Renowned New York Artist Marty Wendell Returns to Caffe Lena
At the end of this week, renowned New York artist Marty Wendell will make his return to Caffe Lena on August 19th. Wendell has had an illustrious career playing alongside the likes of Johnny Cash, Arlo Guthrie, The Carter Family and many others who we can attribute to the roots of Rock. Wendell is promoting his latest album, Risky Business, which was produced in Nashville by Chris Scruggs. Risky Business follows the success of Rock & Roll Days which was a Grammy Awards Contender for Best Americana Album. Rock & Roll Days also includes a rare John Cash recording not previously available. I got a chance to talk to Marty Wendell a little bit about his upcoming show and latest music.
Conor Walsh: Going back to Caffe Lena must be really exciting for you! What can fans expect from you at the show?
Marty Wendell: On August 19th I will be bringing “An Evening of Roots & Rockabilly” concert to the legendary Caffe Lena, Saratoga Springs, NY, a venue that helped launch the careers of artists such as Arlo Guthrie, Don McLean and Bob Dylan. The concert will begin at 8PM with The Bluebillies who will share their unique artistry with both roots and original songs. For the second half I will have the opportunity to share rockabilly classics, album cuts and some brand new songs along with my Tour Band. It will provide a good overview of music from the birth of Rock & Roll up to the present day. For those who are unable to get to Saratoga Springs for the concert, it will be live streamed on Caffe Lena TV.
Due to unforeseen circumstances we were forced to cancel many of our tour dates this season so it will be a special opportunity to see our 2022 show in person and I look forward seeing old friends and making new ones on the 19th.
Conor Walsh: With having a number of shows cancelled, this must be refreshing to get out in front of everyone again. What's that feeling like to get up in front of everyone?
Marty Wendell: Any time that I am fortunate enough to be on stage is a favorite. My friend and Nashville artist, Jerry Fox, who is a guest on my latest album, Risky Business, and I were talking about why we are still making music. We agreed that on stage it always feels like we are still 20 years old. The years and the aches and pains disappear. A performance that was very special not too long ago was when I was asked to perform at the Eddies Awards Show at Universal Preservation Hall with my son, Sean.
Conor Walsh: That's awesome you got to share that experience with your son. It's nice to see the music is so deeply rooted in the family. So, what set you on this path in the first place? What ignited your love for music and the road?
Marty Wendell: Music was always a part of my home growing up. Back then radio stations played all types of music so I was exposed to many different genres. The music that touched me the most was from the Sun Records artists including Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis and Roy Orbison. My mother brought home the very first album released by Sun, Johnny Cash – Hot & Blue Guitar. Nothing had ever sounded like this and I was mesmerized by this music. I finally got an old guitar in tune with the record and with the help of an Alfred’s Chord Book I learned to play the songs. I have never looked back. I got to work as an opening act with Johnny and Carl in 1968 on the tour when he was promoting his Live at Folsom Prison album. A conversation I recorded with Johnny is a bonus track on our Rock & Roll Days album.
Conor Walsh: The last couple of years have been really good to you. You've been putting out a lot of solid content, and have received some pretty fantastic recognition for it. Can you tell us about it all?
Marty Wendell: In 2020 my album Rock & Roll Days was a contender for Best Americana Album in the Grammy Awards. Then I was inducted into the Eddies Hall of Fame. At the last Eddies Awards Show I was nominated for Best Country/Bluegrass Artist and Album of the Year for Risky Business. This was my first album produced in Nashville by Chris Scruggs, grandson of the legendary Earl Scruggs, and one of Marty Stuart’s Fabulous Superlatives. I was joined by both national and regional guest artists including Judy Rodman. I was also nominated in three categories in the Listen-Up Music Awards.
Conor Walsh: Even with all that, you still have so much up your sleeve! Tell us about your latest projects that people can look forward to.
Marty Wendell: We already have begun work on a new album that will be called View From the Rumble Seat. We are scheduled to record it in December for a 2023 release on Simply Twenty One Records. This fall they also plan to release Marty Wendell – the Early Years Vol. I & II. This will include my early single releases as well as a “lost album” that I recorded when I was only 28. With less time on the road I have also been doing a lot of writing and recording demos.
To check out more from Marty Wendell, you can visit his website, or find him under "Marty Wendell" on Facebook and YouTube. His albums are also available on Apple Music, Spotify, and most digital outlets.