Summer 2018: Paradox Brewery's Magical Music Line Up

 Big Time Kitty plays August 11.

Big Time Kitty plays August 11.

Nothing quite beats the atmosphere of a listening to music, under a big tent, drinking a cold beer on a hot day! And that's what's served up every Saturday at Schroon's Paradox Brewery. Founders Paul and Joan Mrocka have curated a stellar line up of local talent for the Summer of 2018. Here is the schedule. Just click on each band's name to learn more about them.

July 21st Willie Playmore

July 28th  Phil Camp 

 Phil Camp plays July 28.

Phil Camp plays July 28.

August 4th – Stone Rose

August 11 Big Time Kitty

August 18th  Lucia and Levi 

August 25th Rich Ortiz

September 1st  Stones Mountain Band

September 8th – Rich Ortiz

Monica Rizzio Plays Schroon July 24, 2018

  Tuesday July 24th   at 7:30 p.m.   in the Boathouse Tickets $20  and are available by calling  (518) 532-9259 and  from   brownpapertickets.com

Tuesday July 24th   at 7:30 p.m.   in the Boathouse Tickets $20  and are available by calling  (518) 532-9259 and  from brownpapertickets.com

Americana roots artist Monica Rizzio  takes the stage at the the Boathouse in Schroon on Tuesday, July 24. Monica is affectionately known as the Washashore Cowgirl. 

How did she get that name? Check out her official bio:

not born there a Washahore.  In Texas, a young girl barrel-raced on Pleasant Valley Ranch and had never seen the ocean.  So when Monica Rizzio crossed over the iconic bridges of Cape Cod in 2004, she instantly became the Washashore Cowgirl.   The former Tripping Lily front woman has left behind the acoustic, condenser mic style and has brought her East Texas roots up North for her debut LP fittingly named, “Washashore Cowgirl.”   After leaving the band in 2013, she purchased a 1956 Martin O-18, named it Bo, and plugged in. 

For the next few years she started playing with a bunch of salty, accomplished Cape Cod musicians who helped bring back the cowgirl attitude and inspired her to write about her sometimes humorous, sometimes tear-jerking journey from Texas, love, and heartache.  Much of the album is like a sti cocktail, deeply auto-biographical and mixed with a hint of fiction.  Rizzio wanted to write a song about one of her musical idols and penned “Willie Nelson” while being snowed in during a Nor’Easter. 

After channeling her inner-willie for a couple of days, she found herself in a love a air with an older man, in a tale of two cities, with forgotten yesterdays.  This ode to Willie Nelson won finalist in the 31st annual Songwriters of Washington (SAW) competition. A song that never was meant to be recorded was actually a wedding gift to her husband called “Luckier Than You” which she played at their reception. It is an ironic song, because her husband is definitely the lucky one, yet it bravely shares an intimate part of her life.  This theme of being transparent through her songwriting was natural, therapeutic, and long overdue.

The title track, “Washashore Cowgirl” is the culmination of growing up with a mullet in the bible-heavy plains of Quitman, Texas and somehow winding up on the same shores as the Pilgrims.    Rizzio enjoys juxtaposing literary references with her own journeys, especially in “Buttercups,” where a modern day woman shares some of the characteristics of Hester Prynne.  “You and Me”, bluntly put, is a song about getting cheated on, delivered in a light, fun way, almost John Prine-esque.

 Rizzio’s songs feel both rustic and refi ned, and she delivers them in a compelling voice that’s equal parts tenderness and sass. She reminds me of a slightly duskier Nanci Gri‑ th.” — Mark Erelli have have sculpted her songs in what she likes to call AmeriCountryGrass, and that basically sums up her style.  

Several of Rizzio’s friends jumped at the chance to play on the recordings, Sierra Hull (Mandolin), Abbie Gardner (Red Molly/Dobro), Charlie Rose (pedal steel), Laney Jones (Banjo/ vocals) Justin Moses (Ricky Skaggs/Sierra Hull/ Banjo/Dobro) Mark Erelli (vocals) Brittany Hass (Crooked Still/Fiddle) and Jake Hill (Billington Sea/vocals). Monica has become one of the most reliable supporting acts as well, having shared the stage with Chris Botti, Boz Scaggs, Diana Krall, Joan Osborne, and Slaid Cleaves this past year.  She has played the Main Stage at Strawberry Park Bluegrass festival the past two years and is a frequent collaborator with the Cape Cod Symphony Orchestra.  In December of 2014, she performed as part of Tom Rush’s band at his annual show at Symphony Hall in Boston.  She played fi ddle, guitar and sang backups as well as performing her originals “Luckier Than You” & “Willie Nelson” with Red Molly backing her up. “It’s time that I saddle on again and hit the road sharing my crazy washashore cowgirl story,” says Rizzio, who is probably most at home when she is on stage sharing her songs. “ I made the tactical error of inviting Monica Rizzio to share the stage with me at Symphony Hall and she went and stole the audience right out from under me!”   — Tom Rush.

