November 14, 2009
The luscious vocal harmonies of Amy Fradon and Leslie Ritter made them coveted session singers in the early 1980s. Their vocals were heard on recordings by Orleans, Rick Danko, John Sebastian, the Fabulous Rhinestones, and Happy and Artie Traum. As an independent duo, the two singer-songwriters collaborated on six albums during the nine years that they worked together.
In this special Cafe performance, they will be joined by the accomplished Scott Petito and Helen Avakian.
Amy Fradon, whose parents are both well-known cartoonists, was the prime songwriter and lead vocalist of the duo. A native of New York, Fradon initially pursued an interest in modern dance, studying choreography at New York University. Auditioning for the school’s folk music coffeehouse, the Rathskeller, on a whim, she was hired for her first musical performance. Moving to Woodstock, New York in the mid-1970s, Fradon sang harmony in a band of session players including Robbie Dupree, Cane Roberts (the Alice Cooper Band), Eric Parker (the Joe Cocker Band) and Gary Bonner (Scott Petito).
Leslie Ritter’s lush tones and crystal clear melodic lines deliver songs that soar, crafted with lyrics that give a personal spin on universal themes: love and longing, that illusive balance between independence and inter-relatedness, sorrow, joy… life. Leslie grew up in the Philadelphia suburbs. Her mother, a Julliard trained pianist and teacher and her father a French horn player, nurtured her early affinity to music. By age five she was singing show tunes, Frank Sinatra ballads and Puccini arias. Since then she has performed and recorded with an ever-widening circle of artists who appreciate her unique sensibilities as a live performer and superb studio vocalist, including James and Livingston Taylor, Robbie Dupree, David Wilcox, Rory Block, Dr. John, Jules Shear, John Sebastian, John Hall, Kris Kristofferson, Artie Traum, Rick Danko, The Fugs, and others.
Scott Petito is a Grammy nominated composer and producer. His NRS Recording Studio has been a popular destination for acoustic and jazz artists for many years. Scott is a gifted bassist and multi-instrumentalist who has performed on hundreds of recordings in many musical styles. James Taylor, The Band, Dave Brubeck, Jack DeJohnette, and Keith Richards are only a few of the many artists with which Scott has worked. Scott is also a member of the legendary band The Fugs. The Fugs’ song “C.I.A. Man” was recently featured in the Coen brothers’ latest movie “Burn After Reading.” The Fugs will be releasing a new CD before the end of this year. – http://ScottPetitoProductions.com
Helen Avakian is a singer-songwriter and guitarist who cultivates an idiosyncratic, often dreamy sound, with influences ranging from Suzanne Vega to JS Bach. Helen’s impressive musicianship coupled with her down-to-earth stage manner has endeared her to an ever-increasing audience. Helen meshes her classical guitar roots with a song writing style that adds a new dimension to the realm of acoustic performers. Helen has recently released her latest CD, “I Love The Moon,” which is receiving great reviews and song writing awards. – http://HelenAvakian.com
“An acoustic duo from the Hudson Valley reunited… and played like they had never been apart a day …Amy & Leslie’s heavenly blend was always their calling card and in Albany, that was not diminished one iota. Looking casual and comfortable… it was simply captivating.” –David Malachowski on a recent Albany performance, from http://TimesUnion.com/
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