First Posted: 8/28/2014
On October 4 and 5, Scranton’s historic Tripp House will be the setting for “The Faces and Voices of The Blues III.” This two-day event, hosted by PocoNotes, will showcase the images of acclaimed documentary photographer, Jim Gavenus, the guitar mastery of Nashville blues-rocker, Patrick Sweany, and a collection of unique instruments designed and handcrafted by Dave Whetsell of Snikle Cigar Box Guitars.
Separately and together, Jim, Patrick and Dave are more than just “Faces” and “Voices” and more than just The Blues. Each of them will bring their special creativity to an event that will include a museum-quality photo exhibit, an interactive display of cigar box guitars, a photography workshop, a “Porch Time” jam session, a concert and a guitar workshop.
The “Faces” artist is Jim Gavenus, whose photographs are exhibited in galleries and museums worldwide and were seen recently by 40 million viewers of The 55th Annual Grammy Awards. His images cover a wide range of subjects and have earned him the Gordon Parks Documentary Photographer of the Year Award and a place in the North Carolina Bluegrass Hall of Fame. He has photographed dozens of Hall of Fame musicians on – and behind – some of the most famous stages in the music world, and his images appear for Sony Music, Columbia Records, Lost Highway Records, Merlefest and FarmAid.
Gavenus, who hails from Luzerne and Berks Counties, travels extensively to lecture, exhibit and expand his portfolio and shares his passion for photography as a professor at Luzerne County Community College as well as through innovative photography workshops.
The “Voices” artist is Patrick Sweany, who was described by “Rolling Stone” as a “soon-to-be-legendary guitar man” and has 2.5 million quarterly “plays” on Pandora, where he is likened to The Black Keys, Dan Auerbach, Marc Ford and The White Stripes. As he gained prominence as an acoustic blues guitarist and singer, Patrick drew the attention of notables like Jimmy Thackery, who brought him on tour; Roy Book Binder, who declared him to be the one from his generation who would carry the music forward and Jorma Kaukonen (Jefferson Airplane, Hot Tuna), who invited him to teach at his prestigious Fur Peace Ranch Guitar Camp alongside legendary guitarists like G.E. Smith (Saturday Night Live, Roger Waters), Larry Campbell (Bob Dylan, Levon Helm), Bill Kirchen (Commander Cody and the Lost Planet Airmen), Steve Earle, Bob Margolin (Muddy Waters) and Tommy Emmanuel.
Sweany has shared the stage with Dr. John, Sonny Landreth, The Black Keys, Los Straitjackets, Justin Townes Earle, Hot Tuna and Tedeschi Trucks Band and his recent tour itinerary included diverse events like Merlefest, Newport Folk Festival, Montreal Jazz Festival, Telluride Blues and Brews Festival and Nashville’s Americana Music Association’s Annual Conference.
The “Special Guest” is Dave Whetsell, a Clarks Summit resident who first learned of PocoNotes when he attended one of their events in 2013. As is often the case with their audience members, a friendship developed and they became increasingly aware of Dave’s ability to build stunning guitars out of cigar boxes.
The origin of these primitive instruments dates back to the early 1840’s with a popularity that, over the years, has vacillated between near extinction to its first major resurgence during the Great Depression when young musicians who were short on cash built their own guitars and, again, as they became an integral part of the Roots Music movement. So, Dave was invited to add his unique creations to this event as one more way for people to hear, see and feel the music.
The photo and cigar box guitar exhibits are free and will be open to the public on Saturday from 12 to 6 p.m. and on Sunday from 12 to 4 p.m.
Gavenus will conduct a photography workshop on Saturday from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., after which he and his students will join Patrick and Dave for a two-hour “Porch Time” jam session, which will be an informal gathering where everyone is invited to bring an instrument and “pick and grin” as the music is brought to life through songs and stories.
At the Saturday evening concert, Patrick will captivate his audience with his latest CD, “Close To The Floor,” which has been met by sold-out audiences, glowing reviews and industry accolades across the United States and Europe.
Patrick’s guitar workshop will be the final event of the weekend and will be held on Sunday from 1 to 3 p.m. It will be geared toward all levels of guitar playing.
Although there is no charge for the workshops, reservations are requested. Tickets for the concert are $25 in advance for adults and two for $25 for seniors and students, and can be purchased from at www.PocoNotes.com or by calling 888-800-POCO (7626) or in Scranton at Jaida Spa at 3 West Olive Street, Duffy Accessories at 218 Linden Street and The Greenhouse Project at 200 Arthur Avenue in Nay Aug Park.
As an all-ages event with an emphasis on generations of families sharing this experience together, there is no charge for children 12 years of age and under, who attend with an adult. To thank the members of the military for their service to the country, they and their families are also invited to attend at no charge.
This event is hosted by PocoNotes, which was co-founded by Dolores Hippler and Patrick Harper after their personal experience with the tragedy of September 11. These two “children of the 60’s” made a decision to help their generation fulfill their promise to leave the world in better shape than they found it. With a total of 17 events and 62 artists already to their credit, five of whom are Grammy-nominated musicians, “The Faces and Voices of The Blues III” is their latest gathering of “good people and good music in an intimate setting where the artists and the audience will create something special together.”
For more information about the event, visit www.PocoNotes.com. To learn more about the artists, visit GavenusPhoto.com and www.PatrickSweany.com.