Friday – June 8 – 7:00 pm
First Church, 165 Main St., Amherst, MA
The songs of Phil Ochs are alive and well, indeed, they sometimes ring as true as they did when first performed on Greenwich Village stages of the early ‘60s. At the time, Ochs and Bob Dylan were considered on parallel tracks to national prominence, until in 1964, Dylan went electric, dropped his politics, and began his historic rise to Pop stardom. Ochs remained true to his socially conscious, humanistic, anti-Vietnam War message, and inscribed his lyrical songs into the hearts of a generation of activists around the world. In the process, he created some of the most memorable Folk songs of all time. “Changes,” “When I’m Gone,” “I Ain’t Marching Any More,” and “There But for Fortune” have been covered by dozens of artists through the years from Joan Baez to Ani DiFranco.
On Friday, June 8th, at 7pm, an evening of Phil Ochs songs will be presented by Mt. Toby Concerts at First Church in Amherst at 165 Main St. It will be hosted by Sonny Ochs, Phil’s sister. The focus will be less on the man, more on his indelible legacy of music and its uncanny relevancy. Interpreting his songs will be four of the most adept and compelling voices of the modern acoustic music scene: Reggie Harris, Tom Prasada-Rao, Pat Wictor, and Greg Greenway. To the “under the radar” world of internet connected, niche music fans, this is a star studded lineup of individual talent. Leave whatever preconceived notions you have about Folk Music at the door. These four eclectic musicians will interact in the round and perform the songs of Phil Ochs as if they were written yesterday. Threads of Gospel, R&B, Jazz, Folk, and Pop will be woven into a memorable evening of virtuosity and heart. Special guest for the evening will be dynamic singer/songwriter Pamela Means.
Tom Prasada-Rao: Born in Ethiopia of India parents, Tom was raised in the Washington DC area. He’s won multiple Washington Area Music Awards, and is a musician’s musician. He is a masterful guitar player with an R&B feel. He also plays violin, piano, and a guitar/sitar hybrid. —Visually and musically, Tom is the most compelling presence to emerge in the singer-song writer genre as I’ve seen in a long time.—Jim Bessman, Billboard
Reggie Harris: From Philadelphia, Reggie is a songwriter, a storyteller, and a lecturer. Having toured internationally for years with his wife Kim Harris, Reggie is now showing the world his singular solo voice. His songs rise with echos of the Civil Rights Movement, Pete Seeger, and Bernice Johnson Reagon. —“Reggie Harris is part of the solution. His marvelous music, his hard-earned wisdom, and his loving presence lift up any room he enters. Reggie reaches across all boundaries and makes strangers into friends.”—Rabbi Jonathan Kligler,Teacher, Leader, Musician, Lev Shalem Institute, Woodstock, NY
Pat Wictor: Born in Venezuela, Pat has lived all over the world. His other worldly musicianship has made him a much in demand studio musician on his passion, the slide guitar. With flowing red hair and zen-like calm, audiences love his understated presence, his beautiful songs, and the magic of his slide. Pat is one third of the acclaimed trio, Brother Sun.
Greg Greenway: Originally from Richmond, VA, Greg is an international ambassador of the Boston Folk Scene. A rare combination of instrumental expertise, a soulful & moving singer, and powerful poet, Greenway is one of those difficult-to-categorize performers. On guitar, piano, and ukulele, he is always surprising. He was 1/3 of Brother Sun, is 1/2 of Deeper Than The Skin, and entirely himself.
—“one of the strongest, and finest voices in folk music.Confessional one moment, rambunctiously disarming the next, few modern folk singers can own a coffeehouse stage as completely as Greenway.” – The Boston Globe
Suggested donation: $10 to $30