Claire Lynch Band at the Skytop Steakhouse with guests The Saturday Night Bluegrass Band

The concert, co-sponsored by the Hudson Valley Bluegrass Association, was fraught with sound and equipment problems but that didn’t bother the audience or stop Claire Lynch from putting on an enjoyable concert. New addition Matt Wingate showed that Claire Lynch had chosen the right replacement for the formidable Jim Hurst. Matt compliments the group with not only guitar but mandolin as well. It’s a nice combination when Jason Thomas is on fiddle and Matt on mandolin. Claire’s jovial style and bell-like voice made the sound problems trivial. Jason Thomas shows how a sideman should play, weaving his notes into the spaces between vocals with a delicate and soft touch–whether fiddle or mandolin.

If there is a better rhythm and innovative bass player in bluegrass I don’t know who it is but Mark Schatz has set the bar high in this category. Mark is one of the best claw-hammer banjo players as well, doing an up-tempo “Soldier’s Joy”. Mark’s ham-bone, juba dance routine is always a special part of the Claire Lynch performance and he gets the audience vocally involved.

Photo by Doug Mathewson
Professor Louie sat in with the Claire Lynch Band. CLB had jammed with the Professor and since he is from the Woodstock, NY area they invited him to sit in. The Professor uses his accordion with different forms of music including rock and blues. He pulled off an exciting version of Fleecy Moore’s “Caldonia” made popular by Louis Jordan with CLB jamming along. Asked if he plays Cajun music as well, he stated it was not a regular form for him but he has done it in the past.

Professor Louie & The Crowmatix started touring and recording their own music in 2001. They have seven studio CD’s and two live recordings on The Woodstock Records label. In 2010, Woodstock Records released Professor Louie & The Crowmatix CD Whispering Pines which was nominated in the first round of voting for five Grammy’s. More information can be found on his website:

Jason Thomas’ wife does the graphics for CLB and they had some nice t-shirt designs for sale.

Photo by Doug Mathewson
The Saturday Night Bluegrass Band opened for Claire Lynch. If you have never heard them it is a treat. The SNBB is Bill Keith, banjo; Brian Hollander, guitar and vocals; Guy “Fooch” Fischetti, fiddle; Tim Kapeluck, mando and vocals; Geoff Harden, bass and vocals and Francine Hollander on vocals. They performed a variety of lesser known bluegrass songs and did a nice medley of “June Apple” and “Red Haired Boy”. SNBB is based in Woodstock NY.

By the way the food was delectable at Skytop!

Doug Mathewson

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