Larry Campbell and Teresa Williams Make a Perfect Pair at Caffe Lena

At Caffe Lena in Saratoga Springs, a captivated audience was on hand for the June 9 performance from Larry Campbell and Teresa Williams.

The second of two nights for the Woodstock couple at the historic venue, each night was opened by Jenna Nicholls, who brought a unique voice to the stage, one that is tailor made for Caffe Lena. With Jon LaDeau on guitar alongside her, Nicholls opened with a ukulele song that had an old timey radio sound, making horn sounds via bilabial fricative while she plucked away.

larrycampbell_teresawilliams Larry and Teresa Caffe Lena

A resident of Saugerties, Nicholls cited the Jalopy Music Hall scene for her folk/Americana sound, one that is as unique as it is intriguing. Add in some cowboy songs and a little yodeling, and Nicholls rightfully has earned her first headline show at Caffe Lena on January 18, 2025.

Woodstock locals Larry Campbell and Teresa Williams, fresh off the release of All This Time earlier this year, took the stage around 9pm for a mesmerizing set. Joined by former Hot Tuna drummer (and longtime Midnight Ramble production manager) Justin Guip and bassist Branden Morrison (whose tone was on point all night), the band opened with the lead single from All This Time, “Desert Island Dreams.”

Larry and Teresa Caffe Lena

During the show, Campbell was impressively augmenting his guitar sound to have that of a slide guitar, minus the slide. He mentioned that his father grew up in The Bronx, while Williams mentioned her home of Peckerwood Point, TN, in a dry county, just north of Memphis.

Larry and Teresa Caffe Lena

Performing much of their new album in order – “All this Time,” “Ride with Me,” “The Way You Make me Feel” and others, Campbell and Williams would pause between songs to share stories, including those involving legendary drummer, Levon Helm. Sharing a story from the recording of Electric Dirt, Campbell recalled that Levon suggested the duo start their first record, which would be recorded at Levon’s barn in Woodstock. One of those tracks would end up on their recent release, the George Jones/Gene Pitney composition, “That’s All it Took.”

A mid show cover of Duke Ellington’s “Caravan” was time for all four on stage to shine, as seen below.

A deep cut of American comedy and vaudeville came to light with “A Little Better,” a song referencing Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy, bringing to mind the simple joys of life that can make you feel better, by watching ‘Stan and Ollie Dance.’

Stories from Williams of ‘pew jumpers’ at revivals down south peppered the set, noting the spirit of the music that compelled even the most devout to rise from their seats in joy and exultation. A cover of “Long Black Veil” by Lefty Frizzell featured Larry Campbell on mandolin and tugged at your emotions as Teresa Williams belted out the lyrics in the small confines of Caffe Lena.

A cover of Helm’s “Poor Old Dirt Farmer” off Dirt Farmer, which featured Campbell as producer and on multiple instruments and was engineered by Guip, was presented as a ‘cajun waltz’ but had a distinct sound of having Irish and Appalachian roots.

Larry and Teresa Caffe Lena

The penultimate song, “When I Stopped Loving You” was a highlight of the night, as was the Julie Miller penned “I Love You.” The encore of “Down on My Knees” was followed by a rousing rendition of the Grateful Dead classic, “Sugaree.” The duo spent time meeting fans in the lobby of Caffe Lena, discussing songs and their show and taking photos, a treat to close out a spectacular performance.

On July 20, 2024, catch Larry Campbell and Teresa Williams with musical friends old and new at their inaugural July Jam at Arrowood Farms in Accord. Get tickets here.

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