Hootenanny Cafe Radio Show
Featured Artists of the Hootenanny Cafe Radio Show
These are just
some of the many fine artists featured on the Hootenanny Cafe Radio Show.
Hear the show here.
Upcoming Hootenanny Cafe Mini Concerts
Ciaran MacGowan — May 16, 2021
Ciaran is from Belfast, born and raised; he has shared the stage with Bob Dylan, Van Morrison, Arlo Guthrie, Nancy Griffith and quite a few more. His band rocks through all the genres of Folk, Bossa, Jazz, Rock and Blues. He has a fabulous voice and an extraordinary talent for whistling!
But for years Ciaran lived in another world - leaving music twenty years ago to pursue he passion for photography. He lived in California shooting for Capitol, EMI, Sony and Polydor - in the thick of the Los Angeles record business with a camera, not a guitar!
But last year he came back home to music, his first love, and to Belfast Ireland, settled in and put together a new band. On bass is Nicky Scott (Mary Black), on drums Eamonn Ferris (Van Morrison), guitar Pat Gribben (The Adventures, a UK charting band) and out front is Ciaran, composer, writer and front-man of a set that is 100% original.
They were just getting started when lockdown came!
He has a ‘back story’: Long before any of this, the ‘Ciaran Mac Gowan Band’ played weekly in The Errigle Inn; an eight piece band complete with horn section. Andy White on bass, Gerry McIlduff (Pretenders) on drums. He recorded live radio and television several times for BBC, UTV, RTE and Downtown. He supported the ‘big acts’ of the day, Janis Ian, John Martyn, Richard Thompson, and his first record ‘London Trip’ released on Good Vibrations was play-listed ‘Record of the Week’ on RTE. He was twenty-five.
Then they blew up the Errigle Inn and gone was the band’s residency. These were dangerous times in the N. Ireland conflict. Six months later with the venue rebuilt, the band was back in residence. Three weeks after that they blew it up again! Ciarán later joked, ‘they definitely didn’t like that band!’
In frustration Ciarán jumped ship to California, made a success of a different career, headed up the Photography Department at San José City College, CA, worked in Hollywood, and photography on Ireland is archived in several international museums. But through those years Ciarán always came home and in Belfast he often was the support to some of the world’s leading musicians: Dylan, Morrison, Guthrie, Nancy Griffith, Christy Moore, appearing twice in the Belfast/Nashville annual Festival.
Now he’s back in permanence with a superb band.
Mandy Rowden — May 9, 2021
Brought up in East Texas, Mandy Rowden has been a practicing
musician since the tender age of six. That’s when she began learning
classical piano and guitar, laying the foundation for an eventual career in
music. It wasn’t until the Americana sound found its way into her soul
that she embraced her true path: that of a real-deal, down-in-the-dirt
singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist who’s weathered some
storms and emerged with tales to tell.
In fact, living up to being a multi-instrumentalist, Rowden took on the
bulk of Parachute’s instrumentation. “Like most worthwhile things, it
was both rewarding and challenging!” Mandy adds that her producer on
the album, Matt Smith, held her to some very high standards. “That
initially made me nervous,” admits Rowden, “but I was pleasantly
surprised every time. It's my feeling that we can accomplish pretty much
anything with an open mind and the right kind of support and this album
is the perfect example.”
Rowden’s sound is equal parts bourbon and honey, seeking answers
while reveling in the wonder of it all. With all her projects, there is a
common thread that
Pete Seeger — May 2, 2021
Join us again for a very special birthday show to honor the legendary Pete Seeger, who would have turned 102 on May 3. We'll be doing a special Pete Seeger Mini Concert with many of the songs selected by his daughter Tinya.
Also the fantastic Singer Songwriter Showcase with songs submitted by artists throughout the country. The theme: Pete Seeger - presenting songs of and /or by Pete!
Mike Ward — April 18, 2021
Detroit-based, singer/songwriter Mike Ward is noted for lyric-driven, simple folk songs. Currently living in Detroit, Mike grew up listening to the Irish music of the Clancy Brothers and singing in church choirs. His influences are the likes of Dylan, Simon & Garfunkel, Bruce Springsteen and John Prine.
His second studio album “The Darkness and the Light” explores a life lived while looking over the past, the present and toward the future. Regrets. Hope. Contentment. As well as reflections of our changing world and the importance of embracing new ideas.
