Music

Review: Classic Albums Live “Chronicle, Vol. 1”

headerBy Monica Jarrell, guest blogger

Chronicle, Vol. 1, also known as Chronicle: The 20 Greatest Hits, is a greatest hits album by Creedence Clearwater Revival (CCR) released by Fantasy Records in January 1976. Classic Albums Live honors the legacy of CCR by performing their Chronicle album without changing any of the music. Each song is played with every note and rhythm of each song perfectly replicated.

As the lights dimmed and the musicians unceremoniously came on stage, there was a hush that came over the audience as they anticipated the performance that was about to begin. The band members were not in matching costumes, or sequins or flashy attire. They are dressed in black and were all about the music. Without any introductions, the band began to tune their guitars and prepped to perform “Susie-Q,” the first song of the album.

Being a part of the audience, I found myself along with many others, bobbing my head, clapping and tapping my toes as we all sang along with the band. Once “Susie-Q” came to an end, the band performed “I Put a Spell on You,” followed by “Proud Mary” and “Bad Moon Rising.” Mike Slute, the lead vocalist, nailed the vocals. It was as if I was there in 1976 when the original album was released.

In the first half of the show, there was very little to no interaction between the band and the audience. Mike Slute explained at intermission that they rather play the music just like the original album. After intermission, during the second half, they took liberties.

The second half was kicked off with the second album.  The band played “Run Through the Jungle,” “I Heard It Through the Grapevine,” and “Have You Ever Seen the Rain,” and many more. Lead guitarist Shane Honkonen blew the audience away with his ability to play the guitar, replicating each note as it was originally written and performed. It was mesmerizing to watch him play and I got lost in the music.

James Taylor, who played the bass and vocals, was very connected with the audience.  He seemed to really enjoy himself.  This translated to the audience.  He joked with drummer Ryan Granville Martin, who also kept the audience entertained.  Included in the performance were some local musicians. These musicians only met the band the day before.  They were incredible together! One would have thought they were all on tour together. On percussion and sax was Eric Natsuhiro Jordan, Bill Stephens was on keys, and on trumpet and percussion was Dylan Vessel.

The night ended with everyone signing “The Midnight Special.”  It was the perfect ending to an amazing show.

If you have not seen Classic Albums Live, you will want to check back often on the Lone Tree Arts Center web site.  Classic Albums Live is an all-time favorite and performs here frequently. The next title they will perform is Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon on Saturday, June 8. Tickets for that performance are available here.

Preview: Classic Albums Live “Chronicle Vol. 1

headerBy Monica Jarrell, guest blogger

Did you enjoy listening to the songs of Creedence Clearwater Revival on your record player or on your 8 tracks when you were younger? The music of Creedence Clearwater Revival could be heard blaring out of car radios as they drove by or at roller rinks in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Classic Albums Live at the Lone Tree Arts Center is the only place where you can listen to the music of Creedence Clearwater performed with such accuracy, it’ll be as if you were in the recording studio when the original was recorded.

The Classic Albums Lives concert series was founded in 2003 in Toronto, Ontario by a musician named Craig Martin, who previously produced a series of boutique cabaret shows, including composing music for television and stage. Classic Albums live is a concert series in which musicians perform a classic rock album in its entirety and play each song in its perfection.

Creedence Clearwater Revival (often called CCR) was one of America’s greatest bands.  The music of CCR reached across generations with their mix of “blues” and “rock and roll. ” Remember “Down on the Corner,” “Bad Moon Rising,” and “Who’ll Stop the Rain”? You can hear these classics and much more when you come to see Classic Albums Live on Saturday, May 11, 2019 at the Lone Tree Arts Center.

