Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Roots & blues concert in Long Beach Saturday

On Saturday, July 3 from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., a slice of the Southland’s finest folksy, bluesy roots will show at the first Summer And Music (SAM) event of July—Roots & Blues—where three
legendary acts will break your heart and own your eardrums thrice over on an outdoor stage at the intersection of Pine Avenue and Broadway.

Americana Roots music—sometimes called Americana Folk, and used to describe everything from Bluegrass, to Appalachian folk, to moonshine jug bands—is a comingling of sounds that either originated or developed in the United States and served as the foundation for every kind of music from rock-n-roll to jazz. Roots music took the stage during the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl, when Americans were at their most raw, vulnerable moments.

Blues—if you’ve been living under a rock that doesn’t roll—are the ever-evolving sounds and stories of the deep south, originating at the tail end of the 19th century and typically following distinctive chord progressions that can walk a man gently through heartache and woman through childbirth. In short, it’s the only music in the world that will make you shake your head in sorrow and joy at the very same time.

Headlining this evening of Roots and Blues collision is James Harman, a self-defined full-service
Bluesman since 1962. Originally from Anniston, Ala., Harman grew up with the likes of his father’s Hohner harmonicas and at age 18 cut his first 45 RPM—a collection of singles that put him on the map, got the attention of the band Canned Heat, and eventually brought him to California. His own ensemble, The James Harman Band, has been graced by the likes of Phil Alvin and Bill Bateman, who went on to form The Blasters.

Harman tours ferociously – playing in as many as 23 different countries in a season, his original songs have been featured in 17 movies, and he has been nominated for 19 W. C. Handy awards. His harmonica chops have been tested by the likes of ZZ Top and over the years have appeared on many well-known labels such as Enigma, Rhino, Black Top, Continental, Cannonball, Pacific Blues and Gulfcoast Records.

Another living Blues legend, showman and wit, King Cotton will close out the night with his band Cold As Ice. Cotton—an original member of the 1980s Los Angeles Worldbeatnick band The Bonedaddy’s—has a commanding stage presence and character that warrant the title of King. He has even performed with theBlues God Bo Diddley. Cotton’s sound takes on a roots-country vibe that commands respect and provokes fat-sided laughter all at once.

Opening the night, The Dibs, a Long Beach-based folk rock-roots band stacked with seven talented songwriters and instrumentalists—including Chris Hanlin, Brett Bixby, Mark Romans, Mark Jones, Chris Paul Overall, Rae Enrico and JR Rittermal—will set the vibe. With music inspired by staples like Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, Credence Clearwater Revival, Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers and Led Zeppelin, The Dibs are sure to kick off the night with some symphonic energy. The music may be Blues, but your face will be ruddy red from dancing.

Alternative transportation to the event is encouraged, with several public transit options offered by Long Beach Transit. Local cycling advocacy group Long Beach Cyclists will also be offering free bike valet parking throughout the evening. Before the show, or in between sets, be sure to drop by Pine Avenue’s array of fine dining establishments and causal eateries for some soulful supper.

After an enormously successful inaugural season in 2009, Downtown Long Beach Associates (DLBA) and the Long Beach Redevelopment Agency (RDA) are bringing SAM back for a solar-powered sequel.

Scheduled to run from June to August, the line-up for SAM 2010 is estimated to draw 34,000 people throughout the summer.

This year’s itinerary features 13 eclectic music events, including some favorites from last year, such as Funk Fest and BuskerFest. Concerts will span the genres of folk, jazz, pop, rock, funk and beyond, bringing together artists and art enthusiasts of all kinds. Classical Beats for example, will be an innovative August show bridging the gap between classical string arrangements and hip hop overdubs, set to the scene of public art displays.

Showcasing a renewed focus on environmental concerns, all concerts will be held on self-contained solar-powered stages. The DLBA and RDA, in conjunction with SAM founding members, are partnering with Sustainable Waves, a San Diego/Austin-based all-solar staging, lighting and sound company offering 100 percent pollution-free concerts.

To that end, SAM is a homegrown development on all fronts. It’s founded by two Long Beach residents with strong musical connections to the city: Justin Hectus, founder of Schooled In Song, and Rand Foster, owner of popular local record shop Fingerprints. SAM features an abundance of local and regional talent, including Long Beach musicians, photographers, graphic designers and media professionals. And, it generates enormous support from and revenue for local businesses and community organizations. In short, SAM is of the people and for the people.

For more information, visit www.summerandmusic.com or call (562) 436-4259.

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