Maybe I just want to believe because the little hand is getting on, but one of the welcome-if-unintended consequences of the “new old” in music (roots, folk and blues revival in their many guises and the precocious beards of today’s guitar- and ukulele-slinging youngsters) is a noticeable reduction in the ageism of rock. I sense a somewhat more tolerant and inclusive attitude toward forebears of all stripes than is typical of pop culture. Perhaps it is because guitar rock itself is an endangered species, and its new generation has a more conscious sense of torchbearing.
In the 1990s, “Catskill Mountain Rock” was the term used to describe (and market) the sound of the Paul Luke Band, a country/rock fixture in them hills (and Woodstock ’94 act) and a band with some real industry push behind it in those days. Funny that the sound and sense of that band is much more in sync with the zeitgeist today than it was in the grunge-addled ’90s, when Levon wasn’t sniffing Grammies nor Brooklyn o’errun with imperial beards and banjos.
It is nice to see this veteran, roots-rockin’ band enjoying some of the fruits of the wheel of fashion come ’round again. I wonder if, in fact, the Felice Brothers were acutely aware of the Paul Luke Band in their Catskill youths, and I feel almost certain that they were. Paul and his fellows appear to have been making the scene again for a couple of years now. But their lightly trafficked Facebook page is conspicuously vague regarding their past, as if they have neither the heart nor the need to retell their story of high times and near-misses, preferring to exercise in modesty their cosmically protected right to rock at and for all ages.
What better place for some definitive Catskill Mountain Rock than at Opus 40, itself perhaps the greatest achievement of Catskill mountain rocks? The Paul Luke Band with special guest the Amrod Band appear at Opus 40 in a joint benefit for Opus 40 and the Saugerties Historical Society on Saturday, June 21. Advance tickets cost $15. The gates open at 4 p.m. and the music begins at 5. No pets are allowed. Come prepared for lawn seating. For tickets and more information, call (845) 246-3400 or visit www.opus40.org.