Palmer Street Coffeehouse turns 32

IMAGE PROVIDEDDan Berggren starts off the 32nd season of Palmer Street Coffeehouse at the welcoming, intimate space of the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Plattsburgh.

PLATTSBURGH — The leaves turning signals it's Palmer Street Coffeehouse time again on first Fridays monthly.

Dan Berggren starts off the 32nd season to the welcoming, intimate space at 4 Palmer Street "where the music matters."

The take at the Unitarian Universalist's door split, and the musicians get paid a minimum of $300-$350.

“What's left over goes to the UU, and it goes into the general budget,” Hap Wheeler, coffeehouse coordinator, said.

“The proceeds from the kitchen sales the UU gets 100 percent of. That's all volunteer stuff. The musicians get a pretty good deal out of it. With the musicians, the more they advertise the better they do.”

Berggren's link here was former SUNY Plattsburgh professor and administrator, who taught at SUNY Fredonia with Berggren.

“(Dan) writes Adirondacky kind of folk songs,” Wheeler said.

“He travels around doing this now in his retirement, very much in the vein of Pete Seeger. He goes in and teaches people the chorus, gets them to sing along with him. It's very much an audience participation.”

Redford native and Nashville award-winning singer-songwriter Roy Hurd takes the stage in the historic venue on Nov. 1.

“Always a crowd pleaser,” Wheeler said.

“He likes to do the November one. It's near his birthday. He remembers it, and he has a good time.”

The dynamic duo of Eddy and Kim Lawrence shift from their usual January slot to Dec. 6.

Jan. 3, 2020 rings in New England bluegrassers Taylor Armerding, Andy Greene and Kirk Lord, who have played Palmer Street before, but they come in their new configuration, The Revenants.

“These are former members of the Bluegrass Gospel Project,” Wheeler said.

“They have been around a long time. They're no longer together. Members of that have split and gone to other groups. Steve Light is with Beartracks now, and so on.”

Another Vermont outfit, Pete's Posse will perform on Feb. 7.

“Pete Sutherland is a long time musician over in Vermont,” Wheeler said.

“He's played with many, many different groups and on his own. An excellent fiddler and storyteller, he's got two younger guys with him that are really good musicians. They were at the coffeehouse this past year and put on a great show.”

The incredible Celia Evans emerges from the deep woods on March 6 to perform.

“She works at Paul Smiths and lives up in that area,” Wheeler said.

“She writes some really good heart-felt songs.”

On April 3, 2020 marks a shorter trip for Dana and Sue Robinson.

“They were originally from North Carolina/South Carolina area,” Wheeler said.

“They moved up to Cabot, Vt. They bought an old schoolhouse there, and they have a performance space there for people in the area.”

Alice's Fault — Alice Knight, Speedy Arnold and Mike Croghan — will usher in the flowers on May 1.

The season culminates on June 5 with Too Tall String Band — Rod Driscoll, Bruce Lawson and Wheeler.

“When Palmer Street Coffeehouse first opened up 32 seasons ago, the first act that played there was the Too Tall String Band,” he said.

“The members have changed over the years. The only original member is is Rod Driscoll.”

It's a $10 admission for all concerts.

“It makes it affordable for local people in the community,” Wheeler said.

“It's an alcohol-free event. There are people in recovery who might want to go out. We serve coffee and water basically. There are always some dessert-type goodies. So if someone goes out to a restaurant and wants to have dessert along with some entertainment, they can show up. We made sure it's alcohol-free. We would like to have people come. The more people around, the more fun it is.”

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