Local Crosby, Stills, & Nash tribute a magical performance
It's been said that too many of us die with the music still in us.
The brainchld of Martin, a multi-talented member of the Iowa Rock & Roll Hall of Fame who lives near Quimby, the CSN tribute entitled "Daylight Again" is drawing rave reviews from one and all, and fast developing a large and loyal following from throughout the Cherokee area.
Martin, and Cherokeans Leissler and Davis, stunned a packed house at The Gathering Place in historic downtown Cherokee on the evening of April 18th with the absolute, flawless quality of their superb CSN show, replete with a riveting, historic narrative and slide show mastered by Martin, an admitted trivia nut case who knows his subject A to Z.
At $10 a pop, "Daylight Again" is offering area music lovers a deal rivaling the Louisiana Purchase, a free Alaskan cruise, and a romp in the hay with the movie/rock/country star of your choice, your call, spousal permission required.
Not only do Martin, Leissler, and Davis deliver the CSN vocals with the passion of a pizza driver on Super Bowl Sunday, they each are masterful guitarists who absolutely nail the songs and accompanianment right in the heart.
Completing the Daylight Again tribute are three skilled, unsurpassed area talents - drummer Jim Christensen of Holstein, bass player Jamie Bowers of Sioux City, and keyboardist Steve Alingh of Cherokee. We should be so lucky if they all reside in Cherokee.
Together, the sky's the limit for this sextet as they further perfect the CSN tribute.
So far, the project has been two years in the making and, all told, the band, all of whom have day jobs, has practiced together a couple hours here and there each week - a remarkably short time for them to knock off to perfection such a magical show.
Friday night's gig at The Gathering Place, the "Concert Hall" of the Cherokee Institute of Performing Arts (CIPA) building in the heart of Cherokee's designated Entertainment & Cultural District, was only the third CSN concert opened to the public, each one drawing more and more music lovers.
The CIPA is owned and operated by Jimmy Davis, Steve Thomas, and Dr. Brian Fulton, all of Cherokee. The mission of this partnership was to develop in a historically restored building a place where young and old could gather to perform and share with others a love of all types of music and the arts.
The Gathering Place annually hosts bands in town for the Cherokee Jazz & Blues Festival, regularly hosts jam sessions for local musicians to strut their stuff and share their talents in a kicked-back atmosphere, regularly hosts nationally-known musicians and bands, arts and crafts shows, anything attuned to entertainment, with the accent forever on music. There are private music lessons rooms for youths being developed in the basement of the historic two-story structure.
It was CIPA and the Gathering Place that first attracted Martin to Cherokee after he moved to the Quimby area from his native Sioux City. He and Davis quickly clicked as talented musicians/vocalists and played in several variations of local bands the past few years.
When Martin mentioned his "dream" of the CSN tribute to Davis, Leissler's name quickly popped up and this magical trio was formed. Leissler, a well-kept musical secret and a personable, knowledgeable, hard-working executive at his day job, is one superbly talented guitarist, vocalist, and songwriter. When Martin heard him play and sing, and discovered Leissler's love of CSN music, he was "Blown away. This is like it was meant to be, how we all came together in Cherokee, Iowa," said Martin in a brief interview among backslaps after Friday night's memorable concert.
"After meeting him and hearing him play and sing, I knew Jimmy was the real deal," said Martin, a rock & roll legend throughout the Midwest. "And Charlie just blew us away and completed the circle."
The back-to-back CSN songs are plenty enough to provide one superb concert, but Martin's historic narrative of the good and bad times in America while CSN was embracing fate and subconsciously migrating into each other's lives, slam dunks the show way, way over the top.
"You don't find stuff this good in Vegas," yelped one fan in the crowd as the show neared its end.
"You could charge $50 a ticket and we'd all still be here," quipped another.
"This is absolutely the best concert I've ever been to and we go to just about all of them around," said one young woman in the third row, who, perhaps with her parents, wasn't even born when Crosby, Stills & Nash performed and recorded.
The incomparable singer/songwriter/guitarist/pianist/harmonica-playing Indian from Canada, Neil Young, was also a large part of CSN, but his failure to show up 100-percent of the time back then curtailed his invovement, although his melodies and lyrics carry several CSN songs.
However, Daylight Again does not slight Young, performing several of his songs to complete the circle for one of the most acclaimed rock & roll groups of the 1960s and 70s, and all time.
Together with Bob Dylan, Joan Collins, and other "protest" musicians of the era, Crosby, Stills, & Nash became the voices of an entire generation when this country was going to hell in a bucket with the Vietnam War, the Chicago 7, the Kent State shootings, Watergate, the impeachment of President Nixon, Woodstock, etc.
Thanks to Daylight Again, those voices now reverberate in Cherokee, and soon in Sioux City, where the show will be staged in the Castle on The Hill, the renovated former Central High School Auditorium, at 8 p.m. Saturday, May 24. Do not forego this opportunity.
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Or, you can simply take my word for it.
To coin some CSN lyrics, there's somethin' happenin' here. In Our Town. Jump aboard. Be a part of it all.