KOERNER, MURPHY & BEACH THE FAREWELL TOUR
Thursday, June 30
(140m, DVD/BR) St Paul filmmaker Digger Kohler presents three short films, “Why Marmarth”(featuring Willie Murphy and Cockroach Park);”Spider John Koerner at the Logging Camp Ranch”. Kohler’s films have been screened at several cities in the US, British Columbia, and at the Musicastrada Jazz Festival sites in Italy.
In “Why Marmarth” Kohler presents blues great Willie Murphy and his trio, Cockroach Park (Mark Haynes, bass; Donald “Hye Pockets” Robertson); it co-stars the beautiful and rugged North Dakota Badlands, the Enchanted Highway and, nestled in a cottonwood grove on the banks of the Little Missouri River, Marmarth, ND, population 140. The town’s 1914 constructed vaudeville theatre, aptly named “The Mystic,” provides a curious and alluring setting for this exciting performance.
The Logging Camp Ranch in a remote but spectacular corner of southwestern North Dakota provides a backdrop, as exceptional as the music of”Spider”John Koerner. Koerner’s inventive originals and innovative interpretations of classic folk/blues have, for decades, rapt audiences fi-om the East to the West Coasts of the US, Canada and Europe. His collaborations with masters like Dave Ray, Tony Glover, and Willie Murphy are legendary; his work has been covered by greats such as Bonnie Raitt and his fans have included John Lennon, Bob Dylan, and David Bowie. This solo performance captures the humor, genius, and penetrating beauty of American folk/blues and a genuine artist.
As loosey-goosey as its subject, this mini-documenatary focuses well-deserved attention on a long time Twin Cities musical treasure who is largely taken for granted. Beach is the closest thing our area has to a Professor Longhair–a rollicking barrelhouse piano ace whose blues are doggedly idiosyncratic, deeply felt, organic and timeless. He’s been a Bumblebee, an Explodo Boy, a Three Bedroom Rambler, co-leader of the Blackburn Beach Blues Band and the anchor of innumerable ad hoc duos and trios. Now the barfly is an unlikely movie star, and the camera loves Beach’s craggy face and herky-jerky rhythms, which seem to roll along like one of his piano fingers. In addition to gritty and gripping music, Digger Kohler’s 30 minute short film offers hearty humor, life and death philosophy, plenty of trailer-park and tavern atmosphere, and some odd driving antics.