One of the biggest names in both Rock and Folk music, Al Stewart, will be appearing at Wautoma’s McComb/Bruchs Performing Arts Center on Friday, October 17th at 7:00 PM with a remarkable show entitled “An Acoustic Evening with Al Stewart”. Al will be joined in Wautoma for the magical evening of stories and song by incredible guitarist David Nachmanoff. The performance is being sponsored by Moose Inn, Dogger’s Bar & Lanes, WAUH Radio, and Gary & Kay Christensen.
By the time he was 22 Al Stewart had met the Beatles and played John Lennon’s guitar, opened for The Rolling Stones, shared an apartment with Simon & Garfunkel, and recorded with Jimmy Page. Stewart came to stardom as part of the folk revival of the late 60’s and 70’s combining folk-rock music with delicately woven tales in hits like “Year Of The Cat”, “Time Passages”, “On The Border”, and “Song On The Radio”.
Al Stewart has developed his own unique style of combining folk-rock songs with delicately woven tales of great characters and events from history. He released nineteen studio albums between 1967 and 2008 and continues to tour extensively around the US and Europe. He is perhaps best known for his hits “Year of the Cat” from the platinum album of the same name and his platinum follow up release “Time Passages” and “On the Border”.
Glasgow native Al Stewart began his career playing guitar in Tony Blackburn’s band the Sabres, and moved from there to the London folk club scene. Year of the Cat (1976) spun off two Top 20 hits (the indelible title song and “On the Border”) en route to becoming a million-selling release itself. 1978’s Time Passages repeated the success of its predecessor, selling a million copies and yielding the Top 10 title track and Top 30 single, “Song on the Radio”.
Like the fine wines that are his hobby, Al Stewart’s gifts as a singer and songwriter have matured and ripened over the course of his musical career, stretching from the early ’60s to the present and beyond. Leaving school at 16, Al headed toward his future by playing guitar in various local bands. “In 1963 The Beatles were breaking out in England,” Al explained in the liner notes to his Greatest Hits collection issued by Rhino Records last year. “I wanted to be Al Beatle. Along came the Rolling Stones and I wanted to be Keith Richards.” But a strong dose of Bob Dylan’s original songs shifted his focus from instrumentalist to lyricist and vocalist.
In 1965, Al moved to London and became the emcee at the famed Les Cousins folk club, rubbing shoulders with young talents like Paul Simon and Cat Stevens. He started writing and performing his own songs, first at Les Cousins, later at other folk clubs and colleges across England, frequently appearing with folk-oriented groups like the Incredible String Band, Fairport Convention, and The Pentangle.
Al’s first album, Bedsitter Images, was released in England in 1967 (and years later in the US), followed by 1969’s Love Chronicles, which featured Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page and Richard Thompson on lead guitars and a 19-minute title song that recounted his romantic adventures.
After several more albums written in autobiographical mode, Al shifted his lyrical gaze outward, into history, literature and current events, an approach debuted on 1973’s Past, Present & Future (released on the Janus label in 1974). The follow-up, Modern Times, cracked the US Top 40 album charts in1975 and drew Al and his backing band to the States for a full length tour.
With groundwork laid and touring dues paid, Al’s next album exploded in America: Year of the Cat, released in 1976, spawned two Top 20 hits (the title song and “On the Border”), and itself became a million-selling record.
After Al relocated to California, where he still resides, his next album, 1978’s Time Passages, repeated the success of its predecessor, selling another million copies and spinning off the Top 10 title track and Top 30 single, “Song on the Radio.”
Despite high quality songs and performances, subsequent Stewart albums in the ’70s and ’80s didn’t receive as much popular attention, as punk rock and other new musical movements pushed their way into public consciousness. In the early ’90s, Al returned to his folk roots with a solo tour of the UK, his first in 15 years, and Famous Last Words, which utilized acoustic instrumentation and traditional folk and classical styles. Between the Wars (1995), focusing on the ’20s and ’30s, marked Al’s first collaboration with former Wings guitarist Laurence Juber; their next effort, Down in the Cellar (2000), was a concept album, incorporating Al’s knowledge of fine wines into his you-are-there songs of personal and historical vignettes; the CD was only released in Europe. In 2008 the long drought of new Stewart songs was broken by A Beach Full of Shells, and 2014 finds him at the peak of his songwriting powers, still able to conjure other times and distant places with well-chosen words and evocative music.
“This venerable singer/songwriter is still doing what he does best, and clearly his best is as good as ever.”
– Miami Herald
Tickets to “An Acoustic Evening with Al Stewart” are available at the McComb/Bruchs Performing Arts Center located at 514 S. Cambridge St., Wautoma. The box office is open Monday through Friday, 10:00 am until 2:00 pm, and from 3:00 PM until the performance on October 17th. Patrons may also purchase discounted passes to the following day’s Moostoberfest celebration at Moose Inn as part of a special package with their show tickets. Orders may be placed by phone at (920) 787-2189, or toll-free at (888) 987-2189, Visa, Discover, and MasterCard are accepted.