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Published in U.S. 1 Newspaper on May 31, 2000. All rights
BS&T and Summer Sound
Memorial Day has come and gone, unofficially ushering
in the summer music festival season. And if you and the family are
in a festive mood, there’s plenty of sounds for all tastes on this
first "summer" weekend.
An updated version of the 1970s rock sensation Blood, Sweat and Tears,
led by David Clayton-Thomas, opens Trenton’s Heritage Days Festival
weekend with a concert at the War Memorial. The original hard-driving
band won five Grammy’s for such hits as "You’ve Made Me So Very
Happy," "And When I Die," "Spinning Wheel,"
De Ho," and "Go Down Gamblin’." Saturday and Sunday,
entertainment on three stages ranging from such area favorites as
Ron Kraemer and Latin Flavor, to Terrance Simien (see page 46),
June 4, at 5 p.m.
If your taste runs to folksong, folksingers, and singer-songwriters,
you can always head south — New Jersey Turnpike Exit 2 — to
the Appel Farm Arts and Music Festival this Saturday, June 3, at Appel
Farm, 457 Shirley Road in Elmer. Music at Appel Farm is on two stages,
with a special stage reserved for children’s performances. The lineup
of performers, which reads like a Who’s Who of contemporary folk,
includes Princeton’s Mary Chapin Carpenter, Lucy Kaplansky, Greg
Moxy Fruvous, Willy Porter, Martin Sexton, Jonatha Brooke, the Asylum
Street Spankers, and Richard Thompson.
The Appel Farm Arts and Music Festival takes place from 11:30 a.m.
to 8 p.m., and the site is a comfortable one. Those preferring more
shade can easily find a piece of real estate near the Grove Stage.
The timing of the sets between the Meadow and Grove Stages is
Mary Chapin Carpenter is the top billed, final act on the Meadow
which affords more space for the audience, while Richard Thompson’s
set at the Grove Stage wraps up at 6:30 p.m., leaving those so
to go check out a few tunes from Carpenter.
Two Appel Farm attractions that tend toward the unexpected and the
offbeat are Moxy Fruvous and the Asylum Street Spankers. Moxy Fruvous
is an a cappella group from Canada that has pleased audiences at South
Street Seaport, New York, the Philadelphia Folk Festival, and other
festivals around the U.S. The group mixes humor and the occasional
bawdy song into their sets, breaking up audiences with their
chatter. The Asylum Street Spankers, led by guitarist Guy Forsyth,
hail from Austin, Texas, where they quickly forged a reputation for
entertaining and educational all-acoustic performances. Instruments
in this large ensemble include tuba, trumpet, saxophone, acoustic
bass, banjo, mandolin, and guitar. Like Moxy Fruvous, Asylum Street
Spankers don’t believe in taking themselves too seriously, and inject
a measure of levity into their live shows.
At Waterloo Village in Stanhope, you’ll find two days
of Louisiana music and blues. Michael Arnone celebrates his 11th
Crawfish Festival with two days of music and food. The festival, which
has grown to about 8,000 patrons each day in recent years, features
affordable plates of bayou food to accompany the music lineup. "We
are flying in 15,000 pounds of live crawfish from the bayou to
says Arnone, who also promises chicken and sausage jambalaya,
sausage, crawfish bread, crawfish ettoufee, fried chicken, red beans
and rice, shrimp Creole, fried catfish, barbecued shrimp, Boudin,
The festival on Saturday features Zydeco specialist Terrance Simien
(see page 46), Barbecue Bob and the Spare Ribs, File, Marcia Ball
and the Funky Meters. Sunday’s lineup kicks off with the Black Widow
Blues Band at noon, followed by John Mooney and Bluesiana, Walter
`Wolfman’ Washington and the Roadmasters, Buckwheat Zydeco and the
Among the acts in Saturday’s lineup, the New Brunswick-based Barbecue
Bob and his Spare Ribs, slated for noon, is not to be missed. Bob
Pomeroy, a draftsman by day and musician on weekends, is a superb
harmonica player and guitarist who leads his quartet through
sets that brings audiences to their feet. Pomeroy mixes things up,
jumping from classic Chicago electric blues of the 1950s to Hank
tunes, both familiar and obscure.
Also notable is Saturday’s closer, the Texas-based Marcia Ball Band
featuring honking saxophones and a stop-on-a-dime rhythm section.
And because she’s such a gifted songwriter, Ball’s originals, tunes
like "Blue House," and "Big Shot," are virtually
from covers the band works into their sets, songs like Ivory Joe
"Let Me Play With Your Poodle" and Duke Robillard’s "If
This Is Love."
On Sunday, the Black Widow Blues Band has to be heard to be believed.
This horn-heavy 10-piece band from Passaic is led by saxophonist Larry
Lacasta. The instruments include organ, two saxophones, trumpet,
trombone, bass, and drums. The group freely mixes classic blues tunes
from the 1940s and ’50s with more modern urban contemporary fare,
even the occasional disco tune — but when they do disco, it’s
so funky you’re liable to forget it was ever disco.
Also not to missed on Sunday is Walter "Wolfman" Washington
and the Roadmasters, a large, horn-heavy ensemble from the Crescent
City that doesn’t seem to get up to New York and New Jersey often
enough. Washington’s latest album, "Funk is in the House,"
is a collection of original tunes that mixes funk flavorings with
classic New Orleans blues stylings. Like Black Widow Band, Washington
and his Roadmasters can get crowds up and dancing.
— Richard J. Skelly
800-394-1211. Mary Chapin Carpenter and Richard Thompson are
at the annual day-long show, with Jonatha Brooke, Moxy Fruvous, Martin
Sexton, John Gorka, David Gray, Lucy Kaplansky, Willy Porter, the
Asylum Street Spankers, Ben Arnold, and Vanida Gail. Gene Shay is
host of the festival that includes a crafts fair and children’s
Website: www.appelfarm.org. Advance tickets $28; day of show $34;
children under 12 free. Saturday, June 3, 11:30 a.m. to 8 p.m..
Field, Stanhope, 973-347-0900. Gates open at 10 a.m., music begins
at noon and continues to 6:30 p.m. Food served all day at under $6
per plate. 201-507-8900. $25. Saturday and Sunday, June 3 and 4,
noon to 6:30 p.m.
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