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Leon Redbone

Saturday, March 9

Artist's Website: www.leonredbone.com

Why He's Worth Watching: The careers of performers who reside in the limelight are usually short-lived and over-overexposed. So it’s refreshing to encounter Leon Redbone, who has for decades remained so musically resonant and personally elusive. Though his iconic guise of white fedora, jacket and sunglasses has been thoroughly satirized, it’s easy to overlook what a genuinely gifted artist he remains - a role he inevitably tries to downplay. “In some ways I’ve always been complacent in my approach to music,” Redbone says. “So in some ways maybe I’m the pure definition of consistent.” Over the course of his 30+ year career, the bard has continued his love affair with tunes from the turn-of-the-century, flapper-era radio ditties, Depression-spawned ragtime and World War II folk-jazz. Redbone’s career first gained momentum in the early ‘70’s when Bob Dylan sought him out at the Mariposa Folk Festival. In a Rolling Stone interview, Dylan mentioned that if he ever started a label, Redbone would be the first artist he wanted to record. Most folks were introduced to the man during his network debut on Saturday Night Live in 1976, where he showcased his indelible version of “Walkin’ Stick.” In a year typified by amplified arena rock, Redbone’s intimate, low-key delivery proved to be a jolting antonym. Since then he’s played numerous talk shows, functioning as a favorite guest of Johnny Carson. The opportunities for this unlikely figure to impose himself on pop culture have been plentiful. His duet with star Zooey Deschanel on the seasonal standard “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” served as the theme song for holiday favorite "Elf".

For Fans Of: Vaudville/Classic Pop Music, Jimmy Durante, Bing Crosby, Nat King Cole, J.J. Cale
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