Frank’s Picks: January Special Edition

Recommendations for where to go and what to hear in January 2019

When all of the holiday hoopla is over, after the new year rings in, most people have had enough of celebrations and festivities. January is a month of slowing the pace, resting and hunkering down in the cold. It’s typically not a high point for entertainment and going out. The concert calendar is consequently trimming down a bit and that’s why it may be a good time for a special edition of Frank’s Picks. This month, I will go beyond only telling you what is happening in Westchester and I will also point out where to hear good music outside of the County in nearby venues. We will also look ahead and give you a heads up about some future shows for which tickets are likely to sell out, so that you can act now to get your seats.

We are privileged to have so much good music nearby. Consider being adventurous and exposing yourself to music outside of your usual fare. Try it all. You’d be amazed how wonderful it is to explore and discover. You can’t go wrong with any of these shows.


The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center: Esteemed Ensemble

January 26, 2019, 5pm

The Performing Arts Center at Purchase College (Purchase, NY)

If you are audacious enough to go around calling yourself “esteemed” right there in the title of your group, well, you’d better be something really special, lest the critics will snap you on the pillory and pelt you with rotten eggs. Rejoice, chamber music fans. Mercifully, the elite Esteemed Ensemble is really all that they espouse. They pack prestigious venues all around the world to critical acclaim with breathtaking performances. This concert features four supreme maestros, three unparalleled composers and one early evening performance, all in the recital hall of SUNY Purchase. The world-class Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center’s Esteemed Ensemble consists of Wu Han, piano; Daniel Hope, violin; Paul Neubauer, viola and David Finckel, cello. They will perform a program of piano quartet classics: SUK Quartet in A Minor for Piano, Violin, Viola, and Cello, Op. 1; BRAHMS Quartet No. 3 in C Minor for Piano, Violin, Viola, and Cello, Op. 60 and DVOŘÁK Quartet in E-flat Major for Piano, Violin, Viola, and Cello, Op. 87. There is no better legal way to emancipate yourself from the holiday stress.

Not far away and worth the trip:

There are three excellent and renowned music clubs near Westchester that are nearby enough: The Towne Crier Café in Beacon and Daryl’s House in Pawling (in the same building where the Towne Crier formerly resided) are located in southern Dutchess County; and the Turning Point is in Piermont, Rockland County. All feature an eclectic mix of music, often by internationally famous artists. Scan their calendars well in advance, because many shows sell out fast. Daryl’s House, operated by the famous pop-rocker Daryl Hall, and the Towne Crier Café both offer free concerts on weekend afternoons, with surprisingly good, often wonderful, acoustic performers who are up and coming. These are great daytime weekend activities in the winter:


Joe Louis Walker

Friday, January 11, 2019, 8:30pm

The Towne Crier Café

379 Main Street (Beacon, NY)

Did you know that one of the finest living blues performers lives right nearby in Poughkeepsie? The internationally renowned singer/guitarist and multiple Grammy & WC Handy Award winner Joe Louis Walker is one of the last, real-deal, deep-roots bluesmen. Walker has recorded with BB King, James Cotton, Bonnie Raitt, Taj Mahal, Branford Marsalis and Ike Turner. For a taste of the authentic, fiery, exuberant blues the old way, this artist will dispel the false notion that the blues is a sad downer. He will get you to jump and dance in a wild, unforgettable, totally fun performance. Walker is a superb electric guitar player who puts on a show for the ages. Hold on to your hats when he blows the roof off the house!

Bluegrass Brunch- Free Show

Jim Gaudet & The Railroad Boys

Sunday, January 27, 2019, 12pm

Daryl’s House

130 Rt. 22 (Pawling, NY)

If you need to drive an hour to a matinee show, it is of course not actually “free.” But, if you want to get away, hear some great acoustic music, have a nice lunch and drive home in the daytime, this is the perfect show. Jim Gaudet and the Railroad Boys are first class American string music players, and Gaudet’s “Hillbilly Rock and Roll,” bluegrass and storytelling will do you good. They are favorites in major bluegrass festivals like Music City Roots in Nashville, Tennessee; Wintergrass in Seattle, Washington; Grey Fox in the Hudson Valley; and the High Mountain Festival in Westcliffe, Colorado. You might not know him, but you will love him.

Get your tickets now for these two future shows not to miss:


The Earls of Leicester

Friday, March 1, 2019, 8pm

The Emelin Theater (Mamaroneck, NY)

The Grammy Award-winning sextet, The Earls of Leicester, consist of a virtual super-group of Jerry Douglas, Shawn Camp, Barry Bales, Johnny Warren, Charlie Cushman and Jeff White. The Earls of Leicester are undoubtedly the biggest thing happening in bluegrass today, an ensemble of amazing musicians paying tribute to some of the best music ever made in America – the revival of the golden age of bluegrass legends Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs, the famous Foggy Mountain Boys.  This is retro-bluegrass, cultural preservation and pride, with the ensemble honoring the legacy of the greats, all decked out the way any respectable bluegrass musicians took the stage a half a century ago: nice suits, fancy hats, shiny shoes and a Western bow tie. This will provide an evening of classic tunes performed by some of the best string musicians in the world, old style, the way it used to be played – the type of show that will leave a smile on your face for months. Check out their YouTube videos.


Leyla McCalla

Saturday, April 13, 2019, 8pm

Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts (Katonah, NY)

Leyla McCalla, a pure musical joy, is a classically trained cellist and singer who also plays banjo and guitar. She ranks among the most exciting roots musicians of our time and you’d need a cold, cold heart not to feel her soulful music. She was the cellist for the Grammy Award-winning Carolina Chocolate Drops and she is now on her own making remarkably beautiful and virtuosic, soul-stirring music. Leyla McCalla is a New York-born Haitian-American living in New Orleans who sings in English, French and Haitian Creole. Her wide-reaching repertoire is an amalgam of classical, Creole, Cajun and Haitian music, as well as jazz and folk – music at its finest reflecting the wonderful American melting pot. Expect mesmerizing musical brilliance and beauty.

Frank Matheis is an award-winning music journalist, author and radio producer with an eclectic musical taste that covers the gamut of music from Americana to Zydeco, from Jazz to World Music. He is a regular contributor to Living Blues magazine and other music publications, and the publisher of His radio documentaries have been heard on three continents in three languages.

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