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.)
Measuring Covid Deaths, by David Leonhardt. July 17, 2023. NYT online.
The United States has reached a milestone in the long struggle against Covid: The total number of Americans dying each day — from any cause — is no longer historically abnormal….
After three horrific years, in which Covid has killed more than one million Americans and transformed parts of daily life, the virus has turned into an ordinary illness.
The progress stems mostly from three factors:
First, about three-quarters of U.S. adults have received at least one vaccine shot.
Second, more than three-quarters of Americans have been infected with Covid, providing natural immunity from future symptoms. (About 97 percent of adults fall into at least one of those first two categories.)
Third, post-infection treatments like Paxlovid, which can reduce the severity of symptoms, became widely available last year.
“Nearly every death is preventable,” Dr. Ashish Jha, who was until recently President Biden’s top Covid adviser, told me. “We are at a point where almost everybody who’s up to date on their vaccines and gets treated if they have Covid, they rarely end up in the hospital, they almost never die.”
That is also true for most high-risk people, Jha pointed out, including older adults — like his parents, who are in their 80s — and people whose immune systems are compromised. “Even for most — not all but most —immuno-compromised people, vaccines are actually still quite effective at preventing against serious illness,” he said. “There has been a lot of bad information out there that somehow if you’re immuno-compromised that vaccines don’t work.”
That excess deaths have fallen close to zero helps make this point: If Covid were still a dire threat to large numbers of people, that would show up in the data.
One point of confusion, I think, has been the way that many Americans — including we in the media — have talked about the immuno-compromised. They are a more diverse group than casual discussion often imagines.
Most immuno-compromised people are at little additional risk from Covid — even people with serious conditions, such as multiple sclerosis or a history of many cancers. A much smaller group, such as people who have received kidney transplants or are undergoing active chemotherapy, face higher risks.
Covid’s toll, to be clear, has not fallen to zero. The C.D.C.’s main Covid webpage estimates that about 80 people per day have been dying from the virus in recent weeks, which is equal to about 1 percent of overall daily deaths.
The official number is probably an exaggeration because it includes some people who had virus when they died even though it was not the underlying cause of death. Other C.D.C. data suggests that almost one-third of official recent Covid deaths have fallen into this category. A study published in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases came to similar conclusions.
Dr. Shira Doron, the chief infection control officer at Tufts Medicine in Massachusetts, told me that “age is clearly the most substantial risk factor.” Covid’s victims are both older and disproportionately unvaccinated. Given the politics of vaccination, the recent victims are also disproportionately
Republican and white.
Each of these deaths is a tragedy. The deaths that were preventable — because somebody had not received available vaccines and treatments — seem particularly tragic. (Here’s a Times guide to help you think about when to get your next booster shot.)
From the great Maureen Dowd:
As I write this, I’m in a deserted newsroom in The Times’s D.C. office. After working at home for two years during Covid, I was elated to get back, so I could wander around and pick up the latest scoop.
But in the last year, there has been only a smattering of people whenever I’m here, with row upon row of empty desks. Sometimes a larger group gets lured in for a meeting with a platter of bagels."
--- Dowd writes about the lost world of journalists clustered in newsrooms at all hours, smoking, drinking, gossipping, making phone calls, typing, editing.
"Putting out the paper," we called it.
Much more than nostalgia.