Before CCR, John Fogerty, lead vocalist, lead guitarist and primary songwriter, joined his brother Tom Fogerty rhythm guitarist, Stu Cook, bass and drummer Doug Clifford in 1959 and formed the band The Blue Velvets. They were later called the Golliwogs. Their musical style encompassed roots rock, swamp rock, and blues rock. They played in a Southern rock style, despite their San Francisco Bay Area origin, with lyrics about bayous, catfish, the Mississippi River, and other popular elements of Southern United States.  They also wrote and sang political and socially conscious topics including the Vietnam War.

The band performed at the 1969 Woodstock Festival in Upstate New York.  CCR was inducted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1993.  Creedence Clearwater Revival’s music is still a staple of US radio airplay; the band has sold 28 million records in the United States alone. Rolling Stone ranked them 82nd on its 100 Greatest Artists of All Time.

The talented musicians of Classic Albums Live will thrill audiences, young and old, playing all CCR’s greatest hits including “Have You Ever Seen the Rain?”. You will not want to miss the instantly-recognizable, toe tapping songs of one of the world’s greatest classic rock albums performed live on stage. You will be treated to an exact replication of the song’s as they were originally performed.

Purchase your tickets now, before they sell out!

Review: An Intimate Evening with the Ivy Street Ensemble

header

By Theresa Allen, guest blogger

On April 26, 2019, the Ivy Street Ensemble presented a spirited evening of chamber music at the Lone Tree Arts Center. The performance celebrated the music of three, prolific, male composers, Ludwig Van Beethoven, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Ferde Grofé alongside the works of two modern, female, master composers, Rebecca Clarke and Maria Newman. Members of the Ivy Street Ensemble include Catherine Peterson on flute, Erik Peterson on violin, Phillip Stevens on viola, and Danielle Guideri on cello. All of the performers are also members of the Colorado Symphony Orchestra.

The concert featured commentary by Betsy Schwarm, a local music historian, who warmly provided context and analysis on each composition for the audience.  For those of us who were new to chamber music, Schwarm said that this form was written to be performed by three or four instruments in small intimate spaces, such as a living or drawing room. She said that in chamber compositions, no one particular instrument is the star, rather the music is an interplay of parts that showcase the strengths of each instrument.

The concert opened with “Serenade for Flute, Violin and Viola Op 25” by Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827). Schwarm explained that Beethoven wrote this in 1801, when he was merely 30 years old. At the time, Beethoven was writing Mozart inspired symphonies and this playful, light, spirited piece reflects that influence. While chamber music may have been originally played in a drawing room, the Lone Tree Arts Center’s stage has wonderful acoustics and this beautiful, elegant music filled the room leaving the audience with the sense of having experienced something quite remarkable.

The second performance, “Two Pieces for Viola and Cello,” by Rebecca Clarke (1886-1979) was constructed in two parts, the first a lullaby, a form most of us are familiar with and the second part was a grotesque, which Schwarm described as being quirky and irregular. Stevens and Guideri performed together giving us a beautiful, soft lullaby that was executed with dramatic precision and then a bright, lively, full-sounding piece for the grotesque movement.

The Ivy Street Ensemble then performed Table d’Hote: Humoresque, by Ferde Grofé (1892-1972), which was originally written in 1945. Schwarm explained that the title takes its name from the convivial gathering of people conversing around the main table in a restaurant, and as such, the performance evolves through many moods from cheerful to melancholy and back to lively.  I noticed members of the audience listening so intently and silently that you could hear a pin drop.

We then heard a thrilling rendition of Mozart’s (1756-1791) “Quartet for Flute and Strings in D Minor, Op. 285” which was written for the flute as the lead. The first movement was a lilting serenade that transitioned into a soft, sad mood that allowed the audience to appreciate the mastery and genius of Mozart.

