In his sweeping new biography, Bob Dylan in America, Princeton historian Sean Wilentz discusses one of Dylan’s key influences, Blind Willie McTell. “He was a sponge … who soaked up every kind of music he heard and then expressed it in his own way,” writes Wilentz — much like Dylan.
It’s also true of Dylan contemporary Maria Muldaur. In junior high school, she led two doo-wop groups and was offered a record contract, which her mother nixed.
“She put an abrupt end to my hopeful little rock and roll career, which in retrospect is probably a good thing,” said Muldaur recently from a tour stop in Fredericton, New Brunswick. “The really cool, hip funky music [was] co-opted … Elvis got drafted and replaced with Pat Boone.
When Wan-Tu Blues Band harp player Pete Zona first began performing live, he was constantly searching for an open jam session. In 2004, his girlfriend Brenda Cadieux decided to bring the music to the couple’s favorite bar, the Village Trestle in Goffstown. She organized a surprise birthday party and invited the many musicians Zona had sat in with. “Point being they all had to let Peter play with them,” explained Cadieux recently.
On that day, guitarist Tom Bellerini dubbed him Slutty Pete, because, says Cadieux, “he will play with anyone.” When the participants all agreed the experience was so much fun it should be repeated a week later, the gathering also marked the beginning of an enduring Sunday afternoon tradition. But while the weekly Wan-Tu Blues Band session is one of the most popular in the area, nothing draws a crowd like Slutty Pete’s annual Birthday Jam.
plus, the week’s Nite Roundup