Featured Artists of the Hootenanny Cafe
These are just
some of the many fine artists featured on the hootenanny cafe that airs
every Sunday at 9:00PM (Eastern). The show can be heard locally on 93.5FM or world
wide at www.wtbq.com
Upcoming Hootenanny Cafe Mini Concerts
Remembering James Durst, with Madhumita — February 18, 2018
James Durst was a touring artist for about 50 years before he transitioned from this planet in 2016. He performed for audiences of every age in all 50 states and the District of Columbia; in more than 200 cities in 45 countries throughout the Americas, Europe, Scandinavia, the Middle East and Southeast Asia; and in Russia, Azerbaijan, Japan, Korea, India and Israel.
James performed a rich and ever-evolving repertoire of distinctive songs. His spirited, lighthearted, relevant and often humorous performances included original pieces and interpretations of songs from two dozen languages that reflect a global perspective and underscore the interconnectedness we share with all of life. These songs addressed global and social concerns common to all, including environmental sustainability, world peace, and the need for greater understanding of and compassion for one another.
The interplay of James’ skillful, rhythmic guitar playing and strong, expressive voice provided a colorful palette that he used to paint compelling musical pictures to encourage individual empowerment and compassionate relationships, while helping all of us feel more hopeful about ourselves and our place on the planet.
He engaged each distinct audience in a participatory journey condensed from his travels that brought all closer to our world and to each other. Through the synergy created by melding word and melody, his performances dissolved language and cultural boundaries, as demonstrated by this experience following a concert in Skopje, Macedonia: A woman who spoke no English told James through an interpreter “I didn’t understand a word, but”—touching the area of her heart— “I understood what you were saying.”
James also founded the Work O’the Weavers with David Bernz, and formed a quartet to celebrate the music and life of the Weavers in 2003.
James and I (Madhumita Chakrabartti) met in 1997 at the Walkabout Clearwater Coffeehouse. We became life partners, got married and continued our journey together until his passing in 2016. We enjoyed joining our voices together in harmony for shows in the US, India and Israel during these 19 years. Today, I continue his work of supporting traveling musicians by presenting WorldWind House Concerts in our New Jersey home; celebrating his life and work through community building; and being active in the folk community as a board member of the Princeton Folk Music Society.
Robert Bobby — February 11, 2018
Robert Bobby was born in Philadelphia and grew up in the suburb of Newtown Square. As a young teenager, his brother introduced him to the music of Bob Dylan and that was his doorway into his own musical adventure. In high school and college, he frequented The Main Point folk club, hearing and learning from artists like Dave Van Ronk, Chris Smither, Tom Rush, Tim Buckley, Steve Goodman, Muddy Waters and many more.
After attending Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, PA, Robert Bobby formed The Speedboys, a rock and rhythm & blues band which gained a widespread regional following. Between 1978 and 1985, they released three (3) self-produced, critically acclaimed albums. Robert Bobby released a solo album, Chilly Wind, shortly thereafter. On January 6, 2018, The Speedboys and Robert Bobby were honored as the first inductees into the brand new Lancaster Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Since the year 2000, Robert Bobby has concentrated on performing the acoustic music he loves. In 2005, he began performing primarily as The Robert Bobby Duo with his wife, Mrs. Bobby, on bass guitar. They perform a varied repertoire of Robert Bobby originals & select cover songs in a listening room setting. They are members of the International Folk Alliance and regularly attend Folk Alliance Regional Conferences.
Sadly, in January 2017, just as he and Mrs. Bobby were looking forward to retiring from the day jobs to focus on his music, Robert Bobby was diagnosed with brain cancer. Radiation, chemotherapy and advancing cancer have taken their toll on his ability to play his guitar and sing. The Robert Bobby Duo was able to perform a few shows in the fall of 2017, finishing up with their last public performance on December 2, 2017. At this point, Mrs. Bobby is focused on her new role as chief caregiver. She would like to see Robert Bobby’s songs live on and is encouraging other artists to perform them.
Robert Bobby has played in support of the following acoustic artists:
1. Chris Smither
2. Steve Forbert
3. Rory Block
4. Roy Book Binder
5. Parker Milsap
6. Diana Jones
7. Fred Eaglesmith
8. Junior Brown: ok not so acoustic-sue me
9. Dom Flemons
Robert Bobby has performed at the following:
The Birchmere: Alexandria, VA
The Tin Angel: Philadelphia PA
Falcon Ridge Folk Festival as Emerging Artist Contestant, NY
The Lansdowne Folk Club: Lansdowne, PA
Susquehanna Folk Society & Whitaker Center: Harrisburg, PA
Gene Shay's Folk Show: WXPN Philadelphia, PA (3 times)
Little Buffalo Festival, PA
The Ware Center, Tellus 360 & The Chameleon: Lancaster, PA
Northeast Regional Folk Alliance Quad Showcase.
Scott Krokoff — February 4, 2018
With a rich sound drawn primarily from his love of 60s and 70s music, New Yorker Scott Krokoff (pron: Crow-Cough) weaves elements of folk rock & country pop into confessional and compelling Americana. He is an evocative and introspective songwriter, and a deft finger-picker in the vein of James Taylor and Paul Simon with “an edge of Replacements styled alt rock to his strum” (Hiplanta). Scott has opened for Elle King and Grace Weber, toured in the US and Europe, including playing in Belgium for his biggest fan, and received radio airplay throughout the US, Canada and Europe.
Scott’s last record, Realizations & Declarations, Vol. 2, received rave reviews praising Scott’s “terrific imaginative powers” (Bearded Magazine) and his “graceful tales of morality and perseverance” (The Vinyl District) with “melodies that'll have you humming for days” (Nooga) and “music in the vein of 1960s and ’70s songsmiths, but also recalling hot up-and-comers like Father John Misty” (PopDose).
While he has supported his young family as an active lawyer, Scott is adamant that one should never put a shelf life on his or her dreams. As such, many of Scott's songs document his passion to persevere with his music, and all three of his record releases —2007's A Better Life, 2012's Realizations and Declarations, Vol. 1 and 2015’s Realizations & Declarations, Vol. 2 — brim with lovely and tuneful revelations that proselytized the art of taking risks in life as well as the consequences of not taking them.
People of all ages have found Scott's music appealing and inspirational, relating to his music not only because of the terrific rhythm and energy each song possesses but because he represents the desire we each have to dream big and live life to the fullest. One of Scott's favorite experiences was when his biggest fan flew him from New York to Belgium at his expense to play his 10th year wedding anniversary. That fan later explained to Scott that he was so inspired by his music, he felt compelled to revive his own musical dreams. Scott's situation is proof positive that if you really want to, you'll find a way.
Scott is currently working on his next record due to be released by June 2018.
Crowes Pasture — January 28, 2018
“An uncanny blend of voices… the duo sound born to mesh their voices. His, a handsome, sandpapery timbre, and hers, angelic, with a lovely wilt.” - Bill Copeland Music News
Crowes Pasture is the acoustic duo of Monique Byrne and Andy Rogovin. Based in Boston, the duo brings leather and lace harmonies to classic and contemporary folk music in a style that draws from old-time, folk and bluegrass traditions. Performing on guitar and banjo, they draw inspiration from both traditional folk storytellers like Woody Guthrie and Bob Dylan and icons of vocal harmony like the Carter Family and Simon & Garfunkel. Their music invites comparisons with the likes of The Civil Wars, Gillian Welch/David Rawlings, The Milk Carton Kids, The Jayhawks and Ian & Sylvia.
The duo released their second album, Edge of America, in October of 2017. The album quickly reached #7 on the National Folk DJ Charts and continued to chart throughout the remainder of the year, landing itself a spot on the Folk DJ Top Albums of 2017 list. The title song, Edge of America, reached #3 on the Folk DJ Top Songs Charts October 2017. John Patterson, host of The Song Parlor, described the song as offering an immigrant’s eye view of the American dream and the reality.
