LITTLE FALLS -- Leon Redbone has hovered on the edges of American pop music for three decades, building his career on a natty appearance and vaudevillian stage performances.
Now he's bringing his one-man show to Little Falls as the opening act in the Great River Arts Association's performing arts season.
Redbone will take the stage Oct. 19 in Charles Martin Auditorium, starting at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $16 for adults, $12 for students and seniors.
Television audiences may be most familiar with Redbone's commercial work, including advertising jingles for Budweiser beer, the "Harry and the Hendersons" television show and many others.
But Redbone also is known for his contribution to reviving pre-World War II ragtime, jazz and blues.
"His blend of '20s and '30s-style jazz, blues and country honky-tonk music, mixed with his Bing Crosby-like baritone voice, overflows with nostalgia," wrote one Internet-based reviewer.
"His style is one of ballrooms and French cafes, lazy days and summertime blues, a touch of ragtime and cornball on-stage antics," the reviewer added.
Known for his fancy-Dan costumes, shaded glasses, hat and cane, Redbone emerged in the mid-1970s, with his debut recording "On the Track." He boosted interest in this and subsequent recordings as a regular musical entertainer on "Saturday Night Live" and other television programs.
Over the years, Redbone has released about a dozen albums, most featuring his trademark acoustical guitar style and numerous guest artists such as Dr. John, Ringo Starr, Merle Haggard and others.
"While the overall effect can seem like a bad night at Shakey's Pizza," wrote a second reviewer, "Redbone's undeniable affinity for this unashamedly noncommercial music makes for a pleasantly nostalgic, enjoyable and even educational listening experience.
"The tendency of this to sink into characterized schtick is avoided by Redbone's restraint, subtlety and obvious joy in performing music that would likely be lost to the ages and scratchy, black and white film, if he were not here championing it," the reviewer added.
GRAA will offer five other acts in its 2001-2002 season, including the Twin Cities Gospel Choir on Jan. 19, the Four Shadow a cappella quartet Feb. 8, the Celtic folk quintet Willowgreen on Feb. 23, the Ethnic Dance Theatre troupe March 15, and the Child's Play Touring Theatre troupe April 13.
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