They can be heroes, just for one night!
A team of musicians will put a down-home twist on the tunes of David Bowie at country and roots-music stalwart the Jalopy Theater on Feb. 20. The organizer of the tribute concert said it was important to pay homage to an artist who influenced so many of their careers.
“He was so formative on my musical upbringing,” said Feral Foster. “It was necessary to do something that would remember his music and artistry and give to a cause.”
Foster — who also runs the theater’s weekly Roots ‘n’ Ruckus night — started working on the tribute shortly after he heard about the singer’s death on Jan. 10. Booking the night was easy, he said, because musicians were itching to hit the Ziggy Star-dusty trail.
“All of a sudden people came out of the woodwork,” he said. “I really wasn’t expecting this kind of enthusiasm.”
The lineup has 18 singer-songwriters performing their own interpretations of the Thin White Duke’s oeuvre. The mega-hit “Let’s Dance” will get an autoharp re-imagining from Elizabeth Devlin, while the Brotherhood of the Jug Band Blues is set to perform “Uncle Arthur” from Bowie’s 1967 debut album.
The group of songwriters, who usually perform their own material, were still eager for a chance to cover music from Bowie, because he was one of their own, said Foster.
“He was a great songwriter — I think people get this otherworldliness in his songs that translates to people,” he said. “There’s a certain longing for something that’s not even real.”
“It’s lot of people who I’ve seen play their own material before,” Foster added. “He’s something we shared such a love for and it will be interesting to see everyone’s take on a musician we all love.”
All proceeds from the night will go to WhyHunger, an organization aiming to end child hunger — a donation Foster hopes would make Bowie proud.
“I knew he was a very charitable person, so I looked for what charities he gave to and one of them was hunger,” he said.
“Moonage Daydream! NYC Songwriters Sing The Songs of Bowie: A Benefit for WhyHunger” at Jalopy Theater [315 Columbia St. between Hamilton Avenue and Woodhull Street in Red Hook, (718) 395–3214, www.jalop