Larry Kegan - vocals; Gene LaFond - guitar; Gary Smith - harmonica
Known for his old hometown association with Bob Dylan, singer-songwriter Larry Kegan never let his wheelchair slow him down or stop him from singing the blues—or at least his upbeat version of it. Kegan's extraordinary spirit delivers a positive message of hope and it's no doubt what contributed to his invitation to perform at the 1991 Bridge School Concert, the all-star concert celebration hosted by Neil and Pegi Young.
The annual Bridge School Benefit has become a highlight of the Bay Area's concert schedule since it began in 1986. Founded by Pegi Young, Jim Forderer, and Marilyn Bozolich, the Bridge School developed educational programs to service the special needs of Bay Area children with severe speech disabilities and physical impairments and has been serving the community for well over two decades now. The annual fundraiser concert has gained support from many of the biggest names in the music industry, with artists performing special acoustic-based sets in the outdoor setting of the Shoreline Amphitheater in Mountain View, California. The fifth annual Bridge School Benefit took place on November 2, 1991, and featured performances by John Lee Hooker, Don Henley, Nils Lofgren, Tracy Chapman, Sonic Youth, Willie Nelson, and of course, Neil Young, as well as Kegan.
A paraplegic since the age of 15 and quadriplegic since the age of 25 as the result of two separate accidents, Kegan met Dylan when both were Minnesota teenagers (Dylan credits him as "Champion of All Causes" on his Street Legal album). Concerned with the rights and wellbeing of the physically challenged, Kegan performs "Ain't Got the Blues" with a wink and a grateful heart. "Wheelchair Blues" has a Dylan-esque structure but the lyrics are Kegan's own personal statement of strength. Not even the chair can dampen his spirit for life, and his performance at the Bridge remains one of the most pointed and poignant the Shoreline stage has seen before or since.