Local favorite James O'Malley is definitely a musician's musician, and he is clearly one of my favorites. His sweet voice and gentle fingerstyle on the guitar enthralled the whole audience.
The warm and intimate melodies that he crafts beautifully frame the direct and honest stories that he tells. James has enjoyed some national success with the acoustic band The Braid, and local audiences have been thoroughly pleased by James's solo work in the ensuing years.
James's recently released solo album SEVEN contains much-requested songs such as If I Ain't got the Blues ... by Now and his heart-wrenching song of childhood Jimmy and John. It now includes a bonus track, even though it hasn't yet been renamed EIGHT.
The Hard Luck Café was proud to present the return of James O'Malley.
Every now and then, our concert organizers find a little-noticed talent that knocks your socks off. Karen Almquist came to us from New Jersey for tonight's performance and did just that.
Singer-songwriter Karen Almquist has some impressive credentials; she has opened for such notable performing artists as Shawn Colvin, Catie Curtis and Alex deGrassi, and her album Tracking of Time was produced by Kate Wolf's guitarist Nina Gerber.
Her honest, bluesy singing style is well served by her song writing. Her guitar work is solid and impeccable, and she included some hot bottleneck blues in her set.
Karen has wowed audiences in Florida, California and New England, and was a finalist at the Napa Valley Folk Festival songwriter's competition. We were blessed to have this accomplished performer in her Hard Luck Café debut. I predict she'll be back.