Tag Archive | "Nancy Atlas"

Nancy Atlas Performs at Navy Beach

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Singer Nancy Atlas will play a trio of shows every other Friday night at Navy Beach in Montauk.

Known for her raucous live appearances, the singer and her band, the Nancy Atlas Project, has built a strong reputation in the East End, having opened for everyone from Elvis Costello and Lucinda Williams to Jimmy Buffett and Toots and the Maytals.

The gigs will take place on Friday, August 1, 15 and 29, beginning at 5 p.m. Navy Beach is at 16 Navy Road in Montauk. Admission is free. For more information, visit www.navybeach.com.

Nancy Atlas, Caroline Doctorow & Inda Eaton are Bringing the West to Bay Street in “Way Out East”

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Inda Eaton, Caroline Doctorow and Nancy Atlas will perform at Bay Street Theatre Saturday.

Inda Eaton, Caroline Doctorow and Nancy Atlas will perform at Bay Street Theatre Saturday. Photo by Grover Gatewood.

By Tessa Raebeck

Like many great ideas, it started at the kitchen table.

Building upon years of dinner conversations, East End singer songwriters Nancy Atlas, Caroline Doctorow and Inda Eaton will come together Saturday at “Way Out East…A Journey in Song,” the second show devoted to the combination of their talents.

After selling out the inaugural “Way Out East” concert at East Hampton’s Guild Hall in October 2012, the trio is reuniting, this time at Sag Harbor’s Bay Street Theatre.

“There’s a thing about harmony singing,” said Ms. Doctorow, “and it’s kind of hard to beat three women singing together, because it’s a very appealing sound and situation and it sort of creates one new voice out of the three voices.”

“It seemed like a natural idea to take to the stage for sure, as we all have a certain vocal pocket and timbre that we sing in,” agreed Ms. Atlas. “This definitely grew from pure roots.”

The artists first crossed paths at a songwriter series many years ago, but had never had the chance to get to know each other. That first get-together quickly evolved into regular dinner dates; they have now been meeting at least once a month for the past four years. They’re not unanimous on whose idea or house it originally was, but that doesn’t matter.

“Before we knew it, guitars came out and we were singing at the end of the meals,” said Ms. Atlas, who lives in Montauk and performs with her band, The Nancy Atlas Project.

“Those dinners really feed our souls,” said Ms. Doctorow, who leads Caroline Doctorow and the Steamrollers, “because we talk about everything and it makes you feel—it ’s very comforting to know that other people have felt the same as you.”

“There’s not been one time that I didn’t leave one of these gatherings feeling a bit more inspired,” said Inda Eaton, who lives in Amagansett and lends “a tad bit of maverick energy” to the group with her grassroots band and Western roots.

Between them, the three acts have opened for Blues Traveler, Hootie and the Blowfish, The Band, Alison Krauss, Elvis Costello, Toots and the Maytals, Jimmy Buffett and Crosby, Stills and Nash, just to name a few. Ms. Atlas, Ms. Doctorow and Ms. Eaton, who will be joined Saturday by a few members from each woman’s band, have combined their rock, folk and indie music into a western, distinctly American sound.

With her two friends in tow, Ms. Eaton will return to her home state of Wyoming for a short tour at the end of April.

“This is our hometown show before we go out West,” said Ms. Doctorow, a native New Yorker who lives in Bridgehampton. The set list on Saturday is comprised of “the exact songs we will be playing out on the prairies,” Ms. Atlas added.

Since moving their collaboration from the dinner table to the stage two years ago, the artists have been working together when they can, singing backup at each other’s shows, playing on one another’s records and using each other for inspiration.

“What really helps is the camaraderie,” Ms. Doctorow said. “If one of us is having a problem—the music business is a very tough business—what’s so great is to lean on the experience of the others and the wisdom and the advice.”

“Both Inda and Caroline have given me some of the best advice I’ve ever gotten in this business and I would hope they could say the same about me. We are truly lucky to have found each other,” said Ms. Atlas.

That mutual understanding enables the singer-songwriters to turn their stylistic differences into a harmonious collaboration of their songs for “a lovely, laid back experience,” according to Ms. Atlas.

“Because of the camaraderie, we’re able to bridge our own music styles,” Ms. Eaton said. “Music is its own camaraderie, but there’s an additional camaraderie that goes on that I think comes from the uniqueness of our careers, there’s not too many other women singer-songwriters.”

“To spend time with other women singer-songwriters is very empowering,” she added. “We deal with a lot of the same issues…it’s great to run things past each other and get some of that professional support.”

Each woman also brings distinct skills to the business side of the table. Ms. Eaton is technically savvy—a “multimedia wizard” according to Ms. Doctorow—and can direct the effects and equipment side of a show. Ms. Atlas deals with financial logistics and the people that come with them, negotiating money and ticket prices.

“She’s really a good person to have to go to bat for us if something’s not right with a venue, etc.” said Ms. Doctorow. “She’s very strong in that way.”

Ms. Doctorow covers the “nuts and bolts” of an event, she said, booking the radio, writing the show description and making sure everything is in order to move forward.

“Caroline writes all the time,” said Ms. Eaton. “She’s very prolific and so she’ll put something together and I’ll think, ‘Wow, I didn’t think about that.’ Or Nancy will come up with this real powerhouse song and you walk away thinking, ‘Oh, I didn’t think about that, how inspiring was that?’”

Ms. Doctorow wrote a song for Ms. Atlas, aptly called “Song for Nancy” in 2011 and “My Sunday House,” a song she wrote for Ms. Eaton, is on her latest record.

