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24+ shows to see this week: May 18-25

Mark Tiu
The Dead South

The Dead South makes its Ithaca debut at the State Theatre, The Wallflowers come to the Homer Center for the Arts, and Sylvan Esso kicks off Beak and Skiff’s outdoor concert series. Plus, the Ithaca Night Bazaar debuts, Joe Crookston launches the 2022 Friday Night Farm Jams, and Rootstock returns to spotlight area youth musicians.

Gabe Stillman
Gabe Stillman

Blues at Bonavista

Fore! Fast-rising blues guitarist Gabe Stillman tees off Bonavista Golf Course's "Concerts at the Course" Summer Concert Series. Hailing from Williamsport, Pa., Stillman quickly earned a reputation as one of the most talented young guitar slingers on the blues scene. His first two albums, “The Grind” and “Flyin’ High,” the latter on which he’s backed by the Nighthawks, have been followed by his latest album, “Just Say the Word,” which features the Texas Horns and guest appearances by Anson Funderburgh (who produced the album), Sue Foley, and Greg Izor. Find out more here.

When: 7-10 p.m. Wednesday

Where: Bonavista State Park Golf Course, 7194 Country Road 132, Ovid

Cost: free admission

Event Info

Joe Jackson

Still Looking Sharp

Joe Jackson brings “The Sing, You Sinners!” Tour to Ithaca, which will feature songs from his whole career, including some that haven’t been heard on stage in many years. He’ll be joined by the same band that accompanied him on his last album, “Fool,” and his successful 2019 “Four Decade Tour”: Graham Maby (bass, vocals), Teddy Kumpel (guitar, vocals), and Doug Yowell (drums, vocals, electronics). Find out more here.

When: 8 p.m. Wednesday

Where: State Theatre of Ithaca

Cost: $39.50-$59.50, available online here

Event Info

Rena Guinn
Rena Guinn

From the Heart

Trumansburg singer-songwriter Rena Guinn returns to South Hill Cider to showcase the blend of folk, country, and blues influences that provide the backdrop for her winsome voice and expressive lyrics. Last year, she released her debut EP, “Shine,” which includes five original songs. Find out more here.

When: 5:30-8:30 p.m. Thursday

Where: South Hill Cider

Cost: free

Event Info


Weird and Wonderful

Self-described as “a monthly festival of music, art, food, drinks, craft fair, performance, weirdness, and wonderfulness,” the Ithaca Night Bazaar will make its debut, offering a rotating mix of music, food, craft vendors, burlesque and more on the Ithaca waterfront. This month’s lineup includes music from Jimkata, Ariel Arbisser, and Dom Martyr; two sets by Parlor City Burlesque; dozens of craft vendors, and much more.

When: 6-11 p.m. Thursday, rain or shine

Where: Ithaca Farmers Market, Steamboat Landing

Cost: $20-$25; a season pass is also available online here

Event Info

The Dead South

Straight Outta Saskatchewan

The Dead South will bring its “Served Cold” tour to Ithaca, showcasing the sparse acoustic instrumentation – banjo, mandolin, cello and guitar – that has won fans around the world. The Canadian punkgrass band has won two Juno Awards for Traditional Album of the Year, including for 2019’s “Sugar & Joy.” After 2020’s double-live album, “Served Live,” the band recently released two EPs, “Easy Listening for Jerks, Parts I & II,” which is a described thusly: “a strong statement about identity, influence, and inspiration, the new EPs show a band stepping out into new musical territory while also staying true to themselves.” Learn more about the band here.

Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band, the Indiana-based trio that has played Ithaca several times, will open the show with its fiery blues-country-gospel gumbo.

When: 8 p.m. Thursday

Where: State Theatre of Ithaca

Cost: $28.50-$48.50, available online here

Event Info

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A Big Bash

Those two lovable characters, Binky and Big Steve, will do their usual improvised madness via Bandcamp livestream for Binky’s Big Birthday Bash.

When: 8 p.m. Thursday

Where: online

Cost: free

Event Info

Don Giovanni Records
Izzy True

Trio Grande

Ithaca Underground returns with a triple bill headlined by Izzy True, the Ithaca-founded band now based in Chicago touring to promote its latest album, 2021’s “Our Beautiful Baby World” (Don Giovanni Records). Rounding out the bill are two local bands: femme folk-punks Motherwort, whose influences range from Bad Religion and Bikini Kill to the Pixies to traditional Celtic, and "spiro-core" indie rockers Pole Vaulter, which writes “riff-y pop songs about family, queer identity and self-discovery.”