The last work that the Ivy Street Ensemble performed was “Pennipotenti for Flute, Violin, and Viola” composed by Maria Newman (1962). Schwarm noted that Newman is from Los Angeles and is the daughter of composer Alfred Newman as well as related to Randy Newman, the musician. Composed in 2005, the title of this composition means “the power of feathers,” and Newman created in four movements representing birds. The first movement, “The Dipper,” soars bewitchingly light and playful, the second movement “The Hummingbird,” is fast and furious, the third movement, “The Snowy Owl” is quiet with its deeply moving harmonies and textures, and the last movement, “The Falcon” is complex, contemporary, and full of energy and power. Newman’s piece was a splendid ending to a delightful evening of beautiful music sprinkled with charming stories by Betsy Schwarm.

In addition, the Ivy Street Ensemble also generously gave each member of the audience their latest CD, Serenades: Then and Now. If you’d like to learn more about the Ivy Street Ensemble, you can visit their website at http://www.earwarp.com

Preview: International Guitar Night

IGN new headerBy Michelle Marx, guest blogger

International Guitar Night brings to the stage four spectacular acoustic guitarists. Founded by Brian Gore in 1995, International Guitar Night has featured a diverse array of performers from around the world. This year is no exception. Gore has assembled four dynamic and accomplished guitarists.

From Italy, Luca Stricagnoli is a YouTube sensation with over 100 million views. His style is both innovative and unique and some might even call it crazy. He’s an enthusiastic showman and his performances have delighted audiences worldwide.

Cenk Erdogan is a fretless guitarist from Turkey. What is a fretless guitar? It’s a guitar with a fingerboard without frets which creates no interruption in the string and allows a greater range of sounds. Not only has Erdogan toured the world, he is also a leading fretless guitar educator.

Two guitarists hail from France. Swing guitarist Antoine Boyer was named Guitarist of the Year by Guitarist Magazine in 2012. He was the first gypsy jazz artist to win the honor. And the fourth artist for the evening is Flamenco guitarist Samuelito. Both a composer and performer, Samuelito loves to incorporate music of various origins.

International Guitar Night is known for rotating through only the best of the best in acoustic guitar, highlighting each individual artist and celebrating their skills through collaboration.

International Guitar Night is in town for only one night, Friday, February 15 at 8:00 pm at the Lone Tree Arts Center.

Click here for tickets, more information, and videos 

Review: Bettman and Halpin – Christmas is a Funny Thing

headerBy Monica Jarrell, guest blogger

Stephanie Bettman and Luke Halpin have a well-earned reputation for delivering a quality show.  During the Bettman and Halpin Christmas is a Funny Thing holiday concert, the duo kept the audience riveted with songs, storytelling and fantastic fiddle playing.  The duo appeared to be having a great time performing and this enthusiasm affected the audience.   They both have an easy, mellow way about them.  They created a relaxed, homey feeling in the audience.

Christmas is a Funny Thing was a combination of well known, traditional Christmas tunes performed by Bettman and Halpin and original music written by Bettman and Halpin.  Some of the traditional songs performed included Drummer Boy,” “Blue Christmas,” and “I’ll Be Home for Christmas.”  Some of the original songs written by Bettman and Halpin included “Fruitcake for All Seasons” and “We’ll Miss You Mama.”  Ms. Bettman told the story of how she was inspired for each song she wrote.

The duo also performed some songs from their soon to be released CD.  Ms. Bettman wrote and sang a song titled “White Rose.”  The inspiration of this song is based on the Cherokee Nation’s Trail of Tears.  I believe most of the audience felt the sorrow in this song.  As I said before, Ms. Bettman tells great stories through her songs.  I can’t wait for the CD to come out!

Stephanie Bettman is an all-around entertainer.  Not only can she sing with a clear, smooth voice but she writes her own songs and plays the fiddle like no one I have ever heard.  She comes across as a regular person with the keen ability of telling stories through songs.

Luke Halpin is the jokester of the group.  He wore reindeer antlers when the show opened then changed into a “naughty” Santa hat later.  He made funny faces, comments, and gestures.  He is a gifted mandolin player.  During this performance he played several different instruments, including the mandolin, and played each instrument expertly.  The audience kept their eyes on this funny man, not knowing what was coming next.

