The 1970s were a wild time. It was the era of bell bottoms, disco infernos, and feathered hair. But it was also the age of Watergate, the end of the Vietnam War, and the breakup of one of the most influential bands of all time, The Beatles.
When The Beatles split up in early 1970, they left a vacuum in the music industry that artists of all genres were scrambling to fill. American Rock & Roll rebels responded by bringing the genre back to its Southern roots, mixing elements of country, R&B, and folk into their music.
Take it to the Limit is a tribute to these rebellious musicians, like The Eagles and Kris Kristofferson, who helped create a distinct new sound that would forever shape Rock & Roll in the United States.
“These bands combined the storytelling elements of country music with the raw energy of Rock & Roll and added in a little Southern flavor,” said show director Catherine Randazzo. “Their songs often featured powerful guitar riffs, soulful lyrics, and distinctive rhythms that made them instantly recognizable.”
“A lot of rock bands in the '70s weren’t necessarily southern, but they embraced the sounds that were, especially the steel guitar,” said Rebecca Hopkins, one of the show’s developers.
Take it to the Limit features over two dozen hits from these boundary-breaking musicians, including “When Will I Be Loved,” “Ramblin’ Man,” “Landslide,” and “Ain’t No Sunshine.”
Artists highlighted in this guitar music revue, like Fleetwood Mac and Linda Ronstadt, not only transformed what Rock & Roll could sound like, but they also broke the mold of what was “appropriate” or “acceptable” to sing about. They weren’t afraid to address the hardships of life in their music, exploring everything from drug use and the price of fame to life on the road and infidelity.
“In ‘Hotel California,’ The Eagles talk about decadence and fame,” said Hopkins. “They were caught in a crazy, Los Angeles lifestyle, but the band’s members were from places like Minnesota and Michigan. It was the early days of Rock & Roll stardom, when artists went in very naive and got steamrolled by the drugs, the money, and the power. Today, those temptations are well known, but in the ‘70s artists were just starting to grasp the pitfalls of fame.”
Bringing this dynamic music to life is an ensemble of four performers, each of whom will play their own instruments.
"With its soulful authenticity and timeless relevance, this music deserves to be heard and experienced in the way it was originally intended: live and performed by powerhouse musicians," said Randazzo.
Returning guest artist Joe Casey loves that this music can connect with audience members, regardless of what phase of life they're in.
"In songs like 'Rhiannon' and 'Landslide,' there’s a tiny bit of clarity and a whole lot of mystery," said Casey. "So, those songs can mean whatever you want them to mean, no matter what stage of your life you find yourself in. And those meanings change with your stages of life. That’s great musicianship and is why these artists are legends."
Take it to the Limit is now playing in FST's Goldstein Cabaret. For tickets and more information, click here.
Header Image: Joe Casey, Hannah Taylor, Sarah Hund, and Ken Sandberg. Photo by John Jones.