Saturday, May 20, 2006
ince permanently leaving his corporate environmental engineering career in 1996, Andrew McKnight's musical journey has traced over a quarter million miles of blue highways and small towns across the country, crafting his cinematic vignettes of Americans and their landscapes in music, poetry and prose in between 125 performances each year and on four critically acclaimed CDs on the independent Falling Mountain Music label.
herever McKnight takes the stage, audiences are at once spellbound and relaxed by his entertaining stories delivered with just the right touches of down home humor, causing one concertgoer to label him "equal parts Robert Frost, William Least Heat-Moon and Jeff Foxworthy!" Those threads connect his life to his diverse array of artfully crafted songs from his four CDs, all wrapped in his warm and supple voice and effortless guitar grace. His seemingly boundless energy moves around, one moment in dancing fingers, the next the impassioned delivery of a poignant lyric, followed by a playful rhythmic foot stomp to keep time; here is a man who clearly loves his work.
hether performing The Road to Appomattox, teaching a workshop to a group of creative writing students, or writing an essay for Blue Ridge Country or A Road Warrior's Journal on his website, McKnight has a rare gift of engaging and effective communication with pen, voice, and body.
hile he is the first to say that his life's work and calling as a performing songwriter are full of blessings, McKnight is deeply committed to giving something back every day. Spending most of his adult life living at the foot of northern Virginia's Blue Ridge, he has watched massive developments near his home swallow all of Loudoun County's remaining dairy farms. He has become a passionate advocate for the preservation of rural heritage as well as its landscapes, and uses his words and music to tell those stories with heartfelt reverence.
t is a passion McKnight feels directly, living in the heart of land once patrolled by the legendary Confederate guerilla, John Mosby, and it often colors his characters' personal relationships with their changing landscape. His song Company Town leads off the acclaimed CD Moving Mountains: Voices of Appalachia Rise Up Against Mountaintop Removal Coal Mining and he is profiled in the pictorial book SAVING THE BAY: People Working for the Future of the Chesapeake.
n the hallowed marble halls of the John F. Kennedy Center, on a festival stage under a fair summer sky, or in the intimacy of a house concert, an evening with Andrew McKnight's songs and stories is an experience waiting to be savored like a fine wine by a crackling fire. With the release of Beyond Borders, his most confident and mature recording, Andrew boldly begins the next phase in a long and beautiful journey through the heartland, an odyssey barely a quarter million miles young.
ndew gave us a lively set with a range of old and new songs that favorably displayed this up-and-coming environmentally conscious talent in his Hard Luck Café debut.
Link to Andrew's website: Listen to his music:
and on the same program
arry Moser and Mary Nagin have been charming audiences for ten years with delightful old time music. At the Hard Luck Café they presented a mix of songs and tunes, mostly historic from the 1600s to the 1900s.
arry is one of very few hammered dulcimer players on Long Island. He also plays English concertina, accordion and guitar, and all these instruments played their part in the show. Mary plays lead melodies and beautiful harmonies on fiddle. We were warned to be prepared to sing, since a lot of the songs have choruses ... and we did with gusto.
hey are regulars at the Old Bethpage Village Restoration in Old Bethpage and at the King Manor Museum in Jamaica. They give concerts at libraries and historical societies, play for many private events for clubs and commumity groups and give presentations of old time music and dancing in schools. They've had a long relationship with the LITMA, the Long Island Traditional Music Association and can be heard (and danced to) at LITMA contradances in Smithtown and Watermill.
e were looking forward to hearing again these outstanding performers at their repeat Hard Luck Café evening, and we weren't disappointed as they displayed their remarkable diversity of musical styles and instruments. They have been invited back often for the simple reason that they are superb performers with a wide range.
Our host tonight was Bob Westcott,
and our open mike featured performances by:
If you weren't here tonight, you missed yet another of the very best programs of the year ...