Hans Theessink's Dutch blues
by Seth Rogovoy

(GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass., July 7, 2004) – Anyone who doubts that the blues is an international language should take a listen to Hans Theessink’s new CD, “Bridges” – or better yet, go hear him on Friday night at the Guthrie Center (528-1955) in Great Barrington. The Dutch-born blues singer and guitarist and student of the Delta blues for the last 35 years has been working primarily in Germany and Austria for years, but on “Bridges” he teams up with some African musicians bringing the music back full circle to its continent of origin. Theessink (pronounced Tay-sink) also recently recorded with Arlo Guthrie, hence his show at the Guthrie Center. Also this weekend at the Guthrie – a last-minute booking featuring the perennially-popular, long-running, New England-based folk duo Aztec Two-Step on Saturday night at 8.

Dylan plays ball, but not in Pittsfield

It looks like the much-rumored appearance of Bob Dylan at Pittsfield’s Wahconah Park will not take place. Along with country legend Willie Nelson and swing trio Hot Club of Cowtown, Dylan and his band are launching a tour of the nation’s minor-league ballparks at Doubleday Field in Cooperstown, N.Y., on August 6. Fans in our region will have several shots at catching the tour within a two-hour drive radius when the barnstorming tour stops at Yale Field in West Haven, Conn, on August 7, at Campanelli Stadium in Brockton on August 8, and at Dutchess Stadium in Fishkill, N.Y., on August 10. If you’re wondering why the tour isn’t stopping in Pittsfield – which is halfway between Brockton and Fishkill -- on August 9, join the crowd of disappointed Dylan fans. No word on whether or not Dylan’s August setlist will include “Catfish,” the song he wrote for famed Oakland A’s pitcher Jim “Catfish” Hunter.

Backstage bits

The Berkshires’ own Adam Michael Rothberg joins a host of regional talents, including Lui Collins and Richard Chase, in support of Bill Morrissey, the dean of New England singer-songwriters, on Friday night at Memorial Hall (413-628-4018) in Shelburne Falls at 7…. The Clark Art Institute in Williamstown (413-458-2303) has kicked off its annual, free summer band concert series, which continues next Tuesday, July 13, at 6, with a performance by French Canadian group Matapat. The family-friendly series, which takes place outdoors (indoors in case of rain), attracts picnickers with blankets and lawn chairs each year to the Clark’s south lawn. Upcoming shows include pops brass ensemble Innovata on July 20 and the Eagles Band of Pittsfield on July 27. The Clark galleries stay open until 6 on concert nights to accommodate concertgoers….Club Helsinki (413-528-3394) has added several big names to its summer schedule, including blues-roots artist David Bromberg in a rare, nightclub gig on Thursday, July 29, and country superstar singer-songwriter Rodney Crowell for a two-night stand on July 30 and 31. Fusion keyboard whiz Hiromi returns to Helsinki on August 14, the perennially popular Dan Hicks and His Hot Licks do an encore engagement at the club on August 18, followed by return spots for Janis Ian on August 20 and jazz saxophonist Hamiet Bluiett on August 28.

[This column originally appeared in the Berkshire Eagle on July 8, 2004. Copyright Seth Rogovoy 2004. All rights reserved.]

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