By Jane Harrison
So much music and so little print space!
On July 2, I went out to CABERNET FRANK’S to see CRAWDADDY, that I’d heard so much about from other musicians. Each in their own right is a musician of note, and to see them together was just extraordinary!
Front man, JIMMY EPPARD, filled in with THE BAND when RICK DANKO wasn’t available and as a result, he played often with my friend SHREDNE VOLLMER who passed away in November of 2013. SHREDNE was legendary among musicians as a harp (musician speak for harmonica) player. JIMMY EPPARD, himself, is a legend among guitar players. Watching him play incredibly intricate leads with the ease of my buttering bread was astounding to watch.
The saxophonist, TONY AIELLO, is noted for extensive touring with the JOE JACKSON BAND (Steppin’ Out; Breaking Us In Two, in case you need song references). What a privilege so see him live!
Drummer HARVEY SORGEN was introduced to his first touring gig on drums by his mentor, the great JOHN DeJOHNETTE, legendary Jazz drummer, who is also considered the most influential jazz drummers of the 20th century. That very first gig was with none other than the great AHMAD JAMAL. And later, as the drummer for eight years with ELECTRIC HOT TUNA.
Bassist LeROY SEALS toured extensively and most notably with CYRILLE NEVILLE and was asked to join the NEVILLE BROTHERS. Locally, he has performed with LITTLE SPARROW, both at the SULLIVAN COUNTY MUSEUM’S FIRST SUNDAY and with them at area’s hospitals. I knew he and his bass style were familiar!
And finally, the great STUART SPECTOR on keyboards and vocals. STUART SPECTOR is known for the guitars and bass guitars he has lovingly handcrafted for over 50 years. There is not a guitarist or bass guitarist I have ever known who hasn’t lusted mightily after his work, including my late husband.
There is a music festival scheduled for August 27 -28 at the ARROWHEAD RANCH IN PARKSVILLE. This in itself is not surprising. What is surprising is that LONCON FEST even exists. There was a man named Lon Gellman who worked in a concession stand at MADISON SQUARE GARDEN for decades. He worked and went to concerts and festivals. Big ones, small ones, nondescript ones all over the United States. This was his life. His nickname was “Lon Conscious” (hence LONCON) that I asked one of his childhood friends (40+ years) about, who laughed and said “God only knows. We (meaning his longtime childhood friends) always called him that.” That conjured up a group of 10-year old boys making good natured fun of each other while laughing hysterically.
Lon Gellman died suddenly last year. Within a month, the idea of this festival was born, the brainchild of the son of one of those childhood 40+ year friends. He and his band mates turned to a funding website and within a short period of time the fund grew to head shaking numbers. Along with the small donors were gifts of thousands from surprising sources and LONCON FEST on its way to becoming a reality.
The bands/performers so far include BAKED SHRIMP, MAHALI from TWIDDLE, AQUEOUS, and DOGS IN A PILE. If you haven’t heard of any of them, you should. Most are touring bands well known up and down the Eastern Seaboard.
As his friend put it, the late Lon Gellman would have been totally baffled by all of this. The truth is, none of us know how many people we touch until we’re gone.
Until next time……