When: 8:30 p.m. Thursday

Where: Sacred Root Kava Bar and Tea Lounge

Cost: $10, available online here

Event Info

Chris Lee
Steven Banks

International Artistry

After two cancelled years, Mayfest – Cornell’s international chamber music festival – returns to showcase a range of talented artists from around the world. Mayfest was founded in 2007 by Cornell pianists Miri Yampolsky and Xak Bjerken, who say “We are back for Mayfest 2022 with a star-studded list of international guests shaping a musical journey to places we have dearly missed. It will be festive reunion of intimate music- making.” This year’s guest artists include: Steven Banks, saxophone; Guy Braunstein, violin; Nikki Divall, viola; Vesselin Gellev, violin; John Haines-Eitzen, cello; Chen Halevi, clarinet; Zvi Plesser, cello; Gili Schwarzman, flute; Dawn Upshaw, voice; and Xiao-Dong Wang, violin. See the full schedule here.

When: Friday-Tuesday

Where: various venues at Cornell University

Cost: $25 for each concert; $100 for a festival pass ($5 and $10 for students)

Event Info

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Colin Gould
Blake Miller & the Old-Fashioned Aces

Bon Ton Roulet!

The Big Sky Studio Summer Concert Series continues with a Soiree Louisiane featuring Old Fashioned Aces, a band that’s putting a modern twist on traditional Louisiana French music. The band includes Blake Miller, Amelia Biere, Jo Vidrine, and Colin Gould; their repertoire ranges from old fiddle tunes and classic dance floor packers to bilingual country classics. Learn more here. A smoked-meat Louisiana Cajun dinner cooked by the band will be available for additional purchase.

When: 6 p.m. Friday

Where: Big Sky Music Studio, Sweet Land Farm, 9732 Route 96, Trumansburg

Cost: $18 for the music; an additional $15 for the dinner and/or $7 for dessert by Sara May. Advance tickets are available online here.

Event Info

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Sim Redmond Band

South Hill Serenade

After selling out its 2021 appearance at South Hill Cider, the Sim Redmond Band returns to showcase the distinctive mix of folk, rock, African and Caribbean influences that has earned an ardent fanbase since 1999. The current lineup features Sim Redmond, Dan Merwin, Nate Richardson, Jennifer Middaugh, and John Paul Nawn; they’ll play at 7:30-9:30 p.m. Opening the show is Sunny Weather, the long-running local band fronted by Trevor MacDonald that blends a variety of rootsy influences.

When: 6-9:30 p.m. Friday

Where; South Hill Cider

Cost: $15; advance tickets are available online here

Event Info


Faculty Finery

Opus Ithaca will present its first faculty concert since 2019. “Come hear a Chopin Polonaise, Bach's Oboe and Violin Concerto mvt. I, Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah arranged for cello quartet, Valerie Coleman's Umoja, Bizet's Carmen (highlights for two flutes and piano), Trans Siberian Orchestra's Wishlist and Electrolyte originals. This concert will be joyful, fun and a celebration of being here and present!” Performers will include Madeline Schatz-Harris, Sera Smolen, Jake Gunnar Walsh, Mary Holzhauer, Juliana Pepinsky, Michael Salmirs, Elizabeth Simkin, Elizabeth Lyon, Elizabeth Shuhan. Sarah Chandler, Andi Flick Merrill, Jessica Caporizzo, Mike Caporizzo, Peter Chwazik, Paul Merrill, Simon Bjarning, and Seth Carper.

When: 6-7 p.m. Friday

Where: St. Paul's United Methodist Church, 402 N. Aurora Sr., Ithaca

Cost: Donations accepted to benefit the Opus Ithaca Scholarship fund.

Event Info

Joe Crookston
Joe Crookston

Just Joe

The 2022 Friday Night Farm Jams series kicks off with the multi-talented Joe Crookston – songwriter, guitarist, painter, fiddler, slide player, and storyteller. “He’ll surprise you and awaken the cynics. He’s plumbing for lyrical gold like a social archeologist. His songs are universal, his rhythm infectious and in concert, he is funny as hell one moment and transcendent the next.” He has released several excellent albums, including “Georgia I’m Here” and “Darkling & the Bluebird Jubilee.” Find out more about him here. See the full season lineup here.

When: 6:30 p.m. Friday

Where: Finger Lakes Cider House

Cost: $10

Event Info

Donna the Buffalo

Where the Buffalo Roam

Get a jump on this summer’s GrassRoots Festival, as host band Donna the Buffalo returns to Syracuse. For more than 30 years, the band has crisscrossed the country, winning fans with its infectious blend of rock, country, Cajun, and other rootsy influences backing the vocals and songs of cofounders Tara Nevins and Jeb Puryear. The band’s latest album is 2018’s “Dance in the Street.”

