-By Bill Kelly
The vein of Americana music that runs through Appalachia, south to New Orleans and the Delta and west along Route 66 to San Francisco stopped on the south shore of Long Island this weekend at the Great South Bay Music Festival. Hot Tuna headlined that night, along with sets from legendary virtuoso David Bromberg and local favorite the Kerry Kearney Band.
Following Kearney’s rousing set, Bromberg took the stage with a four piece string ensemble, romping through old favorites like “New Lee Highway Blues” and several tunes from his new CD “Use Me’, which includes songs penned by Keb’ Mo’ and John Hiatt. Joined by Jorma for the final songs of the set, Bromberg showed how old friends could converse musically and connect through generations of tradition.
Hot Tuna took the stage under a rising full moon powering through a 12 song set driven by Jack’s thundering bass. Casady still has the footwork of a banter weight boxer, charging and spinning around the stage. Jorma’s voice resonated as it did during his Jefferson Airplane days, carrying “Death Don’t Have No Mercy” over the waters of the Great South Bay.
During the heyday of the San Francisco Height-Asbury music scene and following traditional rock explosion, a whole generation became aware that the roots of this great music ran deep through America’s multicultural heritage. On Friday night, a large crowd of Long Islanders were reminded that this great blending of genres was still alive and well, living and breathing though artists like David Bromberg and Hot Tuna.