The Capitol Theatre in Westchester County Friday night will host a benefit concert in support of democracy and the cornerstone of a free society—our right to vote—that is facing a grave threat.
This concert will benefit the voter registration organization HeadCount and feature headline performances from Jackson Browne; Jorma Kaukonen of Hot Tuna and Jefferson Airplane fame; and Larry Campbell and Teresa Williams, former members of the Levon Helm Band who now lead their own ensemble. HeadCount boasts a network of 40,000 volunteers and has registered more than a million voters.
The Capitol Theatre over decades has hosted some of the biggest names in modern music, including Janis Joplin, the Grateful Dead, Bonnie Raitt, Jefferson Airplane, The Chambers Brothers, Mountain, the Rolling Stones, Joe Cocker, Traffic and Eric Clapton. The Capitol Sessions, according to a press release, will “give proper respect to these melodic masters in the iconic venue where they impacted the world forever.”
Click here to purchase tickets to this concert, which will also feature Marco Benevento; James Casey of the Trey Anastasio Band; Lisa Fischer, who has performed with the Rolling Stones; Amy Helm, the daughter of Levon Helm and former member of the Levon Helm Band; and Connor Kennedy of Steely Dan.
The Capitol Sessions show is being staged as lawmakers across the country gut laws protecting the right of Americans to vote. This is occurring in advance of the 2022 mid-term Congressional elections, during which Republicans hope to take control of the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate.
Click here and here and here and here to learn more about those states which are restricting the rights of voters, and in the process undercutting the Constitutional right of each and every American to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. If this doesn’t terrify you, then please go back and read those links again. Please.
The Capitol Sessions will also feature Eric Krasno of Soulive and Lettuce fame; Tony Leone of Little Feat and the Chris Robinson Brotherhood; Grahame Lesh, the son of Phil Lesh and a member of Midnight North and Phil Lesh & Friends; Adam Minkoff, Elaine Caswell, James Casey, Karina Rykman and The War & the Treaty. Ken Dashow, DJ for New York City’s Q104.3, will serve as host for the evening.
Campbell is a former member of Bob Dylan’s band who has won three Grammys and served as music director for the Levon Helm Band. He played a pivotal role in the former Band drummer’s comeback and he is serving as music director for The Capitol Sessions. Campbell and Amy Helm each won a Grammy for co-producing Levon Helm’s colossal comeback record, “Dirt Farmer.”
HeadCount is a non-partisan, non-profit organization that, according to a press release, “promotes participation in democracy through music, culture, and digital media.” Formed in 2004, HeadCount has partnered with Ariana Grande, Billie Eilish, Camila Cabello, the Dave Matthews Band, JAY-Z, Beyoncé, March of Our Lives, RuPaul’s DragCon, MTV and Dead & Company. Click here to learn more.
The Capitol Sessions show will unfold as Congress investigates the Jan. 6, 2020, insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. During that treasonous and barbaric riot, supporters of outgoing President Donald Trump sought to overturn the 2020 presidential election, in which voters selected Joe Biden.
The rioters sought to block the certification, by Congress, of Biden’s 2020 presidential victory over Trump by smashing windows, storming the nation’s legislative chambers and engaging in hand-to-hand combat with the brave men and women of the U.S. Capitol Police as members of Congress and the Senate fled to protect themselves. The Capitol rioters descended upon the House and Senate after attending a rally at which Trump spoke.
Underscoring the urgency and immediacy of the Capitol Sessions concert is this week’s vote by the House of Representatives to hold Mark Meadows, a former congressman and White House chief of staff under Trump, in contempt of Congress. The Department of Justice will now investigate Meadows after Congress cited him for contempt for failing to cooperate in the Jan. 6 investigation.
These subversions of decency, humanity and the law underscore the importance of the life-and-death work that HeadCount undertakes with little fanfare. The group works with the music industry and its fans to register voters, leaving the democratic process to work its magic in the voting booth.
Likewise, The Capitol Sessions will showcase how dire the stakes are, and how important it is to take a stand in defense of our right to vote. Anyone who views voting through a political lens or a means of expanding political power has missed the point entirely and should re-enroll in second grade Social Studies class.
Register to vote. Exercise your right to vote. And respect the results once they have been certified. It’s not rocket science and to tamper with this formula is nothing short of treason. Leave it to groups like HeadCount, with an established track record of defending democracy, to register voters who can then, in a very orderly process, express their views on election day. The HeadCount folks are great at what they do. We should be grateful for their hard work.
As for the musicians set to take the stage on Friday at the Capitol Theatre, we look forward to them leading a triumphant and defiant evening that will rock hard and likely leave us all with something to take home, something to think about, something to act upon.