Happy Birthday to our Mother Spiritual, Laura Nyro!!! October 18,1947

Laura Nyro influenced more songwriters, and successful songwriters, than probably any other songwriter before her.
- Elton John

About Stoned Soul Picnic

Stoned Soul Picnic is a celebration of the art and soul of the late, great singer-songwriter, and 2013 Rock-and-Roll Hall of Fame inductee, Laura Nyro. Lead vocalist Diane Garisto toured and recorded with Ms. Nyro in the mid-90's as a member of her celebrated Harmony Group. Diane and friends have put together a live show dedicated to the memory of this musical icon. Along with some of New York City's best players and singers, Stoned Soul Picnic features faithful arrangements from all of Nyro's most popular recordings such as Eli and the 13th ConfessionNew York TendaberryChristmas and the Beads of Sweat, and Gonna Take a MiracleStoned Soul Picnic has already sold out venues, large and small, including the popular City Winery NYC and the Highline Ballroom, and most recently, Celtic Connections Music Festival in Glasgow, Scotland.  We hope you'll take a tour of our site and enjoy the offerings of music, videos, photos, and writings that are dedicated to our Mother Spiritual, Laura Nyro.  And please sign up for our mailing list if you want more information about upcoming Stoned Soul Picnic shows.  Thank you.

STONED SOUL PICNIC AND THE  CELTIC CONNECTIONS FESTIVAL IN GLASGOW SCOTLAND:  The Stoned Soul Band played to a great audience at the Celtic Connections Festival in Glasgow, Scotland on January 20th.  It was our first time taking the wonderful music of Laura Nyro across the pond.  We played to a packed house at the Old Fruitmarket and got a standing ovation!  And our special guests Shawn Colvin and Karen Matheson did Laura proud.  We can’t imagine having had a better time.  Thank you Glasgow, thank you Scotland, thank you, Celtic Connections.  We hope to see you all again soon!

The Stoned Soul Band with Shawn Colvin

Another great review of our December 2017 Stoned Soul Holiday Show at the City Winery in NYC:  ”Holding it’s own with my other Laura Nyro experiences, Diane Garisto’s performance last night at the City Winery, in tribute to Laura’s music, was one of the most magical performances I’ve ever attended.  Along with Diane, the group consisted of the finest musicians in the world who faithfully and accurately honored the original recordings, while making it their own with musicality, warmth, heart, and soul ... Diane Garisto totally knocked me out.  I suspect most everyone in the room came there with Laura Nyro’s voice etched in their heads, but Diane unquestionably rose to the occasion with power, heartfelt beauty, and technical proficiency amazingly nailing Laura’s dynamics, flourishes, phrasing, rhythm, intonation, and unique vocal acrobatics.  On top of all that, Diane still maintained her own voice, identity, and personality as a true artist in her own right.”  Terry Silverlight

What a wonderful show at the City Winery NYC on January 29th where we played to a packed club, TWO standing ovations and a whole lot of happy faces.  Thank you to all the fans and friends that came out to make it the best day of celebration for our love of Laura Nyro and her music!!!  Stay posted for more show dates soon!

Our Maiden Voyage at City Winery NYC 1-29-17 

Walking on stage and seeing the crowd at City Winery NYC last week was nothing short of astonishing.  A packed room filled with people who had all come to celebrate the extraordinary genius of Laura Nyro and her music.  We opened the show with Laura's live arrangement of "Sweet Blindness" and glided through the rest of the afternoon sharing her music with all our friends and fans.  Our two special guest artists, Bette Sussman and Robbie Kondor did Laura's music proud.  Bette, better known as a brilliant keyboard player, stepped out from behind the keys and showed the crowd her soulful voice as she sang a duet of "Emmie" with Diane.  A little later on Robbie put his signature style on one of our most favorite Laura tunes, "Mother's Spiritual."  We were so honored to have both of them perform with us.  The afternoon went by too quickly, but when it was all over we felt elated by the warm reception and standing ovation from the wonderful people in the audience.  We will never forget that great afternoon.  Thank you everyone who came to the show.  And thanks also to the City Winery and staff.  We can't imagine a better place to celebrate the art and soul of Laura Nyro ... and we hope to be back to do it again soon!

