Where do I start to tell the story of Lead Belly Fest, an amazing tribute to Huddie ‘Lead Belly’ Ledbetter held at Carnegie Hall, first staged at Royal Albert Hall in London last year? Carnegie Hall was the site of Lead Belly’s last performance in 1949, so it was appropriate that the second staging of Lead Belly Fest occurred on the same stage.
Organized by Paul Puccioni to pay homage to the person about whom George Harrison said, “No Lead Belly, no Beatles”, this show honored the memory of one of the biggest, if not the biggest, influences on music in the 20th century.
This is an event worth traveling to New York City to see – a tribute to Lead Belly at Carnegie Hall! Of course any event at that revered venue is worth seeing, but I think this one is going to be spectacular!
Tickets are still available through Carnegie Hall. Concert proceeds go to non-profit organizations The Association to Benefit Children and Project ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease). You can go hear amazing music and help some great causes.
I cannot say I have seen Dom Flemons perform ‘many’ times, but I have seen him enough to recognize that he is one of the most engaging, knowledgeable, and talented musicians touring today. The show this week at Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts was as good a show of Dom’s as the others I have seen.
One could not have requested a more perfect evening. The temperature was perfect, the breeze slight, and the humidity almost non-existent. Oh yeah, and the music was sublime.
On Friday, June 5, 2015, Patty Larkin, a favorite musician of many in the Boston area, will headline a concert at The Regent Theatre in Arlington (click here for tickets) to raise funds for the important organization, Folk New England. Also on the bill are Sarah Lee Guthrie and Johnny Irion, as well as Tumbling Bones.
I had the opportunity to speak with Betsy Siggins, the founder and director of Folk New England – what an incredible experience! I was not familiar with Betsy but I should have been. She has been a fixture, albeit behind the scenes to a great extent, on the ‘folk revival’ scene in Cambridge, Washington (DC), and New York for 50+ years. She has been interested in the world of folk music since her childhood, and has many stories to tell.
Not only is he a terrific musician and ethnomusicologist, he’s a warm, personable man as well.
On Sunday, August 10th, even though I was in New York I was unable to go to the Music Makers Blues Review (a project of the Music Makers Relief Foundation), which was part of the Americana Festival at Lincoln Center Out of Doors. There were a lot of interesting names on the roster, including several who were new to me.
All photographs are courtesy of Michael Weintraub.
The weather was not perfect (rain was threatening), but the setting was. A large crowd gathered in the Museum of Fine Arts‘ courtyard to see Dom Flemons perform for the first concert of the 2014 Concerts in the Courtyard series.
Dom defines songster as someone who plays and sings, and that certainly describes him. He does not describe himself as a musicologist, yet he is extremely knowledgeable about the history of American and African-American roots music; he obviously enjoys educating his audiences because he does it quite well.