Other original songs on the album explore everything from the struggles of Depression-era spouses, the effects of Hurricane Sandy on everyday life in Ocean County, the Greek myth of Daphne and Apollo and a tribute to one of the most fascinating athletes of the 20th century, Muhammad Ali.
The duo’s approach to outside material on the album is just as memorable. “Crowes Pasturizing” songs by Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen and Donovan by stripping them down and reconstructing them with their distinctive harmonies and musical ideas, Crowes Pasture taps into a sound that transcends eras and genres.
Bill Copeland of “Bill Copeland Music News” praises the album, saying “there is an earnestness of purpose in these songs that remind of all the great ballads and folklore that define [the folk] genre.” Nick Noble (host of “The Folk Revival” on WICN-FM) has praised the duo for their “lovely harmonies and a passionate approach to musical performance,” while WUMB’s “Local Folk” host Patrick Coman enthused over their “skillfully crafted, emotional songwriting, compelling vocals and tasty accompaniment.”
Charlie King — January 21, 2018
Charlie King is a musical storyteller and political satirist. He sings and writes passionately about the extraordinary lives of ordinary people. Pete Seeger hailed him as “One of the finest singers and songwriters of our time.”
Charlie has been at the heart of American folk music for half a century and has been writing songs for over 40 years. In October of 2017 he received the annual Phil Ochs Award, in recognition of his music and activism for social and political justice in the spirit of Phil Ochs. Other honors include: an "Indie" award for one of the top three folk recordings of 1984; the War Resisters League’s 1998 Peacemaker Award given to Charlie and Odetta; the 1999 Sacco-Vanzetti Social Justice Award for which he was nominated by Pete Seeger; and the 2014 Joe Hill Award, a lifetime achievement award for excellence in the field of labor culture.
Charlie’s songs have been recorded and sung by other performers such as Pete Seeger, Holly Near, Ronnie Gilbert, John McCutcheon, Arlo Guthrie, Peggy Seeger, Chad Mitchell and Judy Small. He is currently touring with his latest recording Life & Love, Tears & Laughter, a 15 song, eclectic mix of classic folk songs - time tested - and new songs reflecting on the testing times we live in.
Charlie has recorded over a dozen solo albums since 1976, as well as three albums with the touring ensemble Bright Morning Star, and numerous compilation albums with other artists. From 2001 to 2014 he recorded with his partner, Karen Brandow. In addition to a full time career of concert touring, King has sung in support of numerous groups working for peace, human rights, environmental sanity and alternatives to violence.
His central vision as an entertainer is to leave audiences with a sense of optimism and possibility about the future. "I try to cover a broad emotional landscape in my concerts. The stories I collect and the songs I write take the listener on a journey of humor, heartache and hope. What I most value in a song is the way it helps us see an old reality in a totally new light."
Charlie was born in 1947, and was raised in Brockton, MA. He cites as musical influences the folk music revival of the 1960's, the civil rights movement and the Vietnam War era.
Folk legend Peggy Seeger says, "If we had more Charlie Kings in the world I'd be less worried," and Tom Paxton adds, "Luckily, we have him!"
All-She-Wrote — January 14, 2018
All-She-Wrote: Gloria Jean, David LaPlante & Stephen Pounds are regulars at the Woodstock-New Paltz Art & Crafts Fair Memorial Day and Labor Day weekends, and play many live music venues across the Northeast such as Caffé Lena in Saratoga Springs, NY, The Guthrie Center in Great Barrington, MA, Sonny Och’s folk concert series in Middleburgh, NY, The Thrall Library in Middletown, NY, and The Crossroads Coffeehouse in North Andover, MA. They are known for rich harmony vocals and clear acoustic guitar playing, performing authentic renditions of classic folk songs from the 60s & 70s interspersed with Gloria Jean’s original songs. They play guitars built by David LaPlante, who crafted instruments for Noel Paul Stookey of Peter Paul & Mary, and is a renowned guitar historian and Martin Guitar expert (David provided a chapter for the book, Inventing the American Guitar: the Pre-Civil War Innovations of C.F. Martin and his Contemporaries). They have two cds, the 2004 self-titled All-She-Wrote, and their 2017 release, Passing It On. Both earned a place on the Folk-DJ Listserve’s “Top Albums” list. Passing It On features guest instrumental tracks by Rounder recording artists, The Lonely Heartstring Band, as well as the incomparable Larry Packer on violin and mandolin. Larry has played with The Band, Lou Reed, David Bromberg, and too many to list here; and now regularly joins All-She-Wrote at performances.
Shawna Caspi — January 7, 2018
Toronto-based singer-songwriter and fingerstyle guitarist Shawna Caspi
hadn¹t done much travelling before tapering off a series of administrative
jobs to start touring full-time. She had never even rented a car. She had
never been camping before performing at the Blue Skies Music Festival in
Since then, Shawna has toured throughout Canada and the United States,
including performances at the Ottawa Grassroots Festival, the Shelter Valley
Folk Festival, the Summerfolk Festival (ON), and the Deep Roots Music
Festival (NS), and concert series including the Calgary Folk Club, the
Nickelodeon, the Northern Lights Folk Club (AB), the Greenbank Folk Music
Society (ON), the Circle of Friends Coffeehouse (MA), On Your Radar (NY),
and Six String Concerts (OH).
Shawna¹s fourth album Forest Fire, released in September 2017, is a
collection of songs about burning things down and building them up again.
Engineered and produced by Don Kerr (Rheostatics, Bahamas, Ron Sexsmith),
the elegant arrangements draw the listener into the depths of haunting,
atmospheric tracks, then lift them out with airy, bluegrass instrumentation
and hopeful narratives for brighter days. It¹s dark granite stone with a
shot of glimmering quartz through the middle. When the words get heavy, they
are held up to the light of love, grace, and gratitude. With these songs,
Shawna strives to be unafraid, to embolden quieted voices, to tell the truth
above all else.
Siobhan O'Brien — December 10, 2017
Siobhan O’Brien is an Irish Singer/Songwriter who now lives in Alexandria, Virginia.
" In addition to Bob Dylan inviting her to join him on stage, Siobhan has performed in concert as a guest vocalist with the famed Irish group The Chieftains. She has also appeared with The San Diego Symphony Orchestra’s St. Patrick’s Day Celebrations in 2010. She has supported such acts as: The Cranberries, Christy Moore, Donovan, Sharon Shannon, Henry Mc Cullough (Wings), Maria Mc Kee, Damien Dempsey, Paul Brady, Mick Flannery and many more.
Leonard Cohen heard about Siobhán from a friend of his which prompted him to send a book to her called 'Dance Me To The End Of Love' with a Henry Matisse painting on each page, as a gesture of encouragement. Siobhan's last CD 'Songs I grew Up To' includes special guest appearances by several of Siobhan's musical friends including Paddy Moloney (The Chieftains) Pete Cummins(Fleadh Cowboys/Nanci Griffith) & Brendan Bowyer (Royal Show Band)
Song after song, she delivers a spectrum of emotions accented by distinct rhythms and catchy hooks. Covering themes of spirituality, love and the challenges of being human, O’Brien chronicles her journey in a manner that is relatable but also cause for reflection. There is an exquisite tension in her voice that resonates and affects – Deeply.
The Promise Is Hope — December 3, 2017
Ashley and Eric L’Esperance first felt the electricity of their undeniable chemistry at an impromptu song swap. A year and a half later they were married and released their debut album “Where We’ve Been & Where We’re Going.” Jessica Phaneuf, WUMB, says “I listen to A LOT of music, and this [album] would be at the top of the pile.” The Promise is Hope has earned their place among New England’s finest emerging indie-folk duos, with a live performance that is often described as beautifully moving, inspired, and connected.
