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      Jim Kweskin & Meredith Axelrod in Oakland


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      September 27, 2017

      Wednesday   8:00 PM

      510 Embarcadero West
      Oakland, California 94607

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      Jim Kweskin & Meredith Axelrod


      Jim Kweskin:Jim Kweskin created one of the bedrock guitar styles of the folk revival, adapting the ragtime-blues fingerpicking of artists like Blind Boy Fuller to the more complex chords of pop and jazz. He is most notable as the founder of the Jim Kweskin Jug Band, also known as Jim Kweskin and the Jug Band, with Fritz Richmond, Geoff Muldaur, Bob Siggins and Bruno Wolfe. They were active in Boston in the 1960s. Maria D'Amato, known after her marriage to Geoff Muldaur as Maria Muldaur, formerly with the Even Dozen Jug Band, joined the band in 1963. During the five years they were together, the jugband successfully modernized the sounds of preWorld War II rural music. Kweskin released six albums and two greatest hits compilations on Vanguard Records between 1963 and 1970; Jim Kweskin's America on Reprise Records in 1971; and four albums on Mountain Railroad Records between 1978 and 1987. Kweskin is probably best known as a singer and bandleader, but he is also known for his guitar stylings, adapting the ragtime-blues fingerpicking of artists like Blind Boy Fuller and Mississippi John Hurt, while incorporating more sophisticated jazz and blues stylings into the mix. In 2013, the band held a reunion tour that included Jim Kweskin, Maria Muldaur, Geoff Muldaur, Richard Greene, Bill Keith, Cindy Cashdollar and Sam Bevan, most of whom were amongst its original members.He has maintained a remarkably consistent musical vision since his jug band days, continuing to explore traditional folk and blues with the sophisticated sensibility of a jazz musician and jazz with the communal simplicity of a folk artist. He has recorded solo ventures, as a member of the U and I band, and with U and I bandmate Samoa Wilson, and continues to perform widely in various formats.Meredith Axelrod:Meredith Axelrod sings and plays guitar as if she really returned to the pre-mic days. Were not talking revisionist copy of so and so from way back when; were talking as if we plucked an original out of the era and time-traveled JL StilesThe Chicago native and Bay Area transplant, Meredith Axelrod is multi-instrumentalist, vocalist and avid Songcatcher, who envisions the limitless potential of early twentieth century music, whether it be Ragtime, Music Hall, Pop Standard, Boogie Woogie, Tin Pan Alley, String band, Jazz, Country, Blues or even Jug Band music, and embodies the spirit that brought the music into existence and drove it ahead. Ms. Axelrod learned to sing and play by listening to how folks did it a century ago through the medium of cylinders, 78-rpm records, and from sheet music.The dominant theme throughout her expansive repertoire, is that, whatever the genre, these are songs she learns from the original sources which were released between the 1890s and the 1930s. Delightfully engaging and unassumingly comic, her performances draw on many of the tools of musical scholarship. Part of the allure of old time music, indeed any music throughout the history of recorded music, is hearing the original recordings as played and sung by the original performers in their heyday, loving what theyre doing and doing it because it means something to them in that moment, never because of nostalgia, and Meredith brings the same unbridled passion, earnest devotion and candid vitality to all of her music. Theres nothing to dust off in her bag of reclaimed songs, as her resourceful arrangements and heartfelt renditions prove. In her care, the songs are unmistakably inspired, infectious and relevant. Meredith Axelrod is an example to herald, someone who has found possibility and joy in the treasures of cultural folklore amidst our loud and insistent pop culture noise.It takes more than passion to do what Meredith does. It takes guts, conviction. She is unflinchingly committed to authentic recreation of the tunes in her repertoireswampy blues and early American roots music What I found was ear-opening. ChampionsAxelrod demonstratively loves the life she leads, thriving in varied musical and performance settings. She often partners with string virtuoso Craig Ventresco; they perform at venues and festivals that include the San Francisco Silent Film Festival, West Coast Ragtime Festival and Blind Boone Early Jazz Festival. She appears in myriad cooperatives: with her own hot jazz band, her own string band, in partnership with string band solo act dynamo Frank Fairfield, and with the jug band legend, Jim Kweskin. She has also performed with Dan Hicks, Maria Muldaur, Geoff Muldaur, Ramblin Jack Eliot, David Grisman, Cindy Cashdollar, Bill Keith, Terry Zwigoff, Sonny Leyland, Robert Crumb, and the Cheap Suit Serenaders at favorite venues: The Great American Music Hall, the Museum of Jurassic Technology, and Freight and Salvage. She has toured domestically and internationally.Because of her distinctive vocal style and vintage rhythm playing, Meredith was featured on the weekly public radio series Voice Box with Chloe Veltman. Last year, Ms. Axelrod was on staff and performed at Centrum Voice Works in Port Townsend and at the California Coast Music Camp. Most recently she has partnered with Jim Kweskin at the City Winery in Nashville, and they will be touring and releasing a CD together, Come On In recorded live at McCabes, Los Angeles.It takes more than passion to do what Meredith does. It takes guts; conviction. She is unflinchingly committed to authentic recreation of the tunes in her repertoireswampy blues and early American roots music my instinct that she had faithfully reproduced the vocal qualities and string performances of this era was confirmed, and second, it compelled me to add to my library a whole new collection of rich, undeniably American, music. Gary Rametta

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