WAMFEST 2011 Press Release

Fairleigh Dickinson University’s WAMFEST 2011 is here!  We’re excited to present an eclectic and prestigious lineup featuring novelists, producers, singer/songwriters, critics, rock stars and more for five completely original performances.

WAMFEST Artist in Residence Wesley Stace/John Wesley Harding will be hosting each event.  He’ll also be reading from his titillating new novel, Charles Jessold, Considered a Murderer, and performing alongside Josh Ritter on May 5th.

The events kick off Tuesday, April 26th with twangy rocker Alejandro Escovedo (pictured left with his band, The Sensitive Boys), legendary producer and musician Tony Visconti and author/music critic/radio deejay Dave Marsh. All three performers have been heavy-hitters in the music world for decades now.  Escovedo changed the punk scene in California before moving back to Texas and embracing his country rock roots, collaborating with musicians like Ryan Adams and Calexico. Tony Visconti has risen to his own superstar status as a producer and musician, having played a massive and important role in the careers of idols like David Bowie, The Stooges and The Moody Blues.  In addition to his highly acclaimed, popular books documenting the life of Bruce Springsteen, Dave Marsh continues to write influential articles on music, literature, anti censorship and more.  Their performance begins at 5 p.m. in Hartman Lounge.

Brother/sister indie pop duo The Fiery Furnaces bring their progressive songs to the Bottle Hill Room on Friday, April 29th at 5 p.m. Their thoughtful lyrics highlight the connection between poetry and music while still rockin’ the catchy melodies and synthesizers.

Three wildly important writers from The New YorkerBen Greenman, Nancy Franklin and Alex Ross, join us Monday, May 2nd at 2 p.m. in Lenfell.  Greenman writes everything from short stories to music journalism to novels about funk and musicals about Britney Spears. As one of the world’s most influential television critics, Nancy Franklin combines a critical eye with a sharp, humorous style to give her take on TV and society, while one of the world’s most influential music critics Alex Ross reviews the modern classical scene and examines the history of music.

Thursday, May 5th brings Josh Ritter (pictured right) and Wesley Stace/John Wesley Harding, two celebrated singer/songwriters and novelists, back together after their stellar AWP performance in February.  Ritter continues to craft beautiful folk/rock songs while gearing up for the release of his first book, Bright’s Passages, due out this June.  Harding, a man truly dedicated to celebrating the connection between music and literature, will be reading an excerpt from his above-mentioned novel, Charles Jessold, Considered a Murderer.  Check out The New York Times very positive, enthusiastic review of the book and learn more about Harding’s projects on NPR.  The two will be performing together in Hartman Lounge at 2:30 p.m.

This year’s WAMFEST concludes on May 7th with a performance by Owen, brought to us by The Musicians’ Guild. Growing up in a musical household and finding fame through family band Cap’n Jazz, Mike Kinsella moved on to solo project Owen in which he composes all the music, plays all the instruments and writes all the lyrics.  Combining catchy vocal riffs with detailed, impressive guitar lines and multi-layered instrumentation, Owen finds a sweet mix of upbeat pop and pretty folk with a touch of rock.  His lyrics not only reference multiple literary greats, like Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Raymond Carver, but are also thoughtful, beautiful poetry on their own.

All events are free.  Non-students are strongly encouraged to make reservations by emailing wamfest@comcast.net.  Check out the schedule here and learn more about the performers here.

By: Becky Fine-Firesheets.  All photos taken from performers’ websites.

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