“Let there be songs to fill the air…” From Ripple (American Beauty, The Grateful Dead)
On Wednesday March 9, the delightful band "Marco & The Polos," comprised of the late Warren Hellman's four children -- son Mick and his sisters Frances, Judith and Tricia Hellman Gibbs – played their first Bread & Roses concert for an audience of appreciative seniors at The Tamalpais in Greenbrae. All four sang, alternating leads and harmonies, with Mick on drums and Tricia playing both guitar and banjo.
They first organized to perform at the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival, founded by their father, in October 2014 and have been playing ever since. A seven-piece band, their repertoire features traditional and contemporary acoustic music on a variety of instruments. Joined by Austin de Lone on keyboard, Stevie Coyle on acoustic guitar and Joshua Zucker on bass, they played an hour of upbeat mostly familiar songs in an Americana vein.
Daughter Tricia played a special song "Warren Hellman's Banjo" written by Steve Earle for her father that first debuted at Hardly Strictly Bluegrass in 2014. Warren and his band The Wronglers were also Bread & Roses volunteers. Of their concert in 2010 for the men at Center Point in San Rafael, Bread & Roses Volunteer Host Beth Milwid reported “The Wronglers show was the first time many of the audience had heard country music performed live…I had never before seen anything quite like what happened that night, a room full of people of different ages, races and backgrounds coming together so quickly through music and laughter.”
Tricia remembered her Dad saying how fond he was about doing shows for Bread & Roses. She shared from the stage: “Bread & Roses is very special to us. It was one of my Dad’s favorite gigs. My mom Chris also sang on a couple of their early Bread & Roses shows. Any organization that uplifts the human spirit through live music has something good going for it and is close to our hearts.” The band closed the show by playing a moving version of The Beatles “Let It Be” dedicated to Chris Hellman who is now living with Alzheimer’s disease.
Mick’s daughter Avery Hellman, an accomplished singer-songwriter and acoustic guitarist, has also started volunteering for Bread & Roses. To date, she has played shows for seniors at Lifelong in Novato and veterans at the VA Medical Center in San Francisco. Her song “Dark Horses,” tells the story of the wild mustang she has helped to tame and has been a favorite of her audiences.
The Hellman clan is a great example of the family who plays together, stays together. We hope they will continue to volunteer for Bread & Roses for many years to come.
1) Marco & the Polos play their first Bread & Roses concert on 3/9/2016. Marco & the Polos Band Members: (l-r) Mick Hellman, Judith Hellman, Joshua Zucker, Frances Hellman, Stevie Coyle, Trish Hellman and Audie de Lone. Photo by Ken Friedman
2) Mick Hellman greets residents at The Tamalpais after the concert. Photo by Ken Friedman
3) Avery Hellman with her guitar after her first show at Lifelong in Novato. Photo by Marian Hubler
Post by Marian Hubler