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Hudson Valley Resident's New Album Pays Tribute To Famed Folk Musician

16 Tons
16 Tons Photo Credit: Contributed

Andy Biskin is hoping people love the music of Alan Lomax as much as he does.

Biskin and his band, 16 Tons, have launched a Kickstarter to help fund the recording of his band's new record, which features a collection of American folk songs previously collected by Lomax.

The campaign, which runs through Feb. 1, is hoping to raise $8,000 to help cover fees for musicians recording, editing, mixing, mastering and producing the CDs. As of Saturday morning, 51 people have already pledged $4,521. Biskin must raise the full amount or he receives nothing.

The album will begin recording in January and Biskin hopes to release it in the spring.

Biskin, who was originally interested in jazz music was given the opportunity to work with Lomax out of college.

"His songs were simpler and more direct," Biskin said. "He told a story and spoke to people. He was this larger than life figure who was instrumental in bringing folk music into the public consciousness. He launched Pete Seger and Woody Guthrie."

An anthology of Lomax's songs sat on Biskin's bookshelf for years and he decided to see if he could make them into his own, arranging them for his band, which features a clarinet, three trumpets, and drums. Songs include "Blue Tail Fly" and "The Grey Goose."

"Several people I respect told me I was crazy and that this would never work, but I didn’t listen," Biskin said. "Every song is like its own little musical and historical world. It's interesting to hear them in a whole different way."

Biskin said putting the album on Kickstarter is an experiment.

"You're exposing yourself," Biskin said. "You feel vulnerable. It's had a nice initial response."

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