Hurleyville, NY – When Jay Ganz’s mom and grandparents moved to Hurleyville in 1945, they likely could not have imagined that Jay would one day be performing a concert on the stage of the old Hurleyville School, now the Sullivan County Museum.
Jay’s grandfather ran Lester’s Market on Main Street in Hurleyville. The building is gone now but can be seen in many old pictures. Jay’s maternal grandparents bought a farm in Divine Corners in 1921.
Jay plays the pedal steel guitar, and for those who don’t know, that’s a console-type guitar with pedals and levers added to allow for more varied and complex music. It was first used in Hawaii in the 19th century and has the ability to play deep vibratos – characteristics similar to the human voice. Pedal steel is most commonly associated with American country music.
“Jay Ganz is one of the finest pedal steel guitar players I have ever heard,” says Carol Smith, who is organizing the Sullivan County Museum’s First Sunday Music and History concerts. “Around here, amongst musicians, he is legendary.”
He started playing in 1973 and has performed and recorded with multiple bands, including Nashville recording artist Mike Mizwinski (MiZ) and The Jason Casterlin Band. He also performs regularly with Little Sparrow, who will host the concert and perform a selection of folk and old-time country music with Ganz, showcasing the pedal steel guitar’s unique sound.
The concert is sponsored by the Sullivan County Historical Society and will be held on Sunday, February 3 at 2 p.m. (snow date Feb. 10) at the Sullivan County Museum, 265 Main Street, Hurleyville.
The program is free and is made possible with funds from the Decentralization Program, a regrant program of the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, and administered by the Delaware Valley Arts Alliance. Donations are welcome.
For more information, call 845-434-8044, or visit www.scnyhistory.org.