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Colton, NY Gazebo Performance by Alex Smith & Dan Berggren on July 15 Kicking Off Festivities


Last updated 8/2/2015 at 12:38pm

Alex Smith & Dan Berggren

Colton Country Days, with main events held annually on the third Saturday of July, is now a multi-day celebration. This year the Town of Colton's summer music series kicks off the celebration with a performance by Alex Smith and Dan Berggren teaming up on Wednesday, July 15 at 6:30pm in the Gazebo behind the Colton Museum on Main Street.

The duo's performance, titled "Bridging the Years," unites Alex and Dan in their passion of folk traditions and songs that grow from the mountains. Their similarities far out-number their 40-year age difference. Both were raised in small Adirondack towns and studied at St. Lawrence University; and both continue to keep a keen ear on local stories and write songs that reach far beyond the Blue Line. Both are featured in the Songs to Keep documentary celebrating Adirondack music produced by Mountain Lake PBS in conjunction with Traditional arts in Upstate New York (TAUNY); and both are profiled in TAUNY's list of traditional Adirondack singers on its website.

Alex Smith was immersed in folk tradition at a very young age as the son of an Adirondack boat builder, writer, banjo player and historian. Growing up in Long Lake, he began writing and playing traditional folk songs at the age of 12 or 13, and has not stopped. The community Smith grew up in is steeped in tradition and also offers plenty of material for contemporary songs. It is the work of Canadian artist Stan Rogers that Smith considers to be his greatest influence. His idea of promoting a sense of pride in the traditions of one's culture while at the same time speaking about the issues presented to it in modern times is the backbone of Smith's music. He tours and records extensively both solo and with The River Brothers band. In 2012 he signed with Wepecket Island Records for his third album titled "Hamilton County."

Dan Berggren, an award-winning musician and educator, held various jobs before devoting his life to music full-time-working in the Adirondack woods with a forest ranger and surveyor; then as a radio producer in Europe, professor of audio and radio studies at SUNY Fredonia, and owner of Sleeping Giant Records which has produced fifteen albums. Dan is a tradition-based songsmith who writes with honesty, humor and a strong sense of place. His songs explore the many dimensions of home, hardworking folks and taking care of our planet and each other. Dan's roots are firmly in the Adirondacks but his music has branched out across many borders. For over four decades, he has entertained audiences throughout New York State and overseas in Eastern Europe and Central Africa.

Audience participants should bring their own chairs for sitting on the Gazebo lawn. Bathroom facilities in the Museum will be open to the public. Volunteers will be on hand to help people needing assistance. Food and drinks, including hot dogs and hamburgers, will be provided by the Colt's Pride Booster Club. If raining, then the performance will be held in the Pavilion at Swift Field off Sugar Bush Lane in the hamlet of South Colton.

There is no admission fee to attend the summer series. Performances are made possible in part by five business sponsors-Hide Away Café; Hoffman Eells & Gray CPAs, Raquette River Pub, S&L Electric and White's General Store. Plus the St. Lawrence County arts Council is supporting performances with funds from the New York State Council on the arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature. And during each performance a special drawing for artwork donated by local artist will be held; and cash donations are accepted to help cover the cost of the entire summer music series.

More information about the performances and other summer activities is available on the town website ( and on Facebook via the Town of Colton and Colton Country Days/Colton Museum pages. Hard copies of the summer schedule are available at the Colton Town Hall, in the town's two information centers and at the two Post Offices in town. And posters about the summer music series are displayed around town and in neighboring communities.

Scott Muller of the town's Tourism & Beautification Committee can be called about performances (315-244-9956) and Cyndy Hennessy, President of the Colton Historical Society, about Colton Country Days (315-262-2524).


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