Work O’ The Weavers celebrates the legacy of America’s pioneering folk quartet in song and story. In the early days of this splendid ensemble, they earned ringing endorsements from then-surviving members Seeger, Gilbert and Hellerman, who – along with Lee Hays – burst onto the music scene in 1950 with their two-sided hit record “Tzena, Tzena”/”Goodnight Irene,” transforming American popular music practically overnight, and ultimately providing the foundation upon which virtually ever subsequent folk artist would build.
The foursome of singers David Bernz (banjo, guitar), Martha Sandefer, Mark Murphy (bass) & Travis Jeffrey (banjo) not only plays songs associated with the Weavers at its concerts, but also tells the earlier band’s story of national success with “Goodnight Irene” and other hits, their travails during the Communist witch hunts of the 1950s, and their return to popularity with their 1955 Carnegie Hall reunion show.
Work o’ the Weavers performed in the presence of and alongside original Weavers members Seeger and Fred Hellerman, and they have sought the advice of original Weavers member Ronnie Gilbert. The group has performed extensively throughout the Northeast U.S. and in May 2004 released their debut album, a self-titled effort on WorldWind Records that boasted guest appearances by Seeger and Hellerman.
Adhering faithfully to the Weavers’ original arrangements, the quartet interweaves an edifying narrative that places the songs in historical context. At the late Pete Seeger’s request, they introduced some newer songs the Weavers might be singing were they still active today. More than a tribute, Work o’ the Weavers is an affectionate homage – rousing, relevant and revelatory.
“Through the years it’s really been very nice, our fans have been wonderful, the way they’ve come up to me and said, ‘Oh God, The Weavers are so wonderful’ and ‘You’ve changed my life,’ and all these wonderful things. And I always felt a little cheated because I never had the chance to sit out front and listen to The Weavers. But that changed tonight.” FRED HELLERMAN (The Weavers)
“Four wonderful people who’vepicked up where the Weavers left off. I put on the recording and had to listen to it twice. FANTASTIC!”
“With faithful adherence to their original arrangements, we seek to recall the spirit of the Weavers, providing an echo of their music and some insight into their story, one that resonates ever so strongly in these troubled times when an American’s right — and indeed, responsibility — to dissent is once again being challenged.”
WORK O’ THE WEAVERS
OPENING: THE DIRTY STAY OUT SKIFFLERS
Rick Nestler (12-string guitar), Donna Nestler (banjolele, kazoo), Dan Berger (harmonica), Tom Reister (trombone)
Skiffle, Jug Band, Country Blues, Roots Americana…the magnificent Skifflers know good-time music, and create it onstage with a joyful flourish. Warning: their ties to Sloop Clearwater are strong, and nautical references and songs may pop up indiscriminately. A guaranteed hit, great playing!