Woodstock Icon to Headline Summer Concert Series

Botanical Conservatory logo.

News release from Fort Wayne Parks and Recreation:

Woodstock Icon to Headline Summer Concert Series
Power to the People- The Botanical Roots Outdoor Concert Series

(April 21, 2011) – Today Al Moll, Director of the Fort Wayne Parks and Recreation Department, and Mitch Sheppard, Manager of the Botanical Conservatory announced a musical revolution scheduled to take place this summer at the Botanical Conservatory. The Botanical Roots outdoor concert series will host the nationally renowned voice of the 60’s — Country Joe McDonald.

McDonald’s music symbolizes two defining moments of the 1960s: the Vietnam War and the Woodstock music festival. As a founder and lead singer of Country Joe and the Fish, McDonald performed protest songs against the Vietnam War and also helped create psychedelic rock, a genre which bridged the transition from early, folk-based rock to later progressive and hard rock. In 1967, the band’s first album “Electric Music for the Mind and Body” was released in time for the teach-in anti-war protest in Berkley, California. In 1969, McDonald performed an acoustic version of the band’s “I Feel Like I’m Fixin’ to Die Rag” to a Woodstock audience of a half-million people. This anti-war anthem energized the crowd and led to ongoing protest performances for the band across the country.

McDonald will also be appearing in Fort Wayne next week as a part of the IPFW Omnibus Lecture series along with Tom Rush in a lecture entitled Activism Then and Now. The event takes place on Wednesday, April 27th at 7:30 p.m. in the Auer Performance Hall, in the John and Ruth Rhinehart Music Center. Tickets for the free lecture can be requested by calling 260/481-6555.

The Botanical Roots concerts are scheduled for six consecutive Friday nights beginning July 29 and continuing through September 2. Alfresco and upbeat, the series represents diverse populations, showcases creativity and originality and honors a variety of musical heritages. Headline talent was recruited from regional and national artists not normally available to the Fort Wayne audience. Local bands will be invited to perform as opening acts for each concert.

The Botanical Roots concerts are scheduled for six consecutive Friday nights beginning July 29 and continuing through September 2. Alfresco and upbeat, the series represents diverse populations, showcases creativity and originality and honors a variety of musical heritages. Headline talent was recruited from regional and national artists not normally available to the Fort Wayne audience. Local bands will be invited to perform as opening acts for each concert.

The doors open for each concert at 7:30 p.m., opening acts will begin at 8:30 p.m., and headliners will play from 9:15 to approximately 11:00 pm. All events are held on the outdoor terrace on the west side of the Conservatory. Food and beverages, including beer, wine, and limited bar service, will be available for sale throughout the event. Admission is $6 per person; children age 12 and under will be admitted free with a parent or guardian. The concerts are open to all ages. Visitors are encouraged to bring lawn chairs to the event.

Botanical Roots is sponsored by The Fort Wayne Parks and Recreation Department, Rock 104, The Home of Rock and Roll, Whatzup, Champions Restaurant and Sports Bar, Fort Wayne Metals Research, Media 401, the Downtown Improvement District, and Mad Anthony Brewing Company, and supported by Indiana University, Purdue University, Fort Wayne. Sponsorship opportunities for the 2011 season remain available. For more information contact Mitch Sheppard 260/427-6441.


Information about the acts appearing in the Botanical Roots concerts


The Ark Band, courtesy photo.

Friday July 29, 2011 – The Ark Band (Reggae)

The Ark Band is a St. Lucian reggae band, based in Columbus, Ohio. Founded in 1987 by Terry and Eustace Bobb, (The St. Lucian Riddim Twins) The Ark Band has continually toured across the United States, Canada and Jamaica sharing its roots reggae, calypso and soca music.

Combining heavenly harmonies with tight crisp performances, this powerhouse of talent captures their audiences with their very first note. The Ark Band’s repertoire combines original and cover compositions with classic and current reggae hits designed to entertain, educate and enlighten all types of people. The Ark Band continues to be a dynamic force on the American scene after two decades, their songs expressing the love, peace, togetherness and spirituality needed in our world today!

Website – www.thearkband.com


The New Familiars, courtesy photo.

Friday August 5, 2011 – The New Familiars (Americana)

For years now, North Carolina’s The New Familiars have been touring & playing their own style of American Rock & Roll wherever and whenever they can. Drawing from the vast influences that they’ve collected throughout their careers, this quartet has shaped a sound that combines the nitty-gritty roots music of Appalachia with guitar-drenched-drum-driven anthems of Rock & Roll. Through collaborative songwriting, howling harmonies, & multi-instrumental talent, their show can take you from a back porch hoe-down to a full on rock show at the change of an instrument.

Having played hundreds of shows from the sunny beaches of FL to the bustling cities of MA and from the Smokies to the Rockies, these gentlemen have seen some miles and have some stories. On an almost constant state of tour, they have managed to release a few EPs, a VINYL single, and are currently on tour with their new live album; all the while continuing work on a full length album, Between the Moon and Morning Light.

Website – www.thenewfamiliars.com


Country Joe McDonald, courtesy photo.

Friday August 12, 2011 – Country Joe McDonald (Folk)

Country Joe McDonald straddles the two polar events of the 60s — Woodstock and the Vietnam War. The first Country Joe and the Fish record was released in 1965, in time for the Vietnam Day Teach-In anti-war protest in Berkeley, California. He sang one of the great anthems of the era, “I-Feel-Like-I’m-Fixin’-to-Die Rag,” to an audience of a half-million at the Woodstock Arts and Music Festival in 1969.

