New rooms, familiar players, cool release … and I still dig the Syracuse sound

Back when I covered the Central New York music scene for the big daily, I always had it in the back of my mind somewhere that these voices, these talents, these people I was hearing, seeing, watching, following, talking with, tracking, well, they were as good as the folks other people doing this job in other cities in the country — no, around the world — were hearing and seeing.

A bit parochial, of me, I know.

And, really, there was no way ever to quantify that hunch, no matter how many national and international acts I went to as they came to the bigger venues in Syracuse or cross sections of albums I listened to.

Taste is all relative, right? And I sure as hell wasn’t getting paid to travel to the little listening clubs and pubs to hear the emerging or longstanding bands in other cities.

The music continues to whirl and swirl, in the Central New York musicians’ and fans’ and my heart, too, as I write this generalist’s blog here. Some of them still see fit to send me their work. So still I wonder. And once in a while, still I write.

From CD Cover

From CD Cover

Castle Creek, “The Only Life”

The duo of Kim Monroe and Chris Eves have gotten better in this quite special musical collaboration. They grew up in different villages in Central New York, went away to different colleges, started off with vastly different solo careers.

But when her voice met his guitar work thereafter, the chemistry clicked.

Can you say Susan Tedeschi and Derek Trucks? Yes, that sort of blues-rock, husky-meets-honey vibe.

This 12-song album, released this week, follows a three-song EP. “The Only Life” was produced and engineered by Monroe and Eves. They wrote the lyrics and music together, except for “New Reality,” a song she’s created with for a previous album with veteran Syracuse musician and producer Mark Doyle.

Monroe owns the more prominent voice of the pair, but they both sing. Eves plays the more significant guitar, but she works the strings, too. They both also get credited for Rhodes, organ and bass, and she gets cello and percussion, and he gets drums.

It’s a slick-sounding blues production, and — no surprise — they share producer and engineering credits. It was mixed by Matt Mangano at Southern Ground Studio in Nashville, and mastered at Independent Mastering in Nashville.

Monroe’s compelling voice can slap you on the side of your face one moment and kiss the other cheek to make up the next.

Eve’s guitar work slides up side of your spine raising goosebumps one song and riffs down the other side leaving blisters the next.

My favorites moments in the delectable dozen include the big guitar buzz of “Burning Bridges;” the rich slide-guitar sound that embraces both their vocals on “Glass Heart;” the Rollng Stones-reminiscent guitar swagger rhythm of “Brace for the Heartache;” Monroe’s Adele-style spell on the “The Saddest Love Song;” and
the beautiful closing duet arc on “Flown Away.”

Central New York music fans can catch a CD release party at 6 p.m. Sunday at Upstairs at the Dinosaur on North Franklin Street. Tickets are $20. In the next week, the Castle Creek tour hits New York City; Burlington, Vt.; Cambridge, Mass.; and Providence, R.I. After several other Central New York shows in December, they play the NAMM convention in Anaheim, Caif., on Jan. 2.

Here’s the link for the Castle Creek site.

Here’s a YouTube video for their song “Burning Bridges.”

Big show

Big show

Professor Louie, Salt City Chill at the Polish Home

Powerful music and pierogi. Cool vibes with cabbage rolls.

It’s happening on Syracuse’s west side.

The Syracuse Polish Home on Park Avenue is opening its doors at 8 p.m. today for a pair of bands, one national outfit from the Woodstock area and the other a collection of Syracuse veterans.

Professor Louie and the Cromatix continue the vibe that the little village that’s given so much from the Hudson Valley is known for far and wide.

In fact, Professor Louie Hurwitz started this band while working out songs for The Band for 15 years. Louie and his musicians worked on solo albums by Rick Danko, Levon Helm and Garth Hudson. They become Professor Louis and the Cromatix in 2004.

Here’s the link for Professor Louie and the Crowmatix.

The Salt City Chill was formed by Syracuse native Chuck Schiele. He’s joined by Phil Smith, John Dancks, Rhys Brigada and Todd Hobin. This is their first public gig with this lineup.

Here’s the link for the Salt City Chill’s site.

Tickets are $10, available at the door.

The bar will be open, and the Polish Home menu will be available.

Here’s the link for Live Space Entertainment.

Mark Doyle and his guitar, again to go Noir.

Mark Doyle and his guitar, again to go Noir.