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Where: The Westcott Theater, Syracuse

Cost: $22-$30, available here

Event Info

Raina Sokolov-Gonzalez

Digging Deep

Brooklyn-based singer-songwriter Raina Sokolov-Gonzalez will perform in Homer. Raised in a musical family, she draws on jazz and R&B for inspiration. “With improvisation as a starting point for her songs, Raina draws on her emotionality and leans into her perception of the world around, uncovering hidden depths within daily life and articulating personal truth with vulnerability and bravery. Songwriting is her way of processing and understanding life in all its complexity.” Her latest album is titled “If They’re Mine.” Learn more here.

When: 8 p.m. Friday

Where: Center for the Arts, Homer

Cost: $18-$20, available here

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Tijuana Danger Dogs

Downtown Takeover

Local nonprofit label New Vine Records is taking over the Range for May, with Friday and Saturday shows on tap for each weekend through the end of the month. Each show will feature a New Vine act paired with another local artist. The takeover continues this weekend: Friday will feature Tijuana Danger Dogs and Cobra Cadaver, and Saturday will spotlight the Bob Roberts Calamity and Ben Blujus Band.

See the full schedule here.

When: 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

Where: The Range

Cost: small cover

Event Info

Jim Catalano
Analogue Sons

Six-Year Celebration

Lucky Hare Brewing will celebrate its sixth anniversary with a day-long celebration at its Hector location. The event will feature live music from the Analogue Sons at 2-5 p.m. and the Dusty Bottle Band at 6-9 p.m. Lucky Hare will be releasing some new beers specially brewed just for the event, and onsite food vendor Babe’s Burgers will be celebrating its own one-year anniversary.

When: 12-9 p.m. Saturday

Where: Lucky Hare Brewing, 6085 Beckhorn Road, Hector

Cost: free to attend; fee for beer and food

Event Info

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Austin MacRae and Jen Cork

Two of a Kind

The Lime Hollow Nature Center and the Center for the Arts of Homer have partnered together to present the Red Oak Music Series – a new outdoor, family-friendly, free monthly music series running from April to September 2022. The month’s concert features Austin MacRae and Jen Cork, two of Ithaca’s top singer-songwriters. Learn more about the series here.

When: 12-4 p.m. Saturday

Where: Lime Hollow Nature Center, 3277 Gracie Road, Cortland

Cost: free

Event Info

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Growing Hope

Seeds of Hope” is an annual benefit hosted by the Mental Health Association of Cortland County for “May is Mental Health Awareness Month.” The 2022 benefit will feature keynote speaker James McCabe and music performances by Merkley and Morgan (with Zac Doob of The Unknown Woodsmen), Molly and the Ringwalds, and Jazz Happens Band.

When: 3 p.m. Saturday

Where: Rose Hall, 19 Church St., Cortland

Cost: $10, available online here

Event Info

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Message in a Bottle

As part of the 2022 Spring Writes Literary Fest, Mary Lorson will reprise “Seven Minutes,” the spin-the-bottle-fueled artistic collaboration event that she first hosted three years ago. Come see spontaneous collaborations among local writers, readers, and musicians, who create on the fly in front of a live audience.

When: 5-7:30 p.m. Saturday

Where: Sacred Root Kava Lounge & Tea Bar

Cost: free

Event Info

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The Diderot String Quartet

Going for Baroque

For the final concert of its in-person 2021-2022 concert series, NYS Baroque welcomes the period instrument Diderot String Quartet for a concert in collaboration with baritone Jesse Blumberg. “The concert will include string quartets of Franz Joseph Haydn and Felix Mendelssohn as well as more unusual offerings in the form of German lieder by Clara Schumann, Fanny Mendelssohn, and Johannes Brahms. These songs, originally for piano and voice, are finding new life as arrangements for our musicians, the Diderot Quartet and baritone Jesse Blumberg.”

When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday

Where: First Unitarian Society, 306 N. Aurora St. Ithaca

Cost: $25 for adults, $10 for students, $15 for the virtual concert (watch the recorded event online afterward), available online here.

Event Info

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Night of the Dead

Syracuse-based Dark Hollow, now in its 25th year paying tribute to the music of the Grateful Dead, comes to downtown Ithaca. “Known for their dynamic performances, the band crafts songs from the extensive Dead family catalog to create unique concert experiences. Their ability to move seamlessly between songs and musical styles enables them to tell a musical story that both honors the original song versions and allows the band members to create new interpretations.” Learn more here.

