Anyone who's into the folkmusic scene in Arizona knows who Joe Bethancourt is; the rest of you, go websearch until you find his site, and enjoy. Or you can look up my website and follow the links, for we've recorded more than one album together.
Some ten days ago, Joe Bethancourt's house caught fire. Apparently the fire started in the kitchen, went up to the ceiling, and got into the attic. There was a strong wind that night, and it drove the flames the length of the roof. Joe and Cher and their kids escaped, and they hauled out their dogs, cats, instruments, computers, guns, swords and valuables. They did lose their whole kitchen and roof, the family's century-old recipe collection, all of Joe's cowboy hats and a priceless original drawing from FANTASIA by Walt Kelly. Fortunately, Joe's oldest son is a manager for a construction company and the house was fully insured. The insurance will cover the losses and the rebuilding should begin next month.
The problem is where to live and how to pay for it until then.
Joe's numerous friends and fans chipped in and organized a series of benefit concerts, and the first of them was held today, Saturday the 14th, at Fiddler's Dream. Bob Zucker did the announcing, and recorded the whole thing for AMAZ streaming radio.
I'd volunteered, and wound up 11th on the list. So many local folksingers showed up (nearly 30 of us!), from as far off as Tucson, that each of us -- including Joe himself -- was limited to two songs apiece. 'Twas a stellar lineup, if I say so myself. Jim Pipkin led off, I followed Tom Tuerff, and no less than Bill Zorn from the Kingston Trio showed up. My roadie, who manned the dealer's table, noted that there wasn't a weak act in the whole concert; he'd been to mammoth folkmusic festivals in Texas and Colorado, and claimed he hadn't heard such consistent music quality at any of them.
It's clear that Arizona has a clutch of folksingers as good, at least, as any in the country. We need a serious folkmusic festival to showcase them; the annual Phoenix Folk Festival simply isn't big or well-advertised enough.
In any case, between donations and album-sales, Joe's friends and fans raised more than $2000 for him and his family. They'll have a safe place to live until their house is rebuilt.
--Leslie <;)))>< )O(