Hudson Valley Musicians
From classic rockers to child prodigies, the Valley is home to a seemingly endless number of gifted musicians representing every genre and age group. This all-access pass introduces some of the area’s leading established artists, each paired with a promising local up-and-comer. Take a glimpse at some of the hottest talent north of NYC
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Guitarists Kristen Capolino and Earl Slick
Photograph by Michael Polito
Currently lives in: Pine Bush Hometown: Brooklyn Has been playing guitar for: 46 years
Guitarist Slick’s unforgettable riffs have helped shape the sound of rock ’n roll today. He’s performed with rock icons including David Bowie (on the Young Americans and Station to Station albums, and the Reality album and tour), John Lennon, and Slinky Vagabond — a supergroup featuring members of Blondie and the Sex Pistols.
Why guitar? During that time [the 1960s], there was a bizarre overnight explosion of music. Everyone was bitten by the Beatles bug, and we all wanted to be in a band. But when I first saw the Rolling Stones I was like, “Okay — this is what I want to do.” So the Beatles made me pick it up, but the Stones kept me going. Do you know any of the Stones? I’ve met Mick, Keith, and Ronnie Wood; they always came out to Bowie shows in London. And when Jagger and Bowie recorded the track “Dancing in the Street,” Jagger requested I play guitar on it. How did you hook up with Bowie? A friend of mine told me that David wanted a new guitar player. By that time I’d been performing around New York for six years, so I went to the audition — the last audition I’ve ever done — and we hit it off. I’ve been in and out of the band from 1974 until six years ago. Favorite thing about performing? It’s one of the only times I ever feel absolutely okay. I’m not thinking; I’m just there. It’s effortless. You’re just in a state of being. It’s a state I’d like to be in 24 hours a day. Current project? Just recorded a solo project with a few other musicians, doing covers of stuff I’m into like obscure Rolling Stones songs, some Mississippi Fred McDowell, and the Beatles. How did it go? Oh my God, it was great. My son Lee Madeloni played half the drum parts, Bowie’s drummer Sterling Campbell played the rest. Have you and your son performed together? Never live, but he played on a track that Robert Smith sang on for my album Zig Zag. Impressions of Kristen Capolino? That kid ain’t going nowhere but up. She’s got it. And she’s young, so she has all the time in the world to get to the next level. Best thing about living in the Valley? I feel like I have more freedom. I wanted space, privacy, and a place for my dogs to run, and I found it here. Also, I like playing my guitar and music loud — you can’t do that in the city, no matter how much you pay for a place.
Currently lives in: Woodstock Hometown: Wappingers Falls Age: 20 Capolino has been stunning audiences around the Hudson Valley and beyond for nearly half her life. Her friendly demeanor and outgoing personality shine through even when she’s rocking out onstage during lengthy guitar solos. She’s already recorded one album, All That I Am (2006), and was filmed performing with guitar legends Al Di Meola and Paul Reed Smith for the TV documentary The Axe Factor.
How long have you been performing? Probably for 10-11 years now. How did you get started? When I was about five, I would watch my dad’s videos of [Irish blues-rock guitarist] Gary Moore playing guitar for hours and hours, so one day he gave me a guitar. My mom said I would pretend I was Gary and try to give people lessons. I still dream of being Gary Moore. What guitars do you like? Mostly I play my three white flying vees, but I have six vees total. Do you name your guitars? Yes! My first vee was a black one named Luna, so I named my first white one Sola. Still need names for the others though. Describe your sound. I play mostly heavy rock, but I also enjoy playing some jazz fusion. Al Di Meola is one of my biggest jazz fusion influences. Other influences? Michael Schenker, Carlos Santana, Steve Vai, Joe Satriani, Les Paul — I played with him at the Iridium in New York, and he signed my guitar. What was he like? He was a wonderful guy; a ball of fire. We talked about all kinds of things, even the government. He’d say things like, ‘You’re a doll’ and tease me onstage, asking ‘Isn’t it past your bedtime?’ Do you hear a lot of teasing from male rockers? Yeah, more when I was younger, but it still happens. It almost feels like you have to prove yourself as a female. I hate when guys say ‘You play great — for a girl.’ It should just be about playing music, having fun, and connecting with people no matter what gender, race, age, or anything else. Favorite thing about performing? I absolutely love everything about it — the energy from the audience, and the excitement. You can prepare yourself as much as possible, but every event and every crowd has a different feeling. Future plans? Touring Europe is the next level. I really want to get there, it will be a big step for me.