Their music marries two distinctly talented songwriters, and their sound is shaped by tastes of folk, electronic, acoustic and pop. Ashley performs subtle yet stunning melodies with a classically-trained, but often folksy, voice. Her poetic lyrics explore the deep mysteries within nature and human relationship. Eric’s obvious reverence for the great folk songwriters of the 60’s and 70’s shines through his sweetly deep voice. His prose-like lyrics unravel the joys and struggles of life’s journeys, and take what appears to be freeform and make it flow beautifully into well-crafted pieces. Together, the two artists complement each other in every respect. Their songs are sometimes fun, sometimes deep, and always aimed for the heart. As Eric puts it, The Promise is Hope aims to “write songs that are honest and true … in a way that hopefully helps others see the truth and the beauty that exists in their own lives.”
These “hometown heroes” won two 2017 Worcester Music Awards and a nomination for 2017 Best of Central Massachusetts “Best Entertainer.” They were invited to perform at the 2017 Connecticut Folk Festival, and have shared the stage with national folk artists such as Amy Speace, Antje Duvekot, and Gaelynn Lea. They have captured the hearts of listeners in hundreds of crowds all over New England and the Mid-Atlantic, and are currently writing material for a sophomore album set for release in early 2018.
Aztec Two-Step — November 26, 2017
Acclaimed folk/rock duo Aztec Two-Step celebrate the release of their new CD "Naked" - the duo’s first recording of all original material since 2004. It’s title-track, also released in video format, is an uplifting socially-conscious song with poignant contemporary themes. The Naked video https://vimeo.com/221429272 is in keeping with the band’s uplifting perspective, as the song speaks to the angst of the times with its buoyant notion that “with a little push and shove, and a lot of peace and love, maybe we’ll break through.’” The montage of visuals depicts children as the best hope for a brighter future even as we contend with the issues of climate change, broken families, the proliferation of guns, ideological extremism, and more. This video was followed up with another signature song from the Naked CD "Family" - which invokes the holiday spirit by including family photos and video clips sent in by the duo's fans. Family fan video - https://youtu.be/DIqxpZHDC4Q
Rex and Neal's enduring partnership has been a notable chapter in the annals of American folk/rock ever since the release of their 1972 debut album on Elektra Records, challenging its conventions while maintaining a potent creative currency for four and a half decades. Just as the title of the new single and the new album also brings the band full circle - ‘we’re all born naked with wings to soar’ – they sing on the title-track, it’s the joy they take in sharing their experiences and topical concerns with their fans that bolsters their first all-new material in more than a decade.
Ernest Troost — November 19, 2017
Ernest Troost is an Emmy-award-winning film and television composer and a recipient of the Kerrville New Folk award for his songwriting. His evocative style combines folk and Piedmont-blues-style guitar picking with timeless stories and colorful character portrayals drawn from the American past and present. His new album, O LOVE has been a hit with fans and critics alike. “Troost is a brilliant Americana songwriter. . . . making pensive, sometimes snarling, Steve Earle-ish, lyrically-driven Americana rock with inspired playing and smartly judicious arrangements. Fans of Steve Earle, James McMurtry, Jeffrey Foucault and the rest of that crew will find an awful lot to like in Troost’s brooding, intense songcraft.”
Hope Dunbar — November 5, 2017
Hope Dunbar was born and raised in Southern California but with a few twists and turns, six months in Paraguay, a year of college in Granada, Spain and finally falling in love, she landed in Utica, NE (popuation 800) seven years ago with her husband and three sons. A musician her whole life, Dunbar came relatively late to songwriting when she penned her first attempt at three verses and chorus when she was thirty years old with three little kids. Now, ten years later, she's releasing her third studio album, "Three Black Crows" produced by Chicago singer/Songwriter, Emily White, and engineered by Bruce Roper at his Little School Street Studio in Chicago, IL. Dunbar feels the ticking of time and she hears the howl of the north wind so on this new endeavor she's decided to be bold and start her own musical genre classification. She's calling herself New American Prairie. In her words New American Prairie, "speaks to the resilience I see in my friends and neighbors. It's a pioneering spirit that digs in and refuses to leave. I suppose that's how I'd describe myself as an artist. I'm in it for life."
On her new record she explores stories of loss and heartache and the quiet strength it takes to keep going. She writes about a mass shooting in "The Shooter" and about how we're not getting any younger on "Three Black Crows." "I write" is a bittersweet autobiography of the reality of being a travelling troubador while "Better Than Ever" has her living a dream come true joined in on the recording by Grammy-nominated singer/songwriter, Darrell Scott, her songwriting hero. Dunbar's previous albums include 2012's "Woman Like Me" and 2015's "The End of Wanting."
She was a Kerrville New Folk Finalist in 2015 and earned a 2nd place nod in American Songwriter Magazine's Lyric's contest in early 2017 for her song, "We Want."
Meghan Cary — October 29, 2017
Meghan Cary didn’t mean to be a musician. But when her fiancé unexpectedly died, she picked up his guitar, figured out how to play it, and wrote her debut, earning her Billboard Magazine’s Critic’s Choice for Best Newcomer. “I wrote my grief into music and sang my way out of the abyss.” Cary continues to share the healing power of music with the community that has rallied around her message of hope and being heard.
Known for her raw honesty and ability to connect with and engage her audience, Cary brings people to their feet and at times to tears with high-energy tunes, masterful storytelling, and lyrics that resonate universally. Cary’s song “Sing Louder”, a call to raise our voices together to make a difference, has become an anthem for the music-loving community.
In fact, “Sing Louder” resonated so well with audiences in her live shows, that Cary was inspired to include some of these fans on her new record of the same name. Cary gathered 48 music lovers in the studio to raise their voices with her on two tracks, “Sing Louder", and “Responsibility”. Many of them stepped far out of their comfort zones to don headphones and sing into a microphone. They sang with passion, joy and abandon, and it was a profound experience for Cary and all those involved. That energy was captured on Sing Louder.
“Music is the most potent tool I know to break down walls, slip through barricades, and connect with each other. And when we authentically connect, we can change the world,” said Cary. “Now more than ever we need to be courageous enough to transcend emotional, intellectual, and political barriers, and raise our voices…together.”
Cary began her career on stage as a theatre actress with over 100 credits for her work in the U.S. and Europe, and a successful on-camera and voiceover career. She’s written a one-person show with music, “On the Way to the Waterfall”, which she continues to perform around the country. She is also currently composing music and lyrics for the Broadway-bound musical, “The Accidental Caterer”.
After pushing pause on performing to raise two children, Cary launched back onto the music scene at Philly Folk Fest and was awarded a coveted Emerging Artist Showcase slot at Falcon Ridge Folk Festival. Cary’s smoky voice, emotional singing, and vulnerable writing continue to win over audiences, and garner favorable comparisons to Melissa Etheridge, Natalie Merchant, Stevie Nicks, and even Bruce Springsteen.
In response to life’s inevitable curve balls, Cary’s mantra is: “If you don't know the words...Sing Louder!”
Beth Wood — October 22, 2017
Beth Wood is a modern-day troubadour and believer in the power of song. Her exceptional musicianship, crafty songwriting, powerhouse voice, and commanding stage presence have been winning over American audiences for twenty years. Beth recently launched 20/20, a celebration of her twenty years as a full-time musician in which she will release twenty new works to subscribers and fans in 2017. Over the course of those twenty years, Beth has been touring, writing, creating, collaborating, and performing non-stop. She has released ten independent albums and one book of poetry with album #11 and book #2 currently in the works. Beth now lives in Portland, OR and is loving the Northwest life. Beth has immersed herself in the northwest music community, including working on staff with the Sisters Folk Festival and Americana Song Academy for six years as staff director and host of the festival's well-loved Sunday Community Celebration. Beth’s work has expanded to include teaching voice and song coaching as well as leading workshops at festivals, songwriting retreats and beyond. Beth believes that engagement in the process of creation is as important as its outcome. Her musical philosophy is that there are no wrong notes.
