Pearly Baker's Best

Funk 'n Waffles Downtown Presents: Dead Night

Pearly Baker's Best

Bess Greenberg

Mon · August 7, 2017

Doors: 8:00 pm / Show: 9:00 pm


This event is 18 and over

Authentic Grateful Dead Tribute Every Monday Night featuring Tim Bergen, Brian Welch, Brian Lauri, Eric Brown, Eric Wise and Charley Orlando

Pearly Baker's Best
Pearly Baker's Best
This experience was one of the sweetest I've ever had in several years of doing this sort of thing," Gans said. "One of the most wonderful things about Grateful Dead music is that it is a language of its own. If you know the syntax of Grateful Dead improvisation, you can jump up on stage with people you've never met before and make great things happen. These guys were all fluent speakers, all grown-ups, all professionals and they were incredibly generous with their space on the stage. I melted into the band. 

David Gans - (Musician and 30 year host of the nationally syndicated radio show The Grateful Dead Hour and co-host of Sirius-XM’s Grateful Dead Channel “Tales from the Golden Road”) 

Pearly Baker’s Best is a Grateful Dead tribute with both a weekly residency and a devoted following at one of the top local venues in Syracuse, NY every Monday night.  Playing the music of The Grateful Dead, The Jerry Garcia Band, The Beatles and other covers they delight their devout followers with a powerful show once a week out of the band’s current song list which tops 180 songs.  The band’s strong improvisational foundation leads the way, allowing their sets to be visualized much like weaving a tapestry; each thread of verse, chorus or bridge is expertly weaved into the fabric of their sound and playing to be completely embraced by their audience.  Also, careful attention is always given to ensuring that each song is treated with the necessary vocal ingredients to cause the listener to be drawn into the music at the deepest level.  The band’s desire is to provide each audience member with a ‘Grateful Dead-like experience,’ allowing them to encounter the show as a translational, musical undertaking.   Currently PBB can go 9 shows without repeating a song and is always adding to it's ever expanding catalog of 200 songs which includes original songs on occasion. The band does play shows in addition to their weekly residency in Syracuse, all across New York State.   The band has begun to incorporate original music into their sets and recently had the privilege of sharing their stage with David Gans; long-time archivist for the Grateful Dead, broadcaster, song writer and music journalist.  David expressed a strong desire to share the stage with Pearly Baker’s again in the near future.  There is truly nothing like a Pearly Baker’s Best show.  

The members of the band are:  Charley Orlando (guitar/vocals), Brian Lauri (keyboards/vocals), Eric Brown (lead guitar/vocals), Eric Wise (bass/vocals), Brian Welch (drums/vocals) and Tim Bergen (drums).
Bess Greenberg
Bess Greenberg
Bess Greenberg didn’t begin playing music until the age of 33, but talk to her and it will be clear she believes everything happens for a reason.

Growing up in Upstate New York, with three older brothers and a basketball coach for a father, it was on a basketball that Greenberg developed her sense of rhythm. Bess was born into a basketball family and spent her childhood years dribbling and running . She loved every second of it. “We were introduced to many things growing up ~ including music ~ but basketball was a way of life for us."

But while the Greenberg's hustled around to games, camps and basketball tournaments, Greenberg's mother, singing and playing guitar, was always the soundtrack in the forefront, and the love she had of music was shared with her children. “When I was 6, we even had a family band. We all sang along and even played at a local coffeehouse. The memory of it all is something amazing to me. "

Given her path has led back to music, when asked if she regrets not taking a more direct musical route when given the chance, as a child, she replies. "Looking back, I am grateful for my years entirely devoted to basketball. I loved it, and still do. It gave me a safe and healthy place to grow up and find personal reward in things like focus, teamwork, passion and commitment. In the long run, I think it makes me a better musician today because I have those values as a part of my foundation.”

That focus she displayed for basketball led to All American Athletic and Academic honors in college at Binghamton University and an opportunity to play professionally abroad. "The fact that the game I loved took me to live and travel in other parts of the world changed the direction of my life. I got to see and experience other cultures; I was hungry for that, and it opened my eyes to so many things.”

Ultimately, the biggest discovery was that Greenberg uncovered a deep passion for photography. Inspired to pick up a camera on her travels, she found she couldn't put it down.

“I felt like I had found a new way to communicate something important. Really quickly, I fell in love with making pictures. I knew it would help me grow in new ways and lead to new experiences, and that excited me. ”

In 2OO5~2OO6, while living and playing basketball in Israel, Greenberg created a photography series on Jerusalem, “The Old City” and applied for acceptance to a masters program at the International Center of Photography in New York City.
Accepted and awarded a Jack Kent Cooke Scholarship to pursue a combined study MFA degree in documentary and fine art photography, Greenberg left playing basketball in the summer of 2OO6.
“It was time, my heart was already moving in a new direction and I had to follow that feeling,” she says.

It seems she never looked back. After her first year of study at ICP, she was awarded with a New York Times Student Photography Award and granted a photography internship at the prestigious paper. But while working and creating documentary images, Greenberg continued to study and develop new artistic interests, and in 2OO9, she began a new journey. Six months after graduating with her MFA degree, she turned an empty Central Park retail space, which had been vacant for more than two years in the economic downturn, into artist run cultural spaces ~ 25CPW and Red Roots Gallery. The result: was more than 230 culturally diverse exhibitions that Greenberg curated over nearly five years. 25CPW and Red Roots were open from 2009-2014. During that time she also served two years on the Advisory Council in Photojournalism for the esteemed Alexia Foundation, curated and produced shows and events at the Copenhagen Photography Festival, The Finger Lakes Grassroots Festival, in barns, in basements, bars and more.

But then music changed her life.

“I had moved back upstate to Binghamton, NY and was commuting to the gallery for work. During that time i made amazing musician friends, and Jackie Colombo [of Milkweed} and Claire Byrne [of Driftwood] said, 'Buy a bass’, and I bought a bass. I had been wanting to buy a bass, but they only encouraged me and i respected them so much; that made the difference to me."

In the first month of beginning to play music, Colombo and Byrne invited her to play bass in Americana band Milkweed and soon after, she began songwriting and singing in the harmonizing duo, The Falconers, with its album release “Red Roots” in 2o15.

In the four and half years she has been playing, she has performed at festivals along the east coast, joined honored musicians
such as Richie and Rosie, Donna the Buffalo, and Preston Frank on stage, and is currently touring as a solo artist.
Greenberg will be releasing her debut solo album this spring.

“I’ve always been someone who gravitates wherever my heart is leaning without trying to think too much about it,” she says. “I just trust that it’s gonna make me feel most fulfilled. Now, learning this new language of communicating with people … it’s overwhelming in some ways. Music makes me feel so full inside. The more I play, the better I feel. I’ve done a lot of different things in life, but music feels endless in itself."
Venue Information:
Funk 'n Waffles - Downtown
307 S. Clinton Street
Syracuse, NY, 13202