When: 9 p.m. Saturday

Where: The Upstairs

Cost: $15 in advance, available online here; $20 at the door

Event Info


A Welcome Return

After a two-year hiatus, the second annual Rootstock Finger Lakes Youth Music Celebration returns to showcase the talents of young area musicians. Co-produced by New Roots Charter School and the GrassRoots Festival of Music & Dance, this one-day community celebration will feature more than a dozen performers from throughout the region. “Rootstock will facilitate and demonstrate unity by bringing together a diverse array of youth performers not typically in the same spaces. Rootstock is committed to empowering the next generation of artists in the Finger Lakes region.” Performers include Afro Newts, Catbirds, Corey Loveless, CUMEP, Daraisi Dance Company, Gravestone Glue, Jomo Crisologo, LACS Music Committee, Lexx, New American Dream, Nu Vision, Raffles, Twisted Roots, and Zakaiah Kasian.

When: 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday

Where: Bernie Milton Pavilion

Cost: free

Event Info

Lily Signori

Celebrating Scooter

Scootersquabee” will celebrate the late Scott Signori, the founder of the Stonecat Café who passed away in December after a battle with glioblastoma. Live music will be provided from 2 p.m. until dusk by Brett Beardslee, Los Finsteros and Friends, Thoughts of One, Curtis Knocking, and Cyclone Eddy. There will be a tree-planting ceremony at 1 p.m., followed by a pig roast at 2 p.m., ice cream at 3 p.m. Bring chairs, blankets, and a dish to pass.

When: 1-9 p.m. Sunday

Where: 3889 Tichenor Road, Hector

Cost: free to attend; cost for food

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Get Rhythm

Dave Davies will bring his Rhythmakers Qtet for Jazz Mondays; he'll be joined by Harry Aceto, Eric Aceto, and Chad Lieberman to play classic jazz, blues, originals, and more.

When: 5:30-8:30 p.m. Monday

Where: South Hill Cider

Cost: free; donations welcome

Event Info

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Jakob Dylan of The Wallflowers

Ready to Rock

The Wallflowers return to upstate New York to play a pair of intimate shows at the Center for the Arts. Still led by Jakob Dylan, and known for hits such as “One Headlight” and “The Difference,” the band is touring to promote its latest release, 2021’s “Exit Wounds,” which Dylan described as written “during a time when the world felt like it was falling apart. That changes the way you address even the simplest things, because you have panic in your mind all the time. You have anxiety. And you also have hope. And it’s all in there"

When: 8 p.m. Sunday and Monday (SOLD OUT!)

Where: Center for the Arts, Homer

Cost: $63-$65, available online here

Event Info


Open Mic Night

The Downstairs and SingTrece Publishing Production present “Ithaca's Best Open Mic for Singers, Rappers, Songwriters, Poets, and Spoken Word. Perform at Ithaca's most intimate and supportive open mic. Come see Ithaca's favorite artists as well as discover someone new. Sing with tracks, sing acapella, play acoustically or read poetry!”

When: 7-9 p.m. Tuesday (the fourth Tuesday of each month)

Where: The Downstairs

Cost: free

Event Info


Shervin Lainez
Shore Fire Media
Sylvan Esso

Rockin’ the Orchards

Beak and Skiff Apple Orchards opens its 2022 concert series with Sylvan Esso, the electro-pop duo led by Amelia Meath and Nick Sanborn. The band’s latest release “Free Love,” earned a 2022 Grammy Award nomination for Best Dance/Electronic Music Album, and spun off a variety of other projects, including a concert film, an experimental podcast series, Meath's video directorial debut, and collaborations with Moses Sumney, Teddy Geiger, Terrace Martin and Robert Glasper. Find out more here.

Samia, who followed her 2020 debut “The Baby with the EP “The Scout,” will open the show.

When: 8 p.m. Tuesday

Where: Beak and Skiff Apple Orchards, 2708 Lords Hill Road (corner of Routes 20 and 80), LaFayette.

Cost: $35-$40, available online here

Event Info

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Elisa and the YesMen

Soul Singing

Elisa & the YesMen will present "The Origin of Song,” their first live show in two years, performing original soul with world music influences. The band is led by Elisa S. Keeler, who is “reemerging with song medicine - new music intended to heal, unite and uplift us.” The YesMen include Travis Knapp (keys/vocals), Jon Keefner (drums/vocals), Rusty Keeler (bass), Mark Karlsen (sax/flute), and Jamie Yaman (sax). Find out more here.

