NISSWA — Larry Long returns for a Grassroots Concerts performance at 7:30 p.m. Friday in the Live Well Nightclub and Coffee Bar in Nisswa.
Long is a chip off the old block of American hardwoods, a spoken-word poet, a singer-songwriter, rouser, seeker, storyteller and conservationist.
He has traveled the world to celebrate people and places in song, which is something folk legend Pete Seeger noted, “is what more singers and songwriters should be doing: using music to help people learn to work together … And bring a world of peace.”
Long’s ballads readily capture the American history of our time, while embracing our common humanity with stories about those history makers who are known and those who are unknown. He has worked in urban communities combining Latin, Somalian, African-American, and Scandinavian students. He has worked in southern rural communities combining black, white, Native American and Latin stories.
In the mid-1980s he assembled the first hometown tribute to Woody Guthrie in Okemah, Oklahoma, which today has evolved into a large, free festival with an array of established and upcoming artists.
Long is a recipient of the prestigious Bush Artists Fellowship, the Pope John XXIII Award and In The Spirit of Crazy Horse Award for his work in forgotten communities.
“Don’t Stand Still,” a 2011 release, taps Long’s influences, from gospel to reggae to Cajun to R & B to straight-up rock and roll. It highlights his love for different musical traditions. Written and produced by Long and co-produced by Billy Peterson, the album features JD Steele, Tonia Hughes, Robert Robinson, Marc Anderson and Ricky Peterson.
At least 10 other recordings since his 1982 debut release “Troubador” continue to find new listeners touched by the man Studs Terkel dubbed “a true American troubadour.”
The demand for Long’s work sparked the creation of a non-profit organization, Community Celebration of Place (CCP). CCP works with communities to use music, performance, art and oral history to bring together children and elders, and people of different backgrounds — economic, faith, racial, and cultural — to honor and celebrate our commonalties and differences.
Cory Wong will perform with Long in Nisswa. He is young but has proven to be a standout guitarist/musician in the Twin Cities. He is an established go-to guitarist, composer, and arranger for artists such as The Blind Boys of Alabama, Jimmie Vaughan, Robert Robinson, and The Radio City Rockettes.
Wong plays with his band, Cory Wong Quartet, Tuesdays at the Artists Quarter in St. Paul, among other venues nationwide. He has been featured in public radio news. His song, “Upstream,” was the first solo guitar recording to be in the video game “Rock Band.”
Long calls Wong “a stellar musician.”
Admission is $10 at the door for adults and $5 for children under 12 with listening attention, when accompanied by an adult. Doors open at 6:30 p.m., with seating “first-come, first-served.”
Concerts are made possible in part by a grant from the Minnesota Legislature awarded by the Five Wings Regional Arts Council.
Grassroots Concerts welcomes your non-perishable food (or cash) donation to the local food shelf and thanks you for your support. For information go to www.grassrootsconcerts.org, call 829-4092 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.