Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Duluth Does Clapton: Sacred Heart Kicks Off 2020 with a Bang

If you want to start an argument amongst music fans, ask this question: Who's the greatest guitar player of all time? Some will swear it's Hendrix. Others Eddie Van Halen. Still others... well to some Clapton was God.

EdNote: We interrupt this blog post to say that if you've ever seen Tuck Andress of Tuck & Patti, there would be no further discussion.

Actually, I personally dislike all such blather about the best Dylan album or best Beatles song or best drummer or whatever. I always say, "By what criteria?" There's just so much talent in this field. Jimmy Page, Mick Taylor, Keith Richards, Pete Townshend, and on and on.

Personally, some of it comes down to the kind of music you like. And part of it comes down to their entertainment value as performers. I think here of Townshend and Hendrix.

I was never into Prince, but he was phenomenally talented. Zappa and Santana are cut from different pieces of cloth, and each an innovator in their own ways. I once worked with a fellow whose allegiance was to Mark Knopfler, and once had a friend who swore by Jeff Beck.

EdNote: One of Jeff Beck's classic cars appeared in an ad I created once for Rodder's Journal. Thank you, Mr. Beck, for permission on that. 

I first began listening to Eric Clapton in high school. I had all three Cream albums with Clapton, Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker. Clapton was really just a kid there, but a phenomenal talent from the getgo. I loved the music, loved the lyrics and loved the psychedelic album covers. I purchased Blind Faith as soon as it came out, with the original "indecent" cover featuring a young girl holding an airplane.  And when George Harrison's All Things Must Pass came out after the Beatles breakup, sides five and six got the most play time, with Clapton accompanying a team of players in an Apple jam. And I've still never tired of Derek & the Dominoes to this day.

January 25, 7 - 10 p.m. @ the Sacred Heart Music Center (SHMC)

THE DULUTH MUSIC SCENE has as much talent as any music scene anywhere in the country. This includes Hollywood, Austin, Nashville and the Big Apple. You can check it out each spring during our Homegrown Music Festival the end of April/beginning of May. That's why this Sacred Heart  Tribute Series is so phenomenally rich.

Setting up for another Armory Arts concert to kick off Dylan Fest
According to Mark Nicklawske, SHMC Board of Directors Secretary, "The Duluth Does series really brings the Duluth music community together and showcases what a strong, creative and talented group of musicians we have living in the Twin Ports. It promotes the work of world-renowned masters like Clapton and at the same time gives a stage to hard-working local musicians, exposing their talents to a large audience. The series is organized and run entirely by volunteers and the musicians donate their time and talents. All the money raised through ticket sales goes into maintaining the historic Sacred Heart building and supporting its programming and projects."

In recent years Sacred Heart has hosted Duluth Does Tom Petty (about a year after his death), Led Zeppelin, Joni Mitchell, and Carol King & James Taylor (in one show). One even higlighted Low, with Alan Sparhawk sitting in the audience.

"The mastermind behind all this is Eric Swanson," says Nicklawske. "Eric is the SHMC sound engineer, former SHMC executive director and co-owner of the SHMC recording studio. Eric picks the artist to honor, puts out a call for acts, organizes the set list and produces every facet of the performance. He's amazing. Without Eric's hard work organizing and producing these events they would never happen. Eric puts in hours and hours into organizing the show and works days in advance setting up the stage and sound system and then tearing it all down afterwards. He does it all for Sacred Heart."

I can testify that Sacred Heart is an amazing venue to perform at. I've had the opportunity on a pair of occasions in conjunction with the Armory Arts concerts during Dylan Fest. During the setup, Eric Swanson and team spent a full half hour adjusting the mics to capture the piano I would be playing "What Good Am I?" on for optimal sound quality.

Best sound technicians, best venue, best local talent... performing one of the true greats of our generation. It's time to order tickets because I'm certain this one will sell out.

Related Links
Sunshine of Your Love, Cream at the Revolution Club, 1968.
Clapton Autobiography Has Me Plugged In
Clapton Autobiography Proves to Be A Worthy Read

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