The stage was decorated in festive Christmas decorations.  The atmosphere was relaxed, fun and a great way to prepare for the holiday season.   Bettman and Halpin included the audience in many of their Christmas songs.  These sing a-longs created a warmer holiday feeling in the audience.

The rest of the quartet for this program were local performers.  Bettman and Halpin, the bass player, and drummer only met for the first time the day before the program.  No one would have known this group had not been playing together for years.

The bass player Alex Goldberg is a graduate from University of Colorado Denver with a B.S. in Bass Performance.  He has several years of experience performing in many different venues.  He is currently performing with the local band Chris Daniels and the Kings.

Ryan Elwood is also a local performer.  He has performed with several different bands, including Adrienne O and the Austin Young Band.  He has played at the famous Red Rocks Amphitheatre and Gothic Theater.  He also teaches private lessons.

Bettman and Halpin: Christmas is a Funny Thing was a very entertaining show.  I recommend that you try to see this group the next time they come to town.  At the very least pick up their CD.  You won’t be disappointed.

Preview: Low Down Dirty Blues

email ad with pic

*Photo: Tim Fuller

By Theresa Allen, guest blogger

The heartbreaking stories of lost loves, hard-times, failed jobs, and all that is both painful and joyful in life comes to the Lone Tree Arts Center with Low Down Dirty Blues beginning Thursday, October 18 to Saturday, October 27, 2019. Through song, music and stories, Low Down Dirty Blues promises to take the audience from the midnight blues straight into the joy of a Sunday morning gospel redemption.

The musical revue features Felicia P. Fields as Big Mama, a Chicago bar owner, who gathers with several blues musicians for a bawdy and humorous conversation and an after-hours jam session that features the songs of Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, Ma Rainey, Pearl Bailey, and Mae West. Fields is a Chicago native and veteran stage actress known for her Tony-nominated Broadway performance as Sophia in The Color Purple as well television and in stage performances in the Chicago theater scene.

Joining Felicia are Shake Anderson, who’s worked with some of the most recognizable musicians in the business, including Aretha Franklin, B.B. King, Ray Charles, and Stevie Wonder; and Chic Street Man, who has an impressive stage resume and has performed at many prestigious venues, including the Montreux and Bern Jazz Festivals in Switzerland and the General Assembly of the United Nations. All three were previously in the production earlier this year in Arizona. In Low Down Dirty Blues, Fields, Anderson, and Street Man, along with additional musicians, will perform blues standards such as “I’d Rather Go Blind,” “Good Morning Heartache,” “Nobody’s Fault But Mine,” and “I Got My Mojo Working.”

Low Down Dirty Blues is brought to the Lone Tree Arts Center under the creative direction of Randal Myler and Dan Wheetman, the creators of Muscle Shoals: I’ll Take You There and It Ain’t Nothin’ but the Blues. The musical offers the extraordinary opportunity to hear a truly American art form with its roots in African-American work songs and spirituals learned at the knee of sharecroppers on their porches, in the fields, and in the church pews.

Tickets for Low Down Dirty Blues are on sale now from $10 to $60 and can be purchased at http://www.lonetreeartscenter.org/lowdowndirtyblues. Both matinee and evening performances are available in this beautiful venue that doesn’t have a bad seat in the house. The Lone Tree Arts Center is located at 10075 Commons Street in Lone Tree. Free on-site parking is available.

Living Legends Blind Boys of Alabama in Lone Tree

By Katie Konishi, Marketing Specialist

We throw around the title “living legends” a lot but the Blind Boys of Alabama truly deserve the moniker. Formed in 1939, this group has lived through some of the most tumultuous times in our nation’s history and come out singing on the other side – literally. The group’s soulful gospel music has matured over the years, but their mission has never changed. As a track on their new album states, they “Stay on the Gospel Side” in their work.

