Chasing the great Lead Belly

A live stream tribute to folk legend Lead Belly May 29

MINOCQUA WI - Piney Ridge Concerts and Bats in the Boathouse Press will present “Chasing the Great Lead Belly,” a live stream event, on Saturday, May 29 at 6:00 pm CDT.

In the summer of 1990 Chicago singer-songwriter Mark Dvorak set out towards Louisiana on his own in search of the grave of the great folk and blues artist Huddie Ledbetter, known the world over as Lead Belly. The trip was chronicled the next year in the audio documentary Lead Belly’s Legacy, produced for WDCB fm 90.9 Public Radio, Glen Ellyn IL. The show aired in 160 cities earning Dvorak a Peter Lisagor Award for journalism.

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Dvorak and singer Marianne Mohrhusen will recreate the original script for the Piney Ridge live stream series complete with narration and thirteen classic songs from the singing of the great Lead Belly.

Dvorak will accompany the program on a custom-built Ralph Bown 12-string guitar, a replica of the classic Stella played by Ledbetter in the 1930s and 40s, which is now on display at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland OH.

Along with Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger, Huddie Ledbetter is regarded as one of the great folk song composers and performers. Born in the late 1880s, Lead Belly was a song collector, an animated entertainer and a crack musician. Although he never achieved great success as a performer and recording artist in his lifetime, his songs and legend remain inherently woven into the fabric of American folklore and popular music.

Dvorak is “Chicago’s official troubadour.” He is busy at work on his 20th CD release and sixth book of essays, 31 Winters. He is an integral member of the faculty at Chicago’s Old Town School of Folk Music and is resident artist for Music & Potlucks, a community organization which supports agencies who serve the hungry and the homeless in the Chicago area and the Midwest.


“Lead Belly found me at an early age,” said Dvorak. “Everything he did sounded musical. And it all came from a place completely different than the circumstances I grew up in. At the same time, Lead’s music resonated and still resonates. His musical legacy has had a profound impact on my own choices as a performing artist, song writer, and as a human being.”

There is no admission to the live stream event, but a donation to the artists is suggested. To receive the ZOOM link, please contact Jerry Woolpy at

For more information on Mark Dvorak visit

Click on the image to download and print a .pdf flyer.

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