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 programThe Wallace & Ladmo Show