 Tickets are $20 and available from brownpapertickets.com

Schroon Lake Arts Council Presents Atwater~Donnelly

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From the Schroon Lake Arts Council

Every performance is surprisingly different and always entertaining, exciting and educational with the award-winning duo Atwater~Donnelly, who provide a unique and thrilling blend of traditional American and Celtic folk music and dance, along with original songs and poetry.

The highly praised husband-wife duo blends gorgeous vocals with an astounding array of instruments including the mountain dulcimer, old-time banjo, tin whistle, guitar, mandolin, harmonica, limberjacks, feet and more.

Tuesday July 17th   at 7:30 pm in the Boathouse

Tickets $20 available (518) 532-9259

OR brownpapertickets.com  and   slartscouncil.com

Fulton Fryar’s Closet At Seagle Music Colony

 Futon Fryar, highlighted (fourth from left), in a Seagle Music Colony Production

Futon Fryar, highlighted (fourth from left), in a Seagle Music Colony Production

By Darren Woods

Back in 1957 John Seagle invited a young singer to his training program, the Seagle Music Colony. The young singer’s name was Fulton Fryar and this is significant because Fulton was the first African-American to come to the Colony. This was several years before the Civil Rights Movement would win its hard-earned victories in Congress and at this time much of America was still segregated, but John thought him talented and wanted him to come study at Seagle Music Colony.

John’s solution to accommodate Fulton for his stay in Schroon Lake was to have a small bedroom built on the side of the laundry building. Fulton sang in all the shows that summer, sang in the vesper and town concerts, and other than sleeping separately, lived a regular colony life.

It was soon discovered that in addition to singing, Fulton was a talented visual artist as well. On the walls of his room, which he called “The Closet” are lines from “Crossing the Bar” by Tennyson poem and some Bible verses and on the door a painting that says “Always Welcome to the Closet – the home of Fulton Fryar”. Fulton returned to Seagle Music Colony the next summer as well and in addition to singing he helped build scenery too.

 John Seagle

John Seagle

The Seagle Music Colony is now much as it was in the time of Fulton. It is the oldest and best summer training program in the United States. Each summer thirty-two singers are selected from hundreds of applicants to come here and study and train and put on productions of operas and musicals for the people of upstate New York.

I did not know of the room’s existence until Director of Production, Richard Kagey relayed a story about it about seven years ago. What I had assumed was a closed storage room on the side of the now, dilapidated laundry, was this magical room. Since that time, several people who knew of it wanted to save it, but we had no way to store it and the building was falling down. In fact it was scheduled for demolition this fall. We did not know what to do other than take pictures and keep the story alive.

This summer a friend of mine, Jonathan Green, came to visit me and I showed him the room and told him the story of Fulton Fryer. Jonathan took pictures of the room (which we now call “The Closet” since that is what Fulton dubbed it so long ago). Jonathan became obsessed with saving this little room and bit of African-American history in the Adirondacks. He contacted Steven Englehart with Adirondack Architectural Heritage who then sent the pictures to Laura Rice at the Adirondack Experience (formerly the Adirondack Museum). After some examination, the Adirondack Experience has decided to remove The Closet and move it to Blue Mountain Lake, restore it and then it will become an exhibit at the museum, thereby preserving an important moment in Seagle Music Colony history and giving visitors a glimpse into the African-American experience in the mid 1950s.

Another small miracle has also happened. Jonathan found Fulton! He is 76 and lives with his wife near Philadelphia. The Museum and Seagle Music Colony are bringing Fulton back to the Adirondacks to see his room, to make some video memories of his time here which will be part of the Adirondack Experience’s exhibit as well as Seagle’s.

When I spoke to Fulton about saving The Closet and his summers here, he said they were the happiest two summers of his life. He said “I never thought anyone would remember me or The Closet”.  I said, “The irony is that now you will be remembered forever.”

This story originally appeared in the Adirondack Almanac on Saturday, September 23, 2017.