Folk singer Jerry Burgan, co-founder of the 1960s folk rock group We Five ("You Were On My Mind"), will perform Saturday in Claremont.

Burgan uses music to tell stories about America. "The focus of the show is getting to the roots of the folk music I grew up on," Burgan said in an interview on Tuesday. "The heart of that kind of presentation is the stories behind the songs."

Burgan will perform an acoustic two-hour concert with a 20-minute intermission.

Burgan will tell the stories, he said, of the "people who brought the folk music of America to life. I give examples, like `This Land Is Your Land' and how it evolved over a period of a half century from a spiritual song into an Americana anthem. It had lots of stops along the way. Different people threw their hat in the ring. Then Woody Guthrie gave us the song we know today."

Burgan believes folk music "always has been and always will be the music of common folk ... classic folk songs are born when someone is moved emotionally enough to sing. And today, we still have writers like that. We will always have writers like that."

On Saturday, Burgan will perform with musical backing by his wife Debbie and a bass player.

Coming up, Burgan will reunite with former members of We Five for a concert at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 8 at the Shannon Center for the Performing Arts at Whittier College in Whittier.




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Folk pioneer Jerry Burgan to perform in Claremont and Whittier


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By Wes Woods, staff writer; Daily Bulletin November 12, 2009