The man regarded as a musician's musician and a great blues singer is coming to Jamestown.
Geoff Muldaur will perform on Sunday at 5 p.m. at the Robert H. Jackson Center.
According to Dennis Drew, WRFA general manager, the performance is a fundraiser to support WRFA, which is a listener-supported community radio station.
Geoff Muldaur will perform on Sunday at 5 p.m. at the Robert H. Jackson Center in Jamestown.
"I'm so proud of the station and the way the community has supported us. It's humbling really," said Drew. "This was the best year we've ever had for corporate donations. Several business have stepped up big time for us. We also receive great support from local foundations like Chautauqua Region Community Foundation, The Lenna Foundation and the Gebbie Foundation. It truly is a community effort. This show is a thank you to all our donors, but there are a limited number of tickets available for the public as well. Geoff Muldaur is the perfect thank you gift. He's an American legend, and one of the greatest folk artists of all time. And, John Merino made this possible."
Merino, CEO of the Gebbie Foundation, helped organize the event in conjunction with Drew as a fundraiser for WRFA. Merino had the opportunity to see Muldaur perform with the Jim Kweskin Jug Band in the 1960s, and has followed the musician's career since. He hopes that in addition to the public, guitar players and other local musicians will consider attending the concert, he said.
"Geoff's reputation is absolutely incredible," said Merino. "The quote I always use whenever I talk about him is from Richard Thompson and says, 'There are only three white blues singers, and Geoff Muldaur is at least two of them.' Because of that, and his tradition in music from the very beginning with the Jim Kweskin Jug Band, through Paul Butterfield's Better Days group to the Texas Sheiks, who he is performing with now, he has been a standout as a guitarist, instrumentalist as well as vocalist. He is just wonderful to listen to, and I've never heard him do a bad song. He's sort of a musician's musician."
Muldaur is known for a series of highly influential recordings made during the 1960s and 1970s as a founding member of the Jim Kweskin Jug Band and the Paul Butterfield's Better Days group. Muldaur also collaborated with his former wife Maria and other notables such as Bonnie Raitt, Eric Von Schmidt, Jerry Garcia and more. He then took a "working sabbatical" in the mid-1980s but continued to hone his craft by composing scores for film and television. He even won an Emmy. And, according to his official bio, his definitive recording of "Brazil" provided the seed for - and was featured in - Terry Gilliam's film of the same title.
For the Jamestown performance, Muldaur will be appearing as a solo artist. He's excited for the show because Jamestown is where Roger Tory Peterson is from, he said.
"He is my man," Muldaur told The Post-Journal.
Muldaur's return to the stage and recording world wasn't an easy path, but it was one he was compelled to make because of his love for creating music, he said.
"The first break was survival," said Muldaur. "There were various defects of character that were leading me down the wrong road. But, the break was good because I did business and got the kids through school. All the while music and things were building up, so my first album after that long hiatus was sort of the culmination of everything I was thinking about singing in the shower, and that was 'The Secret Handshake.' And, the last break for the physical problem wasn't really a break at all. I wrote music the entire time, which I've been doing in Amsterdam with chamber musicians from the Netherlands Philharmonic and the Mondrian String Quartet. I've been doing some gigs, but the main gist has been the creation of these works that I'm writing, which are arrangements of American folk and jazz done in a chamber setting. I've also been working on original music for poetry. I've done a couple Tennessee Williams, Pablo Neruda and more. I've been at it. I'm moving on is what's going on here."
Muldaur considers himself lucky because he is in love with music and enough people want to hear him so that he can travel around to play for them, he said.
"I really do enjoy it, but I don't do it very often anymore," said Muldaur. "Because, my main thrust is the project in Amsterdam, and I don't like to take too much time away from it. But, people do a service to me by coming to see me play and clapping their hands. For the Jamestown show I'll be playing solo with my banjo, guitar, I'll sing and tell stories."
According to Muldaur, the show will encompass pieces of his entire career. It will allow the audience to feel reminiscent for a time that is no longer here, he said.
"It lends itself to the stories of the Jim Kweskin Jug Band and the Paul Butterfield's Better Days group, and it'll also cover other crazy things I've done in my life," said Muldaur. "But, hopefully guests will also see that we arrive in the now. I spend some time doing the kind of thing where I'm reminiscent and doing older songs. But, (most of) my waking hours are spent on stuff that no one's ever heard before. Because, when you leave the Earth you'd like to leave a little something behind. And, people expect that I'll do a good job rendering American folk music and jazz, but they probably won't expect what I'm about to do here in Amsterdam. They didn't expect what I did with the album 'Private Astronomy,' it was a departure with ornate arrangements. Plus, you can't sing forever can you? I'm very lucky to have the voice I have because I can still crank it up pretty good."
Muldaur's observation of how life as an American musician has been over the course of his career is a common one, he said.
"We came out of the end of a golden age of American music," said Muldaur. "I'm sort of a carrier of some of the realities of that age in terms of my stories and the way that I approach things. You've got to understand that when I picked up an acoustic guitar in the 1960s and began playing American folk blues, and I was recently speaking with Jim Kweskin about this, we don't think there were more than 150 people in the United States doing that. Now, there are probably about 150,000. That's the change. Of course things were different back then, because the people who invented the music are gone. So, from that point on you're dealing with people who love the music, and some of them play it well, but it's way different than the people that invented it. Golden eras come and go, but one would hope that another one was around the corner."
WRFA Hot 100 Members receive two complimentary tickets to this event. To become a member visit wrfalp.com. General admission tickets are $25 and are available at reglenna.com.
The Robert H. Jackson Center is located at 305 E. Fourth St. in Jamestown. For more information visit geoffmuldaur.com.