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Mississippi John Hurt Fundraiser

April 29, 2023 @ 8:00 pm 10:00 pm

No blues singer ever presented a more gentle, genial image than Mississippi John Hurt – a guitarist with an extraordinarily lyrical and refined fingerpicking style, he also sang with a warmth unique in the field of blues. His gospel influence gave it a depth and reflective quality unusual in the field. (AllMusic). Hurt (July 3, 1893 – November 2, 1966) might have lived and died in obscurity, if it hadn’t been for the folk music revival of the late ’50s and early ’60s. A new generation of listeners and scholars suddenly expressed a deep interest in the music of America’s hinterlands, not only in listening to it but finding and preserving it. A scholar named Tom Hoskins discovered that Mississippi John Hurt, who hadn’t been heard from musically in over 35 years, was alive and living in Avalon, MS, and sought him out, following the trail laid down in Hurt’s song “Avalon Blues.” Their meeting was a fateful one; Hurt was in his 70s, and weary from a lifetime of backbreaking labor for pitifully small amounts of money, but his musical ability was intact, and he bore no ill-will against anyone who wanted to hear his music.

Hurt’s legacy at Caffe Lena dates to July 7-10, 1966. His mark on Saratoga Springs parallels his influence throughout the blues world. Countless guitar players started out by listening to and studying the fingerpicking style of John Hurt. This fundraiser features four duos playing the music by and inspired by Mississippi John Hurt. Monies raised will benefit the Mississippi John Hurt Foundation, established by Hurt’s granddaughter, Mary Frances Hurt. The Mississippi John Hurt Foundation is a non-profit organization devoted primarily to preserving the musical legacy and history of Mississippi John Hurt, while providing musical and educational opportunities to disadvantaged youth. Through the music of John Hurt, children and adult music fans alike are exposed to the rich oral, musical, and literary traditions of the Mississippi Delta and surrounding areas. Funds raised will also support a film, currently in production, about his life and legacy.

Performers for this extraordinary evening include the Piedmont Bluz Duo of Valerie and Benedict Turner, Annie & Jonny Rosen of Annie and the Hedonists, Erin Harpe & Jim Countryman and Mark Tolstrup & Jill Burnham of Mark & Jill. Truly a historic night of musical excellence and food for the soul.


Caffe Lena

Caffe Lena

47 Phila Street
Saratoga Springs, NY 12866 United States
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(518) 583-0022
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