Shellye Valauskas & Dean Falcone
250 State Street
New Haven, CT, 06511
This event is 21 and over
Syd Straw is an American rock singer and songwriter. The daughter of actor Jack Straw (The Pajama Game), she began her career singing backup for Pat Benatar, then took her distinct voice to the indie/alternative scene and joined the Golden Palominos (also including Michael Stipe, Matthew Sweet, and Anton Fier). She released her first album, Surprise, in 1989; it featured contributions by Stipe, Fier, Richard Thompson, Jody Harris, Peter Blegvad, and a number of other well-known musicians. A second album, War and Peace, appeared in 1996. Recorded with a relatively obscure Midwest rock group called the Skeletons, it chronicled a brief and unhappy romance. In 2008, she released a new album, entitled Pink Velour, on her own label, Earnester Records. According to an earlier interview, the title track “is about my family moving back and forth between the east and the west, and my being kidnapped by my mother on Valentine's Day in 1969, and about not seeing my dad for almost seven years.”
A frequent backup singer and contributor to duets with other musicians, Straw has also maintained an intermittent acting career, appearing on the television shows The Adventures of Pete & Pete and Tales of the City. Straw's role on "The Adventures of Pete & Pete" as a middle school math teacher was introduced in the episode "Valentine's Day Massacre," and was reprised in the episodes "Hard Day's Pete" and "x=why?"
Syd Straw can be heard singing harmony and backing vocals on the Rickie Lee Jones albums Traffic From Paradise and The Evening of My Best D. She is also featured on Leo Kottke's Peculiaroso, which Jones produced. Straw appears on "What Am I Worth" from the Dave Alvin album King of California. For a number of years she has given an annual "Heartwreck" live performance on Valentine's Day.
Shellye Valauskas & Dean Falcone
Photo By Audra May Photography.
The Shellye Valauskas Experience's Box It Up is a box of secrets, surprises and delights. By the time she formed the band, vocalist/guitarist Shellye Valauskas was an established solo performer, winning the New Haven Advocate's Grand Band Slam readers' poll and rating a slot in New York's CMJ Marathon several years in a row. As her songwriting collaborator and bandmate, she enlisted ace guitarist Dean Falcone, who's served the Connecticut music scene since the early '80s with Jon Brion in The Excerpts, his own Dean and the Dragsters, and a host of others. Valauskas and Falcone's shared love for the punchy pop of Crowded House, The Posies and Aimee Mann, as well as the burgeoning Americana movement, helped them nail a distinctive yet accessible radio-friendly sound from the start. Drummer Bruce Crowder quickly mastered the intricate pacings and style shifts of the songs. The band's also been well served by a succession of team-player bassists, including Eric Lichter (who plays on the EP) and the new recruit Chuck Roscoe (a veteran of roots bands such as The Motel Preachers and The Sawbucks). In its native Connecticut, the band is as comfortable at major outdoor festivals such as the Meriden Daffodil Festival or New Haven's Ideat Village as they are music-friendly bars like Café Nine. They have shared the stage with such notable performers as Todd Rundgren, Melissa Ferrick, Ivy, Patty Griffin, Kristin Hersh, Pat Benatar, Amy Rigby, Merrie Amsterberg, Joe Pernice, Mike Viola, Shane Nicholson and Mary Lou Lord. In 2002 the band released their debut CD entitled The Stupid Truth which was well received by music critics and fans. The New Haven release party for the cd was a sold-out success and the album is currently receiving airplay on college stations throughout the tri-state area. 2008 brought the release of Box it Up which quickly gained the respect of local critics and fans alike. The EP was named one of the top 10 best local releases in the yearly round-up of both the New Haven Register and the local arts paper, The New Haven Advocate.