###- ABOUT THE EIGHTH STEP: The Eighth Step was founded in 1967 along Washington Park in Albany, a youth outreach program by FOCUS churches, located in the basement of historic First Presbyterian Church. It was enormously popular from its inception, a place for older teens and young adults to find coffee, music, poetry and dialogue on issues of the day. Over the years The Step became synonymous with the contemporary singer-songwriter movement, presenting in concert such major talents as Richie Havens, Tom Paxton, Tom Rush, Janis Ian, U Utah Phillips, Ramblin' Jack Elliot, Arlo Guthrie, Dar Williams, Odetta, Greg Brown, Ani DiFranco, Holly Near, Christine Lavin, John Gorka, Patty Larkin - in short, a "Who's Who" of the folk/acoustic music world. For many years The Eighth Step provided shore support for Pete Seeger's environmental flagship Sloop Clearwater, hosting the big kickoff concert for Pumpkin Sail, a two-week celebration of the bounty of the Hudson River Valley. Sonny Ochs presented Phil Ochs Song Nights at The Step annually, which provided generous support that sometimes kept The Step running. Most years Pete Seeger performed several times at The Eighth Step, each and every one memorable. The late local activist Jackie Alper, a long-term board member, mentor and supporter of The Step was a familiar sight in the audience and onstage. The Eighth Step ranks as the nation's longest, continuously running non-profit coffeehouse. Lena Spencer, proprietor of Caffe Lena (the nation's oldest coffeehouse, which turned non-profit upon Spencer's death in 1990) consulted on stage placement to the original Eighth Step crew, and offered other advice when asked. Eighth Step director Margie Rosenkranz worked with Spencer in Saratoga before coming to The Step in 1987; Spencer occasionally showed up on Eighth Step's stage as a host. The presence and interrelationship of several strong community-based folk and acoustic organizations, venues, festivals, radio shows and more over the past 30 years made the Capital Region by far one of the nation's most vibrant and thriving folk scenes in the country. In 2007 The Eighth Step began a continued residency at Proctors, presenting shows in GE Theatre, initially in 440 Theatre, and now also in the more intimate Underground, and sometimes off-site (Holly Near at Cap Rep, Oct 2011). This represents a groundbreaking collaboration between a large arts organization and an independent grassroots collective supported by members and run by a volunteer crew, and we believe it could only have happened at Proctors.
The Grand Slambovians Launch 8th Step's 45th Consecutive Concert Season
Oct 05, 2012 by I Love New York Staff