“What it’s about,” she explained, “is how music becomes your religion when you’re on the road. You live and breathe it and it becomes a vehicle for revival of your spirit.”

“Inda and Caroline understand me in a way that few others do,” Ms. Atlas said, later adding, “We are able to discuss things at a very real and deep level with all the fat cut off. I truly cherish my monthly dinners.”

“You get invited to someone’s kitchen table and that’s where the music sounds the best,” said Ms. Eaton. “That’s the best way to hear music and harmony, just as it comes out of the kitchen table. That’s my hope for the show, is that people get a sense of the authentic essence of a song.”

 “Way Out East…A Journey in Song” is Saturday, April 5, at 8 p.m. at the Bay Street Theatre, 1 Bay Street in Sag Harbor. For tickets and more information, call the box office at 725-9500 or visit baystreet.org.

At Bay Street’s Fireside Sessions, Nancy Atlas and Special Guests Hope to Keep Locals Warm this Winter

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Nancy Atlas performed with special guest drummer Chad Smith during the first of her Fireside Sessions at the Bay Street Theater on Friday (Michael Heller photo).

Nancy Atlas performed with special guest drummer Chad Smith during the first of her Fireside Sessions at the Bay Street Theater on Friday. (Michael Heller photo).

By Tessa Raebeck

Schools, government offices and the Long Island Expressway (LIE) were all closed, but one thing brought Sag Harbor residents out of their homes in spite of Friday’s blizzard: music.

The theatre was filled to capacity for the inaugural performance of Bay Street Theatre’s newest program, “Fireside Sessions with Nancy Atlas,” showing that murmurs of cancellation and the threat of icy roads cannot quell die hard music fans – and that those fans do in fact exist on the East End in January.

“It was insane, it was really insane,” Atlas said Monday of the concert, which featured Chad Smith, the drummer for the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

Each week, the fireside sessions feature Atlas, her band, the Nancy Atlas Project, and a different special guest, such as Smith, who sits in with the band.

The audience enters to see a giant “fireplace,” a projected display of a cackling fire on a screen behind the band. The fire is always there, but the performance changes with each guest.

“The guests,” said Atlas, “are all top-shelf world class professional musicians.”

Atlas, who lives in Montauk with her husband Thomas and their three children, has met or worked with each guest at some point during her two decades in music and personally invited each musician to join her on stage.

While Atlas and her musician friends are quickly booked up during the busy summer months, they – like most people on the East End – find they have sufficient downtime come “the dead of winter,” she says.

“I started calling them up and they were available and it was just kind of meant to be,” said Atlas.

Each separate event focuses on the musical desires and talent of that particular special guest, who chooses which songs are performed.

For Smith’s performance, the focus was, naturally, on songs that showcase drums and percussion.

This Friday, January 10, the special guest is Andy Aledort, who is “an amazing, amazing guitarist,” says Atlas, and is the sideman for Dicky Betts. The session with Aledort, who has played with legends like Jimmy Page, will feature guitar-centric songs.

Nancy Atlas goofs around with special guest drummer Chad Smith during the first of her Fireside Sessions at the Bay Street Theater on Friday. (Michael Heller photo).

Nancy Atlas goofs around with special guest drummer Chad Smith during the first of her Fireside Sessions at the Bay Street Theater on Friday. (Michael Heller photo).

In addition to showcasing the guests, the original music of the Nancy Atlas Project is also featured.

“It’s nice,” said Atlas, “you never know what you’re going to get. There’s so much in life these days, with technology, there’s no surprise. We’re like a little Christmas present every Friday – it’s all wrapped up.”

“You’re going to see that fire cackling on a big screen,” she continued,  “you don’t know what you’re going to get under the tree…I’m trying to change it up each week.”

The fireside sessions started with drums, will feature guitar this week and will move on to keyboard and vocals in the following weeks.

On January 17, funk and R&B keyboardist Danny Keane will join Atlas on stage.

Bay Street plans to announce the remaining guests for the series soon.

“There is an art to the show,” explained Atlas. “It doesn’t just happen. I’m trying to really provide just a top shelf show for Sag Harbor and also a chance for us to get together as a community and enjoy it.”

“We always – all of us – have to work so hard in the summer,” the performer continued. “This is really about reconnecting with the locals and giving them something that’s affordable and really great – that’s my goal.”

According to the turnout Friday, the first session met that goal.

“We were sold out with a waiting list,” said Tim Kofahl, Bay Street’s director of marketing and public relations, of Friday’s show. “People are anxious to get out of the snow.”

Atlas is hopeful the concerts’ good turnout will reverberate throughout downtown Sag Harbor.

“I’m tickled pink,” she said, “if in any way the repercussion goes out to some of the restaurants or some of the bars in Sag Harbor on a Friday night, if the bartenders and the waitresses make a few extra bucks.”

She said when the concert got out around 11 p.m., some 200 people were “roaming the streets looking for food.”

Expecting an intimate show, Atlas was surprised and encouraged by the response.

“In its own way,” she said of the blizzard, “it was kind of endearing, because it is about the winter and getting together and being all together as a community. And having this wonderful, magical – hopefully – show and then to have the snow – it was just enough.”

Fireside Sessions with Nancy Atlas will run every Friday at 8 p.m. through January and February, excluding February 7. Tickets are $15 and can be purchased online at baystreet.org, by phone at (631) 725-9500 or in person at the Bay Street Theatre Box Office on the Long Wharf in Sag Harbor, Tuesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.