Down the Line 17 pays homage to Woodstock ’69
Four local groups selected to play at Embassy Theatre
Let’s hope Embassy Theatre’s tribute to Woodstock 1969 goes a bit smoother than the famed music festival.
The music festival during the Summer of Love was unmatched. But thunderstorms disrupted things, the crowd was a bit larger than organizers expected, leading to fences being trampled and the announcement, “It’s a free concert from now on.” Oh yeah, there was also another announcement the Embassy would like to avoid: “Don’t eat the brown acid.”
The Embassy will pay tribute to Woodstock ’69 during Down the Line 17 on Saturday, Feb. 25. Slated to perform will be The Be Colony playing the songs of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young; The G-Money Band playing Jimi Hendrix; D Ferren & The Sad Bastards playing Creedence Clearwater Revival; and Renata Rio & The Proper Meds playing Jefferson Airplane.
“It’s going to be local bands performing music you’re probably already familiar with, but it’s a chance to get on that stage and perform in a big way,” Rio said.
Down the Line began as a benefit for the Embassy in 2007 and has had many versions over the years. In the 2012, Down the Country Line and Down the Line: Hard Chord were introduced, and in 2016 and 2017 it was a two-day event.
The concert returned to a one-night event in 2018, the year The Be Colony performed Radiohead.
The Be Colony will be the only band with Down the Line experience this year. The stylings of Atticus Sorrell, Jacob Terhune, Bray Coughlin, and Chandler Cashdollar will fit right in with the Woodstock theme.
“Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young are collectively one of our favorite bands of all time,” Sorrell said. “They had a really major influence on us, not just as a band, but individually as people.”
Sorrell said fellow local musicians McKenna Parks and Ashton Morris will also appear during their set dedicated to the folk music icons.
“It was kind of a no-brainer that we were going to do it,” Sorrell said of his reaction to being invited.
Paying tribute to CSNY took on more significance following the death of Crosby on Jan. 18.
“That hit pretty hard for me,” Sorrell said. “The practice we had after that, we were like, ‘Well, now we’re really going to have to kick ass, because David Crosby is dead.’ ”
Electric night planned
While this will be the second go-round for The Be Colony at Down the Line, it’s an opportunity all the other musicians have been awaiting.
“I had never been asked before, and I had just kind of given up on playing Down the Line,” G-Money said. “When they asked me, it really touched me.”
G-Money says he feels a connection with the artist he will be paying tribute to. While learning the guitar, G-Money says he took a liking to Ernie Isley, whom he met in 2017 while Isley was in town for the Summer Community Celebration at McMillen Park.
“I got into Ernie Isley when I was learning to play guitar, then I found the connection that Jimi used to play with Ernie’s older brothers in The Isley Brothers,” G-Money said, referring to Hendrix’s stint in The Isley Brothers’ backing band.
When he and the rest of his band, including drummer Mark Glamaman, guitarist Eric Matthews, and bassist Travis Brown (who will be filling in for Geo Conner), G-Money hopes to transport you back to ’69.
“I’m not Jimi Hendrix, but I do dig the style,” he said. “If nothing else, I will have the look … equipment-wise. I’ll have a white Stratocaster and a Marshall half-stack.”
fan becomes performer
Dressing the part will also be important to Renata Rio.
“I’m a girl who loves a theme,” she said. “I love this theme, and we’re going all the way with it.”
The “we” includes her Basketcase counterpart Chris Liechty, as well as members of her other project, Hustle54: guitarist/keyboardist Andy Pauquette, bassist Maurice Turner, and drummer Scott Schwan.
Rio says Hustle54 had been working on some Jefferson Airplane songs when they got the call to join Down the Line 17.
“It kind of happened out of the blue,” she said. “I’ve always wanted this and had no idea this would be the year I’d get this terrific opportunity, and I get to do it with these amazing musicians I play with.”
Though this will be her first time performing, she’s no stranger to the event.
“I go to every single one I can,” she said. “I don’t remember the last one I missed.”
D Ferren has also been to his fair share of Down the Line concerts, but he’ll see it from a different perspective this year.
“I feel pretty grateful to be able to do it, and I’ve never played on a stage that big,” he said. “We’ve done Rock the Plaza, which usually has a pretty big crowd, and that’s probably the largest I’ve play for before. I’m looking forward to it.”
Ferren says he’s been on the local music scene more than 30 years, playing with his current band since 2015. When contacted, choosing CCR was a natural fit for The Sad Bastards.
“They suggested a couple of bands but left it open to choose who we wanted from the original Woodstock,” he said. “They were open to letting us do another band, but CCR fit us really well.”
After receiving the invitation, the band began practicing some Creedence songs, with Ferren saying he’ll do more than mimic John Fogerty’s singing.
“I’m planning on dressing up,” he said. “Some of the other guys might be a little more casual, but I’ll be looking sharp.”