“Time it was, and what a time it was”...
These opening lyrics to Simon and Garfunkel’s “Bookends” couldn’t describe the decade of freedom and love better. What a time it was! Paul Kantner of “Jefferson Airplane” was once quoted as saying “If you can remember anything about the 60’s, then you weren’t really there!!”. He was, of course, referring to the rampant drug use which has become intrinsically associated with the counter-culture of the era. Certainly the 60’s will always conjure up images of hippies “tuning in, turning on, and dropping out”, but the decade will always be remembered for far more than that.
Welcome back to the 60‘s!
It was a time of new beginnings...
John F. Kennedy became the youngest ever elected President of the United States, and ushered in a new era of hope. Martin Luther King Jr. led the civil rights movement to new heights, ultimately leading to the signing of the “Civil Rights Act” of 1964. The whole world watched in awe and amazement as Neil Armstrong became the first human being to ever set foot on the moon. The “big 3” automakers enjoyed their highest ever sales and profitability in the 60’s. Musically we saw the rise of the “Motown Sound”, the “British Invasion”, and the hugely popular folk/rock scene.
Of course the decade had it’s share of dark moments as well. The assassinations of President Kennedy and Dr. King. Drug addiction in a number of prominent musicians ultimately led to their deaths, including Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin. The war in Vietnam dragged on, and anti-war protests became violent as seen by the Kent State University shootings where Ohio State Guardsmen opened fire into a crowd of student protesters, killing 4 and inuring 9 others. Despite these and other tragic events the general, underlying message of the decade was one of peace, love and hope.
In 1957, Jerry Landis and Tom Grath had a moderate hit with their song “Hey Schoolgirl”. The duo’s real names were Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel. Their music and lyrics are synonymous with the 60’s. From “The Sound of Silence” to “Bridge Over Troubled Water”, their songs act as the “Bookends” to the decade of freedom and love.
Get ready to let your hair down, kick off your shoes and get “Feelin’ Groovy”, as Jim and the boys take you back in time. As the lights go down, and the music begins, close your eyes for a moment. You may almost smell the incense burning, and see the lava lamps bubbling. Songs like “Mrs. Robinson”, “Scarborough Fair”, “The Boxer”, and many more will have you singing along and chanting “Far Out!!
From my seat in the balcony, Centennial Hall looked immense with the stage far off in the distance. I wondered how a performer “gets at” an audience that big. Well, Juno nominee Jim Witter managed that easily and with style, shrinking the space so it felt like a small intimate club-and this with full orchestra arrayed on the stage behind him!!”
-Bob Cunningham, The Beat Magazine
“As manager for the Arend Arts Center in Bentonville, Arkansas I want to express my sincerest appreciation for Jim Witter. This is the second time we have had Jim at the AAC. He is one of the nicest performers to our student crew, staff and audience. His joy in performing flows into the audience and thus the audience responds with joy to him. Jim and his band are welcome here at any time.”
All I can say is WOW!!! I can say much more, actually. The show, the performances and the whole evening was a BIG SMASH!
Tony Walsh, Executive Director, Thrasher-Horne Center for the Arts