The founding members of the group met at the Alabama Institute for the Negro Blind in Talladega, Alabama. The original group consisted of Clarence Fountain, Jimmy Carter, George Scott, Johnny Fields, and Tommy Gilmore. Of the original members, Jimmy is the only one still touring with the group. Clarence appears on their latest album, but rarely travels with the group. The group just released a new album titled Almost Home, their 68th album, if Wikipedia is to be believed. 68!

Currently, the line-up of the group consists of founding member Jimmy Carter, Ben Moore, Eric “Ricky” McKinnie, Joey Williams, Trae Pierce, Peter Levin, and Paul Beasley. Clarence Fountain still appears with the group when his health allows. The group has been nominated for eight Grammy Awards and have won six, including a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2009. They’ve been invited to the White House by three different administrations: President Clinton in ’94, President Bush in ’02, and President Obama in ‘10.

And while the awards they’ve racked up are certainly impressive, their music really speaks for itself. They practically created the gospel sound of the 21st century and continue to define the genre today. Just see for yourself in the video below of “Singing Brings Us Closer.”

We’re so excited to bring this slice of music history to Lone Tree and hope that you can join us for this uplifting night of music on September 15th at 8pm. Tickets and more information are available here: http://www.lonetreeartscenter.org/blindboys

Fun fact: “Mother’s Children Have a Hard Time,” a Grammy-nominated track from the compilation album God Don’t Never Change: The Songs of Blind Willie Johnson was recorded at FAME Recording Studio, which should sound familiar if you saw Muscle Shoals: I’ll Take You There – it’s one of the studios in Muscle Shoals! They also recorded a track from their latest album in Muscle Shoals as well.

“You Must Want!”

EVITA Director’s Notes
by Gina Rattan

Researching and assembling this production of EVITA has been a joy. The deeper and more entrenched in the research I became, the more I was aware of certain key moments in Eva’s early life that influenced her decision-making as an adult.

Eva Perón was known for her tenacity, ambition, perseverance, generosity toward women and children, and her unlikely rise to power from very poor origins. Born in 1919 in the rural outskirts of Buenos Aires, her mother was a poor seamstress who became the mistress to a married man. They had five children together before he left to return to his first family. For Eva’s entire childhood she was beset with gossip and rumors from everyone in her town. She was not legitimate, not to be taken seriously. Her family was a threat to the very values of those who lived in her village.

Gina Rattan

Gina in front of her research

Eva’s world was a harsh one, since her family was very poor, ostracized, and marginalized. Her country was one of an entrenched, stratified class system. Upward mobility or advancement was not an option, particularly not for young women. In Eva’s world, a woman’s purpose was to find a husband and start a family.

She and her sisters were deep fanatics of movies, which they saved and scraped to see when they came to town once a month.  Many films were American, but a few were Argentine, set in the big city. As they do for many of us, movies provided an escape and a romanticized version of a better life, just beyond Eva’s reach in Buenos Aires.

In 1934, at the age of fifteen, she became one of many Argentines to be ferried by the newly minted railway system to Buenos Aires. (Contrary to how it is portrayed in the musical, Eva travelled alone, not in the company of Augustin Magaldi, although he did perform in her hometown.) She became a stage actress quite quickly and started where many young performers do, in the ensemble. As was standard practice for young actresses in the ensemble at this time, she was not paid, nor were her costumes provided by the theater company. Instead, young actresses were expected to find an older gentleman; a punto fijo (steady man) or calballero blanco (sugar daddy) to pay their wage and provide costumes for the show. Eva was once propositioned by the director of a show she was starring in (the Argentine premiere of Lillian Helman’s The Children’s Hour); she turned him down and quit the show.