From Montauk to Manhattan and Back Again 

For our first blog, we'd like to share a post from our friend and photographer, Ric Kallaher, who wrote touchingly about seeing Stoned Soul PIcnic at the Highline on April 10th.  Thank you, Ric, for your wonderful photos and for writing this.  http://ric-kallaher.com/blog/2016/4/11/on-montauk-to-manhattan-back-again-

On Montauk to Manhattan & Back Again . . . By Ric Kallaher

And "WHY?!?" you may well ask.  For a Magical Musical Mystery Tour into the past, back to the future, and beyond with Diane Garisto & Friends at The Highline Ballroom in a tribute performance to the incredible Laura Nyro, that's why . . . though of course, there's more to it than that..

Truly, there are not too many reasons why I'd make a round trip daytrip from out here in Montauk all the way to Manhattan but the chance to hear my longtime friend Diane Garisto sing is one of them.  And it was worth every mile.  Diane gave an amazing "Standing O" performance at her show which is based around one of her heroes, the Rock'n'Roll Hall of Fame member, Ms. Nyro who Di toured with back in the day.   

But the meat of the matter is this: not only was it a tour-de-force show but it was a testament to life and the reasons to carry on. 

Laura Nyro was incredibly influential.  In her day she was part of the "new" Brill Building tradition of songwriters that turned music on its ear and found new directions for many that were to follow.  She wrote songs that proved to be top hits for bands like Blood Sweat & Tears, 3 Dog Night and more plus she had her own standout career as a performer.  Sadly, she is no longer with us and though she has been inducted into the Rock'n'Roll Hall of Fame, since her music was exacting and challenging she can be easily forgotten in today's soundbite world.   

But not if Diane can have anything to say about that.  I first met Diane when I was part of a music company working primarily in advertising.  She had just completed vocals on a really interesting album for the impresario Malcolm Maclaren entitled "FANS" that combined opera and hip-hop, et al based around MADAME BUTTERFLY. Diane would also work on another groundbreaking album, Paul Simon's GRACELAND as well as to tour with Steely Dan.  And she was a regular feature at our studio, working on any and everything that called for female vocals.  She was an ever fun, ever bright collaborator in those heady days.  

A couple of years ago we almost lost Diane, too.  We who know her are all blessed and grateful that she survived and it is a true testament to the force of life that she is back and doing what she does best, better than ever before. 

Life can be like that.  You are lucky if you get to carry on.  And the longer you do carry on, the more you realize just how lucky you are.  So, the more dedicated you become to doing as much as you can with what you do best for as long as you can.   

For my lucky self, I get to realize how fortunate I am to have the chance to now re-experience all of those wonderful people I was surrounded with so many years ago in the years before I realized what it was I was here to do: make photographs.  It's an awesome feeling to have these opportunities to hear and SEE all of these artistic lives playing on, and now with all of the extra depth and resonance that living life can bring to the craft.   

Yes, from Montauk to Manhattan and back again.  Into the past.  Back to the future.  And Beyond.  Take Two. 

But let's not forget the "and Friends" -- Backup vocals were by Carolee Goodgold, Emily Bindiger, Janie Barnett and Margaret Dorn.  The band was Elise Morris on keyboards; David Rosenberg on drums; Andy "The Rock" Huenerberg on bass; and the legendary Larry "The Sultan" Saltzman  on guitar. With special guest appearances by Martha Trachtenberg, Tom Griffith, and Robbie Kondor. Yay to them all.


Please check out Ric's wonderful photographs at:
http://ric-kallaher.com

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Previous events

Stoned Soul Picnic: A Laura Nyro Songbook

Old Fruit Market, Glasgow, Scotland

An evening dedicated to the art and soul of Laura Nyro, Rock-and-Roll Hall of Famer. Diane and her band will be joined by some stellar special guests to be announced.

Stoned Soul Picnic: A Laura Nyro Songbook

 —  —

City Winery , 155 Varick Street, New York, NY 10013

The Stoned Soul Picnic Band fronted by Diane Garisto, former member of Laura Nyro's Harmony Group, is back at The City Winery after several acclaimed shows to share Laura's unique and timeless music. Tickets on sale now.

Apr10

Stoned Soul Picnic: A Laura Nyro Songbook

Highline Ballroom, 431 West 16th St., New York, NY10011

Feb28

Stoned Soul Picnic: A Laura Nyro Songbook

Cafe Wha?, 115 Macdougal St., New York, NY 10012