Hurricane Irene decimated the east coast. Particularly hard-hit was the upstate-New York town of New Paltz, where many farms and homes were destroyed. The area is home to many performing artists, so it was no surprise that music would play a major role in healing the wounds the storm left behind. The result was Flood Aid, a relief concert for farmers, families, and first-responders. Twelve acts on two stages served up an impressive array of American-made music to a rabid crowd throughout the day.
Particularly notable was guitarist Connor Kennedy, whose blistering solos meshed David Gilmour with B.B. King. From Vermont, the Bow Thayer Band served up a roots smorgasbord from its latest CD, Bottom of the Sky. The mighty Alexis P. Suter took the stage, riveting the audience with scorching versions of “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door,” “Didn’t It Rain” and a thunderous “It Ain’t My Cross to Bear,” confirming her time for stardom is now. Darkness brought the Flood Aid All-Stars’ finale, featuring members of the Levon Helm Band including Larry Campbell, Teresa Williams and Steve Bernstein. Their collective firepower was unstoppable as they jammed on such favorites as “Remedy,” “Will It Go Round in Circles” and “Time Out for the Blues.”
An unqualified success, Flood Aid truly demonstrated the power of a community combining forces for a righteous cause.