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.)
David Vecsey's sweet tale of distant love before the Web, now NYT Podcast, narrated by Griffin Dunne. Please see:
George Vecsey is Hofstra University's Alumnus of the Month! Read a Q&A with George here.