At the Depot

If dining out to the same mindless soundtrack has you bored silly, try parking your caboose at the Cold Spring Depot. Converted from the old Metro-North station into an eatery and bar, this Putnam County hot spot still retains its historic charm, and traditional favorites like Ma Rolston’s meatloaf, fish-and-chips, and New England clam chowder are staples on the menu. But the comfort food isn’t the only thing drawing people in.

The highlight of Thursday nights at the Depot is the Listening Room, a “hodge-pop” of original performances by both local and international musicians looking to broaden their horizons and cultivate their sound.

Organized last December by Valley musicians Ken Veltz of the Veltz Family, and Joe Johnson, the Listening Room provides a showcase for up-and-coming artists with tastes ranging from 1940s-inspired jazz to acoustic punk. Three one-hour rounds feature four songwriters, each of whom gets time in the limelight (althought the players often stick around to accompany the others onstage). “Real musician-community friendships are happening, it’s just a beautiful thing,” says Veltz, who hosts the sessions. “It raises the bar for everyone.” He receives requests from interested artists and, according to their sound, creates a rhythmic lineup. “We see bands birthing from this,” Veltz says. “Who knows? A Simon might find his Garfunkel here — the whole thing is relational. It’s really inspiring.”

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