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Sunday at the Oasis
by Haven James

Event: Maria Muldaur

Not quite midnight but night enough, Maria Muldaur and her band of merry men did the serenade shift at the Tinker last Sunday, playing two shows at 8 and 10-ish. A consummate professional and grand lady of our music, Muldaur powered through the night singing the classic tunes folks know her for, plus some new selections from her current release on Telarc, Southland Of The Heart.

"If I were you, I'd take me," one song goes, and it is sweet. Maria's into kind of a sultry seductive Southern thing now, not that that's too different from what's come before; her material continues to focus on the up-close and personal. Accompanied by a trio of low-key but articulate and tasty players, the tunes moved gently and soulfully.

Hailing from the redwood-ringed village of Santa Cruz, California, Mike Schermer plays an American guitar and, according to his card, specializes in American music. And, as it turns out, he knows some old-time Werewolves pals from Boulder Creek like Jerry Miller and the infamous Fuzzy Oxedine, so we'd have to concur about that American part. He's not the tallest guy on stage, but what Mike lacks in height, he gains in depth. Schermer's got the licks to slap you silly, though you never see it coming; slick but not flashy, he plays classic Santa Cruz-style guitar.

Chris Burns weighs in as a two-fer in the band; loading up on melodies and fills on the electric keyboard, he brings a lot of support to the music. He also covers as the absent bass player, holding down the bottom end with his left. And peering out from under his dred-knit hat behind a cascading array of cymbals, Stan Hale wins the Werewolves pick for best new drummer to play in Woodstock in eons. Easily the downfall of subtlely-timed, vocal-centric music, drums can break a musical equation in a beat. Hale's touch was light yet crisp across the brasses and he chopped with precision to cut the time on the skins. He can stay, he's a keeper.

Muldaur's last gig in town was at Bearsville Theater two years back. There, clad in sequined gown and surrounded by a Steinway grand, she turned it into an elegant affair. This cold and rainy Sunday eve was a little rough for Maria, as Cafe owner Freddie Sandell explained: "When she pulled in here she was sick. She wailed on top of the cold, though, and most people didn't even know." His take was true enough; the depth and range of Muldaur's voice is such that she could handle it, though when we spoke to her the following night from her next gig downstate she pleaded, "Shoot me now!" Whatever the case or condition, the fans that came to hear her seemed happy with the way things were.

In addition to the Cafe regulars, the house was peppered with long-term Muldaur fans dated by their recognition of names like Kweskin and Vanguard (see Yarg's preview in last week's Times II for archival details of the then-to-now of Muldaur's music). One couple clutched early LP records brought in for late-date autographs. Mostly all grown up, the crowd still exhibited telltale signs of previous hippiedom despite their now well-coiffed hair and crease-pressed blue jeans. A few of the women wore simple pearl or gold swirl earrings where, no doubt, hoops and bangles once swung. And one great couple--well manicured, graying, and looking economically successful--took their shot at some fun. Maybe he's an accountant or business-management type, and she could be anything from a teacher to a librarian to an executive, but it was her Hawaiian shirt and his tapping foot that gave them away. Near the end of the evening these folks finally got up and started to dance and when they did, it was clear it wasn't their first time; with great steps, the couple spun and twirled and delighted in their abandon. "Next time don't wait so long to start having fun," Chris Burns called from his perch on stage over the keyboard, adding with a grin, "That's what we're all here for, you know!"

Well kids, looks like you'll get another chance to dance more and earlier, as directed. Maria delivered this invite for us to pass on to you: "I think we'll play the Joyous Lake this summer, so come on by and we'll all have a good time!" See ya there.

A quick note on some current fun coming up at Tinker Street: Don't miss Freddie's Birthday Bash this Friday night, April 24. The Defiant Ones will play, and there'll be presents for all from the Baccardi/Limon party sponsors including hats, t-shirts, and free, yes free drinks! Happy B'day, Fredski!

And Saturday is the important benefit for Tinker staffer, Eri Anjos. There'll be a star-studded lineup turning out for Eri including Patti Rothberg, the Reptiles, and many more, beginning at 9 p.m. Catch the webplay plus color pics and lots of extra stuff at Werewolves on the Web at

Haven James has been a consistent contributor to the Music & Arts scene around the Hudson Valley and beyond for almost a decade through his column, Werewolves of Woodstock, published weekly in the Woodstock Times

A writer, musician, philanthropist, and Mac addict; he lives reclusively, high atop Overlook Mountain with his son and a menagerie of animals, both wild and domesticated. Though currently unmarried, rumors abound as to his intimate relationships with Madonna, Sandra Bernhardt, and Eli Bach; though he insists these notions to be pure hearsay. His identity has remained a mystery to all but the closest of friends as he often travels in disguise and appears unannounced and undercover at concerts and venues in a dedicated effort to get the real story.

Go to the Werewolves of Woodstock page for more articles by Haven James.
Haven James can be contacted at

Posted on April 22, 1998

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