LIVE: Low Lily @ Park Theater, Glens Falls, 04/30/2022
Just an hour north of Albany proper, The Park Theatre’s updated historic vibe is on the outer ends of Nippertown, but well worth the drive. Jim and I left early with a plan to stop about 10 minutes further north for ice cream (yes, Martha’s), and arrived with plenty of time to still walk around Glens Falls and enjoy the breweries and restaurants shifting the energy of the downtown there. We both remarked that we could spend a weekend now in Glens Falls enjoying the scene. Earlier that day the city had unveiled a giant Adirondack chair on the traffic circle, and while I didn’t cross to pose on it, we contemplated it. After all, we just posed on a similar chair in Florida, and this seems a bit more appropriate given its proximity to the actual Adirondacks.
The Park Theatre itself is very well done and deserves an article of its own frankly. Since 1911, the theatre has served the community as a movie theatre, bowling alley, and even print room for their local paper. Carefully re-thought, the new Park Theatre is now a listening room hosting musicians and their fans with a peaceful energy as a backdrop.
Low Lily is a trio of well-loved musicians who each in her or his own right has produced solo albums. Liz Simmons, who stood center stage with her voice dripping in nectar as she sang, is an award-winning songwriter and solo artist. Her husband, Flynn Cohen, provided intricate mandolin, guitar, and fronted vocals too, and played with such precision it was hard to not shout out in delight. Songwriter and fiddle player Lissa Schneckenburger rounded out the trio with hopeful lyrics matched with soothing melodies that she led with her fiddle.
Each piece they played had its own flair and sense of self. While the first set started off quieter, the second set brought with it an energy that lifted me literally from my seat a few times, feet ready to dance. Covering Shawn Colvin’s “Round of Blues,” Low Lily brought nods of approval from the crowd.
I vibed deeply with Lissa’s music about parenting. Her song “Baby Cries” reminded me of a lullaby I might’ve created in a moment for my children, and settled the audience into a calm space as the band played through their first set. “Hope Lingers On,” an original piece that has been sung by choral groups across the nation, uplifted the space with rhythmic stepping, clapping, and a chorus that celebrates “I will not hate, I will not fear, in our darkest hour Hope lives on.”
Other highlights from the first set include Liz’s rendition of “This Old Heart” for strings was uplifting and led beautifully into their original song “One Wild World.” The trio’s sound reflected beauty that came from their well-honed skills on their instruments matched by their almost over-the-top optimism for the world.
The Park Theatre offered a coffee break between sets, and patrons were able to mill back to the merch table to talk with the artists. The intimacy of the setting allowed listeners to learn more about the musicians’ processes by talking directly with them, and the excitement in the room was palpable.
Low Lily’s second set included instrumentals that were knee tapping, hand-clapping, soul rising songs. Liz’s “Water’s Rise,” a song about climate change and change in general, was heart-stoppingly accurate in its fear of change but hope for it as well. Flynn’s “Dogwood Reels” engaged Jim so deeply I thought he might burst from his seat with joy.
Folk music is a favorite of mine. The lush sound of harmonies, meticulous string playing and hopeful messages combine to support my almost psychotic hopefulness for the world. Low Lily is truly one the best in folk, re-energizing me and reconnecting us together through music.