Sunday, March 19, 2017

Robby Vee Set to Kick Off the 2017 North Country Dylan Fest

The Armory Arts and Music Center has announced the headliner for this year's annual benefit concert to get things in motion for this year's Duluth Dylan Fest, and it sounds exciting. Here's the news I read today:

Join us for an evening of electricity and music hosted by Second Generation Rocker & Rockabilly Hall of Famer Robby Vee and His Rock-N-Roll Caravan featuring Vee Sings Vee - classic rock-n-roll! Robby Vee "The Prince Of Twang” was born Robert Velline named after his father Bobby Vee. He is recognized by both the American and Canadian Rockabilly Hall of Fames and has been performing his unique style of Rock-n- Roll music for years on stages across the globe. Having been on tour with the legends and architects of rock-n-roll, Robby has learned from, and shared credits and stages with the best, from James Burton to Carl Perkins, Albert Lee, Little Richard, the Everly Brothers, Sir Paul McCartney, Eric Clapton, Dion, The Righteous Brothers, Buddy Holly’s Crickets, Dick Clark and his ‘Caravan of Stars Rock ‘N’ Roll Show’, his father, 60’s pop rocker Bobby Vee and many more.

Robby is known for combining elements of his vast repertoire telling stories that bridge the generation gap from “the roots of Rock n Roll to the new sounds of Americana music of today”. As an Entertainer with many studio records to his name, countless guest artist credits, and a history of extensive touring, Vee has captured the attention of audiences and respected industry professionals both Nationally and Internationally.

Robby's dad Bobby Vee got his start in music at the age of 15 with his group The Shadows when they filled in for Buddy Holly in Moorhead, MN in February 1959, the day after the fateful plane crash. Later that year Bobby would hire a young Robert Zimmerman - then going by the name Elston Gunnn - to play piano for a few shows. The rest is history for both of these fine artists. They stayed in close touch over the years. Bobby Vee went on to perform at the Historic Duluth Armory many times over the years. We are thrilled to have his son Robby grace the stage on behalf of our efforts to restore the magnificent Historic Duluth Armory.

Visit Robby Vee's website for more details about the man and his Rock 'N Roll Caravan.

When Dylan performed at the DECC here in Duluth, 1998, the opening act was David Allen and the Guilty Men who performed with such a palpable rock-a-billy energy that a portion of the crowd no doubt temporarily forgot why they had come. They rocked.

Note the connection. Dylan, Vee, rock-a-billy, Duluth Dylan Fest.

The Elston Gunn connection between a very young not-yet-named Bob Dylan and Bobby Vee is a most amusing story of the kid's gumption, a.k.a. chutzpah. And Dylan never forgot that brief moment in time when he got a chance to perform with a big name band that was the real deal. After performing in Duluth's Bayfront Park in 2013, his tour bus made its next stop in St. Paul. Guess who was in the audience that night? Bobby Vee, and the now legendary Dylan paid a tribute to the guy who gave him a chance once.


It's pretty remarkable how things come full circle. The day Buddy Holly's plane crashed in that Iowa cornfield had such finality, it never enters one's mind what happened next. That is, did the tour bus continue on its way? There were people who'd bought tickets for the next show. That Bobby Vee would step in and give that the Moorhead crowd their moneysworth is just another detail that might be worth extra points in a trivia contest some day.

SPECIAL NOTE: The Robby Vee show will held at Karpeles Manuscript Library Museum, located in the former Christian Science church building across the street from St. Luke's Hospital at 902 East 1st Street. In other words, do not show up at Sacred Heart and wonder where everyone is.

This is the kickoff event for Duluth Dylan Fest 2017. There's a great lineup of events taking place as we firm up our traditions. Coming in from out of town? We're only nine weeks away now. Book your flights and your rooms. New faces from out of the way places are always welcome.

Buy your concert tickets HERE at Eventbrite.

A year ago Bob turned 75 and the DDF team pulled out all the stops to make it a stellar week. Even the weather was cooperative. In the backs of our minds many of us, however, thought 76 would be a but of a letdown after that. 75 s a big one. What we didn't know was that Nobel Prize Committee would soon lend a hand to make this year's celebration special yet again. Join us.

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Meantime, life goes on all around you. Don't let it pass you by.

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