John Gage: ‘I’m a young man now grown older….’

How does it happen? Another year slips by. We might not even notice if mirrors (bad inventions) did not lie.

Some of us ignore the mounting birthdays, others do more than take it in stride. They celebrate each new candle exuberantly; the “Blues Twins” are among these.  In fact, Becky Yelderman and Charlotte Wilke take pleasure in planning their own party, the way they want it.

But the party is never just about them; it’s always about raising money to help someone else. This year is no different.

Will Owen Gage and John Gage

Slated to get underway at 8 p.m. on Saturday, January 29, at The Cove, The Sixth Annual Blues Twins Birthday Bash will serve as a benefit to help defray the recent heart-related medical expenses of a musician, John Gage. Featured musicians will be The Lavens, After Midnight Blues Band and Gage’s son, Will Owen Gage.

While the blazing blues guitar player Will, who did not get his own guitar until he was four, is well-known here, John is not. That’s because his folk-singing father is based in Louisville.

Although a regular on festival stages, John Gage is known for his willingness to play “anyplace where there might be a potential audience wanting to sing along.” With his flat-picking guitar-style, he draws on traditions of ancient balladeers and poets. Interesting the next generation in music is of great importance to him:

John has extensive experience planning collaboratively with classroom teachers for arts education programs and participating in curriculum planning. In addition, he conducts interactive workshops and motivational speeches throughout the southeast region in an effort to help educators and parents understand how personal involvement with music and other performing arts contribute to improved academic learning and overall personal well-being.

John is a repeat emcee at major festivals through Kentucky and hosts a regular radio show reminiscent of old-time radio programs, Kentucky Homefront, on WFPK. The “front-porch” broadcasts are meant to serve as:

a gathering place for friends and where strangers become friends; a place for sharing and creating traditions.

Which sounds a lot like The Cove. Will Owens Gage and the younger generation of The Lavens have grown up together right in front of us on The Cove’s stage. Drummer Karl Yelderman and bass player Daryl Chadick of the After Midnight Blues Band used to back up some of Will’s earlier bands and have played with him as a trio known as The Burning Sensations.

When Will was in high school and would sometimes sit in with After Midnight, his cellphone rang at the precise time the gig was supposed to end. Never eager to stop, the band would play on. Will would put the phone down on the stage so his mom could hear and not worry he was out late without a good reason.

While the name of Will’s father is not a household one here, he’s automatically part of the extended musical family fostered on the stage of The Cove through the years. And this family member needs your help. So plan to support The Blues Twins Birthday Bash and Benefit for John Gage on the 29th. A $5 donation at the door gets you in for an evening of great music in a place where there are no strangers once you walk through the door.

How brief is a lifetime
How restless is late
How bright is the sunshine
How long is the wait

excerpt from “How” by John Gage

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