A Night at Tess’ Lark Tavern: A Benefit Celebration Featuring The “House Bands” of The Lark Tavern

Tess' Lark Tavern The Linda, WAMC’s Performing Arts Studio presents:
A Night at Tess’ Lark Tavern: A Benefit Celebration featuring the "House Bands" of the Lark Tavern

with Albany Poets; Jim Gaudet & The Railroad Boys; Keith Pray’s Big Soul Revival; MotherJudge & "The Best Damn Open Mic EVER!" Band; Ramblin Jug Stompers; and special guest Bryan Thomas 7 p.m. Thursday, June 10, The Linda, WAMC’s Performing Arts Studio 339 Central Ave, Albany, 518.465.5233, ext. 4; www.thelinda.org, $15 at the door.

In the early morning hours of May 6, 2010 a fire ripped through Tess’ Lark Tavern, effectively gutting the historic building while also gutting the heart of downtown Albany’s artistic community. For years prior to the fire, owner Tess Collins had made an unusual commitment — creating a home for artists of all walks by hosting meetings, events, benefits and performances by the city’s best and brightest, as well as by the region’s promising unknowns and up-and-comers.

Now it’s time for the artists and the community-at-large to give back. This is being done most visibly through a series of benefits staged by those touched by the graceful, generous hand of Collins and her well-loved staff. Few have felt that touch more deeply than the “House Bands” of Tess’ Lark Tavern. These groups of musicians and poets have made the Lark Tavern their true home, with long-running residencies based on monthly (or in the case of MotherJudge, weekly) performances.

It’s safe to say that host band Ramblin Jug Stompers and jazz icons Keith Pray’s Big Soul Ensemble would simply not exist without Collins, as her venue was the incubator which allowed these groups to grow and develop into important elements of the region’s musical scene.

BSE’s debut album, “Live at the Lark Tavern,” stands as a testament to the 17-piece group’s wildly successful and long-running First Tuesday stand. Gaudet has used his First Monday slot as a laboratory for introducing a plethora of new songs while honing his band’s bluegrass kick. The Jug Stompers recently celebrated their fourth anniversary of Third Monday performances on the stage that birthed them. And Albany Poets have made their Last Monday Poets Speak Loud the place to be for spoken word in the Hidden City.

Thomas’ name-dropping number “MotherJudge” is a tribute to the venue’s legendary open mic host and the many careers she has fostered and launched on Wednesday nights at the Lark for well over a decade.

The theme of the “House Band” benefit at The Linda is “A Night at Tess’ Lark Tavern,” and it will mark the first time that the Lark’s resident favorites have been on one stage (graciously donated by WAMC) together in one night. Representatives from Albany Poets will read from their work between sets by the bands, and Thomas — the evening’s special guest — will sing “MotherJudge” to introduce the closing performance by "The Best Damn Open Mic EVER!" Band, which includes John Brodeur, Albie and Bob Buckley (who are also members of various area bands including Lark Tavern favorites, These Are The Hits).

Admission for “A Night at Tess’ Lark Tavern” is $15 at the door (although larger donations will be gratefully accepted). There will be no advance ticket sales. All proceeds from admissions, donations and CD sales will go directly to Tess’ Lark Tavern. Doors open at 6 p.m.

“A Night at Tess’ Lark Tavern” is a Mystery Tramp Production made possible through the kind sponsorship of WAMC, WEXT, Metroland and Nippertown.com.

For more information, contact event producer, Michael Eck/Mystery Tramp Productions
518.432.6634, mandhand@aol.com.

www.thelinda.org, www.exit977.org, www.metroland.net, www.nippertown.com, www.albanypoets.com, www.jimgaudet.com, www.keithpray.com, www.myspace.com/motherjudge, www.jugstompers.com, www.bryanthomas.com, http://www.facebook.com/pages/Albany-NY/Tess-Lark-Tavern/82894676935