LIVE: Alan Chartock & the Berkshire Ramblers @ Caffe Lena, 10/31/14

Review and video by Joel Patterson

If you have access to a radio, and a set of ears, you probably know Alan Chartock as the heroic comandante of Nippertown’s flagship public radio network WAMC-FM.

Off the record, the guy is startlingly humble about his eminence, mildly surprised at being recognized wherever he goes, and playfully dismissive of his impact. You might not expect this from such a fearless voice as his, openly championing his decidedly progressive points of view, but the thing that saves him from being just another loudmouth is a reverence for journalism, for even-handedness, for airing everyone’s opinion and letting the chips proceed earthward, finding their own trajectory.

A hobbyist banjo player, he’s assembled a crackerjack old-time/’60s protest-style band and dubbed them the Berkshire Ramblers. On Halloween night, the group (a little loose, plenty boisterous and achingly sincere) ran the packed house in Saratoga Springs through an evening of singalongs and favorites, all to benefit Caffé Lena and the cause of folk music in our time.

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