With the recent deaths of multiple generation-defining musical figures, our arms wrap a little tighter around the ones who still walk among us. Bob Dylan would be right there with Paul McCartney at the top the “Please don’t go” list, and on Sunday, May 29, Family of Woodstock celebrates old Zimm’s 75th birthday with the eighth annual Dylan Birthday Bash. It features a stunning roster of performers mounting the stage at the Bearsville Theater, where hang Elliot Landy’s iconic portraits of Dylan at the height of his powers (and his good looks).
Onetime local youth phenom Connor Kennedy long ago dropped the youth-phenom tag and established that he is in this for the haul. He is now just a voracious player and curator of music across the genres, and a fixture on all levels of the regional scene. He will be serving as musical director of this notable-studded tribute and benefit. “The many faces of Bob” is Kennedy’s keynote: “He is boundary-breaking,” Kennedy said. “Every record reveals a different person, musically and thematically.”
Anchoring the lineup are Dylan contemporaries and scenemates like the great Happy Traum, roots-guitar whiz Arlen Roth and the legendary singer/songwriter John Sebastian; and later-era Dylan sidemen like the multifaceted Americana high lama Larry Campbell. Bill Sims, Jr., an icon among blues aficionados, will perform; and at the other end of the musical spectrum will be Kate Pierson, known as frontwoman for the B-52s and recently as a solo artist and songwriter.
From there, the lineup put together by Kennedy and Dylan Birthday Bash coordinator Lu Ann Bielawa takes some turns toward the surprising and refreshing, with Pierson, blues eminence Sims and Eric Redd, Doug Yoel and Carmen Senski, Marc Black, Jules Shear, Brian Hollander, Jay Collins and Robert Burke Warren reprising performances from last year’s bash. New to the celebration are harpist Mikaela Davis (“seriously up-and-coming,” according to Kennedy) and Jared Samuel of the remarkable Brooklyn group Invisible Familiars.
Tickets are available at https://radiowoodstock.com/concerts. There will be a special champagne reception for $100 and $65 Golden Circle ticketholders. Seats are also available for $45 and standing room for $25.
Doors open at 7:30 p.m.; show at 8:30 p.m.
In addition to a great evening of music, there will be a raffle of two classic Elliott Landy Dylan portraits. The proceeds from the event go to Family of Woodstock’s 24-hour Hotline and the John Herald Fund, which helps local musicians with small financial needs. The event is sponsored by Radio Woodstock-100.1 and the Bearsville Theater Complex.