I guess great minds really do think alike. Beginning in late April, I began posting one Bob Dylan song a day — one song per album, in chronological order — to my Facebook page, and compiling them on NJArts.net. And it turns out that Pat Guadagno’s BobFest concerts at The Vogel at the Count Basie Center for the Arts in Red Bank, May 23 at 3 and 7 p.m., will follow the same format, with one song per album, in chronological order, from the first four decades or so of Dylan’s career.
Tickets to the socially distanced shows are available through Ticketmaster.
Guadagno calls the theme “Albums From the Millennium” since he and his
Tired Horses band will stop at the year 2000, after doing about 25 songs per show.
“It will be essentially a song from every album right up to the ‘Wonder Boys’ soundtrack, which was released in 2000,” he said. “We’ve got ‘Things Have Changed’ (from that album) in there.”
This show takes place every year, around the time of Bob Dylan’s birthday, which is May 24. (This year, he’ll turn 80.) Guadagno and his band have been presenting BobFest for more than 20 years, but had to skip last year’s show because of the pandemic.
In January of this year, Guadagno tested positive for COVID-19, and ended up in the hospital, battling pneumonia. “It wasn’t pretty,” he said. “It was touch and go for a while. But I’ll tell you what, I found a whole new appreciation for life, and appreciation for what those people in the hospitals do every day. It’s incredible.”
Tired Horses violinist Yuri Turchyn is ill and will not be able to make the show, and will be replaced by Gary Oleyar. Saxophonist Tommy LaBella will also be joining the band. “We’ve never had a sax player before,” said Guadagno.
Other Tired Horses regulars who will be on hand will include guitarist Rich Oddo, harmonica player Rob Paparozzi, bassist Phil Rizzo and drummer Joe Bellia. Lead vocals are typically split up among various band members, which is particularly helpful this year.
“I was on oxygen for a while,” said Guadagno. “Getting back to singing again, I’m singing pretty strong. I just don’t have the breath that I used to. So my first real big test is going to be doing two shows on Sunday.”
Guadagno hasn’t been totally inactive during the pandemic, but the steady stream of gigs he has maintained for decades obviously stopped.
“I started working on a couple of records, putting them together, so I did a little bit of creative work, but it was really a blessing in disguise for me,” he said. “The time I got sick, I couldn’t have worked for two months, anyway. I just needed to re-charge the batteries, and I’ve got a whole new appreciation for people that want to come out and spend their money listening to my music. It makes me feel good.”
He says he’s got a couple of other projects that are in the works and that he will probably announce after BobFest is over.
“I’m working on a Tom Waits show, and a Van Morrison show. We did a John Prine show in April (at The Vogel) to celebrate the anniversary of his death. And that was a lot of fun. … It was great to have a project again, and great to work again.”
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