Friday, July 8, 2022
Live Music in the Courtyard: Words and Music of Woody Guthrie Performed by Fred Gillen Jr
195 South Greeley Avenue, Chappaqua, NY
Live Music in the Courtyard / Fridays - July and August. Refreshments compliments of Friends of the Library. This will be all words and music of Woody Guthrie, presented by somebody who has gone deep with Woody's work! FREE and outdoors!
NYFA (New York Foundation For The Arts) grant recipient Fred Gillen Jr has released eleven full-length albums, to great critical acclaim. He has performed all over the U.S. and Europe as a solo artist, his live performances are spontaneous and full of storytelling, and he enjoys audience participation. He is equally comfortable playing at a Theatre, festival, or museum, as at a farmers market, coffeehouse, or brewery. His songs have been featured on ABC's "All My Children," NPR's "Car Talk," and CMJ's New Music Marathon Sampler. From 2017 to 2019 he was music director of the group The Greenheart, traveling to Nepal four times and India once, performing concerts to raise awareness of environmental activism. In 2012 his version of Woody Guthrie's "I Ain't Got No Home" was featured on "Pete Remembers Woody," a collection of Pete Seeger's spoken stories about Woody Guthrie, interspersed with various artists' renditions of Guthrie's songs. Besides playing with his heroes like Pete, he's opened for some great artists such as Merle Haggard, Todd Rundgren, and the David Bromberg Big Band. In both his own songs and the songs he chooses to cover he incorporates elements of a huge swath of folk, rock, roots, and Americana music. Though he writes and sings songs which cover a huge variety of lyric topics, his over-arching message is simple: "we are all in this together."
Gillen got interested in Woody Guthrie late in high school in the 1980's, when he he first heard Bob Dylan's "Song for Woody." Woody's book "Bound For Glory," which he read soon after that, had a huge impact on him. Years later he was asked by Woody's grand daughter Anna Canoni to play some Woody Guthrie songs at an event at a local record store, and this gave birth to the band and traveling hootenanny Hope Machine, which was named based on a famous Woody quote: "about all a human being is anyway is a hoping machine." Hope Machine was an "official program" of the Woody Guthrie Foundation and Archives for a time, and they had the opportunity to perform at the Morgan Library's Bob Dylan show, several Huntington's Disease Society of America events, and festivals all over the country. Gillen has continued to include Woody Guthrie songs in his solo performances, ever since that first Guthrie event in 2004.