For the Good Times with the New York Guitar Festival

Family is a complicated thing.

No matter how many indie films and quirky TV shows, all of which star various incarnations of Zooey Deschanel, conclude in the final act that it’s the family you choose that really matters, the fact remains that the family that is forced upon you will forever remain like a benign tumour lodged in your brain alongside the Reading Writing Hotline number.

No matter how much you despise who they are and what they’ve come to represent about certain aspects of yourself, it always hurts to see them fall even further down into the depths of their own twisted mentality. That feeling is amplified when they have a stash of powerful weapons, troubling associations with international thugs and a morbidly obese sexual predator for a landlord threatening years of extended doom if they don’t open their anuses to the sun and inject bleach into their veins.

You cannot save them. But to maintain your own sanity, it’s necessary to remind yourself of the little sparks of good in them and hope that one day those sparks turn into a flame. Remind yourself with the New York Guitar Festival.

The NYGF has invited a wonderfully diverse group of some of their favorite musicians to participate in ‘Reverend Gary Davis: In Search of the Harlem Street Singer’, an on-line performance series exploring the music of the blind blues musician, Reverend Gary Davis. Rev. Gary Davis performed on the streets of Harlem from the late 1940s until his death in 1972. He is one of those curious figures in music history who should be famous, but who’s also a lot better known than you might think. Overcoming poverty, racial discrimination and blindness, Davis made influential recordings and festival appearances, and his songs have been covered by The Rolling Stones, The Grateful Dead, Peter Paul & Mary, and Bob Dylan.

They’ve commissioned each artist to create a home-made video of themselves performing a song by Gary Davis. These videos will be released each day at 4pm EDT on the Festival’s YouTube channel. The lineup will feature Bill Frisell, Fantastic Negrito, Rosanne Cash, Larkin Poe, Amythyst Kiah, Jorma Kaukonen, Dom Flemons, Larry Campbell, Teresa Williams and more.

The USA is our troubled sibling whose company is emotionally exhausting and fraught with complications.

But every once in a while, they play a hell of a tune.

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