It's a cold Saturday night and you're looking to hear some first-rate music . You'd like to relax in a warm, intimate setting and hear a mix of new, original tunes and some old classics arranged in a unique way. You want the playing to be top-notch; maybe you'd even like to sit in and jam when the show is over.
So you head to the ... shopping center? If you live in Livingston, you do. Tucked away in the center of town is MoFiddles, the alter ego of Menzel Violins. On certain nights it becomes a haven for musicians and music lovers. Saturday was no exception.
Caroline Doctorow came to town with her band the Steamrollers for a showcase of her brand of folk music. Mixing original tunes from her seven albums with well chosen covers, she quickly made fans of those who had not heard her before.
In addition to her own tunes, she found new ways to approach oft heard songs such as "Gentle On My Mind" and "Norwegian Wood," which had the added pleasure of Andrew Carillo's electric sitar playing (he played electric guitar most of the set). In addition, Mick Hargreaves on acoustic bass and Gary Oleyar on fiddle added their talents to the finely tuned group.
Also highlighted were selections from "Another Country," a collection of songs written by Joan Baez's brother-in-law, Richard Farina. Her own songs, such as "Sweet to Me" and "Will If You Want Me To," made strong impressions on first hearing.
When the set was over, Mike Connor from the band "Kodiak Envelope" and college student Connor Dugan, on mandolin and violin, were invited to join in. They played a number of tunes, including "Will The Circle Be Unbroken." Doctorow and her band were pleasantly surprised with the results.
Gary Oleyar stayed to play some jazz with local guitarist Flip Peters, Dugan and Connor -- even more fine music to end the night.