Mark Doyle’s Guitar Noir at OCC’s Recital Hall on Nov. 22

I saw veteran Mark Doyle and his guitar at center stage in the intimate Auburn Public Theater last spring, and I saw him at the expansive Syracuse M&T Jazz Fest in the summer.

This Guitar Noir project of Doyle’s has legs. He’s bringing the string section and core band to play the instrumental selections from his albums for the first show ever at Onondaga Community College’s new Recital Hall, at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 22. It’s a late addition to the Legends of Jazz/Arts Across Campus Series.

Like the first two shows — both of which I gave top reviews — Doyle’s core band will consist of Terry Quill on guitars, Bill DiCosimo on keyboards, Edgar Pagan on bass and Joshua Dekaney on drums. Unlike those shows, however, the string ensemble will play during both sets of this show. That will include Ally Brown, Shelby Dems and Leila Dean on violins, Claire Marie Wilcox on viola and Kate Wilkinson on cello.

Tickets are priced at $20 in advance and $25 on the day of the show, and are on sale at Sound Garden in downtown Syracuse’s Armory Square.

Here’s the link to Doyle’s site.

Fish of Gold

34 thoughts on “New rooms, familiar players, cool release … and I still dig the Syracuse sound

  1. Strange but going back today to places I pushed ‘like’ and they are no longer existing, on several other’s posts either! Huh? Has this happened to you before, Mark? Hope you are having a great Sunday and thanks for such very nice comments on my posts, too. Smiles!


    • I have not taken down any of my posts, so they all should still be find-able, Robin. I have found others’ to be missing, and always thought that meant that they took them off their blog. And, I find it a pleasure to comment on your posts, my friend. πŸ™‚


  2. You had me when you recommended these fine artists with such talent and beauty in their voices, instrumentals and styles. No two are alike, which is a fantastic way to give them tribute for being Originals in every way! Wow! Thanks for sharing and you are so good of a predictor, glad you have featured them here.


  3. Mark … I don’t think your view of Central New York talent is parochial at all. But, then, I’m a bit prejudiced. We were lucky to have venues like Dinosaur’s Bar-B-Que, the Landmark, the radio stations and many others to introduce us to excellent musical talent. I believe that Benny Mardones, for example, is a huge talent who deserved national recognition. I really enjoy Kim Monroe’s and Chris Eves’ “Burning Bridges.” Excellent. πŸ˜‰


  4. Good music, yes. Raw and authentic. As with independent films (and restaurants), I like musicians who do their own thing for real. And you’re lucky to have exposure to so many talented musical folk. When you come to Mpls/St Paul for your theater tour, you’ll find good music, too. I don’t follow so much, but I know there’s a lot of great music here. We birthed Prince, after all. Thinking you’d especially like this place: You know Charlie Parr, yes? He’ll be there Feb 21 and tickets only $15!!!!! Thinking you and Karen should buy your airline tickets now. I’ll buy four tickets for Parr and we’ll hit the town πŸ™‚ After a trip to Bubba Gumps first, haha.


    • You have a burgeoning future as a travel agent and tour guide as well, my friend. πŸ™‚ I would love to. Funds, though. 😦 It will happen but not that quick. Charlie Parr is a good one, yes, and the ticket prices are reasonable. The Cedar is a cool place from the site. The Twin Cities have it going on. By the way, snowing in Syracuse today, too, blanketed with a steady fall. Sigh. Triple Cities.


  5. Is there a better way to enjoy cabbage rolls? I think not. I like this phrase: “a voice that can slap you on the side of your face one moment and kiss the other cheek,” which sounds bipolar to me and (since we are in the USA) should be medicated immediately and without thought of consequence. As I listened to “Burning Bridges,” I had the image of a spatula scraping the brown bits off the bottom of a pan. That’s what the blues sounds like to me. A voice scraping away at the emotion.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You outdid me on my own review, Kerbey. Normally I’d take umbrage and get a bit hacked, but since it’s you, I will just marvel at your wonderful metaphor of the blues voice being like “a spatula scraping the brown bits off the bottom of a pan.” Wonderful, my friend. “A voice scraping away at the emotion.” Indeed. You should do more of this. I’m glad the video moved you to such levels, Kerbey. πŸ˜‰

      Liked by 1 person

  6. oh, i love all of these insider’s music back stories, it’s clear you have the ear and heart for music as well as sports and just life in general. thanks for the links, you do have a lot of great talent right around you –


  7. Wow, Castle Creek is amazing Mark. I’ve not heard them before and “Burning Bridges” was excellent. Talented group. Thanks for bringing them to our attention.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.