‘06 NYGF Launches with Springsteen Tribute

The New York Guitar Festival 2006 launched its 2006 event by honoring Bruce Springsteen's 1982 Nebraska album with a free gala concert under the glass atrium of the World Financial Center Winter Garden on January 14th.

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Entitled The Nebraska Project, this 25th anniversary celebration of the classic Bruce Springsteen album featured on one stage a distinctive roster of singer-songwriters, bands and instrumentalists. Performing their own arrangements of one of the ten Nebraska songs were Laura Cantrell, Dan Zanes, Vernon Reid, Mark Eitzel, Michelle Shocked, The National, Chocolate Genius, Marc Ribot, Martha Wainwright, Otis Taylor, Jesse Harris, Kevn Kinney, Lenny Kaye, Gary Lucas and Harry Manx. The Boss himself showed up early and watched the entire concert from the audience before joining the artists on stage for the encore of Woody Guthrie’s "Oklahoma Hills" that lasted well past the intended end-time.

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The free gala event attracted the largest concert crowd the Financial Center Winter Garden has ever hosted. Performance highlights were many. In addition to the impromptu encore performance, the scheduled artists indeed paid tribute to Springsteen by putting their own spin on his classic Nebraska songs. The National turned "Mansion on the Hill" into a suite-like arrangement, which left the crowd absolutely buzzing; Mark Eitzel injected his own vulnerable vocal delivery - and some smart, spare guitar work - into the melancholy-filled "My Father's House," showing he meant each word of his introduction: "It's truly an honor to be performing this song"; Otis Taylor entranced the audience with a banjo-driven, blues-edged rendering of "Open All Night"; Jen Chapin and stand-up bassist/husband Stephan Crump stripped down the original arrangement of "Born In The U.S.A." to a dirge-like vocal-and-bass duet - beautiful, haunting, and not the reaffirming version Springsteen released in 1984; and Kevn Kinney, Lenny Kaye, and Dan Zanes offered up rousing, joyous strum-a-thon on "Reason To Believe."

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The New York Guitar Festival continues through February 8th in clubs and theatres throughout the city. Now in its sixth year, the festival boasts over 20 performances, by some 60 exceptional guitarists of jazz, classical, rock/pop, traditional and avant garde styles. Participating venues include Carnegie Hall’s Zankel Hall, Merkin Concert Hall, Joe’s Pub, the 92nd Street Y, the World Financial Center’s Winter Garden, Flushing Town Hall, The American Youth Hostel Concert Chapel, and The Monkey. Featured artists include Daniel Lanois, Bill Frisell, Jorma Kaukonen, Vernon Reid, Taj Mahal, Pepe Romero, Eliot Fisk, Toshi Reagon, Sonny Landreth, Rory Block, Cindy Cashdollar, Jesse Harris, David Tronzo, Bill Morrissey, Laura Cantrell, Brandon Ross, Gary Lucas, Chocolate Genius, Alvin Youngblood Hart, The National, Mark Eitzel, Dan Zanes, Martha Wainwright, Michelle Shocked, among many others. Concerts range from an all-day Guitar Marathon focusing on the guitar’s history in Spain, to eclectic tributes to Mississippi John Hurt, Skip James, Elizabeth Cotten, Charley Patton, and Bruce Springsteen, to multi-media performances combining film, animation and live music.

Madison House Publicity
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Carrie Lombardi

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