To introduce her first song, “Sweet to Me,” Caroline Doctorow told a quick, acerbic story that was the genesis for the song’s title. She knew a man once who practiced singing and playing the guitar all the time, to the irritation of his wife.
“What is the point of all this?” Doctorow related her saying. “You’re never going to be Elvis.”
‘His reply: “I may not ever be Elvis, but it doesn’t cost you anything to be sweet to me.”
“That couple isn’t together anymore,” Doctorow added.
Right before his final song of the first set of the first singer songwriter night in the round at The Rough Draft Saturday night, Chris Q. Murphy said he was “immediately impressed as both a musician and a Brooklynite” with the venue opening at the site of the former Space. He said the Rough Draft had actually carried out what similar places in his town are trying to accomplish.
“I can’t wait to go back and tell everyone I played at a place in an office park, and it was incredible!” he told the audience, who responded with laughter and cheers.
Carlos Wells recalled the first time he stepped into the space. “As soon as I walked in, it was immediate,” he said. “I already could see a stage here and thought we could do a show there.”
Four years later Wells is operations manager and co-founder, along with Slate Ballard of The Grove, of The State House, a venue opening on State Street between Chapel and Crown Streets later this month.
You hit play and hear some static buzzing, a beep, a bell, and then the guitars and drums hit hard, stop, hit again, and then you’re in it. “Drowning” is the first song from She Called, the first album by New Haven’s own RYXNO, a powerful punk-charged rock band that has made a place for itself on the local live music scene for over a year with an onslaught of ecstatic shows that just keep building their following.
“I don’t measure my songs by how good they are. I measure them by how honest they are,” says singer-songwriter Sarah Shook during the documentary film What It Takes, about her and her band the Disarmers, presented at Cafe Nine Tuesday evening.
Honesty is also a hallmark of the documentary form, celebrated locally this week as the New Haven Documentary Film Festival, now in its fifth year, runs through June 10. Gorman Bechard, a festival co-founder who also directed What It Takes, was on hand to introduce the film — followed by a Q&A with him led by local musician Dean Falcone and a set of music by New Haven’s own Stefanie Austin and the Palomino Club.
Watching Stacy Phillips contemplatively smoke his cigars in baggy pants and a T-shirt outside his Alden Avenue apartment or pass the hat between sets with his “bluegrass characters” at the Outer Space, you might not guess he won a Grammy.