On the town with Don and Peg: Bucky Halker
Ageless Northshore (November 4, 2009)
Last Friday night we saw Bucky Halker at the Skokie Theatre – the program was the music of Pete Seeger, Woody Guthrie and Bob Dylan. Now, if you’d asked me if I was a fan of the music of Guthrie and Seeger a couple weeks ago, I would have shrugged and said, yeah, I used to like that folky stuff back in the day.
But when we got to the Skokie Theatre, Halker was hanging out in the lobby, a friendly good-looking guy greeting folks and chatting before the show. On stage, Halker was that same guy. He doesn’t impersonate the originals. He gives voice to the original artists by absorbing them into his own.
Memories accompanied Halker’s music – singing “Where Have All the Flowers Gone?” around a campfire at summer camp (long time ago!), learning to play Joan Baez (Dylan’s ex-lover, but you knew that already) songs on my first guitar, listening endlessly to Dylan in college and beyond – singing “Union Maid” at a rally in San Francisco during my 15 minutes as a revolutionary – seeing Pete Seeger and Arlo Guthrie at Ravinia – and taking my 17-yr. old daughter to see Joan Baez and Dar Williams at Park West…
Halker is an historian who enriches his performance with just the right mixture of stories from the artists’ lives and the social history of the music. And he plays a mean guitar. He’s got new CDs out with music from Illinois and will be appearing next in the Chicago area at the Chicago History Museum, November 22. Check him out. You might get in touch with some of your own history.