Friday, July 25, 2014

Tribute Concert Headlining “Spider” John Koerner at the Edge

The “traditional American folk and country blues musician, rhythmic guitarist, song-crafter, singer, and humorist” Spider John Koerner will bring his talents to the Edge Center in Bigfork this month for a tribute concert to Marshall Oelmann who passed away last year. Marshall acted, sang, and helped direct at the Edge as only part of a career that included managing at KAXE, the stage managing at the Winnipeg Folk Festival, and hosting many a Jug Band Boogie here in MN.  John was a friend of Marshall’s for decades.  The concert will also include many of Marshall’s other musician friends.  Saturday August 16 at 7PM. Price $10 adults, $5 children.

John Koerner has a musical style based on the old blues masters and traditional songs.  He was born in 1938 and became part of the folk history in 1958. He helped shape American country blues and folk music throughout his career. Much of his music is still available on CD, some of which dates back to the 1960s. With a career that brought John to stages around the US and Europe and influenced a generation of performers, his is a wonderful talent to pay tribute to Marshall.  In his career, he has appeared as a guest on Garrison Keillor's Prairie Home Companion, NPR, and this summer opened for Bonnie Raitt.

From Bob Dylan's autobiography, Chronicles, Volume One:
"With my newly learned repertoire, I then went further up the street and dropped into the Ten O'Clock Scholar, a Beat coffeehouse. I was looking for players with kindred spirits. The first guy I met in Minneapolis like me was sitting around in there. It was John Koerner and he also had an acoustic guitar with him. Koerner was tall and thin with a look of perpetual amusement on his face. We hit it off right away. ... When he spoke he was soft spoken, but when he sang he became a field holler shouter. Koerner was an exciting singer, and we began playing a lot together."

"Alone among the young blues revivalists, Koerner had a sound that was completely idiosyncratic and personal. From the first guitar riff, there was never any doubt about who was playing. Today the material has changed but the sound is intact...spare and funky, with lots of open spaces between oddly placed notes, all of it held together with his impeccable timing."—Blueswire

Above two quotes from John’s web site.  Read more at:

Marshall’s decades in entertaining included both program director and on-air talent as M. M. Buck at KAXE following his work at the folk festivals. His deep voice and large presence made him a natural for being on stage at the Edge Center.

He performed many roles and sang a large variety of music.  Throughout his work at the Edge he wanted to play the role of Tevye in “Fiddler on the Roof”.  He got his chance for this physically demanding role and went into training for six months. To many visitors to the Edge theatre, he will be always remembered in that role.  Many will also remember Marshall as the owner/operator of The Neighborhood Tavern in Effie.

For a live look at Marshall doing “his Fiddler thing” at the Edge click this link:

Scott Hall from KAXE calls Marshall a “Renaissance Radio Guy, which is to say he was very versatile. He could host any format with intelligence, humor and a common touch…”

Michael Goldberg also from KAXE saysl, "Marshall was a volunteer at KAXE. In 1985, when the interim manager walked off the job. He became a full time volunteer, devoting himself to keeping the station on the air thru rough times. In July 85 he became Program Director, and led the stations broadcast service in that capacity till 1993. He was the 'anchor' man in more ways than one. On the air he made every listener feel welcome and confident. Off the air, he brought out the talents of KAXE listeners and helped them bring those talents to the listeners by teaching them to become radio producers and hosts. After he left the stations staff, he continued to volunteer for any years, sharing his knowledge of music and the people of the region".

This tribute show coming to the Edge will be unique. With the talents of Spider John Koerner plus some other musical friends, there is sure to be a very wide variety of sounds to enjoy.  The grand finale of the show will get all the musicians back on stage and encourage audience participation.

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