ROBERT SARAZIN BLAKE
14 FEBRUARY 2019 @ 7:30 PM
POTLUCK & DOORS @ 6:30 PM
$10-$15 SUGGESTED DONATION (100% to the artists)
CHENANGO CRAFTSMAN — Binghamton, NY
In 1997, Robert Sarazin Blake dropped out of college and hit the road. The folk music of his father’s house had combined with the DIY punk ethos of the day and produced his first batch of songs, Another Irrelevant Year. On the heels of Richard Manning, Billy Bragg, and Ani Difranco, Blake’s eighteen-year-old release is now an early document of the folk-punk movement. On his first tour, Blake played 30 shows around the U.S., planting seeds as he developed touring, not as an economic model, but as a lifestyle. He hasn’t stopped. Eleven full-length albums into his career, he’s continued to write, pulling from folk roots, his travels, his contemporaries, and the quiet spot in the back of his mind. The writing has evolved, mellowing with experience and expanding with reference, but the essence of the work has remained the same–strong narratives solidly built on the folk foundation and fully in the immediacy of the now.
The touring and performing has become an art in itself. Performing 200 shows a year, Robert Blake is a world-class performer in a neighborhood venue. His show is a combination of songs and rambles landing somewhere between a concert and a theatrical installation. The neighborhoods have been all over Ireland and the U.S., and occasionally in Canada, Scotland, England, Norway, Denmark, Germany, and France. Blake books, manages, and drives to the shows–he’s a one-man cottage industry existing beneath and outside the main streams of the music business.
Robert Blake’s songs continue to be influenced by Bob Dylan, John Prine, Shel Silverstein, Christy Moore, Lou Reed, Joni Mitchell; his stories and stage banter by Arlo Guthrie, Garrison Keillor, Spalding Gray; his outlook by Naomi Kline, Jim Page, Amy Goodman, Noam Chomsky; and his essence by James Baldwin, Henry Miller, Jeannette Winterson, John Steinbeck, and Philip Roth. Blake’s contemporaries–Anais Mitchell, Louis Ledford, Hamell on Trial, The Heligoats, CR Avery, Jeffrey Lewis, and Jinx Lennon–continue to influence and inspire.
From his home in Bellingham, Washington, Blake started his own record label SameRoomRecords, “recordings of songs and musicians in the same room and the same time” — an oddly unique idea in an era of digitally manipulated sounds–and has sold over 10,000 albums from his suitcase.
This philosophy reflects Blake’s dedication to the moment, to the connection within live performance. There is always a moment in a Blake show where the room pulls together and the space between the singer, the song, and the listener disappears.
Chenango Craftsman sessions are an occasional series of concerts and live recording events which take place at the home of Sarah Gerk and Andru Bemis in Binghamton, New York. Because of the intimate nature of the space, sessions at the Chenango Craftsman are by invitation only. This can come from a performer’s newsletter or website, through our periodic email newsletter (sign up here), or from an acquaintance, family member, or other guest.
Recordings from the Chenango Craftsman are broadcast during the Audio Classics Local Music Hour on WBDY-LP 99.5 FM, Binghamton’s community radio station. The Local Music Hour airs weekdays at 11 a.m. and 7 p.m., and weekends at 7 p.m.
100% of audience donations go directly to the artists. To ensure a seat for you at the performance, and so we know how many folks to expect, we encourage you to make your donation in advance by clicking the green “Reserve Your Seat!” button above. Guests without advance reservations may donate (cash or check) at the concert, and will be seated according to availability. Reasonably well-behaved kiddos and babies are always welcome.
Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Join us for potluck-style food, snacks, and drinks before the concert, if you wish. Don’t feel that you must bring something to be included; there’s enough for everybody. Music starts at 7:30 p.m. and will continue til 9 p.m. or so. Feel free to stay and visit after the performance, and don’t be afraid to arrive late or leave early if your schedule requires it.
If you have questions or would like more information, contact Andru.
We’re looking forward to seeing you at the show!