Mike Aiken — October 15, 2017
Mike Aiken is an Americana, Country, Roots artist with an ocean view. Originally from rural Western New York, outside of Buffalo, he currently lives aboard his sailboat in Norfolk, Virginia when he’s not on the road or in Nashville. His highly anticipated seventh studio album, WAYWARD TROUBADOUR, will be released early in 2018, a follow up to Grammy-nominated CAPTAINS & COWBOYS. Mike brings his favorite band together to help tell the musical stories behind the songs including Kenny Vaughan (Marty Stuart) on extra guitars, David Roe (Chet Atkins, Johnny Cash) on upright bass and vocal appearances by co-writers Henry Paul (Outlaws, Blackhawk) and Chris P James (Burrito Brothers).
“The audience hooped and hollered and stomped their feet! With his stories and songs, it was like an old friend singing on your back porch. Mike’s music gave a comfortable classical country feel but with an original edge that kept everyone entertained. “ - Mark McCreary, Ross Ragland Theater
Aiken’s love for singing, songwriting and sailing has taken him all over the world. As a songwriter he puts pen to paper and shares his colored and colorful life. As an artist who comes by his stories honestly, Aiken has definitely taken his place among well-respected songwriters and musicians in the Americana and Country communities.
An inner sense of chivalry oozes from every story he tells and every song he sings. Aiken has drawn tales - and hope - from “trail riders, aging rodeo champs, sea captains, Rastafarians and outlaws on the lamb” and crafted tunes that draw the threads of these independent spirits together. His live show features tasty playing, sweet harmonies and a video backdrop that highlights the stories behind the songs. You can expect to hear upbeat, rootsy grooves, from slide guitar to honky-tonk piano, percussion and harmony vocals that take you to the heart of a summer jump-up. On stage with Mike Aiken (vocals, acoustic, baritone, National steel) will be Sweet Amy D (vocals, percussion), the multi-talented Andrew Piland (vocals, acoustic, accordion, keys) and Jordan Ponzi (vocals, upright bass).
“Mike Aiken took the crowd on an exotic adventure, to the farthest Isles of the Caribbean, the Appalachian Mountains and beyond. Mike warmed the audience during his Tall Tales and Troubadours show with the stories and songs of his journeys, across oceans and highways and was rewarded with a standing ovation...” - Paul Shugrue, WHRV -NPR
“…a masterful mix of styles, including a “swampy”-sounding baritone guitar. His original songs are sharply written, with memorable tunes and intelligently observant lyrics about life on the sea and on the land. The songs come across as “country-soul” –similar to a gritty, soulful singer like Tony Joe White.” - David Dennie, Pretlow Concert Series
Paul Sachs — October 8, 2017
Paul Sachs writes lyrical and gritty songs. Born and raised in New York City. Bob Dylan, Tom Waits and Springsteen are the songwriters that influenced him and pushed him into the folk music circles of the city. In 2013 he won the prestigious New Folk Songwriter’s contest at the Kerrville Folk Festival in Texas. His new CD Love is Love came out in 2016 and WFUV's John Platt named "Love is Love" one of his top ten favorite songs of the year. Sachs continues to tour and write as much as he can.
His CD, "Oil Town" was named one of the top folk albums in 2011 on both the Folk DJ list and Roots Music Report. Sing Out magazine states: "Song after song he creates some lovely melodies. The cuts on "Oil Town" involve those challenged by love, by work, and the struggles created by economic imbalance...This is a keeper, and its excellence grows on you.”
Love is Love 2016
In masterful strokes, Sachs’ lyrics take us on a tour through humanity’s darkest alleys. Richard Cuccaro Acoustic Live
Davey O — October 1, 2017
Equal parts songwriter and storyteller, Buffalo’s Davey O. has been recognized on a national level for his past two CD releases with multiple honors among the “best of“ lists of several Folk & Roots radio stations, and as a 2013 New Folk Finalist at the prestigious Kerrville Folk Festival. Davey has also earned the respect of his peers for his incredible work ethic, performing between 120 - 140 dates per year, and for his constant dedication to the art of song craft. With a journalist’s eye for detail and poet’s ear for the well-turned observation, Davey O. finds the universal in the particular, turning day-to-day minutiae into dusty paeans to the indomitability of the human spirit. With each tale another slice of life examined.
Davey is looking to build on the success of his previous release “No Passengers,” (2014 Top 25 of 100 albums Roots Music Report, Best of 2014 - WHRW, WAMC, The Sundilla Radio Hour, WMSC, Radio Crystal Blue, WVPE ) with the 2017 release of “A Bright Horizon Line” (Top 20 Album, Folk DJ List, April 2017) - his new, full length CD. Joined by veteran folk artists Tracy Grammer (background vocals), and Pat Wictor (dobro), as well as up and coming artists Matt Nakoa (piano), and Eric Lee (mandolin, fiddle), “A Bright Horizon Line” is a collection of 10 tracks (9 original compositions, and a cover of the Crowded House classic “Don’t Dream It’s Over”) – each one taking the listener on an adventure via music and words, strung along the common thread of this journey we are all on. Co-produced with Neale Eckstein at Fox Run Studios, the production values and arrangements are clear, concise, and cinematic in their quality, successfully capturing the elements of both contemporary and traditional folk music.
Joe Jencks — September 24, 2017
Joe Jencks is an international touring musician, award-winning songwriter, and celebrated vocalist known for his performances of musical beauty, social consciousness and spiritual exploration. Jencks’ most recent CD – Poets, Philosophers, Workers, & Wanderers was the #1 CD on the International Folk DJ Chart, also garnering recognition for #1 Song and #1 Artist. Additionally the recording spent eight weeks as the #1 CD on Sirius XM Radio’s Americana Chart! Having penned several #1 Folksongs including the ever relevant, Lady of The Harbor, Jencks has become a fan favorite throughout North America, and is the co-founder of the harmony trio Brother Sun.
Jencks has been touring internationally for nearly two decades and has released 15 CDs in that time. Merging conservatory training with his Irish roots and working-class upbringing, Joe delivers engaged musical narratives filled with heart, soul, groove and grit. Blending well-crafted instrumentals and vivid songwriting, Jencks serves it all up with a lyric baritone voice that has the edgy richness of a good sea-salt caramel.
Joe’s newest solo CD - Poets, Philosophers, Workers, and Wanderers - will be released May 1st, 2017. With arrangements that blend sparse acoustic performances with Copeland-like orchestral tapestries, and encompass Celtic, Blues, and Traditional Folk styles, this CD reflects the depth of Joe’s musical knowledge and diversity of influences. In addition, guest artists including: Ysaye Barnwell (Sweet Honey In The Rock), Cathy Fink, Harpeth Rising, Tret Fure, Reggie Harris, Edie Carey, Jon Carroll and many more. This long awaited collection of songs represents Joe’s finest work to date, both as a vocalist and as a songwriter.
KC Groves — September 17, 2017
An accomplished instrumentalist (mandolin, guitar, bass), vocalist and songwriter, K.C. Groves has been at the heart of many celebrated projects. As the creative center and bandleader of the popular group Uncle Earl for over a decade, she helped bring old-time music to a wider audience. The "g’Earls" played major festival stages in the United States and toured extensively abroad, gaining fans and musical cohorts such as Led Zeppelin’s John Paul Jones, who produced their second Rounder Records album Waterloo, Tennessee which was the #1 album for the year on the Folk DJ chart for 2007.
Residing in Colorado where she is at the forefront of the Front Range bluegrass scene, KC sings original songs with themes which range from dreaming of seeing the Northern Lights, of love lost and of letting go, something that she and her fellow residents of the flood-ravaged town of Lyons have had to do.
