Touring the Mother Road
Melanie (Safka-Schekeryk) one of five women performing at Woodstock subsequently became a ‘70s anti-war movement icon. At the Grammy Museum she received a tremendous standing ovation before talking about her music and career with Vice President Scott Goldman. She spoke humorously about growing up in Astoria/Queens, New York City and beginning singing/songwriting.
Her influences were Dylan, Richie Havens and Judy Henske while starting in mid ‘60s Greenwich Village. Melanie’s big break came when she auditioned for Peter Schekeryk who became her producer and later husband. His office was close to Michael Lang who produced Woodstock, and he managed to get Melanie booked. She knew nothing about the festival and prior to it never had a US hit or performed before more than 100 people. She described singing at Woodstock “as an out of body experience.”
Afterwards at 22 she was performing on big TV shows and festivals, including Isle of Wright a year later. After Q&A with the audience she performed with her grown kids Beau Jarred and Leilah doing “Beautiful People,” “Brand New Key" ("The Roller Skate Song"), “Look What They’ve Done to My Song, Ma” and “Lay Down (Candles in the Rain)” to receive an empathic standing ovation.
This Path Tonight is one of reflection and transition from a singer/songwriter whose career (Hollies, CSN, CSNY, Crosby & Nash and solo) has spanned more than five decades and is still going. The new album landed on seven different Billboard charts in the United States, was his highest charting album in the UK in over 45 years, and did extremely well on all international charts, including Japan, Holland, Italy, France, Norway and Germany. Graham Nash is a two-time Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee and two-time Songwriter Hall of Fame inductee, Grammy Award winner, a New
York Times best-selling author and Officer of the Order of the British Empire (O.B.E.)
Along being a talented singer and musician Nash is a bit of a raconteur and will have plenty of tales from the ‘60s and ‘70s up to present times to enhance his songs. Furthermore, he is also a humanitarian and political activist. Nash not only entertains, but additionally amuses and challenges audiences.
Jackson Browne has been rooted in Southern California’s folk/country/rock scene since the ‘70s and previously backed Velvet Underground’s Nico in New York City. Returning home, he found success with his songs being performed by the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Tom Rush, Nico, Gregg Allman, Joan Baez, the Byrds, Linda Ronstadt, and most notably the Eagles. Browne’s debut album had three hit singles and soon afterwards he was touring with Linda Ronstadt and Joni Mitchell. Since then the singer/songwriter has written and recorded significant songs, been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2004 and the Songwriter's Hall of Fame in 2007 and become an outspoken political activist.
At the Segerstrom Center for the Arts he was greeted enthusiastically by his fans and said, “This is my set list,” referring to racks of guitars. Nonetheless the listeners constantly shouted out requests. The results included solo versions on piano of “Late for the Sky,” “Rock Me on the Water,” “The Pretender” and “Doctor My Eyes” with his tech Manny Alverez injecting a guitar solo. Browne on guitar played “In the Shape of a Heart,” “These Days,” “Running on Empty and his Eagle’s hit “Take It Easy” as an encore.
Fans of four-time Grammy nominated folk/pop singer/poet/actress and author Jewell (Kilcher) were in bliss at the Valley Performance Arts Center on the Cal State University Northridge campus. During the concert, the former San Diego resident singer/songwriter’s first tour since 2013, she recalled her unique personal history. It included growing up where her Swiss grandfather and Nazi fleeing grandmother homesteaded before Alaska became a state, singing with her parents and traveling solo. Other parts of Jewell’s past were bleak, especially being sick/homeless in San Diego as record companies discovered her.
Also in the mix was Jewell’s poetry and snippets from just published book Never Broken. Its a rebirth and affirmation of her unapologetic and enduring free feminist spirit, spurred by her recent divorce from pro rodeo cowboy Ty Murray. Balancing out stories and poetry were songs with some from latest CD Picking Up the Pieces. Seemingly spontaneously Jewell burst into a vibrant a cappella rendering of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” that had the audience spellbound. She followed the standard playing guitar and passionately sang “Near You Always,” “Hands,” “Plain Jane,” “My Father's Daughter,” Standing Still” and “Who Will Save Your Soul,” along with encores “Per la Gloria d'adorarvi” and “Chime Bells.”
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