On September 24th, the Linden Tree Coffeehouse at the Unitarian-Universalist Church of Wakefield will open its 38th season with a very special memorial concert to Ed Britt, Linden Tree’s founder, banjo historian, and long-time Linden Tree sound engineer. The highlight of the evening will be Hubby Jenkins, a talented multi-instrumentalist formally of the Carolina Chocolate Drops and a member of Rhiannon Giddens Band. A number of area musicians will also perform in tribute to Britt. The show will begin at 7:30 pm. Doors open at 7. Masks are highly recommended for the safety of our performers, our volunteers, and our audience. A recording of the event may be available later on, but not that night so plan to attend in person.
Hubby Jenkins endeavors to share his love and knowledge of old-time American music. Born and raised in Brooklyn he delved into his Southern roots, following the thread of African American history that wove itself through country blues, ragtime, fiddle and banjo, and traditional jazz. Hubby got his higher musical education started as a busker. He developed his guitar and vocal craft on the sidewalks and subway platforms of New York City, performing material by those venerable artists whose work he was quickly absorbing. An ambitiously itinerant musician, he took his show on the road, playing the streets, coffee shops, bars, and house parties of cities around the U.S.
After years of busking around the country and making a name for himself, Hubby became acquainted with the Carolina Chocolate Drops. He was an integral part of the Grammy award winning Carolina Chocolate Drops (2010 – 2016), as well as a member of Rhiannon Giddens band. Today he spreads his knowledge and love of old-time American music and history through his dynamic solo performances.
The Banjo Bash will include some area musicians with words and songs they know Ed always enjoyed. Expected to celebrate are Jim Bradley, Paul Harty, and Bill Knott, who were three-fourths of the Linden Tree house band, The Blunt Instruments. Other local folks planning to attend are Ken Perlman, Gail Finnie, John Reddick, Linda Abrams, Rich Stillman, and Tim Rowell. Kev G. Moore, composer of the Linden Tree anthem, Church with No Steeple, who dedicated his original song to Ed Britt will also be performing.
Ed Britt died on February 18, 2021 from complications due to Alzheimer’s disease. He was a skilled industrial designer and designed products ranging from consumer goods to medical equipment. He was employed by Digital Equipment Corporation as well as a design consulting firm and eventually opened his own industrial design consulting firm, Edmund Britt & Co. In addition to his love for his family, Ed’s passion in life was music. He was a world-renowned banjo historian and collector, as well as a gifted player of both banjo and guitar. He loved being part of the banjo community, attending events and sharing his knowledge. He displayed his banjo playing skills at the annual Banjo and Fiddle Contest in Lowell, MA, winning multiple times. Ed was heavily involved in the Boston folk music scene. He was one of the founders of the Linden Tree Coffeehouse in Wakefield in 1985 and ran their sound system for decades. He was a member of the Blunt Instruments, a folk quartet that played at a variety of community events and were regulars at the Linden Tree. Ed combined his professional skills and love for music by designing beautiful instruments for the OME Banjo Company and C. F. Martin & Company. After retiring, Ed enjoyed spending time with his musician friends, street performing in Harvard Square and playing at the Wakefield and Melrose farmers markets.
Several years ago, following a health scare, Ed shared the following quote with friends, which summarizes how he lived his life: “I’ve simply tried to go through my life leaving the world a better place than I found it-and hopefully having helped more people than I hurt.” Ed was never shy to show his love to those around him. The best way to honor Ed’s memory is to reach out and tell the people in your life how much they mean to you. Ed’s kindness, creativity, interest in others, and enthusiasm for life touched many people. He will be greatly missed by his wife Lillian, daughters Rachel and Ali, and many other family and friends
The Linden Tree Coffeehouse is located in the social hall of the Unitarian-Universalist Church of Wakefield, at 326 Main St. Wakefield, MA 01880. The Linden Tree Coffeehouse operates, in part, with thanks to partial support from Wakefield’s Art Council of the Massachusetts Cultural Council. Tickets will be sold at the door $20, for those under 13 $10. We accept Cash or checks. Other donations may be given through the Linden Tree Coffeehouse Pay Pal account. For more information call 781-246-2836.