The Center for the Arts OnTheGo Presents Jim Kweskin & Meredith Axelrod Opening: Paul Emery & Peter Wilson
Thursday, September 19th, 8PM
Foothills Event Center
Jim Kweskin is the founder of the legendary 1960s Jim Kweskin Jug Band with Fritz Richmond, Geoff Muldaur, Maria Muldaur, Mel Lyman, and Bruno Wolfe. During the five years they were together, they successfully transformed the sounds of pre-World War II rural music into a springboard for their good-humored performances. Their imitators were legion, including a San Francisco jug band that became the Grateful Dead, a Los Angeles jug band that became the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, and a New York jug band that became the Lovin’ Spoonful. No other group attained their unique blend of youthful energy and antiquarian expertise, tight musicianship, loose camaraderie, and infectious swing.
These days Jim is best known as a singer and bandleader, but he also created one of the bedrock guitar styles of the folk revival, adapting the ragtime-blues fingerpicking of artists like Mississippi John Hurt and Pink Anderson to the more complex chords of pop and jazz. He has maintained a remarkably consistent musical vision since his jug band days, continuing to explore traditional folk and blues with the sophisticated sensibility of a jazz musician, and jazz with the communal simplicity of a folk artist. He has recorded many solo ventures, as a member of the U and I band, with band-mate Geoff Muldaur, with Samoa Wilson, with The Texas Sheiks as well as performing and recording with a wide variety of well-known musicians such as Maria Muldaur, John Sebastian, David Grisman, Cindy Cashdollar, Happy Traum, Meredith Axelrod, Juli Crockett, and Samoa Wilson, to name a few.
Jim Kweskin’s shows radiate charm, humor, sophistication, and talent. Jim sings a collection of familiar songs by Benny Goodman, Johnny Mercer, the Sons of the Pioneers, Fats Waller, and Somethin’ Smith & the Redheads. There’s an endearing sense of good humor to Kweskin’s interpretations that makes his performances a delight. Because of his vast repertoire and love of the music, Kweskin is recognized as one of the best interpreters of the great American songbook.
“Kweskin virtually single-handedly created what was a significant musical genre in the USA in the early 1960s… Unjugged is an album that may surprise some but should also open doors for many to the power and beauty of traditional, old-school folk music delivered by an absolute master of the genre.” – Iain Patience, Elmore Magazine
Delightfully engaging and unassumingly comic, Meredith Axelrod envisions the limitless potential of early twentieth century music, whether it be Ragtime, Music Hall, Pop Standard, Boogie Woogie, Tin Pan Alley, String band, Jazz, Country, Blues or even Jug Band music, and embodies the spirit that brought the music into existence in the first place. Her vocal style is unusual, probably because she learned to sing by listening to how folks did it a century ago – through the medium of cylinders and 78-rpm records.
“Meredith Axelrod sings and plays guitar as if she really returned to the pre-mic days. We’re not talking revisionist copy of so and so from way back when; we’re talking as if we plucked an original out of the era and time-traveled…” – JL Stiles
“It takes more than passion to do what Meredith does. It takes guts; conviction. She is unflinchingly committed to authentic recreation of the tunes in her repertoire–swampy blues and early American roots music.” – Gary Rametta
The dominant theme throughout her expansive repertoire, is that, whatever the genre, these are songs she learns from the original sources (records and / or sheet music) which were released between the 1890s and the 1930s. Part of the allure of old time music, indeed any music throughout the history of recorded music, is hearing the original recordings as played and sung by the original performers in their heyday, loving what they’re doing and doing it because it means something to them in that moment, never because of nostalgia, and Meredith brings the same unbridled passion, earnest devotion and candid vitality to all of her music; she has found possibility and joy in the treasures of cultural folklore.
Axelrod demonstratively loves the life she leads, thriving in varied musical and performance settings. She often partners with string virtuoso Craig Ventresco; they perform at venues and festivals that include the San Francisco Silent Film Festival, West Coast Ragtime Festival and Blind Boone Early Jazz Festival. In addition to playing solo shows, Meredith appears in myriad cooperatives: with her own hot jazz band, her own string band, in partnership with solo act dynamo Frank Fairfield, and often with the 60s Folk / Jug Band legend, Jim Kweskin…. She has also performed with Dan Hicks, Maria Muldaur, Geoff Muldaur, Ramblin’ Jack Eliot, David Grisman, Cindy Cashdollar, Bill Keith, Terry Zwigoff, Sonny Leyland, Robert Crumb, and the Cheap Suit Serenaders at favorite venues: The Great American Music Hall, the Museum of Jurassic Technology, Freight and Salvage, and recently at Symphony Space in Manhattan. She has toured domestically and internationally.
OPENING: Paul Emery & Peter Wilson
Peter & Paul have performed together since the early 1980s as the Fun Train Minstrels and in various combinations.
Paul Emery is a member of Backwoods Jazz with Anni McCann and Tom Schmidt. He is creator of 1000 Kisses Deep – The Songs of Leonard Cohen, which has performed around Northern California to sell-out crowds. Paul is also a founding member of the Foothills Flyers duo with Ray Mann and the ground-breaking Greater Carmichael String Band. His production company, Paul Emery Presents, has been an essential part of Nevada County’s vibrant music scene for decades.
Peter Wilson is a singer/songwriter/guitarist with several recordings to his credit. He’s a member of the Deadbeats playing the music of the Grateful Dead. Peter has written, recorded and toured with Mountain John Hilligoss and Moe Dixon in the trio Troubadour Camp. He’s a featured member of Paul Emery’s 1000 Kisses Deep ensemble. His production company, Strings Concerts, presents curated folk music concerts by international touring artists.
See you Thursday, September 19th at The Foothills Event Center