November 1st, 2006

Harp and Guitar

Country Music At Carnegie Hall

"If anyone had told me 40 years ago that I'd be onstage at Carnegie Hall opening for George Jones," Kris Kristofferson said last night, "I would have taken better care of myself." He was maybe even more excited to be there than we were.

George Jones has long since been left behind by the country music establishment, (which is much the worse for it) but he is one of the greatest singers in any genre of American music. He rarely plays anywhere in New York, and the last time he was onstage at Carnegie Hall was in 1962 along with Johnny Cash and the Carter Family, when that hallowed venue deigned for the first time to allow a country music performance.

Kristofferson never quite fit into the country establishment. His songs are best known in versions by other people and his closest peers are people like John Prine and Willie Nelson. He hasn't done a show in New York City in close to 20 years.

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But if this world keeps right on turnin' for the better or the worse
And all he ever gets is older and around
From the rocking of the cradle to the rolling of the hearse
The going up was worth the coming down

--"Pilgrim Chapter 33," Kris Kristofferson
Harp and Guitar

Good Music This Weekend

Another magical night at Sunny's in Red Hook tonight, and some good musical news on top of it. I went down there early to rehearse a couple of songs for the Sheriff Sessions on Friday night. The good musical news is not just that I will be playing rather than just watching, but that I'll be accompanying Kate Giampetruzzi, who with her husband Lou led the Kate and Lou Band until Lou's death in July. Kate will return to performing on Friday night and that's good news for everyone who loves great singing. I'm very honored to be joining her, along with Tone Johansen. We're just going to do a couple of songs, some traditional gospel numbers, but they sound beautiful and I am very happy to be part of it.

The Sheriff Sessions is an American roots music festival featuring some of the best bluegrass, old-time and traditional country bands in the city. It's held at the Baggot Inn in Greenwich Village, Friday and Saturday nights from 7 till midnight (with a jam following). This is the fourth year they've been held, and I played the previous three with the Kate and Lou Band. This year's Sessions are dedicated to Lou's spirit, so they will probably be even more special than usual. (Please note this is not really a gig promo, since I'm only doing a couple of songs. It's just going to be a great night of music.)

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