HUDSON: What do live music and fresh-cut french fries have in common? Well, both can soothe your soul as the nights get colder, and both can be had at the Blue Rock Cafe on Darrow Road in Hudson.
Located in an unremarkable strip mall between Jo-Ann Fabrics and state Route 303, the Blue Rock features live music with a focus on American roots music. And yes, they have French fries, too.
Co-owner Larry Terkel said that “the potatoes are cut fresh in the kitchen every morning and always made to order. They’re really special. I can’t get enough of them. The trick is, we soak them in water before we cook them to get the starch out.”
The club has a homey vibe with a hand-painted mural on the wall when you enter and musical instruments hanging all over the others. On jam nights (currently Wednesday and Sunday), visitors can grab a guitar, bass or percussion instrument off the wall and join the musicians on the bandstand.
The Blue Rock presents live music Wednesday through Sunday, with occasional bookings or events on Monday and Tuesday.
The venue generally has several acts performing sets from early to late evening. The styles range from bluegrass or Americana, to straight-ahead jazz, blues, classic and progressive rock, reggae and pop.
The bands are mostly local or regional with occasional touring acts making a stop as they travel the country. Past bookings have included regional favorites like the Juke Hounds, Colin John, Mike Lenz, Blue Lunch and the Reunion Band, along with national performers like blues hall of famer Bobby Messano and folk legend Andy Cohen.
Bob Gardner of the Juke Hounds said he enjoys playing at the venue. “It’s got a nice laid-back feel, the owners love music, and the food’s pretty good. Plus, if I forget my guitar, there’s always a few on the wall,” he said with a laugh.
Most Wednesdays open with singer-songwriter Pat Vaughan performing solo from 6 to 7 p.m. followed by an acoustic jam from 7 to 9:30 p.m. and a hip-hop open mic from 9:30 to closing.
Sundays start with an open jazz jam from 6 to 8 p.m. with some local jazz players working the Real Book standards followed by the weekly blues and rock jam from 8 p.m. to closing.
The restaurant menu covers a range of items from wraps to steaks. In addition to the fries, the club also serves homemade potato chips sliced from Kennebec potatoes rather than the conventional Idaho variety, which Terkel says, “adds a distinct texture and flavor.”
The chips are accompanied by the Blue Rock’s caramelized-onion chip dip.
What’s in it?
“If I divulged the secret recipe, I’d have to kill you. You’ll have to try it,” Terkel said.
Full disclosure: I enjoy my fries on the crisp side and I have played guitar with several bands at the Blue Rock.
For information about the club or bands, visit www.localendar.com/public/bluerockcafe.