Next time around I want to come back as a back-up singer…

Submitted 6 months ago
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Who wouldn’t want to dance and sing while on stage with Jesse Colin Young?

Singer and songwriter Jesse Colin Young performed last Friday evening, May 25,th in Woodstock as part of Pentangle Arts Council’s ( performing arts program. Initially, we were treated to a solo performance by Jesse as he quietly and unassumingly entered the stage. Immediately he was in command of the audience as his lyrics and unique sound filled the auditorium. Jesse was in great voice.  In between songs Jesse weaved in some personal stories about his early years as he was trying to find his way as a young man. Jesse took the audience on his journey as he regaled us with some of his trials and tribulations that led him to find his true work and passion…music! Jesse  termed those years  as a time of  great “angst.” Many in the audience responded to the term whether in acknowledging of his behavior or remembering their own years of “angst.” Either way it doesn’t really matter just as long as we are all reminded to continue to feel unsettled and concerned about the human condition and the world around us. Jesse’s song “Darkness Darkness” was incredibly moving as it is an expression of his love, dedication and caring for our Vietnam veterans and the emotion was palpable.  The quiet opening of the show gave us all time just with Jesse and the connection with the audience was intimate and a bit reminiscent of coffee house performance. Lovely!

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 Jesse shared with the audience that he had stopped performing on the road for close to ten years and had pretty much settled in his mind that he was done. However, while recently attending his son, Tristan’s, Berklee College of Music graduation something changed the plan. Watching and hearing his son’s senior band performance impressed and inspired Jesse to the point where he knew he wanted to play with this group of extraordinarily talented young musicians so back on the road again! What a collaboration it is as this passionate group of young artists, just starting out, with so much musical energy filling their bodies and souls was truly a feast. While it certainly was not the first time I had heard Jesse’s lyrics over the many years and especially the Youngblood years but I heard his timeless words Friday evening  in a new and powerful way.  Maybe it was the tight band behind him, maybe I needed to be reminded once again of the meaning behind his words or maybe I am clinging to his words as I try to navigate our world today. Each song was delivered with a renewed energy and urgency. The juxtaposition of youth and experience on the stage together was both reaffirming and magical.  The pertinent issues of a time gone by were transformed into a quite timely new meaning. 

 The show rounded out with the audience participating in Jesse Colin Young’s  well known song “ Get Together.” Clearly this song conjures up some memories from challenges during the 60’s and 70’s but I too was re-inspired and found them contemporary and as impactful as when I first heard and understood the words. They are truly relevant in our current divisive culture and hopefully an important reminder as we each try to navigate our societal issues. The sign of a true artist is to stand the test of time and reach new generations…well done by you Jesse Colin Young! A unique voice, a true voice with a genuine message…

Photo courtesy of Pentangle Arts







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