"Blind Boy" Paxton and Mamie Minch
Saturday, May 31, 2014 from 7:30 PM to 10:30 PM (EDT)
Meet Jerron Paxton, a modern day songster, minstrel and bluesman.
His name is Jerron (say Jer-Ron, giving it two distinct Rs) Paxton, but apparently you can call him “Blind Boy” if you want to. Jerron Paxton is truly the living embodiment of the true blues in the 21St Century, but he plays it all in the true songster tradition: ragtime, hokum, old-time, French reels, Appalachian mountain music and blues and more – and whatever he plays sounds great . The young bard was born in 1989, but his vast talent rivals the greatest in the genre. He is the whole package. He’s witty, fast rhyming, poetic, fun, exciting, wonderfully skilled as a musician and a fine singer, he is the continuation of a proud tradition, literally and figuratively.
Jerron Paxton comes across not as a young man in his early twenties, but he impresses with incisive understanding and wisdom far beyond his age. “I am a songster. I am not limited to the blues. I sing and play ballads, banjo tunes, fiddle tunes, rags and more.” he told thecountryblues.com. “For me, music is not an academic experiment. I play it the way I feel like it, because it should be an expression of how I see things. I am just learning to have a good time so that the audience can have a good time. Music shouldn’t be forced. It’s upsetting to me that so much music is technique, just skill and not enough feeling. I am happy to play so that the audience feels like I am in their living room. I want people to be enjoying themselves.”
Jerron Paxton has been blind since age 16,with peripheral vision problems that allow him some sight. He cannot drive and is legally blind, but has enough sight to get around and he can see enough to seem unaffected by his vision problems. The charismatic songster bluesman, reports that he hails from an African American Jewish family with mixed Creole /Choctaw Indian ancestry – transplanted Louisiana sharecroppers who moved to South Central Los Angeles, but Jerron now lives in Queens. In other words, he is a true American.
Sharing the bill with Jerron will be Mamie MInch. Mamie Minch first appeared in the NYC live music scene as an acoustic guitarist and singer with a voice and sensibility well beyond her years. One listen to her and you’ll understand- there is music you want to sing, and there is music you were meant to sing. Mamie found her voice in reviving -and writing- antique blues songs, even though whe’s now just over a quarter century old.
Minch’s father played fingerstyle guitar on his vintage Martin- he taught her the Mississippi John Hurt and Rev. Gary Davis songs that started her excitement about fingerstyle guitar and became her musical bedrock. She culled DIY aesthetic influences from her teenage exposure to punk and garage bands in her hometown in Delaware; she liked the parallel unself-conciousness in the approach of these musicians and traditional American folk musicians.
Around this time Mamie also started exploring Bessie Smith, Sarah Martin, and Memphis Minnie- their unabashed sensuality and the winking, confessional nature of their songs was to become a major influence in her performing and songwriting style. Upon coming to New York Mamie’s fascination with early recordings found a community of kindred spirits. Some of her first connections were with a group of 78 collectors who would throw listening parties for their rarest finds.
She shortly co-founded The Roulette Sisters, a popular all-woman retro quartet that performed originals and covers of blues, country tunes and early girl group harmony peices by the like of the Boswell and Andrews Sisters. She kept growing musically, spending a summer travelling through europe with an Italian anarchist street band, and busking extensively in New York City as part of Music Under New York.
Upon leaving the band in 2007 Mamie has been working on her own material as a songwriter and performer. She has played residencies at Brooklyn’s world music mecca Barbes and the 68 Jay Bar in Dumbo, and shared the stage with Dayna Kurtz, Jolie Holland, Bliss Blood, and loads of other talented friends. Her debut solo CD, the Razorburn Blues, is a limited edition handmade item.
When & Where
Common Ground Community Concerts
Common Ground Community Concerts is a grassroots music production and event planning organization based in Westchester County NY. For the past eight years, Common Ground has produced its flagship Common Ground Coffeehouse series, sponsored by (and hosted by) The First Unitarian Society of Westchester, in Hastings-on-Hudson NY. Common Ground also hosts Common Ground @ South Church at South Presbyterian Church in Dobbs Ferry NY, and offers complete event planning and entertainment coordination services to non-profit, community based organizations.