At Summer And Music (SAM) 2010's collaborative showcase, Church of Rock & Roll, Long Beach musicians will pay tribute to California sound of the Los Angeles canyons from the 1970s by playing the music of Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, Bob Dylan, The Band, Jackson Browne and The Byrds.
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SAM co-founder Rand Foster (the owner of Fingerprints Records) says the whole idea was inspired by a moment from last year's street performer event, BuskerFest. That was when the Pawnshop Kings--who only had a 20-minute set--asked other musicians to share the stage for a rendition of Bob Dylan's "I Shall Be Released." "It was so generous," Rand says, "and we wanted that to be part of this year's event."
Foster added that the music of the LA canyons in the 1970s had a sense of community that's mirrored in Long Beach today. "I can see its spirit in the music that's made by a lot of the artists working in Long Beach today. It seemed that it would be an easy songbook to pick songs they love [from]. We kicked around a couple of ideas for next year--we joked about a glam set, seems like a more forced fit. But if you have Bob Dylan and Joni Mitchell songs, that's really easy--many artists tap into the music from that place and time."
Artists performing include Brett Bixby, Marika Dahlin, Pete Marchica, Scott & Joel Owen (Pawnshop Kings), Micah Panzich (of Paper Planes), Keith Slettedahl (of The 88) and more. Mitchell Townsend, the guitarist for the Church of Rock & Roll's house band (and also Matt Costa, The 88 and The Watson Twins' guitarist), said that when Foster called him and asked him to put a backing band for the set together, he couldn't say no.
"Tons of the music from that period was a huge influence on me," he says. "So many of those people were writing such incredible music in that period...You had Crosby Stills Nash and Young doing shit like the Deja Vu album, the first three Jackson Browne records...all of the Neil Young and Joni Mitchell stuff."
The Church of Rock & Roll will be held on Saturday, 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., on a solar-powered stage in the East Village Arts District near the intersection of 1st & Elm. It's free and all ages.