FULTONVILLE — Although it includes a mixture of ragtime, rock, and jazz, Mark Tolstrup’s song stylings harken to the very roots of all of those styles: the blues from New Orleans. The Mark Tolstrup Trio will perform at 7:30 pm Saturday, June 23 at Glen Conservancy Hall, 1538 State Route 161, Fultonville.
Tolstrup plays traditional and original songs that reflect the far-ranging identity of American music, but he sticks closest and most authentically to the sounds of the Mississippi Delta blues. His slide guitar and unaffected raw vocal sound show him to be the genuine article. He becomes completely at one with his instrument, with the journey of the song, with its rebirthing into the present moment. And even when the song is over, he brings that same energy into developing a rapport with the audience. He’s joined by bassist James Gascoyne, a talented multi-instrumentalist who is an integral part of many Saratoga area and national bands, including the Celtic duo “Drank The Gold,” and Jessica Wern on drums and vocals, who studied music at Five Towns Collage and is equally adept singing and playing guitar or piano solo as she is playing drums to drive a jazz band.
It’s the third concert in Conservancy Hall’s second season, and it takes place in a former church in Montgomery County’s Mohawk Valley. The structure, which seats over 100 and is ADA accessible, is located (despite its Fultonville mailing address) in the hamlet of Glen, and is part of the Glen National Register Historic District, which was created in 2001. The Hall was acquired by the Glen Conservancy in 2014 and is continuing to undergo restoration.
Tolstrup is also introducing his newest recording, “Northstar,” his first since the 2007 release of “The Backroads of America.” While that album was a resonator guitar-driven collection of classics by the likes of Robert Johnson, Muddy Waters and The Beatles, Tolstrup has since focused more and more on his own songwriting, finding an avenue informed by favorites like Son House and Bob Dylan, but filled with rich insights all his own.
“Mark Tolstrup melds rock, blues, ragtime and jazz ... but sticks closest (and most authentically) to the sounds of the Mississippi Delta: Robert Johnson, Son House and even Muddy Waters. Tolstrup’s aggressive fingerstyle guitar and slide National Steel make (his) album worth hearing.” – Chip O’Brian, Blues Revue Magazine
The concert season will continue with Duo Marchand (Andy Rutherford, lute, and Marcia Young, harp and vocals) with a program of music from the Elizabethan era at 7:30 PM Saturday, July 21; and Daryl Kosinski and Friends at 7:30 PM Saturday, August 25, with a mixed bag of standards, folksongs, and originals.