The Metuchen Arts Council, in association with the BIL SummerHouse for the Arts, will present a “SummerHouse Party” honoring the legacy of the late Levon Helm on Saturday, July 7th at 7:30 p.m. at The Old Franklin School building, 491Middlesex Avenue, Metuchen.

Levon Helm, who passed away in April at the age of 71, was a member of “the Band” which became Bob Dylan’s backup band in the late 1960’s. The Band went on to record and tour on it’s own. Mr. Helm was the Band’s drummer and contributed vocals, many of which were lead vocals on some of the groups best known recordings including, “The Night They Drove All Dixie Down,” “Ophelia” and “Rag Mama Rag.”

In recent years, Mr. Helm’s barn at his home in Woodstock, NY became a hub for a wide circle of musicians. He began hosting “Midnight Rambles” concerts that often featured surprise guest artists along with young, emerging musicians and signer/songwriters.

That spirit of passing on musical traditions is the inspiration for the Metuchen SummerHouse Party on July 7th. Instead of a barn, the gathering will take place in Metuchen’s historic, one room schoolhouse known as the Old Franklin School. It promises to be an intimate evening of live music featuring several emerging singer/songwriters whose own work, like that of Levon Helm, make full use of deep-rooted American rhythms, communal harmonies and downhome storytelling.

The performers include: Indiana native and blues/rock recording artist Evan Watson; the Metuchen based singer/songwriter Sharon Goldman who will team up

with the blues/folk artist Karyn Oliver; and Jeremy Benson, a Metuchen favorite son and a founding member of the indie band The Roadside Graves, who will bring a few friends along for backup.

The Artists:

Evan Watson, a 26 year-old Indiana native writes accessible songs that flirt with pop melody lines, but deliver a heart-felt original execution. Evan is saturated in the blues, folk and gospel traditions of America with influences like the Allman Brothers, Lowell George, Eric Clapton, The Band, Buddy Guy and Ben Harper. Evan is a staple in the New York City music scene and performs regularly at the Bitter End, Arlene’s Grocery, Rockwood Music Hall and the Bowery Electric. His first album, A TOWN CALLED BLUE, was released in 2007. His second album, SOUTH, is due out this summer.

Metuchen based singer/songwriter Sharon Goldman has been bringing her smart and sweet folk-pop to tri-state area audiences for nearly a decade. With powerful, pure vocals that have been called “flawless,” Goldman adds catch melodies and vivid lyrical pictures to her songwriting craft. Sharon has four albums to her credit including her 2010 release “Sleepless Lullaby.”
Sharon will team up with Karyn Oliver who is both a Kerrville New Folk Finalist and a Falcon Ridge Emerging Artist as well as 2010 Mid-Atlantic Song Contest winner, Karyn, part Joan Osborne, a touch of Janis Joplin and bit of EmmyLou Harris, effortlessly oscillating from bluesy to country and back. Karyn hails from the Washington D.C. area and credits that area’s diverse musical culture for her unique genre-blending style.

Metuchen native, Jeremy Benson will perform accompanied by good friends Colin Ryan on drums and John Piatkowski on keyboard. Jeremy has spent a good portion of the last 10 years as multi-instrumentalist and songwriter for the New Jersey indie folk-rock band, the Roadside Graves. He has been perfecting his music and performance style touring around the country appearing at venues ranging from Red Rocks to the Troubadour and the 40 Watt, to barns, farms, tattoo shops, and bowling alleys. He currently lives in Brooklyn, NY. His latest album, “Dark Songs 2, was released this past May.

The SummerHouse Party on July 7th begins at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $10 and $5 for students and seniors.

The Old Franklin School is located at 491 Middlesex Avenue (Route 27) in Metuchen, right next to the Metuchen Fire House. Parking is available along Middlesex Avenue or across the street at Borough Hall.

For more information about the July 7th SummerHouse Party contact Nancy Goldberg at 732-632-8502.