Page Brownton & the Mojo Navigators
Sunday, June 9, 2013, 3:00pm
Woody Guthrie Stage - Cafeteria
www.mojonavigators.com

Page Brownton was born and raised in San Jose, California, at the south end of San Francisco Bay. In the 1940's San Jose was a relatively small town surrounded by orchards. Natives of Oklahoma, migrant farm workers, had migrated to the area during the Depression, bringing with them their taste for country music and gospel; and likewise black persons staffed the shipyards and industrial sectors of Oakland during WW II; these distinct cultural communities established their musical presence on local radio stations.

When Page graduated from High School in 1958, Rock and Roll as a cultural phenomenon was scarcely more than five years old, and Buddy Holly was still alive. Along with his musical contemporaries in the Bay Area, Page witnessed and participated in the creation of a new phenomenon: the hippy subculture, and its musical expression, electric psychedelic music, which, in 1965, followed close upon the heels of the early 1960's folk music revival.

Page studied literature and poetry for the better part of 10 years as a student at San Jose State College; he bought his first guitar in 1959 and studied finger-style guitar with folk music pioneer Rolf Cahn in 1960, driving 50 miles every week to Berkeley, where he also sang at the open mike--the "Midnight Special"--hosted by Gert Chiarito every Saturday night on radio station KPFA. In 1963 and 1964 he was president of the San Jose State College Folk Music Club, and produced a series of memorable concerts showcasing American ethnic musicians and blues artists.

Page sang and played guitar in San Jose's first old-timey band, The FORT MUDGE RAMBLERS (1964/1967), which (in its several incarnations) included Cheri Brownton (vocals and fiddle), Joe Novakovich (vocals and autoharp), Mike Fisher (vocals and guitar), Lars Bourne (5-string banjo), Pete Grant (vocals and 5-string banjo), Susan Ferrel Anderson (vocals), Rory Condon (bass), and Butch Waller (mandolin).

AMERICANA AND BEYOND

In 1960, Page Brownton discovered and mined Alan Lomax's Library of Congress field recordings, and Harry Smith's epochal 1952 Anthology of American Folk Music, which Greil Marcus cites, in Invisible Republic, as the well-spring of inspiration for a generation of musicians: "It gave us contact with musicians and cultures we wouldn't have known existed."

The MOJO NAVIGATORS (in its several incarnations) were formed in 1995 by singer/songwriter Page Brownton. The band began as a folk-rock project designed to explore the potential of Page's extensive repertoire of traditional folk music, and soon expanded to include a sampling of 1960's psychedelic electric rock classics, with stylistic links to The GRATEFUL DEAD et al.

As a songwriter, Page Brownton invokes the collective archetypes of American folk culture, and his interpretations of traditional material have the ring of authenticity. Thus, the music of The MOJO NAVIGATORS covers the broad range of Americana - rhythm and blues, delta blues, gospel, Appalachian ballads, and the full spectrum of American folk music, the cultural heritage of the people of the British Isles and their descendents in the rural subcultures of the American South.

Page Brownton was born and raised in San Jose, California, at the south end of San Francisco Bay. In the 1940's San Jose was a relatively small town surrounded by orchards. Natives of Oklahoma, migrant farm workers, had migrated to the area during the Depression, bringing with them their taste for country music and gospel; and likewise black persons staffed the shipyards and industrial sectors of Oakland during WW II; these distinct cultural communities established their musical presence on local radio stations.

When Page graduated from High School in 1958, Rock and Roll as a cultural phenomenon was scarcely more than five years old, and Buddy Holly was still alive. Along with his musical contemporaries in the Bay Area, Page witnessed and participated in the creation of a new phenomenon: the hippy subculture, and its musical expression, electric psychedelic music, which, in 1965, followed close upon the heels of the early 1960's folk music revival.

Page studied literature and poetry for the better part of 10 years as a student at San Jose State College; he bought his first guitar in 1959 and studied finger-style guitar with folk music pioneer Rolf Cahn in 1960, driving 50 miles every week to Berkeley, where he also sang at the open mike--the "Midnight Special"--hosted by Gert Chiarito every Saturday night on radio station KPFA. In 1963 and 1964 he was president of the San Jose State College Folk Music Club, and produced a series of memorable concerts showcasing American ethnic musicians and blues artists.

Page sang and played guitar in San Jose's first old-timey band, The FORT MUDGE RAMBLERS (1964/1967), which (in its several incarnations) included Cheri Brownton (vocals and fiddle), Joe Novakovich (vocals and autoharp), Mike Fisher (vocals and guitar), Lars Bourne (5-string banjo), Pete Grant (vocals and 5-string banjo), Susan Ferrel Anderson (vocals), Rory Condon (bass), and Butch Waller (mandolin).