A Todd P show it wasn't, thankfully. Last Friday night, August 12, West Village resident Susan Spehar hosted the innovative roots ensemble Ollabelle in her historic townhouse on Hudson Street. A group of approximately 30 friends and supporters of the band sipped wine while enjoying the unamplified, intimate show gently unspooling in the home's large living room. The lineup featured the original members of the group including a very pregnant Amy Helm (daughter of Levon), Fiona McBain and Tony Leone (folk music super couple), Byron Isaacs and Glenn Patscha. This was the second time Ollabelle had played at the house, the first time being to raise money on Kickstarter to complete the recording of their 4th album 'Neon Blue Bird'.
A warm-hearted Susan and her effervescent daughter, Jules (who manages Brooklyn band Lucius, keep your eye out, they're good!), played excellent hosts, having prepared mozzarella sandwiches, cubed watermelon and home made brownies and blondies. The home itself is notable as the former residence of Jane Jacobs, author of the landmark urban planning essay 'The Death and Life of Great American Cities', written in one of the upstairs rooms.
After the official show, Tony, Fiona, Glenn and a small group of friends lingered whittling down the remaining wine and food. The gathering shifted to the patio where Tony picked up the mandolin, playing songs with Fiona and singer songwriter Liz Tormes. This photographer gladly put down his camera to sing shaky harmonies on a couple early John Prine songs. New York moments don't get much better than this.
words and photos ©Jacob Blickenstaff, 2011