(CHATHAM, N.Y.) – Legendary slide guitarist Rory Block curates and headlines a three-day festival of blues and gospel music at PS21 and other venues in Chatham, where Block has long hung her own hat. Rory Block’s Gospel & Blues Fest Weekend features Block with acclaimed lap-steel guitarist Cindy Cashdollar, performing as the Sisters of Slide, at PS21 on Saturday, July 29, at 8pm.
The festival also includes performances by the sacred-steel outfit the Campbell Brothers at PS21 on Friday, July 28, at 8pm; and A Gospel Choir Fest, featuring four gospel choirs from area churches, at Payne AME Church, on Sunday, July 30, at 2pm.
The festival also includes a Slide Guitar Workshop with Rory Block at the Old Methodist Church on Saturday, July 29, from 10 to 11:30am.
Rory Block has been heralded by Blues Revue as “one of the greatest living acoustic blues artists” and is master of the blues slide technique. “A couple months ago PS21 invited me to help put together a themed weekend of blues and gospel music,” explained Block. “I assembled a list of artists I thought would be terrific and proposed a gathering of great local choirs for a powerful spiritual and musical experience.”
RORY BLOCK’S GOSPEL & BLUES FEST WEEKEND EVENTS
The Campbell Brothers Friday, July 28, 8pm
The Campbell Brothers present a compelling, rich variety of material from the African-American Holiness-Pentecostal repertoire with a new twist: the growling, wailing, shouting, singing, and swinging voice of the steel guitar. Chuck Campbell, pedal steel guitar, Phillip Campbell, electric guitar, bass, Darick Campbell, lap steel, and Carlton Campbell, drums. $25/$20 members/$12 students (current school ID required for college students)
Slide Guitar Workshop with Rory Block Saturday, July 29, 10-11:30 am
An inspiring workshop on the use of the bottleneck to create the soulful slide guitar sound. This workshop will be held ChurchLIVE at The Old Methodist Church, 8 Church Lane in Chatham Center. Fee: $20 / $15 PS21 member / $10 student
“I didn’t play slide for years because I didn’t think modern players sounded like the early recordings. Then, Bonnie Raitt recorded ‘Ramblin’ On My Mind’ on one of my records. We were mixing the record, and we soloed her incredible playing in the speakers. Her playing was the key that started the process for me. It unlocked the door,” explained Block. “That’s really what lessons are for, to put a key in to unlock a new door, to help somebody go through to another level that they’re looking to find. Sometimes you need somebody else like Bonnie to go, Here’s the key. Let me open the door for you.”
The Sisters of Slide: Rory Block and Cindy Cashdollar, Saturday, July 29, 8 pm
Two beloved masters of slide, five-time blues music award winner Rory Block and Texas Music Hall of Famer Cindy Cashdollar, offer an exceptional evening of the blues. Rory Block has preserved the Delta blues tradition and brought it to life for 21st century audiences around the world. Dobro, steel guitar and lap steel player Cindy Cashdollar’s unerring ability to complement a song or step out with a phenomenal solo has led her to work with the likes of Bob Dylan, Van Morrison, Levon Helm, Asleep at the Wheel, Leon Redbone, BeauSoleil, and many others. Cashdollar was the first woman to be inducted into the Texas Steel Guitar Hall of Fame.
Block explained how Sisters of Slide was formed: “Cindy and I met in Woodstock in the 1970s, then didn’t cross paths again for years until recently when we found ourselves onstage for a duet workshop. We looked at each other and said, ‘Do you know this one?’ and ‘How about that one?’ Within seconds we locked tempo and amazing things started happening. It was as if we’d played together for years. Now we call ourselves Sisters of Slide.”
$25/$20 members/$12 students (current school ID required for college students)
A Gospel Choir Fest Sunday, July 30, 2pm
On Sunday, July 30, at 2 pm, four gospel choirs will gather from area churches to rejoice and share music of worship and celebration.”I thought it would be really exciting to bring together some great local choirs for a powerful spiritual and musical experience, followed by a reception with refreshments for choir members and the public,” explained Block. “I have performed with and attended the Payne AME Church in Chatham for many years and have enjoyed numerous choir gatherings and fellowships. I knew this would be an amazing opportunity to share the exceptionally talented local choirs with a wider audience.”
Choirs from the following churches will be participating: Payne AME church, Chatham, NY. Shiloh Baptist Church, Hudson, NY. St. Mark Chapel AME Church, Kingston, NY. First Israel AME Church, Albany, NY. The public is invited to enjoy great gospel music and join us afterwards for a reception with refreshments served. This is a non-ticketed event. Donations gratefully accepted for participating choirs.
PS21: Performance Spaces for the 21st Century is a not-for-profit organization in Chatham, NY, dedicated to the performing arts and to serving a diverse community with concerts, programs and residencies by professional artists and ensembles, youth and children’s programming and cultural education opportunities for all ages.