The great George Harrison said, “No Lead Belly, no Beatles,” and he is only one of many musicians who count Lead Belly among their major influences. Unfortunately, diagnosed with ALS, he gave his last performance at Carnegie Hall in 1949, passing away later that year.
Lead Belly Fest was created to celebrate the work of Huddle “Lead Belly” Ledbetter by gathering a group of celebrated musicians to perform together in his memory. After a highly acclaimed, sold out performance this past June at Royal Albert hall, the Fest will finally makes its way to the United States this February, taking over Carnegie Hall, the very stage where Lead Belly played his final show.
The concert will be headlined by five-time Grammy winner Buddy Guy, along with Eric “House of the Rising Sun” Burdon, the legendary Animals’ frontman. Lead Paley, the last man to perform with Lead Belly at Carnegie Hall in 1949, will return to the stage accompanied by three time Grammy winner Tom Chapin. They will be joined by Blues Music Award nominee Nick Moss, who is accompanied by Lead Belly’s cousin twice removed, Michael Ledbetter. Josh White Jr., son of Josh White, who sang at Lead Belly’s funeral, and two time British Blues Award winner Laurence Jones, as well as Hot 100 Singles charting artist Ali Isabella will be there as well. As if that all-star list wasn’t long enough, “high-octane” Walter Trout, NYC Blues Hall of Famer Sari, New York City artist Dana Fuchs and folk and blues artist Jerron “Blind Boy” Paxton will also be performing. They will all be accompanied by the house band, led by Jon Cobert. Recently, Grammy nominated blues rock guitarist Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Don Flemons, “Free Ride” singer Edgar Winter and New York blues man Guy Davis, pianist John Davis and the celebrated Marky Ramone have recently been added to the bill!
The performance will include a special guest, who will unveil a commemorative plaque celebrating Lead Belly’s longtime residence at 414 E. 10th Street New York, which goes down in music history as the center for folk revival.
The proceeds from Lead Belly Fest will go to NYC’s Association to Benefit Children (ABC), which strives to bring joy to disadvantaged children and their families, and Project ALS, which funds scientific research to find a cure for the devastating disease.
Tickets to this not-to-be-missed evening start at $40, and can be purchased at carnegiehall.org, CarnegieCharge at 212-247-7800 and the Carnegie Hall Box Office, located at 57th and 7th.
For more information on Lead Belly Fest, head to the website here.