STORY WRITTEN BY BRIAN BINGAMAN
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Bill Withers’ 1973 album “Live at Carnegie Hall” is more than just a lost classic to former jazz club owner/concert promoter and jazz and country drummer Jared Stone.
At the time Derek Trucks gave him a copy as a gift, Stone was feeling the profound loss of the death of his father. The “sheer funkiness” of the performance “hit home and meant a lot to me.”
There are jazzed up and extended versions of the hits “Lean on Me,” “Ain’t No Sunshine” and “Use Me,” but there are also hidden gems like the anti-war commentary “I Can’t Write Left-Handed,” “Let Me in Your Life” and “Grandma’s Hands” (highlighted by a monologue by Withers about going to church with his grandmother that had the audience laughing).
At the time of that New York concert in October 1972, said Stone, the future Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Withers was “a guy that hadn’t performed live all that long.
“He was a rookie that had a radio hit. He thrilled an audience that maybe wasn’t expecting such a good show.”
The show came less than a year and a half after Withers quit his day job to pursue music full-time. However, he retired from music decades ago and rarely performs.
Stone describes “Live at Carnegie Hall” as the musical equivalent of reading a great book.
“Dim the lights and listen to it from start to end,” he said.
The album ranks at No. 27 on Rolling Stones’ list of “50 Greatest Live Albums of All Time.”
Stone joins Living Colour and Galactic singer Corey Glover; Yonrico Scott of the Derek Trucks Band and Royal Southern Brotherhood; Dave Yoke and Matt Slocum of the Susan Tedeschi Band; and Roosevelt Collier to form a new all-star assemblage called The New Stew.
A variation on the name of Stone’s informal jam band, Stone’s Stew, The New Stew takes the stage at Ardmore Music Hall May 6 to re-imagine, and bring back from obscurity, Bill Withers’ “Live at Carnegie Hall.”
Exactly how they would perform Withers’ music was not known at the time of the phone interview with Stone. He did say, however, that lap steel and pedal steel player Collier will fill the role of where string parts would be on the record. And just as Withers had both a drummer and a percussionist in his band at that time, Stone and Scott will take turns providing the different tones of rhythm.
A Grammy- and MTV VMA Best New Artist-winner for his work in the rock band Living Colour, Glover was chosen, Stone said, because he is “extremely soulful.” He fondly remembered rocking out to “Cult of Personality” in his walkman in boot camp for U.S. Marine Corps and said he admired Glover since high school.
“If you know Corey, you know he is a showman,” he said.
In the future, the New Stew project will likely pay respect to more recordings, that influenced the players, which they feel should be heard and experienced in a live setting.
“We hope Philly comes out,” Stone added.
For more, visit www.facebook.com/thenewstew.