Lennon's spirit lives in Orlando
DECEMBER 18, 2014
Veteran Orlando musician, radio host and social activist Joseph Martens recently has been dividing his time between Central Florida and Nashville, Tenn., so it was worth wondering whether he'd have time to organize his annual John Lennon Tribute.
Happily, the answer is yes. Martens and an assortment of Orlando's best musicians will convene to honor Lennon's music and humanitarian spirit on Tuesday at the Cheyenne Saloon in downtown Orlando. As always, the event also has a charitable component, one that Martens is particularly excited about this year.
The concert will support Music & Memory, a non-profit organization that provides digital audio devices to patients with Alzheimer's and dementia. As it turns out, music can trigger memories that might have otherwise been lost.
Martens was introduced to the organization through the 2014 documentary "Alive Inside," a film that chronicles the work of Music & Memory founder Dan Cohen with elderly patients. The film won an audience award at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival.
"I'd heard about the process, but I hadn't heard about the organization or the documentary," Martens says. "When I checked it out, it was a big 'a-ha!' moment. I thought, this is definitely what I'm doing. Sometimes with charities, it's difficult to convey the importance of what it is. If you take two minutes and watch the trailer to the film, it will tell you everything."
Martens is asking music fans to donate a used iPod or digital music device at the Lennon tribute, a show that will feature sets by Orlando favorites the Gerry Williams Band, Eugene Snowden and friends, Rizzo Wheeler and the Stupid Bloody Tuesdays, My Generation, Mark Wynegar, BEATLEish, funkUs, JunoSmile, The Honeyslides, Maxx Von Shadow, Walt Stahll and Jim Jackson.
Once Martens discovered Music & Memory, the logistics of the tribute show began to come together, he says.
"The Lennon Tribute is a great big labor of love, but as with anything like this, you never know if there will be a financial reward for the charity," he says. "I didn't have a place, didn't have a time, didn't have the cause. For me, the cause has to come first. If I'm inspired by the cause, then I find the energy and time to pull this thing together."
The Cheyenne Saloon is a new home for an event that has previously unfolded everywhere from The Lennon Room at Hard Rock Live to private homes. For Martens, the Lennon show will be the first in an upcoming series of music concerts he'll be promoting at the western-themed music hall that was once part of the Church Street Station entertainment complex.
Martens is planning to host a three-month run of weekly Friday-night music showcases featuring alt-country and Americana acts performing music in the spirit of "Sunday Morning Coming Down," the radio show he hosts from 9 a.m. to noon Sundays on 104.1 FM WTKS.
Martens will kick off the series with a show by his own band, Hindu Cowboys, from 6 to 9 p.m. Jan. 16 at Cheyenne Saloon.
"We want to do a tie-in with the radio show," Martens says. "We can have the bands on the radio to talk about the music, then have the Cheyenne as a venue for a live event on a weekly basis. It's a physical place for fans of the show to gather. They keep turning me on to stuff that I'm not familiar with, so it's like snowball coming down a mountain. it keeps getting bigger and bigger."
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John Lennon Tribute Christmas Party & Fundraiser
What: Celebration of John Lennon's life of music, art and film, with music by the Gerry Williams Band, Eugene Snowden and Friends and others.
When: 6 p.m.-1 a.m. Tuesday
Where: The Cheyenne Saloon, 128 W. Church St, Orlando
Cost: $15 (includes first drink free)
Copyright © 2014, Orlando Sentinel
The spirit of John Lennon (pictured in 1974) will be celebrated at the 11th Annual John Lennon Tribute on Dec. 23 at the Cheyenne Saloon in downtown Orlando. (McClatchy-Tribune)