Mentored as a young musician by bluegrass greats such as Sally Van Meter, Charles Sawtelle and Laurie Lewis, Groves has released two solo albums of original material and was a Telluride Troubadour contest finalist. Her first CD, Can You Hear It, (produced by Charles Sawtelle,) won the Detroit Music Award for Best Bluegrass Artist / Group in 1999. She has teamed up with countless notable musicians, including old-time musician and craftsman Riley Baugus and Leftover Salmon’s Vince Herman. KC has toured with Jeff Scroggins and Colorado on bass and vocals and also performs as a duo with vocal powerhouse Greg Blake.
Groves’ ability to assemble talent is also evident as a mentor and producer, her last project, the Free the Honey CD, Fine Bloom, reached #1 Album, #1 Artist, and #1 Song for October 2015 on the Folk DJ Chart, and she has just produced an outstanding project for Barbara Jo Kammer, One Song at a Time, with a stellar cast of musicians, set to release September 1, 2017.
Along with founding the successful High Street Concert series in Lyons, K.C. has spearheaded the weekly bluegrass jam at Oskar Blues, one of the largest and longest running weekly jams in Colorado and is a member of the Colorado Bluegrass Music Society’s Hall Of Honor.
Holly Near — September 10, 2017
Respected around the world for her music and activism, Holly Near inspires people to join in her celebration of the human spirit. Equally compelling at her shows or through your speakers, her music fully engages listeners in the world around them. Holly has made a career speaking to anyone in the world who believes in peace, justice, and feminism, a wonderful spectrum of humanity. Born in Ukiah, CA in 1949, Holly began singing in high school, including work with a local folk group. She built on her performing career with acting parts on Mod Squad and appeared in a number of guest roles in seminal 70s TV shows like Room 222 and The Partridge Family. In 1970, she was a cast member of the Broadway musical Hair. Following the Kent State shootings in May of that year, the entire cast staged a silent vigil in protest. The song, “It Could Have Been Me” (which was released on A Live Album, 1974), was her heartfelt response to the shootings. In 1971, she joined the Free The Army Tour, an anti-Vietnam War road show of music, comedy, and plays organized by antiwar activist Fred Gardner and actors Jane Fonda and Donald Sutherland. In 1972, Holly was one of the first women to create an independent record company, paving the way for women like Ani DiFranco and others. Her goal was to promote and produce music by politically conscious artists from around the world, a mission that Redwood Records fulfilled for nearly 20 years. Often cited as one of the founders of the Women’s Music movement, she not only led the way for outspoken women in the music world, but also worked for peace and multicultural consciousness. Throughout her long career Holly has worked with a wide array of musicians, including Pete Seeger, Ronnie Gilbert, Arlo Guthrie, Mercedes Sosa, Bernice Johnson Reagon, Bonnie Raitt, Jackson Browne, Joan Baez, Phil Ochs, Harry Belafonte, and many others. Holly Near has been recognized many times for her work for social change, including honors from the ACLU, the National Lawyers Guild, the National Organization for Women, and the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences; she was named Ms. Magazine Woman of the Year and received the Legends of Women’s Music Award. During her travels in the Pacific with the Free the Army show, Holly became a globally conscious feminist, linking international feminism and anti-war activism. She was an active participant and coalition builder in what she calls the “heady days” of 70s activism, when so many movements were gestating and jostling with one another. Another significant arena of Holly’s activism is the LGBTQ community. Her interest was both personal and political. She was one of the first celebrities to discuss her sexual orientation during a pioneering 1976 interview with People magazine. A staunch advocate for LGBTQ rights, Holly is comfortable with her own sexuality and has a clear understanding of the fluidity of sexual orientation. Holly is also a teacher, presenting master classes in performance craft and songwriting to diverse audiences. Building on this role, her historic papers are housed at Radcliffe’s Schlesinger Library and are regarded as an informed look at the last 40 years of social change movements. She has also become a spokeswoman within the social change music movement. During her time on the road, luminaries in the folk world have noted how her presence sets the tone for each event she joins. As she has observed, “Music can influence choices, for better or worse. A lullaby can put a troubled child to sleep but Muzak can put a whole nation to sleep. A marching band can send our children off to war. It can also have everyone laughing and dancing and loving as it leads a gay-pride parade.”
Barbara Jo Kammer — September 3, 2017
“One song at a time.” That’s how Colorado’s Barbara Jo Kammer approaches her passion as a music therapist, her life as a performer, and it’s how she’s navigated the challenging journey to recovery after decades of alcohol and drug addiction.
One Song at a Time also happens to be the fitting title of Kammer’s debut album, an engaging collection of American Roots music, masterfully produced by KC Groves, award winner and founder of the group Uncle Earl; and Swingfingers Studio engineer Aaron Youngberg.
One Song at a Time takes us on a journey with a thoughtfully chosen selection of songs that deftly weave in Kammer’s own personal story of struggle and redemption. The album kicks off powerfully with her joyous, bluegrass infused version of the classic “I Can See Clearly Now,” speaking to the clarity of mind and spirit that has sprung from her sobriety. Her rendering of the George Jones’ hit, “Choices,” is nothing short of inspired, reflecting her years of struggle. Traditional favorites and popular classics show Kammer’s versatility with a powerful voice reminiscent of greats like Linda Ronstadt, Joan Baez, or Mary Chapin Carpenter. The album includes a poignant original tune written by Barbara Jo. “The Winning Side” is an honest and personal glimpse at the artist’s journey through addiction and recovery.
The singer/songwriter began harmonizing to commercial jingles at the tender age of 2, according to her mom. Dad was a Barbershop singer who harmonized with his young daughter, and introduced Barbara Jo to her first bluegrass music with the song, “Mountain Dew.”
With a seasoned band of musicians called Barbara Jo and The Hippie Buckaroos (Doug Lindsay, Bob Backlund, Norm Strassner, Jeff Becker, and Darryl Thompson) Barbara Jo has become a popular fixture on the acoustic music scene in and around Colorado. The group was named among the Best 10 Cover Bands in Colorado by Westword Magazine in 2016.
With the help of an Indiegogo crowd-funding campaign, she set out to reach her lifelong goal of recording an album. She credits the creation of this project to being in recovery since July 1, 2007. “My hope is that I can inspire and bring joy to those who suffer from addiction.” In addition to her role as performer, Kammer is an active music therapist working with elders in retirement communities. She also offers experience, strength and hope to those suffering from alcoholism and addiction.
“I used to create lots of chaos for me, my family and friends;
had to give up the fight, admit I wasn’t right.
There’s healing in living amends”
—from “The Winning Side” by Barbara Jo Kammer
“Barbara Jo applies her formidable vocal chops to an interesting variety of songs and pours her heart into them. The musical support and production are top-notch.”
—Pete Wernick, creator of the Wernick Method and member of Hot Rize
Guy Davis — August 20, 2017
Guy Davis once said, “I like antiques and old things, old places, that still have the dust of those who’ve gone before us lying upon them.” Blowing that dust off just enough to see its beauty is something Guy has excelled at for over twenty years of songwriting and performing. It’s no wonder his reverence for the music of the Blues Masters who’ve gone before him has been evident in every album he’s ever recorded or concert he’s given.
Guy has had his musical storytelling influenced by artists like Blind Willie McTell and Big Bill Broonzy, and his musicality from artists as diverse as Lightnin’ Hopkins and Babatunde Olatunji. However, there’s one man that Guy most credits for his harmonica techniques, by stealing and crediting from him everything that he could, and that man is the legendary Sonny Terry.
Guy’s new album, “Sonny & Brownie’s Last Train – A Look Back at Brownie McGhee and Sonny Terry” is an homage to these two hugely influential artists, not only on Guy’s career, but to thousands of musicians around the world. One such artist is the Italian harmonica ace, Fabrizio Poggi, who collaborates with and produced this recording.
Recorded in the summer of 2016 in Milan, the album features the original, title track song written by Guy Davis, songs by both Sonny and Brownie, as well as songs known to have been recorded and performed by the famed duo written by their contemporaries, such as Libba Cotton and Leadbelly.
