“Imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery,” says Steam Donkeys front man and spokesperson Buck Quigley, “but everybody in Buffalo knows that we were the originators of the Americanarama music festival.”
For eight years, the popular event featured some of the best regional and national acts on the Americana music scene. In fact, the Steam Donkeys CD entitled Cosmic Americana predated the use of the term “Americana” as a musical genre, so the band has always been way out in front with these kinds of things.
“I will say I’m a little surprised at Dylan for blatantly stealing the name of our music festival,” Quigley observes. “I’d expect it from (Wilco front man) Jeff Tweedy, but Bob really ought to be more sensitive to this, being as widely imitated as he has been in his career.”
Quigley is referring to the tendency of music critics in the 1970s to label up-and-coming singer-songwriters as “the Next Dylan.”
“I guess that by his doing this, we should be calling Bob Dylan “the Next Steam Donkeys,” Quigley adds.
In light of these developments, the Steam Donkeys are calling their 6:30pm performance tonight at Nietzsche’s their “Americanarama Happy Hour.”
Music lawyers are hailing the controversy as an “economic engine.”
Bob Dylan delivered a memorable performance in Lewiston last night, kicking things off with “Watching the River Flow,” a great choice for this venue perched above the mighty Niagara. The 71-year-old music icon led his band through this set list, often reworking melodies in interesting ways. Those great lyrics still pop out, even if he’s stretching out the meter or barking out the words at a rushed clip in his unforgettable, raspy voice. He boogied on the piano, wailed on the harmonica, and also coaxed applause from the audience for his guitar solo on “Simple Twist of Fate.”
One great thing about Dylan is how he gets up there and puts the “play” into playing music. Like snowflakes, no two performances are alike on his Never-ending Tour. Last night’s sold-out crowd—ranging in age from less than one to over 80 years old—loved him for it.
Singer/songwriter and native of Buffalo, Peter Case, is an immortal. After two decades of songwriting the 57 year old from Hamburg has kicked it into overdrive, releasing two albums since the begining of the 2010 as well as starring in a documentary about his own life called Troubador Blues. “Is there a place in our fast-moving, hyper-informational mess of a culture for the traveling singer-songwriter?” This is one of the questions asked in Troubador Blues, which will debut this Friday (Oct 14) at the Buffalo International Film Festival with Case and Director Tom Weber in attendance. “It’s nothing like making an album,” Case said as the subject of the film, which was shot over the course of eight years. “You change as a person over that much time,” he said. Case is a workhorse. After taking some time off to recover from major heart releated surgery that almost killed him, he bounced back to release two albums within a year; 2010’s Wig, a rowdy and celebratory 11 track album, followed by this year’s Case Files. “These are songs that fell through the cracks,” Case said of Case Files, which he went on to describe as an “archival album,” full of Bob Dylan-like politico-folk tracks that range from near rap to full on rock, including a western-blues cover of the Rolling Stones’ “Good Times, Bad Times.” Case breathes new life into these tracks, that he once considered lost, from throughout his 25 year career. This Wednesday (Oct 12, TOMORROW) the three time Grammy Nominee returns to the Sportsmen’s Tavern, as part of a 100 date, coast to coast tour. “It’s different coming back to Buffalo now, but I still feel that strong emotinal connection with this place” Case said. He’ll get together with a couple of old pals—Jim Whitford, Mark Winsick, and Rob Lynch—to play as a full band and hopefully top last summer’s wild, sold out set. Dee Adams, Mark Norris, and Dave Ruch will open the show with a tribute set of Case songs as part of The Good Neighborhood’s Tributaries series benefiting Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper. —cory perla