With Levon’s Spirit Watching Over Us All – This Week’s Episode (Jorma Kaukonen / Joe Purdy)

The cool thing about eTown is that if you hang around in this solar-powered musical clubhouse for long enough, you’ll see some artists come back to visit a few times. They get paired with different folks, and musical magic happens. Every time, it feels like family, and that is such a cool thing to witness.

IMG-1092This week, we have two musical guests that have both been friends of the show for a while now, but have never appeared together until now. First up is Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Jorma Kaukonen. Jorma (as I’m sure you know) made his first impact in the musical world with the legendary psychedelic group Jefferson Airplane, and has not stopped since. He’s been a longtime friend of Nick and Helen’s and has visited eTown as both a solo artist, and with his partner in crime Jack Cassidy as Hot Tuna. For this week he brings legendary multi-instrumentalist Larry Campbell and his wife Teresa Williams to the musical table with him, and even has eTown host Nick Forster join the trio on upright bass for several songs throughout the show. Larry has played with everyone from Bob Dylan and Willie Nelson to one of my all-time favorite drummers and singers – Levon Helm. The Levon Helm connection is a thread that you’ll hear coursing throughout this week’s episode, and ending with appropriate finale collaboration that nods to the now passed on musical legend.

IMG-1065Singer/songwriter Joe Purdy also stops in for another visit to eTown. Joe has been with us a few times before, and I always love his fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants approach to the tapings he is a part of. The last time he was here, he worked up a song he’d never performed live before with our co-host Helen. It was a jaw-dropping moment in that episode. To make good on what now may very well be an eTown tradition, Joe and Helen worked up yet another new song during rehearsal to drop on the audience this time. The first time, it was a song called Wildflowers, and this time it is a song called Dandelions. There must be a theme here. (You can see the performance of Dandelions in the videos linked below.) Like Levon Helm, Joe hails from Arkansas originally, and Levon’s music has clearly has an influence on his own as a constantly developing artist. Joe has met Larry Campbell at one of Levon’s Midnight Rambles in Woodstock, New York just a year before Levon’s passing, so all of these intertwining’s gave the entire day a feeling of connectedness that we are excited to share with you in this week’s radio, podcast and video offerings.

IMG-1040Per usual, we have a great eChievement Award story as well. This time Ron Grace, from the organization Lost For A Reason, stops in to share his story about how a motorcycle malfunction in the middle of the desert inspired him to develop creative ways to help the Navajo Nation in that region of the country.

It’s a great show from head to tail this week, and we hope you all enjoy it!

– Zack