Guy and Fabrizio have a relationship going back a decade in which they’ve performed together on tour in Europe and in the United States. In 2013 Fabrizio produced and played on Guy’s highly acclaimed recording, “Juba Dance”, which was number one on the Roots Music Charts for eight weeks. And ‘Fab’ also performs on Guy’s last album, “Kokomo Kidd”.
Guy Davis has spent his musical life carrying his message of the blues around the world, from the Equator to the Arctic Circle, earning him the title “An Ambassador of the Blues”. His work as an actor, author, and music teacher earmark him as a renaissance man of the blues. What music and acting have in common, he explains, “is that I don’t like people to see the hard work and the sweat that goes into what I do. I want them to hear me and be uplifted. And I want some little eight-‐year-‐old kid in the front row to have big eyes and say, ‘Hey, I want to do that!’.”
Jim Lord — July 30, 2017
Jim Lord is an American folk/rock singer/songwriter and musician. Born in Jersey City, New Jersey, His early influences included such artists as James Taylor and Leonard Cohen. Later, Lord became inspired by artists of the British folk/blues revival, especially Bert Jansch and Ralph McTell. Lord's first album “Inside Out”, produced by former “Fugs’ guitarist Ken Pine and released on the Inlet Records label in October 1982, was a Billboard Magazine Top Billboard Album Pick (recommended LP). Lord's second album “Hangdog Heaven”, released on the Blue Vinyl Records label in March 2000 and produced by Ken Pine and Larry Gates, was characterized by the New York Post as a "...dozen-song man-and-a-guitar disc [that] freely crosses the borders of folk rock, contemporary country and old-fashioned jazz guitar.". He is currently touring the Northeast and is playing in venues in New York, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Maine and Ottawa, Canada
He-Bird,She-Bird — July 23, 2017
Stir up a gravel-silk-and-honey vocal blend, add strings and wings, and you’ve got He-Bird, She-Bird, a harmony-driven Americana roots music trio from Long Island, NY. Sparks of contemporary folk, country, bluegrass and gospel fuel their stand-out originals & spirited cover interpretations. The band is thrilled to announce the June 1, 2017 release of its debut album, He-Bird, She-Bird, featuring twelve original songs with full band instrumentation. Check out the distinctive sound of He-Bird, She-Bird – people are flocking to see them!
Todd Evans is a longtime advocate and curator of live local music and a director of The Bluegrass Club of Long Island (BCLI), a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. The first band he performed in was The Clam Diggers in fifth grade, and many years later, he continues to learn through several music-related projects and configurations. Ask him what his musical approach is and he’ll tell you, “If you listen real closely to the song, it’ll tell you what to do.”
California native Terri Hall has studied piano, voice, and saxophone, and has sung with every choir and chorus that would have her. After moving east, she got up out of the alto section and began playing and singing at local jams, where she found her musical soul mates. A natural-born storyteller, Terri holds a degree in History with an emphasis in Ethnomusicology; she has set her sights on giving a TED Talk.
Christine Kellar has been transfixed and transported by vocal harmonies for as long as she can remember. She loves charting vocal arrangements, and aims one day to publish choral pieces and stage a children’s musical. Among her previous musical projects is Dance on the Planet, an album of original children’s music.
He-Bird, She-Bird performs across Long Island and the New York metropolitan area at venues ranging from large fairs and festivals to intimate house concerts. Come out and connect with the distinctive sound of He-Bird, She-Bird -- people are flocking to see them!
Emily Mure — July 16, 2017
New York City native Emily Mure has journeyed from playing concert halls as a classically trained oboist to busking as a singer-songwriter on the streets of Ireland. Her third album, Worth (releasing September 22), brings together all of her rich experiences as a musical traveler, spotlighting both her technical ability and gift for vulnerable, heartfelt songwriting.
Recorded last winter at Dimension Sound Studios in Jamaica Plain, Mass., Worth blends Mure’s clear vocals with a variety of instruments – including strings, piano, organ, and ukulele. It also takes listeners through a complex collection of themes that aren’t always easy to mine, such as coping with anxiety, saying goodbye to one’s hometown, and learning to cultivate self-acceptance.
“Gaining the strength to face these challenges head on -- and for me, writing about them -- has been a personal journey of healing,” she explains.
However, it’s Mure’s hope that the record will help others, as well. “Many of these songs are very personal, but I almost always write with others in mind. Perhaps if someone can relate to something I've said, it might offer some comfort knowing they're not alone.”
All the songs on the album were composed by Mure, save one cover, “As The World Falls Down,” by David Bowie; a tune she decided to learn when the icon passed in January 2016. Having already helmed the majority of violin and cello arrangements on Worth, she decided to try her hand at putting strings to this particular one.
“Bowie was such an inspirational force,” Mure notes. “I re-watched The Labyrinth since it was one of my favorite movies growing up. When I heard this song, I remembered how much I loved it, and felt moved to pay homage.”
While she has no fear of tackling difficult subjects, Mure also has a soft touch with love songs, as evidenced by Worth’s “Already Are,” a composition she wrote for her husband as a gift on their wedding day. The song summarizes the enormity of recognizing love, building trust, and growing alongside another person.
“This song was a realization,” she says. “The realization that for me, saying yes was accepting the unyielding love I’d had for him since we met all those years back. Writing it gave me a chance for several months leading up to our wedding to meditate on that love, and on how much he means to me.”
Mure co-produced the album with Dan Cardinal (Darlingside, Josh Ritter, Ballroom Thieves), with Zachariah Hickman (Josh Ritter, Ray LaMontagne) performing the majority of instruments on this record. Jeff Lipton (Andrew Bird, Arcade Fire, Bon Iver) mastered the album in Boston.
Mure’s songwriting, which she began cultivating during her years at Ithaca College, has been recognized in prestigious national competitions (Falcon Ridge Folk Festival, Telluride Bluegrass Festival) and has been featured on networks including NBC, ABC and PBS. As a live performer, she has shared the stage with notable musicians including Darlingside, Joe Crookston, the Bones of J.R. Jones, and the Duhks.
Loretta Hagen — July 2, 2017
Reviewers describe award winning singer-songwriter Loretta Hagen as ‘heart driven, soul filling, Folk Americana.‘ With 4 critically acclaimed CDs to her credit, Loretta’s rich alto voice and strong song-writing skills have led her to win many awards, including a JAM Awards’ (Jersey Acoustic Music Awards) “Top Female Songwriter of the Year,” JAM nomination for “Album of the Year,” winner of the NJ Folk Festival Songwriter Competition and 2 time designation as a CT Folk Festival finalist.
In every life, there are inevitable times of darkness and of light. Loretta Hagen's fourth CD "Lucky Stars," takes the listener on a personal journey through loss, healing, and ultimately the promise of hope.
Four years in the making, "Lucky Stars" brings Loretta's journey full circle, when faced with the heartache of illness, death, and going on without loved ones so cherished. She finds solace in the promise of new beginnings, love, and the inherent knowledge that our Lucky Stars are watching over us.
Loretta's third CD, “Mud and Stone,” well received by DJs worldwide, debuted at #10 on Folk DJ Charts, consistently #1 on the Roots Music Report for NJ, #5 Top 50 Folk Albums RMR, and topped many best of lists. Five years later the album is still going strong, recently receiving 4 nominations for the Just Plain Folk Awards with awards being announced late fall 2017.
"This effort [Mud and Stone] is first class, top tier, a true contender as an artist to reckon with." John Apice ~ No Depression
Following her critically acclaimed CD Something More, co-produced by Pat McInerney (Nanci Griffith), Hagen released Sundown Till Dawn, a CD that garnered rave reviews and radio play across the country.
