VIENNA — On Saturday, Aug. 11 the Vienna Union Hall Association will offer a unique opportunity to hear a renowned band that has been making music and good feelings worldwide for more than 40 years. Aztec Two-Step and Friends will take the stage at the Union Hall at 7 p.m.

Rex Fowler and Neal Shulman first met at an open stage at the Stone Phoenix, a Boston coffee house. Within a few months of working together, they recorded their first album as Aztec Two-Step and a few months later, they had a deal with Elektra Records. Since 1971, Rex Fowler and Neal Shulman have been writing and performing songs that helped make their generation’s musical memories.

Aztec Two-Step’s name comes from a Lawrence Ferlinghetti poem, and their song “The Persecution and Restoration of Dean Moriarty” from their classic self-titled debut album on Elektra Records was the first of its kind written about Jack Kerouac’s iconic American novel, “On The Road.”

As their recording career continued, so did the critical acclaim. They have been praised in major media outlets such as Rolling Stone, and having appeared on numerous TV and radio shows such as David Letterman, King Biscuit Flour Hour and World Cafe Live, Aztec Two-Step was the subject of a PBS documentary in 1999. In 2007, the magazine Real Simple named Aztec Two-Step one of the top five folk albums joining work by Bob Dylan, Judy Collins, Tom Rush and Phil Ochs.

In 2008, the duo released “Time It Was: The Simon & Garfunkel Songbook” (Red Engine Records), a live album interpreting the music of their legendary predecessors and featuring Mixed Bag radio host Pete Fornatale, who provides commentary and insights based on his interviews with Simon & Garfunkel. From early in their career, Fowler & Shulman were often compared with the duo because of their “east coast sensibility” and beautiful harmonies, and it seemed fitting for them to embark on this project.

Rex Fowler, lead singer of the duo, grew up in Pittsfield. His family moved to Maine from Connecticut in the late 1950s when he was 10 years old. He attended Maine Central Institute and college in Presque Isle, and didn’t leave the state for good until 1971 when he met Neal in Boston. He still has friends and connections in Maine.

Currently Neal Shulman is taking an indefinite period of time off from touring after the passing of his beloved wife Karen. Rex continues on the Aztec Two-Step stage with Steven “Muddy” Roues (The Roues Brothers, Jon Pousette-Dart) on double bass; and Dodie Pettit (original cast member of Broadway’s “Phantom of the Opera;” “Cats”) on vocals, guitar and keyboards. The show will be filled with vintage ATS fan favorites as well as highlights from their newest release “Naked,” which addresses sociopolitical topics in 2017.

Steven Roues hails from New York and has been making music together with his brother Billy since they were kids. He is a journeymen in the music business, having crossed paths with some of the greats of blues, rockabilly, rock and roll, country, soul and rhythm and blues. 

Dodie Pettit is an actress, singer, dancer and songwriter. Pettit has the distinction of performing on Broadway in history’s two longest running shows, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “CATS” and “The Phantom of the Opera,” in which she was an original cast member. As a guitarist and songwriter, Dodi has made much of her living working in pop/rock bands. She has performed in such places as The Bitter End, The Electric Circus The Criterion Center, Don’t Tell Mama’s, Danny’s Sea Palace, Penache Encore and Steve McGraw’s in New York; The Troubadour and The Palomino Club in Los Angeles; The Exit Inn in Nashville; and at Caesar’s Palace and Arizona Charlie’s in Las Vegas.

Tickets for Aztec Two-Step and Friends are $15 and on sale now. They can be purchased online on the Vienna Union Hall website’s Arts and Events page. For more information call 207-203-2674 or email [email protected]

From left, Dodi Pettit, Rex Fowler and Steve Roues of Aztec Two-Step and Friends.

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