It's hard enough holding down regular gigs at country bars, blues clubs, and rock joints around Phoenix, as acoustic troubadour Joe Bethancourt has done since the '60s. But it's beyond tough when your house burns down and you lose everything, as Bethancourt's did on April 30. That's why several local musicians are throwing a benefit show for Bethancourt at Fiddler's Dream on May 14 -- and also because he's been playing great roots rock here for more than 40 years, and has done much to carry the torch for western folk music.
Raised in the Appalachians of North Carolina, Bethancourt brought an authentic Ozark country sound with him when he moved to our burgeoning desert metropolis in 1961. He variously played guitar, fiddle, and banjo with a diverse range of bands (including bluegrass to mariachi), crossing paths with the likes of Waylon Jennings. In the '70s, he hosted the radio show "Folk Music Occasional" on KDKB, and appeared as a regular in the '80s on popular local children's program The Wallace & Ladmo Show
He continues to play regular gigs at numerous folk and western music festivals around the state, and on stages at cozier places, including non-profit coffee shop Fiddler's Dream, where the benefit's being held by Queen Creek-based AMAZ radio
, a non-profit folk and Americana Internet station.
Organizers are still asking for musicians and volunteers, but AMAZ radio says that "over 20 Arizona musicians"
will be there to raise money.
The Joe Bethancourt benefit show is scheduled to take place 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday, May 14, at Fiddler's Dream, 1702 E. Glendale Avenue. A minimum $10 donation is suggested. Proceeds benefit Bethancourt and his wife, Cher (not that
Cher), while they begin to rebuild their home. Call 602-997-9795 or visit www.amazradio.com
for more information.