ANDY COHEN IS A VIRTUOSO FINGER-STYLE GUITARIST WHO HAS been described as “a walking, talking folk-blues-roots music encyclopedia.” He grew up in a home with a piano and lots of Dixieland Jazz records. During the Sixties Folk Revival, he got hooked on the music of Big Bill Broonzy and the Jim Kweskin Jug Band. When Andy was 16, he heard South Carolina’s Rev. Gary Davis perform and the effect on him was profound. He has devoted his life to studying, performing, and promoting traditional blues and folk music of the pre World War II era.
Andy toured with Martin, Bogan and Armstrong, John Jackson, Rev. Gary Davis, Brother Daniel Womack, Rev. Dan Smith, Jim Brewer, and Honeyboy Edwards. He also worked extensively with Walt and Ethel Phelps, Big Joe Duskin, Pigmeat Jarrett, Etta Baker, Big Boy Henry, and Son Thomas.
Andy has helped to support a number of his mentors and younger players, by organizing festivals and other venues for them to play in. He has written about several of the old masters and studied their work in a systematic way. Many of his students are now professional touring musicians. The Country Blues says “One thing is for sure, the boy can play. There are few people around today who had a chance to pick it all up from the old generations, get this good at it and continue to cherish and preserve the old traditions.” He has been assiduous in sharing his expertise in classes, camps, and anywhere people are making music.
Andy Cohen has more than a dozen recordings to his credit, including Oh Glory, How Happy I Am: The Sacred Songs of Rev. Gary Davis and Andrew M. Cohen: Dolceola Favorites. An enthusiastic proponent of the dolceola, Andy says he “never leaves home without it.” Described by some as a “miniature piano,” the dolceola has a keyboard, but the strings are struck with wooden mallets.
Along the way, Andy earned a Master’s Degree in anthropology. His passions come together in his essay on “The Hands of Blues Guitarists,” published in Ramblin’ On My Mind: New Perspectives On the Blues, edited by David Evans (2008).
At an Andy Cohen concert, expect to hear blues rooted in Mississippi, the Piedmont, Memphis, and Chicago, as well as some ragtime, gospel, and original tunes.
In 2011 Andy received the Eisteddfod Award from The Eisteddfod Traditional Music Festival. Festival Director Dr. Jerome Epstein said, “We decided to give the award to Andy, one of this year’s performers, because of his outstanding contributions to the field of traditional music, as performer, collector, and advocate.” In 2012 Andy received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the California Autoharp Gathering.
Frank Fotusky plays Acoustic Blues in the style reminiscent of the great East Coast "Piedmont" players such as Rev. Gary Davis, Blind Boy Fuller, John Jackson, Blind Willie McTell to name a few. A majority of his material is culled from the '20's, '30's and '40's and Acoustic Blues and Guitar Rags are the foundation of his music. Along with this repertoire, his original compositions are rooted in this era and still carry a contemporary feel. East coast or "Piedmont Blues," as it is so often called, consists of sophisticated syncopation with fingerpicked guitar. The result is a sound that resembles that of the ragtime piano.
Frank has performed with Virginia Bluesman John Jackson, Paul Geremia, Roy Book Binder, Hubert Sumlin and has been festival headliner in his own right. BLUES ACCESS has said, "(Frank) offers a sparkling guitar sound on fine Piedmont-style blues and rags....Fotusky's clean fingering draws you in and projects the music, which would be somber in other hands, out." In the fall of 1999, Frank released his first CD "TEASIN' THE FRETS" to widespread critical acclaim.BLUES REVUE stated, "Thirteen heartfelt cuts...played and sung with care and emotion." Tom Olson from the Blues Connection said, "Frank understands and plays the music authentically," and BIG CITY BLUES offered, "This is a player that would be welcomed on any porch, front or back!"
7pm doors – 8pm show | $12 adv. – $15 day of