Sundown Till Dawn is extremely personal, with the title track written about her mother who suffered with Alzheimer’s disease. Loretta’s Mom passed away peacefully at her home. The emotionally charged ballad is included on the soundtrack of a film called “10 Mountains 10 Years” chronicling the journey of a group of mountain climbers who are raising awareness about the disease.
Loretta has performed at premiere venues across the Northeast and Nashville, sharing the stage with Pete Seeger, Roger McGuinn, Sloan Wainwright, Steve Forbert, Richie Havens, Kim Richey and Marshall Crenshaw among many others.
Loretta performs primarily with her trio consisting of husband/guitarist Gary Hagen and djembe players Linda Lambiase or Curtis Kretz.
Paul Mills — June 26, 2017
Paul Mills is a graduate engineer, musician, musical arranger, graphic designer, and record producer/engineer. This unique combination of skills has resulted in a varied career. He joined CBC Radio in 1972 as a music producer and later moved over to the Radio Drama department as producer and executive producer. As a music producer for CBC Radio in the Seventies, he conceived and produced a national folk music program called “Touch The Earth” which was hosted by Sylvia Tyson. As a drama producer, he helped develop the award-winning series, “The Scales of Justice” which was later adapted for CBC Television. Later, he was put in charge of planning the radio facilities in the new CBC building in Downtown Toronto and eventually became a senior manager for CBC Radio.
In addition to his work at CBC, Paul Mills has been part of the Canadian folk music scene and recording industry for over forty years. He has produced close to 200 albums working with artists such as the late Stan Rogers (all but one of Rogers’ albums were produced by Mills), Sharon, Lois and Bram, Ron Hynes and John Allan Cameron. He is one of the founding partners of the folk music record label called the “Borealis Recording Company”. He operates his own recording studio called “The Millstream” which is kept busy with several of his own record production projects.
Albums produced or engineered by Paul have earned four gold records (sales over 50,000), two platinum records (sales over 100,000), 5 Juno nominations – Canada’s equivalent of the Grammies, and 5 East Coast Music Awards. Natalie MacMaster’s record, “My Roots are Showing”, which Paul engineered, won the 1999 Juno award for best instrumental album. Sharon Lois & Bram’s recording “Skinnamarink TV”, co-produced by Paul won the 2000 Juno for “Best Children’s Album”. Ron Hynes’ CD “Get Back Change”, received the East Coast Music Awards nod for Best Album and Best Country Album of the year in 2004.
As a performer, Paul has extensive experience in both ensemble and solo settings. His primary instrument is guitar but he is also accomplished on mandolin, banjo, bass and ukulele. He has played small clubs, concert halls and folk festivals all over Canada. In 2006, Paul released a solo album, “The Other Side of the Glass” to wide critical praise. Paul is also one-half of the duo Crabtree & Mills which has released three critically acclaimed albums.
In addition to his work as a producer and performer, Paul has served on various Boards: he is a Past President of the Ontario Council of Folk Festivals (Now Folk Music Ontario) and has served on the Boards of Folk Music Canada and the Canadian Folk Music Awards. He is currently on the Board of the Home County Music and Art Festival in London, Ontario. In 2011, Paul was recognized for his contributions to the folk music community by being given the Estelle Klein Award by Folk Music Ontario.
KJ Denhert, Hope Machine — June 11, 2017
Award winning singer-songwriter KJ Denhert is home in NY writing songs for an 11th album. Her voice is powerful, her lyrics full of intelligent insight and her musicianship impeccable.
KJ is a powerful performer, who has toured the world. She will be performing at this year's Clearwater festival at Croton Point Park on June 17 and 18.
Joining KJ on The Hootenanny Cafe to help pay homage to the return of the Greater Hudson Revival, is Hope Machine (Fred Gillen Jr and Steve Kirkman). This is going to be a great show.
You will also hear the music of some of the other outstanding artists performing at this year's festival, such as Tom Chaping, Guy Davis, Tom Paxton Arlo Guthrie, Holly Near and so many others.
Rembering Stan Rogers, with Paul Mills — June 4, 2017
Stan Rogers was a Canadian singer and songwriter who is well-known for his
narrative style of song writing chronicling Canada's history and people. He
died tragically at the young age of 33 in a fire aboard an Air Canada flight
while returning from a performance at the Kerrville Folk Festival in Texas.
Paul Mills is the Canadian record producer who produced all but one of
Rogers' albums. He met Stan in 1970 in London, Ontario and they became close
friends. Stan's first album, Fogarty's Cove was financed by Mitch Podolak,
the founder of the Winnipeg Folk Festival and it was produced by Mills in
1975. Paul and Stan went on to collaborate on 4 more albums before Stan's
tragic death in 1983. After Stan died, Paul worked closely with his widow,
Ariel Rogers to keep Stan's music alive. Four more albums were released
including a concert recording, a collection of previously unreleased
material and a "Best of" collection. In 2012, Paul remastered the 5 albums
Stan had recorded during his life. Paul was also one of the founders of
Borealis Records, the label that currently distributes Stan Rogers'
Fred Gillen Jr — May 29, 2017
Fred Gillen Jr is a singer/ songwriter, producer, and multi-instrumentalist from New York's artistically rich Hudson Valley. In his songwriting and in performance he has never been afraid to take on controversial or politically-charged topics, and he seamlessly incorporates folk, punk, rock, spoken word, country, and Americana styles into his music. 2017 brings the release of his 10th full-length, independent album, "What She Said." It comes out on a milestone date, the 20th anniversary of his 1997 debut "Intentions As Big As the Sky." The twelve songs on the album poetically express his views about the world, while also showcasing his unique acoustic and electric guitar style and heart-felt singing.
Gillen began his music career in the late 1980's as a bass guitarist with New York metro area bands including, most notably, the "CMJ Jackpot Pick" Rain Deputies and progressive rock band Modern Mass, performing at legendary NYC venues such as CBGB, Mercury Lounge, Irving Plaza, and the Lonestar Roadhouse. In 1996 he shifted his focus to being a singer/ songwriter and recording engineer and producer.
An extremely prolific songwriter, Gillen's material covers a wide range of topics, but tends to lean towards social commentary. His nine previous solo albums and two albums with Hope Machine have received radio play and glowing reviews all over the world. His songs have also been featured on ABC-TV's "All My Children," MSG Network's "NYC Soundtracks," NPR's "Car Talk," the CMJ "Music Marathon" album, and Folk Alliance's "War and Politics" album. In 2012 his version of Woody Guthrie's "I Ain't Got No Home" was featured on Pete Seeger's "Pete Remembers Woody," an album of Pete Seeger's spoken stories about Woody Guthrie, interspersed with various artists performing the songs. His songs have been recorded by several other Hudson Valley artists, and the band Solar Punch has performed their version of his song "Sing Sing Sing" all over India and Nepal.
As a performer Gillen has played solo shows all over the U.S. and Europe. His first European Tour was supported by a NYFA (New York State Foundation for the Arts) grant. He has opened for a wide variety of artists including Merle Haggard, David Bromberg Big Band, Todd Rundgren, and Fred Eaglesmith, and he has performed on stage with Pete Seeger, Peter Yarrow, Tom Chapin, John Hall and other great folk and rock artists. He is equally at home on a big festival or theatre stage as he is at a house concert, farmers' market, or in the NYC subways as part of the Music Under New York program. He has built a substantial following with his spontaneity, soaring voice, storytelling, and ability to connect in many different venues and contexts. Besides his solo shows, he regularly performs with Hope Machine, Gillen & Turk, Hot Rod Pacer, and Guthrie's Ghost. Most recently a project producing a song co-written by Grammy-winning songwriter and fiddler Lisa Gutkin and Woody Guthrie has led to he and Gutkin playing some shows as a duo. Gillen also plays as a sideman playing guitar, bass, and percussion with various NY metro and Hudson valley artists.
