Is it true that inside every band musician there is a superstar looking to break free?
“We all feel that way, if we had our druthers,” said Andy Aledort, the blues guitarist who will be part of a concert at the Landmark on Main Street in Port Washington, Long Island, on June 2 – The SideMen With the Uptown Horns.
Aledort then added the practical side of the blues – “It’s hard to make money.” So you do what you can.
He is a thoughtful musician who has played for Dickey Betts and Double Trouble and Buddy Guy and in Jimi Hendrix tribute shows. He also transcribes classic riffs and teaches guitar (to Paul Allen, just to drop a name) and writes about music. His experience in the industry has taught him that winning teams must have rebounders, passers and defenders as well as stars firing 3-point shots.
“Just as an aside, a few years ago I went to an astrologist, Bob Cook, who looked at my chart and told me, without knowing anything about my life or career, that I was the type of person that was happier helping others to ‘shine’ without striving for the spotlight myself, and this is definitely borne out by the many things I’ve done on and off stage.”
In recent months I have been reminded of the talent that backs up the stars. I went to the Landmark – where all three of our children went to elementary school -- to see two of my favorite singers, Kathy Mattea and Iris DeMent. Sitting up front, I was transfixed by the guitar riffs that made the stars even better. (I wish I had taken names of the two pickers, but afterward I did get to tell both of them how terrific they were.)
On June 2, the same Landmark on Main Street will welcome to a whole concert of sidemen – Aledort, plus Audley Freed (Cry Of Love, Black Crowes, Jimmy Page, Sheryl Crow), bassist Andy Hess (Black Crowes, Gov't Mule, John Scofield), singer/keyboardist Mike Dimeo (Deep Purple, Riot, Bonnie Tyler, Tommy James), drummer Shawn Murray (Mink Deville, John Hammond, Mick Taylor), bassist Dennis Metzler, and singer JP Patrick.
They will be joined by the Uptown Horns, who have backed up The Rolling Stones, James Brown and Bruce Springsteen and, yes, B.B. King.
For information on the event at 7:30 PM, please see:
The SideMen concept is the brainchild of Bill Willets who works with Louis Rosano of Louis Electric Amps in New Jersey. Willets recently organized the first Sidemen concert in Ramsey, N.J., and sold out the place – and is bringing accomplished musicians to my town on June 2, with another concert scheduled for Teaneck, N.J., on June 4.
Aledort, 59, grew up in nearby Little Neck and at the age of 8 he and a few pals began riding their bikes up and down the hills to Port Washington to ogle the wares at the legendary Ghost Motorcycles – by coincidence, next door to the Main Street School.
He studied guitar under the legendary teacher Joe Monk of Great Neck and lives in nearby Sea Cliff with his wife Tracey Aledort, who runs Forest Books in Locust Valley, and their children, Rory and Wyatt.
For a while, Aledort did 50-80 shows a year with Dickey Betts (who came up with the Allman Brothers Band) but Aledort says life on a band bus “is like being on a chain gang.” Hence, he tries to stay close to home, but the blues are always the blues.
(Below: Aledort gives a little primer on the blues.)
"Among the things that have long fascinated people about Jesus and explain his enduring appeal is his method of dialogue and teaching. "He asked a lot of questions and told a lot of stories in the form of parables. In fact, parables form about a third of Jesus’ recorded teachings. The Gospels were written decades after he died, so his questions and parables clearly left a deep impression on those who bore testimony to him....
"Some of Jesus’ questions were rhetorical; others were meant to challenge or even provoke. In some cases, Jesus used questions to parry attacks by religious authorities who set traps for him. In others, he used questions to enter more fully into the lives of others and to help people look at the state of their hearts. He asked people about their fears and their faith. Jesus used questions to free a woman caught in adultery from condemnation and to inquire whether people considered him to be the Messiah. He probed deeply into questions not many had asked before him, like “For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?”
---(Peter Wehner, long-time White House consultant and writer, in the NYT last week about Jesus Christ’s method of teaching by asking questions.)
"Would that I could mention all the illuminating details in this biography, for example, why Wells praised Black Americans so highly, saying, 'I took a mighty liking to these gentle, human, dark-skinned people,' and 'Whatever America has to show in heroic living today, I doubt if she can show anything finer than the quality of the resolve, the steadfast efforts hundreds of black and colored men are making today to live blamelessly, honorably and patiently, getting by themselves what scraps of refinement, beauty and learning they may, keeping their hold on a civilization they are grudged and denied.''
-- "How H.G. Wells Predicted the 20th Century," Charles Johnson, NYT Book Review, Nov. 19, 2021. ***".
...the monsters arrive."
"They come in a deafening, surging swarm, blasting from lawn to lawn and filling the air with the stench of gasoline and death. I would call them mechanical locusts, descending upon every patch of gold in the neighborhood the way the grasshoppers of old would arrive, in numbers so great they darkened the sky, to lay bare a cornfield in minutes. But that comparison is unfair to locusts.
"Grasshoppers belong here. Gasoline-powered leaf blowers are invaders, the most maddening of all the maddening, environment-destroying tools of the American lawn-care industry."
---The great Margaret Renkl, from Nashville, one of my favorite NYT bylines, Oct. 26, 2021.
(She describes our Long Island enclave to every decibel, every stink.)