LIVE: Farm Aid @ SPAC, 9/21/13

September 25th, 2013, 4:00 pm by Greg
Pete-Seeger (photo by Martin Benjamin)

Pete Seeger (center) with John Mellencamp, Willie Nelson, Dave Matthews and Neil Young (photo by Martin Benjamin)

Review by Greg Haymes
Photographs by Martin Benjamin, Donna Fitzgerald, Stanley Johnson

It wasn’t the musical highlight of last Saturday’s Farm Aid celebration/festival/fundraiser at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center, but it was certainly the emotional heart of the day. Introduced by John Mellencamp, surprise guest Pete Seeger ambled out on stage with his longneck banjo in hand.

“Friends, at age 94 I don’t have much voice left, but here’s a song I think you know. And, if you sing it, why, we’ll make a good sound,” he said, picking his banjo and launching into a sing-along rendition of “If I Had a Hammer.” Then he invited the rest of the Farm Aid headliners/board of directors – Mellencamp, Neil Young, Willie Nelson and Dave Matthews – out onstage to help him to lead the crowd through Woody Guthrie’s classic, “This Land Is Your Land.” Seeger closed out the song by adding a new and timely verse that ended with the lyric, “New York was meant to be frack-free.”

The 94-year-old Seeger’s voice was little more than a cracked whisper, and he had to refer to his notes to be sure that he got all of the superstars names right when he introduced them, but it was nonetheless a magical moment.

Led by Jen O’Connor and Eric Krans, Nippertown’s own the Parlor kicked off Farm Aid at 12noon with a high-spirited set on the Homegrown Stage, as they launched into nuggets like “Tear Down the Coastline” and “The Snake in the Woodpile” (with Krans seemingly channeling the late Jeff Buckley) before bringing out B3nson Family members Adam and Alex Muro and Lou Apicello to add some horn-fueled fire to the psychedelic swirl of the Beatles’ “Tomorrow Never Knows.”

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LIVE: Pete Seeger @ Farm Aid at SPAC, 9/21/13

September 24th, 2013, 4:00 pm by Greg

94-year-old American music icon Pete Seeger was an unannounced special guest at Farm Aid at SPAC on Saturday (September 21). Following his introduction by John Mellencamp, Seeger walked out on stage with his long-neck banjo and led the crowd in a sing-along of “If I Had a Hammer.”

Then Mellencamp, Dave Matthews, Neil Young and Willie Nelson joined him onstage as Seeger sang Woody Guthrie’s classic “This Land Is Your Land,” which included a new verse from Seeger that ended with the lyric, “New York was meant to be frack-free.”

T-Shirt Slogans @ Farm Aid at SPAC, 9/21/13

September 23rd, 2013, 11:00 am by Greg

t-shirtA random sampling of t-shirts spotted at Farm Aid at Saratoga Performing Arts Center on Saturday (September 21):

The Felice Brothers
Tillman 42
Vermont Natural Beef
Dude, I Think This Whole Town Is High
Fair Trade
New York Jets
Shamrock Jack’s
Jerome John Garcia
Real Men Drive Tractors
Jameson Whiskey
Eat at Home? Fuggedaboudit!
Peace Patrol, Woodstock ’99

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UPDATE: Schedule of Bands for Farm Aid @ SPAC, 9/21/13

September 18th, 2013, 4:30 pm by Greg

Farm AidSince 1985, musicians, farmers and concerned citizens have gathered for an annual celebration to help raise awareness and garner funding for family farmers all across America. And on Saturday (September 21) Farm Aid is taking over the Saratoga Performing Arts Center in Saratoga Springs.

Farm Aid board members are scheduled to perform – but of course the Farm Aid honchos are no ordinary board of directors. They’re headliners Willie Nelson, Neil Young, John Mellencamp and Dave Matthews

Ticket prices for Saturday’s celebration range from $40 to $150, but if you haven’t already got yours, it looks like you’re out of luck. Not surprisingly, the fest sold out quickly, shortly after tickets went on sale back in June. But that doesn’t mean that you’ll be completely shut out of the festivities. You can listening live on Willie Nelson’s SiriusXM channel, Willie’s Roadhouse (56), beginning at 2pm. Farm Aid 2013 will also be webcast at beginning at 5pm, and the webcast will shown on the big screen at Putnam Den in Saratoga Springs. Admission is free; donations to Farm Aid will be accepted.

And a batch of new bands have recently been added to Saturday’s festival line-up, too, including Jamey Johnson, Sasha Dobson, Insects vs. Robots, the Blackwood Quartet, Jesse Lenat, Will Dailey and Nippertown’s own the Parlor.

Gates open at 12noon; music starts at 12:30pm.

Here’s the complete schedule of when the bands will be performing at Saturday’s Farm Aid extravaganza:

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Five Firsts: Jesse Lenat

September 18th, 2013, 1:00 pm by Greg
Jesse Lenat

Jesse Lenat

NAME: Jesse Lenat
INSTRUMENT: Guitar & Vocals

1. THE FIRST ALBUM I EVER BOUGHT WAS … Miles Davis’ Bitches Brew from a guy selling albums out of boxes at a NYC street fair.

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