On this weekend’s anniversary of “the day the music died,” West Michigan’s rockabilly queen will fire up Bell’s Brewery in Kalamazoo with influential, vintage rock gems.
THE ARTIST: Delilah DeWylde
THE MUSIC: Rockabilly
WHERE YOU CAN SEE HER: 7 p.m. Saturday (Feb. 2) at Bell’s Brewery Eccentric Café, commemorating the 60th anniversary of the “day the music died” with a 1959 Winter Dance Party Tribute Show
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This weekend will mark 60 years since “the day the music died.”
Hours after playing what would turn out to be their last show on Feb. 2, 1959, at the Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake, Iowa, a small chartered plane carrying the legendary Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and J.P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson went down in an icy field just a few miles north of Clear Lake, instantly killing all three young rock stars and the pilot.
On Saturday (Feb. 2), West Michigan rockabilly queen Delilah DeWylde will take to the Bell’s Brewery Back Room stage with her band to pay tribute to those musicians and the music that has inspired her own career.
“The reason for the tribute is just our love for Buddy Holly, and to keep the memory of his music alive,” said DeWylde, who has been playing his songs for the past 20 years and performing tribute shows annually for the past eight around the anniversary of the 1959 Winter Dance Party Tour.
Intrigued by ’50s music since she was young — turned on by movies such as “The Buddy Holly Story,” “La Bamba,” and “Back to the Future” — DeWylde and bandmates Lee Harvey on guitar and Johnny HiWatt on drums are “attracted to the rockabilly sound for its upbeat rhythm and energy.”
“We do what we can to keep the rockabilly flame burning in much the same way as a bluegrass or folk band will play the traditional songs. I think it’s important that people know where modern rock came from,” she said.
NEW ORIGINAL MUSIC ALSO ON THE WAY
And while DeWylde hasn’t released any original music since she put out her third LP, “Win My Love,” in 2012, fans can expect to get their hands on freshly recorded material sometime this summer.
“We’ve been talking seriously about doing another album for about the last five years,” DeWylde said, adding that they have actually been doing some recording in her home studio, but that it hasn’t been turning out the way they wanted.
As a result, DeWylde is changing her approach.
“We’re going to try and record a lot of live shows this year and take the best from those and release a live album,” she said. “I think I perform better live than I do in the studio anyway. It’s always been hard for me to recreate the feel of live energy in the studio.”
The live album, she said, will feature new unreleased originals and probably a few covers she has been performing over the years.
SATURDAY WILL BE ALL ABOUT BUDDY AND THE BOPPER
Saturday’s show, however, will focus on Buddy Holly, who was only 22 when he died, and The Big Bopper, who was 28.
“We actually know more (of their) songs than we can play in a three-hour show,” she said, adding that this would be her only Winter Dance Party tribute this year.
“It’s amazing how many recordings (Holly) did at such a young age,” she said. “His singing has definitely influenced mine. … He had a very honest and sincere sound to his voice that I really love. I hope my love for his music comes out when we play these songs.”
DeWylde’s show begins at 8 p.m. and doors open at 7 p.m. Attendees are encouraged to arrive early for a “vintage vinyl record hop” that begins promptly at 7 p.m.. For more information and for tickets, which cost $8, visit bellsbeer.com.
“There will be a big dance floor, and we’re hoping for lots of dancers,” DeWylde said.
VIDEO: Buddy Holly & The Crickets on The Ed Sullivan Show
VIDEO: Big Bopper, Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens & The Day the Music Died
VIDEO: Delilah DeWylde
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