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Tuesday, 14 September 2010 08:23

Concert review: The Larry J. Weir Memorial Concert at the Sheldon, Sunday, September 12

Concert review: The Larry J. Weir Memorial Concert at the Sheldon, Sunday, September 12 Sara Finke
Written by Beverly Hacker
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On Sunday, September 12, 2010, KDHX hosted a memorial concert to celebrate the life of long-time operations manager and DJ, Larry J. Weir. Larry's untimely passing in January of this year brought an outpouring of support and remembrances from his friends, listeners and the community of Americana musicians that he supported for more than twenty years through his program, Songwriters Showcase. Larry's co-host, Ed Becker, organized the lineup; he said it was truly a labor of love to bring together the artists that Larry loved for their outstanding musical talents coupled with their ability to tell a compelling story through song -- the essence of great songwriting.

Supe Granda, formerly of the Ozark Mountain Daredevils, served as MC at the Sheldon Concert Hall, which provided the perfect setting for the acoustic show, which kicked off with Springfield, Illinois' Ben and Kari Bedford. Their set included originals as well as an emotional cover a Weir favorite, "Birches," written by Bill Morrissey.

Singer Kristi Rose and multi-instrumentalist, Fats Kaplin gave the audience a set that featured what Kristi called "sentimental murder ballads," a nod to Larry's contention that "there's a high body count in Americana music."

The next act, billed as the "tattered remains of the once proud flag called the Geyer Street Sheiks" was a crowd pleaser. The lineup of Mike Prokopf, Tom Hall, Charlie Pfeffer and Marc Rennard were supported by "washboard player" Geoff Seitz, who also joined in for a rousing fiddle tune.

Next up, veteran singer-songwriter Katy Moffit, joined by guitarist Andrew Hardin, reminded the audience why she has been a top performer in Americana/country circles for four decades.

Supe's last song, "I Married a Cubs Fan," was a tribute to one of Larry's other loves -- baseball. Eclectic artist, sculptor, playwright and musician, Terry Allen closed out the night and captivated with songs and stories from his diverse catalog of recordings. The performers ended the show, as Larry's shows always did, with Emmylou Harris' "Till I can Gain Control Again," joined onstage by Larry's wife, Kathy Rogers Weir. The concert was a tribute to Larry's life and legacy.

It also marked the public announcement of KDHX's project to move to Grand Center and into a building that will be known as the Larry J. Weir Center for Independent Media, where his spirit will live on through the work of radio station that he loved.

Photos by Sara Finke.

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