New Riders of the Purple Sage
with Professor Louie and the Crowmatix
Date: Friday, December 30, 2011
On Friday, December 30th, the brand new Orpheum Performing Arts Center will proudly celebrate an evening of classic rock featuring the legendary New Riders of the Purple Sage. For the past six years the New Riders have come to perform in the Woodstock area to perform this annual pre-New Years concert with their good friends Grammy-nominated Professor Louie and the Crowmatix. This year they have chosen the Orpheum for the show on a night not to missed.
The "new" New Riders are on the road with a revived and inspired lineup of musicians, performing new original songs as well as their great repertoire back to the ears of adoring crowds nationwide. Led by original members David Nelson and Buddy Cage, the current touring lineup includes Michael Falzarano (Hot Tuna) on guitar and vocals, Ronnie Penque on bass and vocals and Johnny Markowski on drums and vocals. In 2010 the band teamed up with Grateful Dead lyricist Robert Hunter and released its first CD in twenty years, Where I Come From (Woodstock Records) to rave reviews. The new group vows to keep the NRPS spirit and tunes alive by taking them to fans everywhere.
This event represents the first in a series of exciting new programs presented by the Catskill Mountain Foundation with the support of Friends of the Orpheum (FOTO). Under the artistic direction of Greg Dayton, FOTO's collaborative mission with CMF is arts-based economic revitalization through entertainment, educational outreach and disaster relief efforts for the mountain top community, Greene County, and the Catskill region. It will offer quality performances in a wide variety of genres -- from classic rock, folk, jazz, blues vocal arts, and drama to comedy, chamber music, dance, and musical theater as well as residencies and master classes.
The New Riders of the Purple Sage, signed to Columbia Records by the great Clive Davis, released its eponymous first album in September 1971 to widespread acclaim. In the next 11 years the band toured and released over 12 albums, selling over 4 million records. NRPS began as a part-time spin-off from the Grateful Dead when Jerry Garcia (pedal steel guitar), Phil Lesh (bass) and Mickey Hart (drums) teamed up with John Dawson (guitar, vocals) and David Nelson (guitar). Garcia remained in both The Dead and The New Riders until he found himself overcommitted, at which time Buddy Cage replaced him and the classic NRPS lineup was born. Original NRPS bass player Dave Torbert and drummer Spencer Dryden have passed away, co-founder John Dawson passed away in 2009 due to ongoing health problems. His considerable talents will be missed but his songs and musical legacy will live on. Before he passed he had given his blessing and was excited to know his music is being heard live again by a whole new generation of fans.
Pedal steel guitarist Buddy Cage has performed on many gold and platinum albums during his distinguished career including Bob Dylan's Blood On The Tracks, Biograph, and The Official Bootleg Tapes. Cage has also recorded with Grateful Dead Members Garcia, Weir and Hart as well as with Dead lyricist Robert Hunter (on Tales of the Rum Runners); Ian and Sylvia (Great Speckled Bird, the seminal folk band of which Cage was a member); Rick Danko and Garth Hudson (The Band); David Rea (Fairport Convention and Mountain); Rick James; The Shondells; David Bromberg (with Bonnie Raitt); Pappa John Creach (Hot Tuna); Sly Stone; and Vassar Clements, to name a few.
Guitarist/singer/songwriter Michael Falzarano, a member of NRPS since 2005, has previously been a member of Hot Tuna, the famed offspring of The Jefferson Airplane, and was founder of The Memphis Pilgrims. Falzarano's current release is a solo project entitled We Are All One on Woodstock Records and features Vassar Clements, Melvin Seals, Jorma Kaukonen, Garth Hudson, Buddy Cage and many others. He has toured extensively throughout the world on shared billings with The Allman Brothers, Black Crowes, The Other Ones, Rusted Root, Bruce Hornsby and Los Lobos, among others. Falzarano has also appeared live or recorded with such musical greats as Bob Weir (Grateful Dead), Levon Helm, Rick Danko and Garth Hudson (The Band), Paul Simon, John Lee Hooker, Johnny Copeland, Dr. John, Graham Parker, Merl Saunders, Warren Haynes, Warren Zevon; Greg Allman, David Crosby; Arlo Guthrie, John Sebastian, Bruce Hornsby, Pete Sears, Derek Trucks; Paul Kanter (The Jefferson Starship), Trey Anastasio (Phish), and John Popper (Blues Traveler).
Bassist Ronnie Penque. When not working with NRPS or his band Ronnie Penque Band, which includes his brother Chris Penque on guitar, Ron is busy as a session player. Ronnie started out as the original bass player in the popular Grateful Dead cover band Ripple. Through the years Ron has also played with many other bands and great musicians including Bob Weir, Mickey Hart, Vassar Clements, Peter Rowan, Melvin Seals, Robert Hunter, John Popper, and Pete Sears. After Ripple retired in 2003, Ron was asked by keyboardist Melvin Seals of The Jerry Garcia Band to join his band, "Melvin Seals and JGB."
Drummer Johnny Markowski. When not on the road with The NRPS, drummer Johnny works with his band, Stir Fried. The group has recorded and performed with the likes of Dr. John, Vassar Clements (Old & In The Way), Commander Cody, Jo Jo Herman (Widespread Panic), Bernie Worrell (P Funk, Talking Heads), Derek Trucks (Allman Bros. Band) and Tony Trischka. he recently won a competition for most impressive drummer/ percussionist on Jambands.com.
Opening for the New Riders is the Woodstock based quintet Professor Louie & The Crowmatix, a group which originally formed to serve as the studio backing band for CD's by The Band and solo CD's recorded by The Band's original members Rick Danko, Garth Hudson & Levon Helm. They offer the most impressive credentials, the deepest hearts, and a genuine love of performing live. Their latest CD Whispering Pines, received no fewer than five Grammy nominations in 2010. Enjoy their rompin stompin' roots rock, sweet ballads and roadhouse blues led by Professor Louie on keyboards and accordion, joined by Miss Marie on vocals, percussion & Piano, Gary Burke (Bob Dylan, Joe Jackson) on drums, Frank Campbell (Levon Helm, Asleep at The Wheel) on bass, and Josh Colow (Jesse Winchester, Livingston Taylor) on guitar.
The Catskill Mountain Foundation is presenting the concert as part of our emerging performing arts season at the Orpheum Center for the Arts. The Orpheum is a sumptuous new theatre designed by Hugh Hardy, famous for his faithful restorations of the New Victory and New Amsterdam theatres that were so pivotal in the rebirth of New York's 42nd Street. We are thrilled to be hosting this annual concert this year at the Orpheum and thank the Friends of the Orpheum for providing funding for this performance. FOTO is a 501C3 not-for-profit fundraising organization designed specifically to develop and support programming at the Orpheum. We look forward to partnering with Friends of the Orpheum as we work together to bring exciting new performances and artist residencies to the region's newest and most distinctive arts center.
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