FIVE FIRSTS: Eli Smith of the Down Hill Strugglers

The Down Hill Strugglers
The Down Hill Strugglers

NAME: Eli Smith
BAND AFFILIATION: The Down Hill Strugglers
INSTRUMENT: Banjo and Guitar

1. THE FIRST ALBUM I EVER BOUGHT WAS … Mississippi John Hurt, Live! Great album, changed my life.

2. THE FIRST CONCERT THAT I EVER SAW WAS … Pete Seeger at the Greenwich House in Greenwich Village, right near where I grew up in Manhattan, around 1988. Great show. I remember he brought his own log and ax and actually chopped wood on stage while singing an old work song.

3. THE FIRST MUSICAL INSTRUMENT I EVER OWNED OR PLAYED WAS … I got an acoustic guitar was when I was seven years old!

4. THE FIRST SONG THAT I EVER PERFORMED IN PUBLIC WAS … Tough call. Could have easily been a Woody Guthrie song or something like that. CBGB’s used to have a space next door to the main club on Bleecker and the Bowery there where they had “acoustic” music, and I played there in high school.

5. THE FIRST BAND I WAS EVER IN WAS … Jug Free America. We were a first rate jug band, 2001-2005. We all moved out to California together to do the band there, but things didn’t work out…

Winding down their coast-to-coast summer tour – from the Vancouver Folk Festival to the Newport Folk Festival – Eli Smith and his Brooklyn-based old-time string band the Down Hill Strugglers make a stop at Caffe Lena in Saratoga Springs at 8pm on Friday (September 11).

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