It sounds like a joke set-up: What happens when a beatnik and a hippie bring a bunch of instruments that they have collected over a 50 year period to the stage? Well, if it is John McEuen and David Amram, a lot! Their plethora of instruments includes David’s piano, French horn, percussion, and a variety of flutes (from America, China, Egypt), along with John’s guitar, mandolin, 5-string banjo, and fiddle. The music and stories from these two troubadours covers the 1800’s to now, with side road stops at various famous points from both of their ongoing careers.
David has been performing since the ‘50’s, and has played with ‘everyone’ it seems – Dizzy Gillespie to Willie Nelson to Leonard Bernstein and Pete Seeger; a traveling buddy of Jack Keroauc, he wrote many things with him. John came in to the national music scene as one of the founding members of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band (now in their 47th year), and performs in about 130 cities annually.
Both known as stage loving musical raconteurs, they each play solo selections that spotlight individual virtuosity and join for the 2nd ½ of the show to bring their worlds together for the audience.
Having performed so many shows together, and they usually say “not enough time! So many notes, so little time!” and the crowd demands more every time. John brings his eclectic side of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and some of their known hits to the stage for Dave to join in on; Dave has McEuen accompany him on old jazz songs as well as some surprise pieces. And then they jam… and this musical dessert is not only great to hear but to see, following the traditions of both Jazz and bluegrass as they stake out new mutual musical territories.
The musical definition of Americana can be found watching these two jammin’ gents, as John McEuen and David Amram take us from from classical to country, jazz to folk, from Bach to bluegrass.