Recalling the musical richness and shifting cast of his 1976-era Rolling Thunder Revue, and celebrating the 76th birthday of the Bard himself, the Nobel prize-winning Bob Dylan, a trio of storied Chicago performers and Dylan freaks John Mead, Steve Dawson, and Jimmy Tomasello offer a night of his songs. Joining in to perform some Joni Mitchell songs, just as Joni herself did for Rolling Thunder, will be local siren Andrea Bunch.
Andrea Bunch performs solo and leads bands like Congress of Starlings, Crumbs Off the Table, and Little Queens, and has recorded and toured extensively, playing at world famous venues like Milwaukee’s Summerfest, Halsted Market Days, Taste of Chicago, Pride Fest, Hard Rock Café, and The House of Blues. Andrea has composed music for films, including the award winning documentary, Brink of Survival, and performs with John Mead in his band Coyotes as well as their Led Zeppelin tribute Strider. Andrea teaches at the Old Town School and runs her own business, Vital Body Yoga. She holds a doctorate in Physical Therapy from Northwestern University.
Steve Dawson is one of the Chicago music scene’s bona fide stars, and, says the St. Louis Riverfront Times’ Roy Kasten, “one of the most underrated songwriters in American music.” Dawson and his wife Diane Christiansen have led local heroes Dolly Varden for over twenty years, and he leads jazz-folk ensemble Funeral Bonsai Wedding as well. In these bands as well as on his solo albums and with Rachel Drew and the Bitter Roots, Dawson combines musicality, craftsmanship, and raw soul in a way that continues to rivet his audiences. Steve teaches guitar and songwriting at the Old Town School of Folk Music, where his skill and generosity have birthed dozens of gifted writers. His most recent accomplishment is a book on songwriting, Take It to the Bridge: Unlocking the Great Songs Inside You, written with Mark Caro and published by GIA.
Peter Manis has played drums for numerous bands over the last two decades, including Mystery Train and Coyotes, as well as a number of Great Moments in Vinyl projects. He has also been the go-to drummer at countless Old Town School tribute shows, where you need to show up and learn fast.
John Mead has played in and led bands Coyotes, Mystery Train, and Angelus, performing his original music for fifteen years, as well as playing lead guitar for Rachel Drew and the Bitter Roots, Crumbs Off the Table, Strider, and Little Queens. He has also spearheaded, organized, and led bands playing music by David Bowie, Bruce Springsteen, Van Morrison, the Rolling Stones, Michael Jackson, The Band, Elvis Presley, the Eagles, and many more. He will release his first album in summer of 2017. He teaches ensembles from R&B to disco and funk to Otis and Aretha to Bowie and the Clash at the Old Town School. By day Mead helps run the venerable Sue Duncan Children’s Center on Chicago’s South Side. He holds a Ph.D. in American literature and is an expert on abolitionism and slave rebellion, and he sells his paintings as well.
James Tomasello—Jimmy T to virtually everyone—has been lead guitarist for Chicago’s GroovePushers forever, and performs with comrades Bill Brickey and Steve Levitt as BLT. When the sun is up, the hat he wears is Guitar Program Manager at the Old Town School of Folk; he plays and teaches everything from Joe Hill to Jay Z, and his guidance, heart, and passion for music have put too many bands and musicians to count onto the scene. In a former life, Jimmy lived in a green absinthe haze, cavorting with poets and courtesans in fin de siècle Paris.