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Performer returns to roots to host Englert benefit

BY EMILY BURDS | OCTOBER 18, 2012 6:30 AM

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Audio: Dave Olson

"Heart Breaking Down"


"So Long Blues"


“The Englert is a gem, and Iowa City is so lucky to have it, “ said Dave Olson, a folk musician who grew up in Iowa City.

Olson will return to town Saturday evening to join local bluegrass band and longtime friends the Feralings in a intimate benefit concert at the Englert Theater, 221 E. Washington St., to raise money for the historic landmark on its 100th anniversary. The show begins at 7 p.m.; tickets are limited.

Patrick Bloom, a member of the the Feralings, said he is excited to see his old friend, who moved to St. Paul.

Olson’s Kickstarter campaign for his latest album, No October, brought him back to Iowa City and back to the Englert.

Olson said that as part of his campaign, he would do a free concert for the highest donor. That donor then donated his private show to the Englert as a way to help it raise money.

“The Feralings and I are thrilled to be able to support it in this way,” Olson said.

Olson said The Feralings couldn’t agree more.

The band members’ connection to the Englert is deep, and they have been heavily involved in its restoration over the years.

Bloom and Stacey Webster, the band’s guitarist, were part of a movement several years back that saved the Englert from being bought out and turned into a nightclub. Bloom, running a studio in town at the time, helped create a benefit album of local artists, including him and Webster.

They were successful and are a large part of why the Englert can celebrate its 100th anniversary this year.

On Saturday, the audience will get the pleasure of joining the Feralings and Olson onstage for the show.

“The Feralings and I both play a style of music that works better in an intimate setting, and so this format is right up our alley,” Olson said. “It brings the audience closer to the music — literally and figuratively.”

Andre Perry of the Englert said funds raised by the event will not be allocated for anything specific.
Olson “loves the theater … he just wanted it be his way of giving a gift to the theatre,” Perry said.

Both Olson and Bloom said performing a benefit at the Englert is something they look forward to participating in.

“Seriously, I know of few other venues anywhere that will feature Emmy Lou Harris, a reading from Marilynne Robinson, a screening of Caddyshack, and the Nutcracker all in one season,” Olson said.

And as Bloom sees it, “It’s a vital part of our downtown. It’s a vital part of the area.”


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