May 01, 2013 Russ Tarby Uncategorized
In 1969, a sweet-voiced flower child from Queens, N.Y. named Melanie Safka performed a short solo set at the legendary Woodstock festival in the middle of a rainstorm.
Filling in for the Incredible String Band which refused to appear in the downpour, Melanie — accompanying herself on a solidly strummed guitar — belted out the lyrics of her own composition, “Birthday of the Sun”:
I’m the one
I found the birthday of the sun
But all things change
And I think it’s the birthday of the rain.
Over the next few years, the mono-monikered singer recorded a string of hit singles starting with “Lay Down (Candles in the Rain)” inspired by her Woodstock experience and culminating in “Brand New Key,” which topped the charts in the U.S., Canada, Australia and South Africa. You couldn’t turn on a radio in late-1971 without hearing that catchy little ditty a.k.a. “The Rollerskate Song.”
Now 66 years old and still going strong, Melanie will appear on Sunday, May 5, at the Catherine Cummings Theater, 16 Lincklaen St., in Cazenovia, following an opening set at 7:30 p.m. by Syracuse songwriter Larry Hoyt.
Concert goers will likely hear “Lay Down” and “Brand New Key” on Sunday along with other Seventies tunes such as “What Have They Done to My Song, Ma?” But Melanie’s sure to sing some of her newer material as well, songs like “Motherhood of Love” dedicated to Amma, a Hindu guru whom Melanie met in 2006.
In 2004, Melanie released a disc named “Paled by Dimmer Light” co-produced by her husband and son, Peter Schekeryk and Beau-Jarred Schekeryk. It includes the songs “To Be the One,” “Make It Work” and “I Tried to Die Young.”
If she’s feeling frisky, Melanie may even give voice to a composition called “Psychotherapy,” a clever parody of Freudian analysis written to the tune of “Battle Hymn of The Republic.”
Coincidentally Melanie’s warm-up act, Larry Hoyt, was in the audience of more than 400,000 when Melanie wowed the Woodstock crowd nearly 44 years ago.
Hoyt, the 64-year-old host of WAER-FM’s Sunday afternoon folk music show “Common Threads,” released his debut CD “Folksinger/Songwriter,” in 2003. His songs range from the haunting “Ghost of Love” to the joyous “Let’s Go for a Ride.”
One of Hoyt’s greatest influences is Woody Guthrie, the quintessential singer-songwriter who has also inspired Melanie. Last year she headlined the 15th annual Woody Guthrie Folk Festival in Guthrie’s native Oklahoma along with Arlo Guthrie and Judy Collins.
Admission to Sunday’s concert cost $30. A cash bar will be open for business.
Tickets are available at Cazenovia Jewelry, or by calling 655-STAR, or visiting brownpapertickets.com.
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