-725-9500.