Manlius Larry Hoyt and others gave an excellent concert at Kellish Hill Music Farm on the evening of Friday, March 23.
Hoyt, a local DJ who hosts “Common Threads” every Sunday at noon on WAER, played an eclectic mix of originals — such as the eerie tale of murder, “Eerie and Divine” — and covers like “Fulsom Prison Blues.” He was joined later in the evening by other players, preeminently the beautiful and exceptionally talented harpist Lacey Lee, who played original songs from her debut album, “You and Me.” The event was free and open to the public, but donations were encouraged.
Hoyt joked that he would only play songs in the themes of “heartache, heartbreak, and false friends.”
Kellish Hill Music Farm is the premier rural venue for the Syracuse area. This not-to-be overlooked gem consists of a “music barn,” resplendently decorated with Americana and in possession of a stage, and of a nearby house, no less lovingly decorated, which is kept vacant save for “music purposes.”
The concert was at 8 p.m. It was preceded by a participatory jam at 7 p.m. and an enormous potluck supper at 5 p.m. Corned beef, pasta, meatballs, applesauce, roasted vegetables, deviled eggs, pasta salad, cookies and dessert bars were all on the menu.
It is a working farm — they grow hay and raise cattle and chickens. But the farm’s preeminent mission, as is writ on their t-shirts, is “to provide, eternally, a place for music to grow.” It is managed by the eponymous Kathy Kellish, who plays the autoharp (and in fact joined Hoyt on stage for a stirring rendition of “Hard Times”) and devotes her life to the tireless organizing of community music.
“I am so committed to music being here after I’m gone,” Kellish said, adding: “It’s not so much a business but a calling.”