Ithaca-based songwriter and guitarist Joe Crookston is a master storyteller. At one of his concerts, you might hear about rattlesnake tails, dark highways, Galway heather, good luck, meter maids, or drunk roosters. His songs are universal, his rhythm is infectious; he can be funny one moment and transcendent the next. At the end of the night, you’ll leave inspired.
Crookston comes to Rochester for a Golden Link concert on Saturday, April 22 at 7:30 pm at the Rochester Christian Reformed Church in Penfield.
Whether he’s picking his ‘48 Gibson, weaving through lap slide songs, or looping his fiddle, Crookston will draw you in. If you love a moving song and musical madness, you will find that he delivers it all: melodies, lyrics, energy, and a deep passion for exceptionally well-written songs.
When asked about his music, Crookston says, “Woody Guthrie has a quote that I love: ‘A song needs to be more than good, it needs to be good for something.’ I do have a strong inclination to write songs and make music that is useful as we humans struggle with what it means to coexist on this planet! Not saying I always get there, but it keeps me focused on WHY I do what I do.”
Joe is also a painter and brings his love of imagery to life on stage, in his songs, and on the canvas. He says, “I’m working on how to cast light on a subject and allow for a strong disparity between light and dark. Also I do like human figures and a personal story in my paintings … it’s a powerful way for a viewer to put themselves into the painting.”
In 2014, his video documentary “Blue Tattoo” – based on his song about Holocaust survivor Dina Jacobson – screened at film festivals. His song “Brooklyn in July” is being made into a film this year. Click here to watch a live performance of "Brooklyn in July."
And for something different, here’s his song “Good Luck John,” which is one of two of his songs in the recent Rise Again songbook:
Check out the Golden Link website for details on this concert and the Bill Staines concert coming up on May 13.
Keep on singing!
– Janice Hanson
Janice Hanson is Concert Chair of the Golden Link Folk Singing Society, which was founded in 1971 to present, promote, and preserve folk music in the Rochester area.