Join Spokane Public Radio for the first of our Fall Kids' Concerts. The Willows, October 6 at 1 p.m. at River Park Square.
The Willows, a dynamic Inland Northwest acoustic quartet, offer their spirited tribute to legendary folk singers Peter, Paul and Mary. With combined career spans of 135 years, recording artists Kelly Bogan, Bill Klein, Valerie Hughes, and Bruce Pennell reignite memories in their listeners and evoke sing-along gusto.
Formed in New York in 1961, Peter, Paul and Mary were one of the leading groups of the American Folk Revival. The trio was composed of tenor Peter Yarrow, baritone Noel Paul Stookey and alto Mary Travers. The group's repertoire included songs written by Yarrow and Stookey, early songs by Bob Dylan as well as covers of other folk musicians.
Their debut album, Peter, Paul and Mary, included "Lemon Tree", "500 Miles", and the Pete Seeger hit tunes "If I Had a Hammer" and "Where Have All the Flowers Gone?". The album was listed in the Billboard Magazine Top Ten for 10 months, including seven weeks in the No. 1 position. It remained a main catalog-seller for decades to come, eventually selling over two million copies.
In 1963, the group released "Puff, the Magic Dragon" and that same year performed "If I Had a Hammer" and "Blowin' in the Wind" at the 1963 March on Washington, best remembered for Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech. The Bob Dylan song "Blowin' in the Wind" became one of their biggest hit singles and they went on to sing other Dylan songs, such as "The Times They Are a-Changin'" and "When the Ship Comes In." Their success with Dylan's "Don't Think Twice, It's All Right" helped Dylan's The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan album rise into the top 30 charts.
In December 1969 "Leaving on a Jet Plane", written by the group's friend John Denver, became their only No. 1 single (as well as their final top 40 pop hit) and the group's sixth million-selling gold single.
The Willows’ set, culled from the extensive Peter, Paul and Mary catalogue, showcases songs of love and humor, faith, lament, and protest. Listeners can expect riveting harmonies, intricate fingerpicking, a dash of history, compelling classics, like “Puff (The Magic Dragon),” and “If I Had a Hammer” in addition to lesser known gems.
Peter, Paul and Mary’s passionate engagement with music and the issues of their day left behind a vibrant, international legacy—a legacy re-introduced and freshly embodied by The Willows.
KPBX Kids' Concerts are FREE thanks to event donors Harvard Park Children's Learning Center North, Haystack Heighs, Numerica Credit Union, and Rocket Bakery, as well as the Johnston-Fix Foundation.
About The Willows
Kelly Bogan (as Peter Yarrow) dazzles with impeccable guitar chops and vocal flair honed by countless performances at bluegrass, jazz, and gospel venues. A private music instructor by day, Bogan also composes, arranges, runs a recording studio, and plays multiple instruments. His newest venture is Kelly’s Underground, an acoustic venue in Spokane for music spanning American folk to Brazilian to Irish.
Bill Klein (as Paul Stookey) heightens the group’s musical interpretation with soulful vocals and solid-gold rhythm. Past performances, regionally and abroad, encompass multiple genres, including: bluegrass, Celtic, Appalachian, and gospel. A producer, arranger, and multi-instrumentalist, Klein has also engineered and produced recordings, and led numerous groups in live settings as well as recording sessions.
Valerie Hughes (as Mary Travers) graces the stage and overall sound with her mellow vocals, infectious warmth, and magnetic presence. New to folk music, this jazz/big band soloist enjoys performance and people. A career R.N. as well as a former radio producer and on-air talent, Hughes worked for NPR at the University of Washington.
Bruce Pennell (as Dick Kniss) has been playing the bass professionally since high school. He has recently retired from his job as a high school band teacher. Having played with many well known groups, he actually played with PP&M for a night in Hawaii. They invited him to be their bass player on their tour to Australia, but he had to decline due to his commitment to College.