Gillen is a busy recording engineer and producer, primarily working out of his own studio "Woody's House" in Croton on Hudson, NY. He often co-writes with various members of his Hudson Valley music community, and has served as President of Tribes Hill, a non-profit HV music organization. Gillen's community work also informs his songwriting. His social justice activism makes its way into the songs he writes and the stories he tells at his shows, as does all of the traveling he has done over the years.
Tinya Seeger — May 7, 2017
Join me for a special Hootenanny Cafe as we remember and reflect on the life and music of Pete Seeger, through the eyes, and in the words of his daughter, Tinya Seeger.
For so many of us, Pete Seeger was a true hero, in every sense of the word. Not only was he a champion of folk music around the world, but also a champion of human, and civil, rights. On May 3, 1919 this incredible human being was brought into the world. And so, every year around this time (May 3) we should take pause to remember and celebrate the life and the legacy that Pete Seeger shared with all of us. And so, I am honored to have Tinya Seeger in the studio to share her stories and her memories of her dad, PETE SEEGER. And with the return of the Great Clearwater Festival that Pete and his wife, Toshi, inspired some 40 years ago, we should considered ourselves blessed! Don't miss this incredible show!
Dan Weber — April 30, 2017
Award Winning songwriter Dan Weber has been described as “The Classic Mid-Life Overnight Sensation” after bursting onto the festival scene in 2010 to a standing ovation at the Sisters Folk Festival for his engaging set in the Dave Carter songwriting contest. Since then he’s toured extensively across the country becoming a rare 3 time finalist in the legendary Kerrville ‘New Folk’ competition, had 2 top finishes in the Woody Guthrie songwriting contest and in 2015 won the prestigious Winfield, Kansas ‘NewSong’ contest for Oh Woody, his anthemic tribute to Woody Guthrie, that rose to #2 on the Folk charts in 2015.
An ex-Park Ranger, Eagle Scout, Altar boy and lifelong ‘Deadhead’, he left his hometown of Rochester, NY in 1989 in a beat-up primer grey ‘78 Pontiac Trans-Am with ‘a guy named Joe’ he’d met in a bar the night before, and never looked back. Living first in Seattle during the ‘grunge era’, then off the grid in a sheepherder’s trailer in Utah’s remote Canyonlands National Park, Weber eventually moved back north to Portland, OR, and settled in a 1948 Kaiser shipyard worker’s house in Vancouver, VA. Along the way he picked up stories and hitchhikers and eventually, picked up a guitar and began writing songs.
Weber began performing later in life at age 40 but being a gifted storyteller, he quickly won over audiences with his natural charisma, upbeat performances, authentic songwriting, and off-the-cuff hilarious stories from the many roads he’s traveled. None other than legendary Folk troubadour Ramblin’ Jack Elliott said “I love Dan’s songs and he tells really good stories.”
His songs have been described as “Guthrie-esque and reminiscent of early John Prine” and “A rare combination of wit, emotion and Harry Chapin-esque imagery” and the UK’s Maverick Magazine said: “4 Stars: The touch of a true Master Craftsman songwriter.” There’s also been recognition from DJ’s: “Hank and Jesus is easily the best folk song I heard last year” and The Victory Review wrote “Weber's writing is as strong as any in the Contemporary Folk community. Goodbye to Dad is one of the best original tunes that I have heard in a long time.”
After the success of 2015’s release of What I’m Lookin’ For, a 14 song CD of classic Folk and Americana that climbed to #6 on the charts and included Oh Woody as well as the breakout hit (I Deal with) Crazy ALL Day, an everyman’s anthem and crowd sing-a-long favorite, Weber is currently working on his first live recording and new material for an upcoming CD. If his phenomenal growth in such a short period of time is any indication, it promises to be his best work yet.
Judy Kass — April 23, 2017
New York based singer-songwriter, Judy Kass, quickly draws in her audience with soulful vocals, no-nonsense lyrical storytelling and genre-bending exploration of guitar and piano. Her original music blends generous amounts of folk, jazz and blues with songs that cover the full gamut of mood and experience — ranging from whimsical musings of relationship challenges to her own personal journey of healing from post 9/11 trauma and the loss of numerous colleagues to the terror attacks.
Judy’s 2014 debut album, Better Things, received notable airplay, topping Folk and Roots radio charts for months after its release. It was also included on both the Roots Music Report’s and the Folk DJ Listerv’s 2014 year-end top albums charts.
As in her first album, Judy’s new release, Beyond the Ash and Steel (2016) highlights her abilities as a multi-instrumentalist, singer, writer, and arranger showcasing her transporting voice and command of her instruments. Co-produced with Mark Dann, Beyond the Ash and Steel features a variety of talents including the legendary John Sebastian. It had a Top 20 debut and was included on Folk DJ's List of Top Albums and Songs Charts for 2016 with its title track charting at #39 on the top songs list for the year.
Judy was a featured performer on WFUV’s On Your Radar showcase hosted by John Platt at Rockwood Music Hall on 7/12/16. She was selected to perform in the NERFA 2016 Suzi Wollenberg Folk DJ Showcase. Judy can be heard in a variety of regional venues as well as on the airwaves as both albums continue to gain international attention in the folk music arena.
Nora Guthrie — April 16, 2017
Nora Guthrie, Woody Guthrie's daughter, is the President of Woody Guthrie Publications, Inc. and from 1994 – 2012 the Director of the Woody Guthrie Archives. One of Nora’s particular focuses involves creating projects which bring Woody Guthrie's vast cultural and creative legacy to the public. She was Executive Producer of Billy Bragg &Wilco’s Grammy nominated recordings Mermaid Avenue - Vol’s 1,II, III and the Klezmatics’ Grammy award winning Wonder Wheel and Happy Joyous Hanuka which both created new music for previously unknown Guthrie lyrics. Other recording projects include the Grammy award winning historical project The Live Wire; Woody Guthrie in Performance 1949. Working with artists as diverse as Rob Wasserman, Lou Reed, Madeleine Peyroux, Jackson Browne, Janis Ian, Jay Farrar and Jim James, Jorma Kaukonen, Lucinda Williams, John Mellencamp, and Dropkick Murphys, artists in all genres of music have found a new camaraderie with Woody Guthrie, culminating in hundreds of new songs with contemporary artists. Her newest CD, Del and Woody with bluegrass master Del McCoury, was released April 15th, 2016.
In 1996, Nora co-produced the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame Tribute to Woody Guthrie with performers Bruce Springsteen among others, and curated the first major exhibition on Guthrie This Land Is Your Land for the Smithsonian Institution, which toured major museums throughout the country from 2001 – 2003. Working with the Grammy Museum in 2012, to celebrate Woody’s centennial year, she co-produced national and international concerts, exhibits, public educational programs, and seminars, including the gala tribute Woody Guthrie at 100! Live at the Kennedy Center. In 2014, Nora worked with Douglas Brinkley and Johnny Depp to publish Woody’s unpublished novel, House of Earth. Nora worked with the George Kaiser Family Foundation and the Grammy Museum Foundation to create the Woody Guthrie Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma, an educational museum and new home of the Woody Guthrie Archives.
Martin Swinger — April 9, 2017
“Martin Swinger is one of those rare singer-songwriters who excels at everything: singing, songwriting, guitar-playing, and being so present with his humor, tenderness, and wild mind that his performances are also deep conversations, soul to soul and heart to heart, about the quirks, surprises, and love that brings us most alive. His songs, ranging from the little plastic parts that hold the world together, to what enlightenment comes from Buddha and Betty Boop falling in love, are whimsically and wisely original and enduring.” Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg, Kansas Poet Laureate Emeritus
Martin is a multi-award-winning performer/songwriter and seasoned arts educator sharing songwriting skills with kindergarten through adult learners, leading improvisational singing workshops, vocal coaching and mentoring other artists. He is currently recording his 6th CD of original songs and is busy writing a musical called ‘Hungry Pond’ based on the life cycles of a freshwater pond.