Originally published Thursday, February 7, 2019 at 10:32p.m.

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McDougal St. West (Courtesy)

Folk Sessions is celebrating its 16th anniversary with a GIANTS of Folk concert at The Elks Theatre and Performing Arts Center hosted by original New Christy Minstrels member Art Podell.

“He grew up in Brooklyn, so he was … part of the folk scene in Greenwich Village from the time he was 12,” Agostino said. “He was … right there when all of this stuff happened. He knew a lot of the people involved.”

A historian of the folk scene, Podell was more than just an original member of the New Christy Minstrels, he said. He was roommates with Peter Yarrow of Peter, Paul and Mary and introduced him to Mary Travers, Agostino said. While living in Los Angeles, he was roommates with folk musician Hoyt Axton and Roger McGuinn before McGuinn, Gene Clark and David Crosby formed The Byrds, he said.

Podell is even the reason Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel couldn’t name their duo Paul and Artie, Agostino said. He and Paul Potash signed on to Columbia Records to form Art & Paul just a few months prior, he said.

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Art Podel

As the host of the GIANTS of Folk concert Saturday, Feb. 9, Podell will be like the storyteller weaving in and out of each song, Agostino said. It’ll end with McDougal Street West performing as Peter, Paul and Mary, leading into an encore featuring the whole cast doing “This Land is Your Land” and “If I Had a Hammer,” he said.

“If you’re an old folkie, you’re going to be in heaven,” Agostino said.

Tickets for the 7 p.m. show are $40 for VIP seats, $30 for adults, $25 for seniors and $50 for opera box seats. It includes McDougal Street West, Eric Ramsey and Robby Roberson reimagining Bob Dylan, Lonesome Whistle who will recreate Hank Williams note for note, the Fare Thee Wells, and Gail Steiger, Parker Smith and Brad Newman with Woody Guthrie music.

VIP tickets include an invitation to an artist reception Friday, Feb. 8, at Forest Villas Hotel, 3645 Lee Circle.

Agostino is a true believer with a true understanding of folk music, Podell said. Further, all those performers are doing a great service keeping a certain flame alive, he said.

“I’d hate for that music to be lost and only available on recordings,” Podell said. “For somebody to be able to get up on a stage and perform the same way those people performed just keeps the flame going.”

Podell said he’s written a couple of pieces he believes are appropriate for the show as some connective tissue to help the show feel integrated as opposed to odd pieces slapped together.

Anyone coming to the show are coming to share a little bit of history and honor the work of the people who created that history, he said.

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Gail Steiger (Courtesy)

“It’s a vital part of our musical history, it’s part of our national culture, it’s part of our politics, especially when you get to people like Woody Guthrie and Bob Dylan,” Podell said. “Those two are the bookends of the social movement almost.”

For more information about the Folk Sessions, visit www.folksessions.com. Tickets are available online at www.prescottelkstheater.com, by calling 928-777-1370 or at the door one hour prior to the performance.

The Elks Theatre and Performing Arts Center is located at 117 E. Gurley St.