Folk & Roots-Rock Styles In Today’s
This unusual workshop – part performance,
part music history lecture, part sing-along! – should be of particular
interest to songwriters... also to all performers of tradition-rooted
styles (blues, folk songs, old-timey/ bluegrass/ country, rock & roll,
soul, etc.)... to anyone interested in the history and evolution of
these styles... and to all singers who care about “songs that
make a difference.”
Young songwriters and performers are particularly encouraged to attend!
Although this is definitely not a guitar workshop
as such, guitarists who attend will also find much of interest! – in Johnny Harper’s
command of, and approach to, the guitar in the styles he covers.
In this workshop, Johnny makes a compelling
case for in-depth study and learning of traditional folk-roots styles,
as a basis for writing
powerful songs which address the complexities of today’s world.
He will discuss and document the deep traditional roots which Bob Dylan
had absorbed and mastered before he made his world-changing songwriting
breakthroughs of 1962 – breakthroughs which forever changed the
horizons and the role of popular music. Also discussed will be the
way Woody Guthrie (Dylan’s original songwriting hero and role
model) made a similar use of his traditional sources... and the ways
in which ’60s-’70s musical giants like the Beatles, The
Band, Curtis Mayfield, Johnny Cash, Jimi Hendrix, and many more, absorbed
Dylan’s influence while also drawing on their own roots in older
musical styles. Fascinating handouts on Dylan’s sources and related
musical topics will be available to those who attend.
Johnny will extend this theme up to the present
date, in examining recent songwriting by Bruce Springsteen, local “living legend” Barbara
Dane (who performs with Johnny on this year’s Festival and will
likely make an appearance in this workshop), and Johnny himself – showing
how all these artists use traditional musical and lyrical themes in
creating powerful new songs dealing with our lives today.
Johnny’s performance style emphasizes involving the audience,
and there certainly will be fun, uplifting sing-along opportunities
in the songs presented! Come expecting to learn – and to have
Johnny Harper has been a respected performer
and bandleader (Hot Links, Johnny Harper & Carnival, Alternate Roots, more) in the Bay Area
since the early ’80s. He has toured as lead guitarist with Maria
Muldaur’s band, has worked for 12 years as guitarist with the
great Barbara Dane, and has performed and recorded with such well-known
artists as Katie Webster, Kathy Kallick, Ernie K-Doe, Charlie Musselwhite,
Michael Doucet, Bobby Black, Laurie Lewis, Queen Ida, and many more.
He has produced numerous albums by independent artists. He is also
well known as a guitar teacher and as a music historian – he
co-founded the great record store Down Home Music, did roots music
programs on KPFA for many years, has written important articles on
blues musicians, and in this workshop draws on his research for a forthcoming
book on the evolution of American folk/roots styles.
See more information at www.cur-ville.com/johnny_harper.html. You
can also contact Johnny with questions at firstname.lastname@example.org, or