Putting down Roots


Celebrated roots musicians will come together in a concert in Southampton this Saturday to support the Sag Harbor Community Food Pantry, as part of a new music festival they hope will become an annual East End event.

The Roots Music Festival makes its debut Saturday night at the Levitas Center for the Arts at the Southampton Cultural Center on Pond Lane with performances by Bridgehampton-based artist Caroline Doctorow, Frank Carillo and The Bandoleros, and Little Toby Walker.

While they are all excited to get on stage and jam, the musicians said this concert means even more due to the cause.

“It kind of makes it a little more special,” Mr. Carillo said during a phone interview this week.

“The Sag Harbor food pantry is a great community organization and one that us musicians really want to support right now,” Ms. Doctorow said. She added that she knows some longtime Sag Harbor residents—mostly artists—who rely on the generosity of the food pantry. “Musicians are very giving people and they’re good at coming together.”

Mr. Carillo said that audiences can expect the full spectrum at Saturday’s show, with everything from smooth, sweetly sung melodies to jammin’ blues and jazz songs.

“There’s going to be a lot of moods, a lot of stories,” he said. “It seems to me it’s a good package.”

Ms. Doctorow, who has been playing the guitar since she was 8 years old, said her music has been heavily influenced by folk artists of the 1960s, such as Bob Dylan, Judy Collins and Donovan.

“That’s really where my music is coming from,” she said during a phone interview last weekend.

In addition to raising funds for the Sag Harbor Food Pantry, Saturday’s event will be a record release party for Ms. Doctorow’s sixth album, “Hummingbird.”

Her newest record is a collection of covers of folk classics and original songs. Released by Narrow Lane Records, which Ms. Doctorow and her husband, Grover Gatewood, have run since 2001, the album was the fifth of the singer’s produced by Mr. Carillo.

The two artists met in the 1990s when they both opened for Dave Von Ronk in Manhattan.

“We’ve had a musical collaboration ever since,” Ms. Doctorow said, noting that Mr. Carillo has produced all but one of her records. “We haven’t done a gig together in so many years.”

On the third side of the triangle, Ms. Doctorow has never met Mr. Walker, but says she has always wanted to and has been a longtime fan.

“He’s the most amazing blues guitarist,” she said. “He’s unbelievable.”

And Ms. Doctorow is not alone in her appraisal of his abilities. Mr. Walker has been awarded the International Blues Challenge Award in Memphis and has appeared on the main stage at the renowned Philadelphia Folk Festival.

The Saturday concert will also mark another CD release: “Someday,” Mr. Carillo and his band’s latest album. Most of the record, he explained, was recorded live after the group returned from a tour in Europe.

“It was a great record to record …,” he said. “It was like falling off a mountain it was so easy to record.”

In addition to offering a timely celebration of the release of two new albums, the festival is also well timed, Ms. Doctorow said, because her genre of music continues to gain attention.

“Roots music is sort of growing in an underground kind of way,” she said. “There are so many things over-produced and people are, I think, gravitating toward the real music.” The music being performed on Saturday, she said, will not rely on synthesizers, samples, or recordings. It will just be the performers and their instruments.

“There’s nothing virtual about our performance,” she said. “Nothing is taped and nothing is looped.”

Despite her aversion to using technology to create music, Ms. Doctorow, unlike some old school musicians, said she is very excited about the endless online opportunities for musicians that technology has made possible.

“I find it an exciting time. The kind of music I do … is more accessible to everybody now,” she said.

Ms. Doctorow said this week that she hopes “Hummingbird” will be available at the festival, but she noted it can also be heard on her MySpace page, www.MySpace.com/carolinedoctorow.

Tracks from Mr. Carillo’s latest album can be heard on his MySpace page as well, www.myspce.com/frankcarillo.

Based on his recent tour in Europe, Mr. Carillo agreed that roots music is catching on all over the world.

“They love American roots music,” he said, describing his overseas audiences.

The musicians are hoping that this will be the first of many Roots Music festivals in the Hamptons. “We hope it will be another yearly great cultural thing that happens out here,” Ms. Doctorow said.

The concert is already gaining local attention. Hosted by WRCN’s Jerry Schaefer, it will be streamed live on the ?Long Island radio station at 103.9 FM and will be telecast later this spring on Plum TV.

Reserved tickets are $20 each for general seating and may be obtained by calling 871-2306. Seating is limited and reservations are advised. Tickets will be sold at the door for $25, if available.

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