Hello H(elsinki) H(udson) F(riend)s:
Anyone who pays any attention to the Hudson, N.Y., music scene knows Tony Kieraldo. Tony is everywhere. He music-directed the New York Times- and New Yorker-reviewed opera, “Mother of Us All,” that took place at Hudson Hall last year. He turns up every few months playing jazz with a quartet at Spotty Dog Books & Ale. He’s a regular sideman with resident rock star Tommy Stinson’s many projects, including Bash & Pop. He’s a devoted music teacher to young and old throughout the county. If you go to a wedding in Hudson, chances are good you’ll find him behind the piano.
But more than anything and anywhere, Tony is a fixture at Club Helsinki Hudson, where he reigns as the unofficial resident pianist. You’re likely to find him at open-mic night (where he’ll probably say yes if you ask him nicely to accompany you). Or maybe practicing one of his innovative projects upstairs in the event space. You’ll often find him onstage in the club, sitting in with touring musicians or performing with one of the many regional ensembles that know a secret that I know all too well: if you want to sound better than you really are, just ask (or better yet, hire) Tony to play with you. He’s the secret sauce of the Hudson scene and the glue holding it all together.
Now, finally, Tony has taken the big leap and recorded the first album under his own name. And you can be there to help celebrate Tony’s recording debut at Tony Kieraldo’s Album Release Party for “Milk Money” at Club Helsinki Hudson on Sunday, January 13, at 8pm. And just to add even more fun to the evening’s festivities, Tony has asked New York City’s The Xylopholks, who perform novelty ragtime numbers from the 1920s dressed head-to-toe in furry animal costumes, to help get the crowd in the proper frame of mind for what will follow.
Tony’s new album, “Milk Money,” is not your run-of-the-mill solo album by a pianist. Tony, who has performed at the Kennedy Center and the White House (when it was occupied by President Barack Obama), is too creative for that. The album is an outgrowth of a crazy idea Tony had last year. He started making little videos called “minute rags,” short renditions of pop songs and ragtime music played by Tony dressed up in different costumes each week — in drag or as a reindeer, for example. He put the videos on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube. Maybe you saw them. He doesn’t only play piano in them, but he also sits on a bass drum and plays that with his right foot and a high-hat with his left foot. Go ahead. You try doing that. To say it’s not easy is the understatement of the century.
When he started getting views in the many thousands for numbers like “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer”, “Turkey in the Straw,” and ragtime versions of Portugal the Man’s “Feel It Still” and Paul Simon’s “Still Crazy After All These Years,” he realized he might be onto something, stylistically speaking.
Building upon that original idea, Tony decided to take a few of those songs and make an album with some of the best singers from the Hudson Valley – Ryder Cooley (doing an awesome cover of AC/DC’s “Highway to Hell”), Ella Loudon, and Christina Kokonis-Viggers among them – and record videos for every song. His daughter Louise sings Tom Petty’s “Free Fallin’,” and Tommy Stinson contributed a Marshall Crenshaw cover, which didn’t make it in time for the physical album but will be released as a single. Other tunes on the album include ragtimey versions of the Beatles’ “We Can Work It Out,” David Bowie’s “Space Oddity,” Radiohead’s “Karma Police,” and Cyndi Lauper’s “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun.”
You just know in a case like this that a whole bunch of Hudson Valley all-stars are going to be on hand – and onstage – to help Tony celebrate the launch of the next musical chapter in his illustrious career on Sunday night. They’ll be talking about this night for months and years to come. It’s not something you’ll want to miss.
As for the Xylopholks, watch them play all five boroughs of New York City in their “Bodega Tour” short film.
Remember – for reservations in The Restaurant or in the club call 518.828.4800. To purchase tickets online go here. For the most up-to-date concert information, always visit Club Helsinki Hudson.
Henry Helsinki Hudson
Club Helsinki Hudson
405 Columbia St.