Date(s) - 07/01/2021
6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
John Brown’s Dream
John Brown’s Dream brings you a Southern Appalachian string band sound — a celebration of the ongoing and shared history of anti-colonial struggles of African, Celtic, English and Indigenous people. Ryan Clover plays banjo, and grew up in a home in Cortland where his parents played old time music around the house. Annually, they traveled to large fiddler gatherings like Clifftop in West Virginia and Mt. Airy in North Carolina. As a teenager, Ryan began booking folk and punk shows through Ithaca Underground and his own collective house. During this time, Ryan met guitarist Liz Pickard, whose path from the Ithaca DIY folk/ punk scene began with anti-racist organizing work and a few guitar lessons from Ryan’s dad. These lessons were a gift Ryan asked of his dad on his birthday one year. Fiddler Nathan Vargo began playing old time music around Raleigh, North Carolina and recently moved to the region from New Orleans during the pandemic. Nathan has studied with John Teer of Chatham County Line, John Herrmann and John Engle.
Named after a traditional tune honoring the acts and vision of radical white abolitionist, John Brown, John Brown’s Dream is building a musical repertoire that highlights the radical multi-racial elements of a genre that is often considered overwhelmingly white and quaint. The songs they sing tell stories of migration: leaving home and family to work a job, being displaced by the boom and bust of industry, starting anew and confronting the boss for dignified working conditions and a living wage, having your land taken from you by colonizing forces. As working class white people, they highlight Southern Appalachian tunes that illustrate the multi-racial origins of this music– the banjo itself being a prime example of West African and European cross-pollination. They seek to use music as an organizing tool that can help people of all backgrounds see our shared struggles and shared humanity.
Thursday, July 01, 2021, 6:00 pm—8:00 pm
Centerway Square, Corning, NY 14830