Scott Ainslie’s acoustic blues concludes Jamaica Summer Music Series

JAMAICA — On Sept. 15 at 7 p.m., the Jamaica Town Hall 2012 Summer Music Series concludes with a performance by renowned blues guitarist and historian Scott Ainslie.

According to Ainslie, things haven't been the same since he saw Virginia bluesman John Jackson playing in the middle of a Mike Seeger concert at Groveton High School in 1967. He took up the guitar a month later and has never put it down.

From community concert series and local schools to the Kennedy Center and the renowned Empire Music Hall in Belfast, Northern Ireland, Ainslie plays and speaks about music with passion and authority.

With more than 35 years of scholarship and 45 years playing guitar, Ainslie brings a mix of the African and American roots music to the stage, in story and song. Ainslie has created five CDs, a teaching DVD on the guitar techniques of Delta Blues legend Robert Johnson, and a book on Johnson's music, Robert Johnson: At the Crossroads.

This year Ainslie has been active with fund-raising efforts in Brattleboro and on the Internet to aid the victims of Tropical Storm Irene. Within hours of the flooding of Flat Street in Brattleboro, Ainslie had edited his own video footage of the torrent running through town and put up an appeal for donations on for local aid organizations.

Funds were received from as far away as the United Kingdom and New Orleans, a city, as Ainslie observes, “that knows something about the devastation that high water can bring to people's lives.” Ainslie also helped produce “Get Up 8” – a benefit concert at the New England Youth Theatre, one of the few businesses on Flat Street to have survived the flooding relatively unscathed (thanks to the flood gates that were installed when the building was erected).

On the “The Country Blues” website, Frank Matheis writes “when you strip away the cultural awards, the merits of teaching and preserving the blues, the community work, the scholarly contribution, and all that, and when you end up with just a guy standing there by himself playing the guitar and singing you an old blues song, you'd have to be an icy cold hearted soul not to feel Ainslie's music right down to your soul.”

Admission for the show at the Town Hall is $10, and a portion of the concert's proceeds will be donated to the Stratton Foundation, specifically for Jamaica's continued recovery from Tropical Storm Irene. For more information about the show, call 802-896-6810.

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