When: 6:30-8 p.m. Wednesday, May 25

Where: Ithaca Farmers Market

Cost: free; suggested donation of $20 welcome at the show or online here

Event Info

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Notorious Stringbusters

More Events

The Center for the Arts in Homer hosts its weekly Open Mic Night at 7 p.m. Tuesday

Ted Walsh and Tom Gath kick off the 2022 Firelight Live concert series at Firelight Camps (behind La Tourelle) at 6-8 p.m. Tuesday

Lynn Wiles and Jessica Bindel are at the Trumansburg Farmers Market at 4:30-7 p.m. Wednesday

Levi Dusseau is at Salt Point Brewing at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday

Pine Box is at the Bike Bar at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday

Sacred Root Kava Bar and Tea Lounge hosts its weekly Open Mic Night at 7 p.m. Wednesday

Jeremy Bussman hosts the weekly Open Mic Night at the Upstairs at 7-10 p.m. Wednesday

Diana Leigh and the Shorty Georges kick off Six Mile Creek Vineyard’s 2022 Sunset Music Series at 6-8 p.m. Thursday

Zingology is at Brookton’s Market at 6 p.m. Thursday

Aiken is at Cortland Beer Company at 6 p.m. Thursday

The Scale House Brewery hosts its weekly Open Mic Night at 6-9 p.m. Thursday

Benny T brings his Open Mic Posse back to Crossroads Bar and Grille in Lansing at 6:30 p.m. Thursday

The Vinyl Lounge continues its weekly residency at Trumansburg’s Atlas Bowl at 7-10 p.m. Thursday

Nectar brings its Phish tribute show back to Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards at 5:30-8:30 p.m. Friday

Brookton’s Market hosts its Open Mic Night at 5:30-8:30 p.m. Friday

Unreal City is at Hopshire Brewing at 6-8 p.m. Friday

The Analogue Sons are at Two Goats Brewing at 6 p.m. Friday

Terrapin Station is at Grist Iron Brewing at 6-9 p.m. Friday

Steve Romer and Brad Allen are at Homer Hops at 6-8 p.m. Friday

Rocko Dorsey is at Summerhill Brewing at 6 p.m. Friday

The Notorious Stringbusters are at Garrett’s Brewing Company at 7-10 p.m.

The Steve Daniele Jazz Trio is at Hairy Tony's in downtown Cortland at 7-10 p.m. Friday

Exit 11 is at Cortland Beer Company at 8 p.m. Friday

The Kitestring Duo is at Chateau Dusseau at 3-6 p.m. Saturday

Iron Horse is at Treleaven Winery at 4-7 p.m. Saturday

Hot Dogs and Gin is at Summerhill Brewing at 5-8 p.m. Saturday

Jennie Lowe and Venissa Santi join forces at Stone Bend Farm at 5-7 p.m. Saturday

Organ Fairchild is at Two Goats Brewing at 6 p.m. Saturday

F.A.R. is at Grist Iron Brewing at 6-9 p.m. Saturday

Darkwine is at Homer Hops at 6-9 p.m. Saturday

Aiken is at Cortland Beer Company at 8 p.m. Saturday

Rebecca Colleen plays Brookton’s Market at 12-2 p.m. Sunday

Jacob Shipley is at Treleaven Winery at 1-4 p.m. Sunday

Fools Hill in Spencer hosts its weekly Open Mic “Chill on the Hill” at 1-7 p.m. Sunday

Benny T brings his Open Mic Posse back to Homer Hops at 1 p.m. Sunday

Clint Bush is at Solera Tap House at 2-5 p.m. Sunday

Gary Jennings and Mike Aiken play a Country Jamboree at the Cortland Country Music Park at 2-5 p.m. Sunday ($8)

Stan Stewart is at Drifters on Owasco at 2-5 p.m. Sunday

Jasperoo plays old-time, acoustic instrumental music at the Savage Club PAC (1004 Auburn Road/Route 34) at 3 p.m Sunday

Not From Brooklyn is at Two Goats Brewing at 4 p.m. Sunday

DJs Rob Haze, Joe Tragedy, and Law celebrate World Goth Day at Level B at 5-9 p.m. Sunday

Cielle On Solid Ground play the 2022 Firelight Live concert series at Firelight Camps (behind La Tourelle) at 6-8 p.m. Tuesday

The Center for the Arts in Homer hosts its weekly Open Mic Night at 7 p.m. Tuesday

Sacred Root Kava Bar and Tea Lounge hosts its weekly Open Mic Night at 7 p.m. Wednesday, May 25

Jeremy Bussman hosts the weekly Open Mic Night at the Upstairs at 7-10 p.m. Wednesday, May 25

Small Tattoo is at the Trumansburg Farmers Market at 4:30-7 p.m. Wednesday, May 25


Jim Catalano covers the Finger Lakes music scene for WITH (90.1 FM in Ithaca, WITHradio.org) and its affiliates.