Blue Norther at Palmer Street Coffeehouse: 'We respected each other as really good players. It's a great lineup' PDF Print E-mail
Written by ROBIN CAUDELL, Staff Writer   
Thursday, April 05, 2007

If you go

WHO: Blue Norther, bluegrass quintet. Opener Junior Barber.
WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Friday. Doors open at 7 p.m.
WHERE: Palmer Street Coffeehouse, Unitarian-Universalist Fellowship, 4 Palmer St. Plattsburgh
ADMISSION: $8 at the door

PLATTSBURGH — Blue Norther: a sudden storm hard and fast out of the north.
Blue Norther makes its Plattsburgh debut Friday evening, after opening act resophonic guitarist Junior Barber, at the Palmer Street Coffeehouse.
The bluegrass quintet features Peter Riley (bass), Andy Greene (banjo and guitar), Doug Porter (guitar), Colin McCaffrey (mandolin) and Freeman Corey (fiddle).
They perform a mix of traditional and contemporary songs and new originals. Their solo virtuosity is highlighted and their vocals in tight three- and four-part harmonies.
"We've played with various other groups and configurations over the years," said Colin McCaffrey. "We respected each other as really good players. It's a great lineup. The reason why I like playing with these guys is they're very sensitive and dynamic players. They listen. They can play quietly old ballads one minute and a rip-snorting bluegrass classic the next moment. It's been nice to have a very flexible group like that."
Blue Norther formed about three years ago. The original banjo player, Scott Hopkins, formerly of Keeseville, moved beyond Albany.
"We were lucky enough to have Andy Greene who played with the Bluegrass Gospel Project and Breakaway. The past six months, we had Andy sit it on banjo."
McCaffrey jumped when he got the chance. Riley was his piano tuner.
"Freeman Corey is the best fiddle player in New England. He plays in a lot of other bands as well. Doug Porter (from Common Ground) moved to Vermont serendipitously."
Together, they brew a bluegrass storm.
"We just love the music. I've always been into acoustic-oriented music and listen to folk and Appalachian music. Bluegrass is a natural extension. You get more accomplished playing in bluegrass, the way you express those musical forms. It's a little more arranged. There's a little more finesse than hammering away at an old-time tune."
Like jazz, bluegrass spotlights soloists.
"When you sing a verse, someone takes a solo — banjo or fiddle," McCaffrey said. "American jazz focuses on soloists between verses. Bluegrass has more of a soloist aspect to it. That's why we love it. We get to hear each other playing amazing licks, and we get to sing together. It's the best of both worlds."



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