BENNINGTON -- Tom Akstens and Neil Rossi will bring their 50th anniversary tour to Bennington’s Meetinghouse Cafe on Friday, September 20.
Tickets are $15 at the door. The concert begins at 7:30 p.m. The Meetinghouse Cafe is at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship at 108 School St. in downtown Bennington.
Tom and Neil are multi-instrumentalists, singers and songwriters who have explored the nooks and crannies of old-time country music, country blues and honky-tonk. Their most recent album, "Scoundrels, Trains and Tragic Romance" is a celebration of the American roots music they’ve been playing together for almost five decades. Their other recent album, "All Around the Mountain," was recorded at four concerts throughout the Adirondack Mountains.
The duo had their first gig together in high school as part of "Hootenanny ‘63," a touring revue that featured the Jug Band and Tom Rush. Neil went on to fiddle with the Spark Gap Wonder Boys, world champion old-time string band at the Union Grove Fiddlers Convention. Tom moved to Philadelphia, where he joined Blues Power as a guitarist and singer.
Tom and Neil had their first musical reunion during the sessions for Tom’s 1976 album on Takoma Records. By then, Neil was a regular member of the David Bromberg Band. Since then, Tom and Neil have gotten together often to play coffeehouses and concerts at colleges, arts organizations and libraries.
Neil’s love of traditional bluegrass led him to gigs as fiddler with the Yankee Rebels, the Joint Chiefs of Bluegrass and (most recently) as mandolin player with Vermont-based Big Spike Bluegrass. Tom played mandolin, guitar and clawhammer banjo with Big Trout Radio, an acoustic trio that also featured Artie Traum and Chris Shaw.
Their recent CDs and current series of concerts mark another musical reunion of two friends who came out of the Cambridge and Newport folk revival of the 1960s and have gone on to make their own unique musical statements. It’s an irresistible mix of old-time string band music, roadhouse tear-jerkers, country ragtime and back-porch humor from two guys Sarah Craig of Caffe Lena has called "masters of their craft."