Her success as a stage actress lead to success as a radio star (her brother also moved to Buenos Aires and owned a soap company which owned a radio station). She was the best paid radio actress of her time. The Argentine radio network was the second largest in the world, next to the United States. Her success there led to her becoming a movie star. She was incredibly successful between ages 15 to 25. She also struggled immensely to make enough money to live. For those ten years, she never lived anywhere that had hot water. In 1944, at the age 25, she met Juan Perón, a man whose ambitions and drive matched her own. Since 1944 and Perón’s rise to power, she has been characterized as the driving force behind his politics, policy, and corruption.

Evita has always been a fascinating musical to me, not only for its lush score, complicated characters, and thrilling dramatization of an historical narrative, but also as it’s one of the first modern musicals (written in 1976) to feature a narrator.

Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber present us Eva’s story through the lens which women in power are viewed – the perspective of a man. What you’re about to see is an examination of Eva’s story as told and as perceived through the eyes of Che, an erstwhile admirer turned ardent opponent. One who is obsessed and consumed with her public image, accomplishments, failures, and motives. As Eva herself said, “You must want! You have the right to ask! You must desire.”

EVITA opens April 13 and runs through April 29, with a preview on April 12.

Muscle Shoals: I’ll Take You There

by Leigh Chandler, Marketing Director

ds7_4021I know a place. Or at least I thought I knew a place. Like me, many people are aware of the incredible music that’s come out of the recording studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama. I also know that it was a tricky place for African-American artists to record in the ‘60s, at a time when racial tensions ran high in the country. But I didn’t know the depth of importance of those studios in helping race relations, or in popularizing “black music,” until I saw Muscle Shoals: I’ll Take You There.

_ds85681Myk Watford and Charlton James, both from that region of Alabama, take on the stories of session musicians, first at FAME studio and then at Muscle Shoals Sound Studio. They explain how they just fell into playing for artists that would come to record at both, but they also talk about what it was like to work with the artists recording there. Interspersed with this history lesson is an incredible band, featuring vocalists Felicia Fields, Kenita Miller, and Lannie Counts, playing the hit songs that pair with the stories.

Perhaps the biggest surprise is that many artists who headed to Muscle Shoals to record “black music” weren’t aware that the session musicians were white. Given the difficult race relations in the country at the time, many artists were nervous about heading to Muscle Shoals to record, and many felt out of their element. Interestingly, session musicians got to experience that same feeling. Aretha Franklin_ds85658 famously left Muscle Shoals after recording just one song – “I Never Loved A Man” – but she loved the musicians so much that they went to New York to finish recording her album, which included “Do Right Woman, Do Right Man,” along with other famous hits. They were like fish out of water.

Throughout the show other tidbits come out as well, such as Percy Sledge, an orderly from a local hospital, making his first recording ever and being nervous as all get-out. That song he recorded turned out to be the hit “When a Man Loves a Woman.” Not only did artists sometimes feel out of their element, but people in the small community sometimes were also out of their element in dealing with visiting artists. When Lynyrd Skynyrd came to record “What’s Your Name,” the town wanted to the long-haired hippies to leave. And when The Rolling Stones came to town, Mick Jagger had a fantastic response to a waitress ds7_4091questioning who they were, which I won’t give away.

So much of the music recorded at Muscle Shoals is timeless. You’ll hardly be able to stay in your seat during Wilson Pickett’s “Land of 1000 Dances.” You’ll smile during Paul Simon’s “Love Me Like A Rock.” And you’ll hear more current music coming from the area, like Jason Isbell’s “Alabama Pines.” You’ll marvel at all of the 25+ songs during the performance. The thing to take away, though, is when Kenita Miller, speaking Candi Staton’s words, says that she wasn’t sure about recording with white musicians, but after spending time with them, they were her friends. They were people that she cared about, that she talked about her life with and that talked about their lives with her. It’s an important lesson that rings as true now as it did back then.

Muscle Shoals: I’ll Take You There runs at the Lone Tree Arts Center February 2-12. For more information, visit www.lonetreeartscenter.org.

Here’s a preview: