The winner is…
Chico Performances busts out 15 Grammy winners in 14 shows for 2005-06 season
Dan DeWayne, director of CSUC’s Chico Performances, has been quoted as saying that Chico is the “arts mecca of Northern California.” DeWayne’s expertise in producing top-notch music events goes back to his 1982 co-founding of the widely known and seminal Strawberry Music Festival in Yosemite, and under his knowledgeable guidance, Chico Performances’ yearly arts and entertainment series has become for many Northern Californians the destination of choice in their quest for quality music and performing arts.
“I try to find the finest artists that there are in any genre,” began DeWayne, explaining the roster of Grammy winners lined up for the 2005-06 season. “What I find is that most of the finest artists end up getting Grammys.”
Fourteen of C.P.'s 44 shows this coming season feature Grammy winners, leading off with the Pat Metheny Trio on Sept. 16. In fact, Nov. 18 will actually feature two multiple-Grammy winners—multi-genre banjo virtuoso Bela Fleck and upright bassist extraordinaire Edgar Meyer. “Bela and Edgar are the best on their instruments, period,” DeWayne said, “They were here three years ago. … I remember they showed up at 2 p.m. the day of the show and, from 2 until 4 p.m., Bela sat on the edge of the stage playing, to a click track, passages and scales over and over again. I thought every aspiring musician should see that here was a guy who had the No. 1 classical and No. 1 jazz album who continued to do his homework even at the pinnacle of his career.”
DeWayne expressed similar admiration for the other Grammy winners in this season’s lineup: “I really like the Spanish Harlem Orchestra [which will appear as part of the Chico World Music Festival on Sept. 17],” he said. “They’re fabulous. They helped bring salsa to the forefront.” He also lit up when speaking of legendary folk singer Emmylou Harris’ planned “stripped-down” acoustic-duet show (Sept. 25) with guitarist Buddy Miller: “It will be a great opportunity to really hear her voice. Emmylou is one of the greatest interpreters of songs.”
DeWayne continued down the list: “What I love about Keb’ Mo',” he offered, referring to the popular young blues guitarist/singer/songwriter’s Oct. 25 performance, “is that he is steeped in the tradition—the old blues guys—but also cognizant of today’s pop music. Now, with Arlo Guthrie [returning to Laxson Oct. 29 as part of his “Alice’s Restaurant 40th Anniversary Massacree Tour"], we’re going to get all of Arlo’s wonderful stories. Also, we’ll get a retrospective on his career. His songs have become part of the folk vernacular. ‘Alice’s Restaurant’ is certainly one of the most recorded songs in all of folk music.”
Singer/songwriter/guitarist duo The Indigo Girls make their first Laxson appearance on Jan. 21. “They brought folk music to the ears of hundreds of thousands of people,” DeWayne points out. DeWayne goes on to admiringly compare the Indigo Girls’ singing to the impressive vocal harmonies of the Everly Brothers.
Author and storyteller Garrison Keillor, of National Public Radio’s A Prairie Home Companion fame, will be Chico Performances’ Valentine’s Day treat in 2006. “I really love it,” DeWayne said when talking of Keillor’s upcoming “one-man stand-up routine” in Laxson. “It’s like having him sit with you in your living room. … I think about home and family with Garrison, and I think of Valentine’s Day as celebrating love and family. We have the opportunity to share the evening with one of the greatest storytellers we’ve ever had.”