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HOT TUNA BLUES APPEARS GEORGE MASON UNIVERSITY'S CENTER FOR THE ARTS

January 24, 2011
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GEORGE MASON UNIVERSITY’S CENTER FOR THE ARTS

PRESENTS

HOT TUNA BLUES

Saturday, Feb. 19, 2011 at 8 p.m.

 

FAIRFAX, Va., Jan. 13, 2010 This winter, the founding members of Hot Tuna join forces with other great musical talents to celebrate fascinating musical odyssey, which has spanned more than 40 years. From their early days playing together in Washington, D.C. to their years with Jefferson Airplane, to their current acoustic and electric blues music, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees Jorma Kaukonen and Jack Casady have always been an important part of the American music scene. The duo formed Hot Tuna as a side project in 1970 to explore their passion for blues, jazz, bluegrass and folk, combining Kaukonen’s talent for finger-picking guitar with Casady’s interest in the electric bass. Hot Tuna appears with blues icon Charlie Musselwhite on harmonica and guitar and two-time Grammy winner and Americana and bluegrass guitarist Jim Lauderdale for a program titled “Hot Tuna Blues” at George Mason University’s Center for the Arts Concert Hall on Saturday, Feb. 19, 2011 at 8 p.m. This performance is family friendly and tickets are half price for youth through grade 12 when accompanied by an adult. A pre-performance discussion, free to ticket holders, begins 45 minutes prior to the performance on the Center’s Grand Tier III. Pre-performance discussions are sponsored by the Friends of the Center for the Arts.

Kaukonen and Casady began playing together as teenagers in the Washington, D.C. area, where Casady’s father was a dentist and Kaukonen’s father was a state department official. Four years younger, Casady played professional gigs at night during junior high and high school while Kaukonen, who played rhythm guitar, attended college and traveled abroad. Along the way, Kaukonen learned the fingerpicking guitar style exemplified by the now-legendary Rev. Gary Davis, while Casady picked up the electric bass, a then-controversial instrument in blues, jazz and folk circles. By the mid 1960s, the duo were invited to join a new band that had formed in San Francisco, and Kaukonen contributed the name Jefferson Airplane, drawn from a nickname a friend had given him. Jefferson Airplane were one of the major bands in the popular music scene at that time, but the pair still continued to stay faithful to their blues, jazz, bluegrass and folk influences and performed together at clubs in the Bay Area, often after playing a set with the Airplane. Under the name Hot Tuna, Kaukonen and Casady soon recorded an album displaying intense sound and extraordinary musicianship, and continued playing energetic live concerts, sometimes from three to six hours at a time. More than 40 years later, Hot Tuna has recorded more than two dozen records, working with some of the most talented musicians in the industry. After two decades of acoustic and electric concerts and albums, Hot Tuna began concentrating primarily on acoustic music, performing in more intimate venues with more of a connection to the audience and teaching musical workshops to novice musicians through Fur Peace Ranch, a place in Southeast Ohio that Kaukonen and his wife opened in the late 1990s to give budding and seasoned musicians the opportunity to immerse themselves in music and gather inspiration from their peers. Kaukonen and Casady were also inducted with Jefferson Airplane into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996, and have also each released solo albums.

Described by the San Jose Mercury News as “the second coming of Led Zeppelin, with Tom Waits on vocals,” Charlie Musselwhite embodies the timeless and emotional power of blues music. Musselwhite was born near the Mississippi River – the “cradle of blues” – and grew up in the rough river town of Memphis, where he discovered a thriving music scene – a cross-pollenization of down-home country, swinging jazz and soulful R&B. In the mid 1960s, Musselwhite moved to Chicago’s South Side, and soon earned the opportunity to play alongside such legendary artists as Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf and John Lee Hooker. In 1967, he released his debut album, the defiant Vietnam-era “Stand Back,” which launched his remarkable career. Musselwhite has since received six Grammy nominations, 18 W.C. Handy trophies and numerous accolades from the blues music world. His most recent work includes  “Delta Hardware,” which was named “Best Blues Album of 2006” by Amazon.com, and the Golden Globe-nominated soundtrack for the 2007 film “Into the Wild,” which included a collaboration between Musselwhite and rock icon Eddie Vedder.

A multi-talented performer with successes in country and bluegrass music, Jim Lauderdale’s career has taken him from the Carolinas to the international stage. He is an acclaimed songwriter who has written hits for the likes of Patty Loveless, George Jones, the Dixie Chicks, Kathy Mattea, Blake Shelton, Lee Ann Womack, Vince Gill and George Strait. Lauderdale is also a two-time Grammy Award winner, winning his first in 2002 with bluegrass legend Dr. Ralph Stanley for “Lost in the Lonesome Pines,” and his second for his second solo album, “The Bluegrass Diaries.” He also earned the awards for “Artist of the Year” and “Song of the Year” at the first Americana Music Association Honors and Award Show in 2002. Subsequently, he has hosted this awards show for the past seven years.

Tickets for HOT TUNA BLUES are $22, $36, $44. Family Friendly! Youth through grade 12, half price when accompanied by an adult. Charge by phone at 888-945-2468 or visit cfa.gmu.edu. The Center for the Arts complex is located on the Fairfax campus of George Mason University at the intersection of Braddock Road and Route 123. Paid parking is located in the deck adjacent to the mainstage Concert Hall and FREE parking is located in university lot K.  Visit cfa.gmu.edu.

About Great Performances at Mason

Great Performances at Mason is a program of George Mason University's Center for the Arts, the professional presentation and production arm of the College of Visual and Performing Arts (CVPA). CVPA provides an academic environment in which the arts are explored as individual disciplines and interdisciplinary forms that strengthen one another. The college prepares students for careers as creators, performers, teachers, scholars, arts leaders and arts entrepreneurs. Understanding that an education in the arts is deepened by regular contact with the work of distinguished visiting artists, the Center for the Arts, the professional presentation and production arm of the college, welcomes a variety of professional and world-renowned artists, musicians and actors to its stage. Students have the opportunity to perform, create and exhibit their work in a wide variety of public venues including a 2,000-seat Concert Hall. CVPA is home to the Schools of Music, Dance and Art, the Department of Theater, as well as the Computer Game Design, Arts Management and Film and Video Studies programs.

About George Mason University

Named the #1 national university to watch in the 2009 rankings of U.S. News & World Report, George Mason University is an innovative, entrepreneurial institution with global distinction in a range of academic fields. Located in Northern Virginia near Washington, D.C., Mason provides students access to diverse cultural experiences and the most sought-after internships and employers in the country.  Mason offers strong undergraduate and graduate degree programs in engineering and information technology, organizational psychology, health care and visual and performing arts. With Mason professors conducting groundbreaking research in areas such as climate change, public policy and the biosciences, George Mason University is a leading example of the modern, public university.