If you are over the age of 21 and enjoy rock and roll or blues music, then the North Star in Scott’s Corners, Pound Ridge on a Thursday night is the place to be. It’s not very often that a legendary guitarist comes to perform for Pound Ridge, but for the past year and a half musician Mr. Andy Aledort and his band The Groove Kings have been rocking the boots off patrons of the North Star. Andy has been an important figure in the international music scene for the last 30 years. As the senior editor for the number one guitar-oriented music magazine, Guitar World, as well as several others, Andy has made a name for himself as, first and foremost, a master guitar player, as well as, an instructional columnist, editor, and journalist.
I was able to catch one of his North Star gigs last week and as a rock and roller myself I was more than pleased with the performance. As I approached the North Star, I happened to find myself walking shoulder to shoulder with a biker/cowboy looking fellow who had a guitar strapped to his back. After taking a better look I realized it was Andy Aledort himself. After a brief introduction in which I learned what a humble and friendly rocker Andy is, he took me inside and introduced me to the band.
Andy has played with an extensive list of high-profile artists such as, Dickey Betts, The Allman Brothers Band, and of Aerosmith. But on this night he played with his own band. The Groove Kings consist of Andy on lead vocals and lead guitar, Dennis Metzler on bass, Mike Dimeo on the keys, and Rich Rosch on percussion. The band released a well-received 12-track album in 1999 entitled Put A Sock In It, a collection of both rock and blues originals and covers. Andy and The Groove Kings have been playing venues across the nation for many years now and Andy says they are in the process of releasing another album titled Where Are You Going? “Hopefully, sometime later this year.”
Aside from authoring over 200 musical-oriented books, Andy is involved in the music scene on many different levels. So with Andy’s busy schedule, it’s fantastic that they are able to create another record at all! He is one of the most famous guitar instructors with hundreds of educational books and videos that have worldwide distribution. He has created a series of instructional videos that specialize in learning the styles of Jimi Hendrix, B.B. King, and Sir. He’s involved with numerous recording sessions with an endless list of famous acts, tributes, festivals, and seems to always have his hands full. But not tonight, what’s in his hands on this night is a cold beer and his guitar.
The band took the stage at 9:15pm and the North Star turned from a quiet, fine dining, Pound Ridge restaurant into what would have been a sold out rock show (had you needed a ticket). Andy took the stage armed with his 1961 Fender Stratocaster, a guitar he told me he bought when he was a kid for $275. After a little research I found that the ’61 Stratocaster now can be worth up around 30 thousand dollars depending on the condition of the instrument. Andy’s looked like he had been rubbing it with a diaper for the past 40+ years, immaculate.
The set lasted about three hours with a short intermission while the band enjoyed some of the North Star’s menu. I had the short rib and the duck dumplings, it was very tasty, reasonably priced, and the service was great. The Groove Kings put on quite a show with Andy really showing his talent for the electric guitar through some tight riffs, killer tones, and solos that would make any Jimi Hendrix or Stevie Ray Vaughan fan pay close attention.
Andy Aledort and The Groove Kings hit the road after last week’s show to promote their new album. Unfortunately they won’t be back in Pound Ridge until later in the summer. But that doesn’t mean the North Star will be quiet on Thursday nights. The restaurant, located at 85 Westchester Ave. (124) in the heart of Scott’s Corners is bumping every Thursday night with live music. Check out their website www.northstarny.com for upcoming shows, including when Andy and the boys will be back to once again rock the socks off the Ridge.