On Tuesday, June 6, talented Bay Area musicians will join in a “River of Song: A Musical Celebration of California’s Life-Giving Waters,” a special concert to benefit California river conservation. It will be held at The Freight and Salvage Coffeehouse, 2020 Addison Street, Berkeley beginning at 8 p.m. Tickets are $35 in advance (see www.freightandsalvage.org) and $39 at the door.

Musicians participating in “River of Song” include Laurie Lewis & Tom Rozum, Blame Sally, Barbara Higbie, The T Sisters, Thompsonia, and Jenner Fox. The concert will feature songs about water and rivers in styles ranging from bluegrass to folk to blues.

California rivers have long been an integral part of Grammy-winning bluegrass musician Laurie Lewis’s world. As a teenager, she fell under the spell of the Stanislaus River, and she and Rozum have been leading river trips combining bluegrass and whitewater for more than 25 years.

“Access to clean water is of utmost importance for all life,” Lewis said. “Our endangered California rivers deserve all the help we can give them so they can continue to supply that for us, and for all the other forms of life that depend on them. Plus, they are just so beautiful!”

The “River of Song” benefit concert was initiated by Suzy Thompson, who performs with husband Eric and daughter Allegra under the name Thompsonia. “Up in the Sierra, there’s a spring-fed pond where we love to swim,” Suzy said. “Eric and I have gone there every summer for over 40 years to make music with friends and commune with nature. The way that pond changes from year to year, depending on rainfall, always drives home to me how precious our California water is. With Laurie’s deep love for California’s rivers, it was a natural to get her involved with putting together this benefit show.”

Proceeds from “River of Song” will benefit Friends of the River, which works to protect and restore rivers across the state, and the Foothill Conservancy, a Jackson-based, grassroots, nonprofit organization with a special focus on the Sierra Nevada’s upper Mokelumne River. The Mokelumne provides 90 percent of the water for the East Bay Municipal Utility District. The organizations will have representatives at the event to provide information about current threats to our state’s rivers as well as efforts to protect them.

“We were thrilled when Laurie contacted us about this concert,” said Foothill Conservancy President Katherine Evatt. “Our organization has worked for the Mokelumne River for more than 27 years, and our efforts to protect the river help protect the East Bay’s water quality. We’re excited to have the opportunity to meet East Bay water consumers and talk about the wild and scenic river that sustains East Bay communities.”

“We’re so thankful to Laurie Lewis, Suzy Thompson, and all of the musicians that are coming together for ‘River of Song’,” said Friends of the River Executive Director Eric Wesselman. “They are true river heroes, and we need them more than ever as we work to protect our rivers in the face of global climate change and a President who believes it’s a hoax.”

“Water and rivers have inspired great songs over the years,” said Lewis. “We’re looking forward to sharing some of them at this important benefit.”

For more information, contact Brian Peebles Kameoka, 510-859-1131, brian@freightandsalvage.org.

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