McDonald’s music spans a broad range of style and content. He began his solo career with a collection of Woody Guthrie songs. He went on to produce a musical rendition of the World War I poems of Robert Service, a collection of country and western standards, “Vietnam Experience” in 1985, “Superstitious Blues” in 1991 with Jerry Garcia, and an album of songs about nursing in 2002. In 2007 he put together a song-and-spoken-word one-man show about Woody Guthrie, and followed it up with another about Florence Nightingale.

After 48 albums and more than four decades in the public eye as a folksinger, Country Joe McDonald qualifies as one of the best known names from the 60s rock era still performing.

Website – www.countryjoe.com


The Tossers, courtesy photo.

Friday August 19, 2011 – The Tossers (Celtic Rock)

Coming from the predominantly Irish neighborhoods of South-Side Chicago, the Tossers have been expanding the boundaries of contemporary Irish music since the early ’90s. The heart of their distinct sound is derived through the melding of traditional Irish and Punk Rock roots. Combining traditional instrumentation of mandolin, fiddle, tin whistle and banjo with amphetamine fueled guitar, bass and drums, the Tossers play with a furious edge that teeters between rage and raucousness.

With over 15 years of the music grind behind them, the Tossers are a staple in the Celtic Punk and Folk scenes. Currently the band has five full length albums, the newest of which is “Agony” their second release on Victory Records.

While their live shows are fueled with a little bit of blood and sweat and a whole lot of whiskey and beer, their albums are dedicated to musical elegance and provocation. Possessing the ability to masterfully employ stark tempo changes from the brink of the insane to the solemness of an Irish ballad, the Tossers are an act that does not disappoint in print or in person. Never afraid to take on new challenges at any venue for any audience the Tossers have had an eclectic past playing with acts such as the legendary Pogues, Spider Stacy (solo), the Popes, the Dropkick Murphy’s, Stiff Little Fingers, Black 47 and Flogging Molly. In addition to this Irish menagerie they’ve also toured with hardcore favorites like Clutch and Murphy’s Law; rockabilly icons Reverend Horton Heat and the Horror Pops; SKA classics like the Pie Tasters, Reel Big Fish and Catch 22; and moody rock n’ rollers Murder By Death. The list goes on, as does the band.

Website – www.thetossers.com


John Primer and the Real Deal Blues Band, courtesy photo.

Friday August 26, 2011 – John Primer and the Real Deal Blues Band (Blues)

By any yardstick, Chicago guitarist John Primer has paid his dues. Prior to making The Real
Deal for Mike Vernon’s Atlantic-distributed Code Blue label, Primer spent 13 years as the
ever-reliable rhythm guitarist with Magic Slim & the Teardrops. Before that, he filled the
same role behind Chicago immortals Muddy Waters and Willie Dixon.

His sound is rooted in the classic Windy City blues sound of decades past: rough-edged and
uncompromising and satisfying in the extreme. He’s one of the last real traditionalists in town.
By the time he came to Chicago in 1963 he fronted a West Side outfit for a while called the
Maintainers before joining the house band Theresa’s Lounge for a nine-year run. Willie Dixon
spirited him away for a 1979 gig in Mexico City. After a year or so as one of Dixon’s All-
Stars, Primer was recruited to join the last band of Muddy Waters, playing with the Chicago
blues king until his 1983 death. Right after that, Primer joined forces with Magic Slim.

In 1993, Michael Frank’s Chicago-based Earwig logo issued Primer’s debut domestic disc,
Stuff You Got to Watch. It was a glorious return to the classic ’50s Chicago sound, powered
by Primer’s uncommonly concise guitar work and gruff, no-nonsense vocals.

Website – www.johnprimerblues.com


Terrance Simien & The Zydeco Experience

Friday September 2, 2011 – Terrance Simien & the Zydeco Experience (Zydeco)

For nearly 30 years, Grammy award winning artist, 8th generation Louisiana Creole has been shattering the myths about what his indigenous Zydeco music is and is not. Leading his Zydeco Experience band, Simien has become one of the most respected and internationally recognized touring and recording artists in roots music today. He has performed over 6000 concerts, toured millions of miles to over 45 countries and reached at least a million people during his eventful career that spans 3 decades.

His musical roots are firmly planted alongside the great zydeco pioneers like Chenier, Delafose, Chavis, Ardoin and that other Simien (Rockin Sidney) to name a few. He counts himself one of the fortunate few from the last generation with a direct link to these artists, some of whom mentored him as an emerging talent.

Simien is blessed with an extraordinary talent that expresses the deepest human emotions through the original instrument: The Voice. He takes his audiences on a multicultural tour of the world as his music language has been informed by the many countries he has visited in his
touring. He creates a hypnotic blend of New Orleans funk-reggae-flavored-Afro-Caribbeanworld, roots zydeco music that will force you out of your seat grooving all the way to the dance floor!

Simien, along with his business partner/wife was successful in leading the effort to establish a new Grammy category for “Best Zydeco or Cajun Music Album”. In 2008 he opened the 50th Grammy Awards pre-Telecast ceremony with a 10 minute performance and later that day
received the first Grammy given in the new category.

Website – www.terrancesimien.com


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