Seth Warner's LP Project: Neil Young's 'Harvest'
Portland, Maine based musician Seth Warner will lead an All-Star band in a complete live performance of Neil Youngs much loved 1972 record Harvest as part of his LP Project series at The Dance Hall, 7 Walker Street, Kittery, Maine on Friday, October 25th @ 7:30pm. Tickets are $14 in advance and $18 day of show and are available at http://thedancehallkittery.org
What is it about Harvest that catapulted Neil Young to international prominence and the LP to become an instant classic? Is it the decidedly country and organic acoustic flavors along with the moments of symphonic grandeur and electric grit all hewn together with the help of the laid back and intimate Nashville vibe from his studio backing band The Stray Gators? Many longtime fans could rightly argue that it is not Neil Young at his most consistent nor his best matched collection of songs but even so, it seems to be a product of perfect timing and an album truly of its time and Seth Warner and his friends look to celebrate Harvest at The Dance Hall at what seems like the most appropriate time of the year.
After a difficult tour with Crosby. Stills & Nash to promote their CSNY Déjà vu LP and it became clear that each of the members were going to go their separate ways for some time, Neil embarked on a solo acoustic tour in 1971 which featured many new songs. Along the way many of these shows were recorded with the idea of releasing a live record but this was ultimately interrupted following Neils appearance on Johnny Cashs Television show in Nashville. While there he met producer Elliot Mazer and became enamored with his new studio and the session players known collectively as Area code 615 and within a few days he was recording with them some of the tracks that ended up on Harvest including Old Man and Heart of Gold enlisting Linda Ronstadt and James Taylor to appear on these tracks as they were also in town for the Cash show taping.
Along with another Nashville session, recordings with non-other than the London Symphony Orchestra - A man needs a maid and Theres a World - and the harder edged electric songs Alabama Words and Are you ready for the country? being captured live at Neils Ranch in California - the set was complete apart from The needle and the damage done which taken from the tapes of his winter 71 solo tour.
Despite Harvest becoming the bestselling album of 1972 and its single Heart of Gold giving Neil Young his only ever Billboard #1 hit he had this to say a few years after his unexpected surge in success:
"(Harvest) put me in the middle of the road. Traveling there soon became a bore so I headed for the ditch. A rougher ride but I saw more interesting people there."
And indeed, likely wary of heightened expectations from his burgeoning fan base and record label and creative restlessness, Neil set out on an arena tour with most of The Stray Gators in 73 but opted to feature mostly new material that was more ragged and raw and his next three albums were decidedly and willfully noncommercial and often dubbed the Ditch Trilogy.
Since 2015, Seth Warner has led an annual series of LP project evenings at The Dance Hall where he has assembled a collective of musicians to perform and celebrate record albums of unusual merit, historical significance and above all else - great music. The albums presented so far have ranged from a trio of incredibly strong sophomore releases in Back to Black by Amy Winehouse, the brilliant yet eclectic Pontiac by Lyle Lovett and The Bands self-titled second album which is known as The Brown Album. Seth and his band have also performed Jackson Brownes Running on Empty, Carole Kings Tapestry and Neil Youngs dark masterpiece, Tonights the Night which dealt with the addiction related deaths of his close friends and bandmates with equal parts of grief, grit and humor.
Prior to the band playing Harvest, Seth and Seacoast based musician Marc McElroy will start the evening with a set of acoustic Neil Young material selected from the course of his entire career. Marc is a seasoned and soulful singer, songwriter, producer and multi-instrumentalist. He leads the band Elroy and operates Garys Guitars and the Electric Cave recording studio in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Seth and Marc started performing music together in the fall of 1990 at the University of Maine, and have collaborated, recorded and harmonized off and on, ever since.
The rest of the band include the pedal steel guitarist Dan Beller-McKenna, bassist Scott Elliot, featured vocalist, Susanne Gerry and drummer Chris Marro. All four of these supremely talented and experienced musicians enjoy varied and successful careers as teachers and performers active throughout New England and beyond.
Seth Warners performances have been described as ethereal by the Portland Press Herald and has appeared on stages as diverse as The Boston Early Music Festival, WGBH radio, KD Rhein River cruises in Germany and at Joes Pub in New York City. Most recently Seth has been touring his Highway Kind: A celebration of the songs of Townes Van Zandt, the late, great Texas songwriter. Other highlights from his two decade plus career include performances and collaboration with the Grammy award winning Parker String Quartet and tours with the extraordinary gospel and blues singer, Francine Reed and serving as Executive Producer for several internationally acclaimed classical recordings. Also enjoying a varied career in arts administration, Seth managed The Olin Arts Center at Bates College for ten years in which he curated several diverse and successful concert series being named as an "Emerging Arts Leader" by the Association of Performing Arts Presenters in 2008. Alongside his performance schedule Seth now serves as the box office manager for the State Theatre and Thompson's Point concert venues in Portland, Maine and teaches lute, guitar and ukulele at Bates.
$14advance $18/door (plus $2 venue fee)
The Dance Hall (View)
7 Walker St., PO Box 691
Kittery, ME 03904
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|Dog Friendly: No|