Jolly music follows us everywhere we go at this time of year. Tuneful voices implore us to be merry and full of good cheer at every turn. But things get a bit quiet in the aftermath of all that cheer…
Nancy Atlas will change that for you. “Life is short—we’re gonna have some fun,” she says. The Fireside Sessions with Nancy Atlas at Bay Street Theater, sponsored by Dan’s Papers, is back for its sixth year. Always sold out in advance, the Fireside Sessions will run for all four Saturdays in the month of January, featuring special guests on every show, giving music lovers across the East End something awesome to look forward to each week.
And what a slate of special treats this year! “Every show is going to knock it out of the park,” says Atlas. Most of the shows feature not one but TWO guest artists joining the Nancy Atlas Project band—Brett King on bass; Neil Surreal on keyboard; Johnny Blood on lead guitar; and Richard Rosch on drums—to help rock away the winter blues. And, as always, with the Fireside Sessions, there’s tremendous contrast from week to week.
To start things off, Saturday, January 5 will feature the great piano man Henry Haid. Best known for his time on Broadway in the hit Billy Joel jukebox musical Movin’ Out, Haid has been wowing audiences with his pianistic gymnastics since the 1980s. Also joining the band is George Cortez on the saxophone. There will likely be more than a few Billy Joel songs on the set. Will those sounds lure a certain Sag Harbor resident down the street to come sit in? You’ll have to get a seat for yourself to find out!
Then on January 12 comes Randi Fishenfeld, queen of that rarest of rarities, the rock violin. A veteran of many past Fireside Sessions, Fishenfeld wields her fiddle and bow like a sorceress, drawing audiences into a vortex of virtuosity. If you’ve never seen a Fishenfeld show and you still consider the violin to be among the daintier instruments out there, let this leather-jacketed force of nature prove you wrong. Word is she once beat the Devil himself in a fiddling duel…
January 19 is Rockabilly Night at the Fireside Sessions, featuring the East End’s own rockabilly favorite Gene Casey along with New York-based rockabilly legend Eugene Chrysler. These are guys who have been steeped in the rockabilly sound—think early Elvis, Carl Perkins, Roy Orbison—for decades, while making forays into the related sounds of western swing and hillbilly music. Casey is a master at Perkins-style electric guitar and Chrysler slaps that standup bass like it owes him money. Both are blessed with deep, rich, made-for-rockabilly voices. Not for nothing, this show should feature a contest to see which of these two guys can go lower on “I Walk the Line.”
The Fireside Sessions wrap up on January 26 with two very soulful singer/keyboardists, Jonny Rosch and Danny Kean. While both of these electrifying performers have appeared at the Fireside Sessions in prior years, this year for the first time audiences will hear Rosch’s rough-edged voice contrasted with Kean’s sweeter tone. “This is the show I’m most looking forward to,” says Atlas. Can’t wait!
So throw the wrapping paper in the fire, kick the dead tree to the curb and put your Bing Crosby records away until next December. And get ready to rock all January long!
For tickets and more information about Fireside Sessions with Nancy Atlas, visit baystreet.org. Reserve your seats soon—these shows sell out every year!