Nearly a year has passed since the world, the economy and the live music industry began to unravel because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Quarantines, lockdowns and travel restrictions have likely changed life as we know it for good.
And nobody, from the White House on down to county legislatures across the nation, knows when the uncertainty will subside, never mind when life could return to normal.
Against this backdrop, guitarist and vocalist Scott Sharrard on Thursday evening will deliver to music fans desperate for salvation the stream of a recorded, multi-camera video shoot, framed by mixed and mastered audio, with a theme that sums up the insanity we are all struggling to navigate — “Tryin’ Times.” Click here to purchase tickets . Click here to purchase tickets for the show and a live, VIP, Question-and-Answer Zoom chat with Sharrard before the show.
Named for a Donny Hathaway song that opens the performance recorded in September 2020 at the Bearsville Theater in Woodstock, the “Tryin’ Times” show captured a no-audience, no rehearsal, live gig at the historic venue at the foot of the Catskill Mountains. This show marked the first time Sharrard — former music director for Gregg Allman & Friends and current member of Little Feat — had seen the members of his band since they performed together in early March 2020. That was for a gig at Rockwood Music Hall in Manhattan that took place days before the pandemic tightened its grip and shuttered live music venues, along with much of the rest of society.
So this Bearsville Theater show allowed these musicians to release the valve on the pressure cooker, so to speak.
“The show is really raw and off the cuff,” said Sharrard, who prior to arriving at the Bearsville Theater in September had not seen his band mates —Eric Kalb on drums, Brett Bass on bass and Craig Dreyer on keyboards — since their pre-pandemic, Rockwood Hall show
Sharrard is billing the evening as “a night of Roots Rock and Roll and Americana.” In touting the gig, the Michigan native wrote, “This set list was not rehearsed, we just turned it on and let it rip, exhausting all the pent-up emotion and catharsis of making music during a truly trying time.”
Underscoring what Sharrard described as a “visceral experience” was the opening song, “Tryin’ Times.” He had sent a recording of the tune to his band mates and when the cameras started rolling, Sharrard began to play the song and away they went.
“For my band, this was a very powerful moment of being reunited as musicians,” Sharrard, who splits his time between Harlem and the Woodstock area, said in an interview.
The “Tryin’ Times” gig on Thursday marks the latest musical endeavor for Sharrard. During the pandemic, he delivered a series of performances on YouTube; and he continues his online guitar instruction.
But the foundation of Sharrard’s music has been built on the years he spent as music director for Gregg Allman & Friends.
In the fall of 2008, Sharrard embarked on a began a nearly decade-long run with Allman, whose solo band complemented the epic run he had with the Allman Brothers Band.
Sharrard joined Allman’s side project as a touring guitarist and later became music director. The bond between the two musicians ran deep. Allman covered Sharrard’s “Love Like Kerosene” on the 2015 release, “Gregg Allman Live: Back to Macon, GA;” and on Allman’s eighth and final solo album, the posthumous, Grammy-nominated “Southern Blood.”
“My Only True Friend,” co-written by Allman and Sharrard, also appeared on “Southern Blood” and was nominated for a Grammy in the category of Best American Roots Song.
Sharrard since November 2019 has been a member of Little Feat. And like the rest of us, he continues to endure through the strange times we live in.
“Tryin’ Times” will also showcase the renovated Bearsville Theater, which was built decades by legendary Woodstock music impresario Albert Grossman, who managed Bob Dylan. The theater sits in a complex, in the Woodstock hamlet of Bearsville, that also includes Utopia Studios, the long-ago home of Todd Rundgren‘s musical exploits.
After years of uncertainty that saw the legendary venue sit dark at times, the Bearsville Theater underwent extensive renovations when Woodstock resident Lizzie Vann purchased the complex in 2019. Rebranded as Bearsville Center, the theater was set to open just as the pandemic struck. The warmer weather in 2020 brought outdoor performances on a lawn adjacent to the theater, and then video streams from inside the theater.