The 2020 New York Guitar Festival was put on hold because of the coronavirus pandemic, but the event has headed online and is presenting a special daily tribute to late blues legend Reverend Gary Davis. The tribute, which started Monday, features different musicians each day and will run through May 15.
Among the artists taking part in the series, dubbed “Reverend Gary Davis: In Search of the Harlem Street Singer, are founding Jefferson Airplane and Hot Tuna guitarist Jorma Kaukonen and ex-Allman Brothers Band guitarist Warren Haynes.
The series features a video of each artist performing one song by Davis remotely. All videos are posted at 4 p.m. ET daily at the New York Guitar Festival’s official YouTube channel.
Kaukonen will be playing “I Am the Light of This World” and his clip will premiere this Sunday, May 10. Haynes’ as-yet-unannounced song will be posted on Thursday, May 14.
The tribute kicked off with a performance by Rosanne Cash and her husband, John Leventhal, of the tune “Tryin’ to Get Home.” Other participating artists include acclaimed jazz guitarist Bill Frisell on May 7, and former Bob Dylan and Levon Helm collaborator Larry Campbell and his wife, Teresa Williams, on May 13.
Davis performed on the streets of Harlem in Manhattan from the late 1940s until his death in 1972. His guitar playing has influenced many musicians, while his songs have been covered over the years by such artists as Dylan, The Rolling Stones, The Grateful Dead and Peter, Paul & Mary.
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