Joining Mike on this record are David Roof playing bass (traditional and stand up), mandolin, piano, Hammond organ and percussion. Jimmy Showers jumped in on acoustic and electric guitars. Sara Gibson performs on cello. Jeff German added electric guitar for “The Line Between Us”. Vocally, Alison and Tessa Wiercioch of Jackamo, Dave Toennies of Border Patrol and Downtown Judy Brown provided harmonies. The full collection of voices join in a chorus to bookend the album.
“I’ve always been drawn to songs that can make you smile but can also make you cry,” said Ward in an interview with Detroit area music writer, Jeff Milo. “I grew up listening to a lot of Irish music…., which, there’s a lot of that material that’s considered ‘drinking songs,’ but there’s also really a lot of heartache in there.” He lists John Prine as an all-time favorite but also points to Jason Isbell as a more contemporary influence. What these artists and these types of songs spark inside of Ward is the potential for maximal emotion impact and provocation of compassionate thoughts, all compacted into a simple 3 minute folk song. And THAT’S precisely what Ward’s achieved on this new album, produced by Dexter-based songwriter Mike Gentry and Grand Blanc-based musician David Roof.
The opening song, titled “Our Turn to Shine” presents a reflection of our changing world and the importance of embracing new ideas. A fun video introducing the song was created by Brooklyn based filmmaker, Danny Ward.
“No Way to Live” is the album's closing song and "was born out of walking around, (Detroit and other cities) meeting people on the street (who are experiencing homelessness); being able to give a meal to someone in need, or even just to talk to them, look them in the eye, and realize that there’s an individual in there.” Ward worked as an advertising creative job for years and business took him to cities like San Francisco, Portland, New York — places with large rates of people experiencing homelessness.
“It’s always had an effect on me,” said Ward. “And I’m not professing that this song solves anything. It’s just a song about all the places that that person can come from; what can be done and how can you help them….” Ward reached out to the Motor City Mitten Mission and The Empowerment Plan in Detroit. Both are organizations that strive to assist the homeless population and both will benefit from all the downloads and donations from the new single, said Ward.
Now it turns out there are a lot of Mike Wards' producing music. Well, Mike’s nickname, PsychoWard, provided a solution. (If you’ve seen him dance or play hockey, you’ll get it). So, for publishing and distribution, Mike Ward: Psychosongs was born.
“Mike Ward’s radiant songs regard both the darkness and the light....humanistic approach to lyricism salvages a brightness from heavyhearted subject matter.”
– Jeff Milo, e-Current
“Perfect for taking a drive down backroads, reflecting on your memories and looking forward to making new ones.” – Liv Conaty, Local Spins
Annette Wasilik — April 11, 2021
"Love & Fire is a masterpiece." ~ Tom Prasada-Rao
Annette's performances are marked by her compelling alto and moving songs that "touch you to the bone". In the tradition of the poet songwriter, with rich tones reminiscent of Linda Thompson or Natalie Merchant, she weaves a spell both startling in its intimacy and expansive in its vision. Her songwriting influences include Jane Siberry, Lucinda Williams and John Prine to mention just a few. Both down to earth and deeply atmospheric, Annette’s songs are explorations into longing, love, loss, God, home, homesickness and hope.
"I found my first guitar in an old tin wardrobe in my basement. Its bridge was broken but it was love at first sight, as if I found a buried treasure in my backyard. The room spun and everything. I glued the bridge back on and never looked back." On songwriting Annette says, "It feels like diving for pearls. I sink down and don't know what's going to happen. Usually a combination of emotion, melody and phrasing opens the way for the lyrics."
In her late teens and twenties. Annette was performing in local cafes, small venues and eventually festivals. When her daughter was small, Annette took a break from performing to attend her family and grow her healing practice. Now she is out performing again and becoming known in the DC area and nationally as a powerful songwriter and performer. Annette's debut CD, Songs from the Talking House, was awarded Contemporary Folk Recording of the Year by the Washington Area Music Association in April 2016. She also won Honorable Mention for her song Don't Look Down in the 2016 MidAtlantic Song Contest. Her January 2020 release, Love & Fire, is her first album on the Azalea City Cooperative label. On release, it landed at #6 on FAI Folk DJ chart and #1 on the NACC chart and ended up #40 for the year. (That's ahead of Bob Dylan and several Folk Alliance nominees. Woot!)
In 2019, Annette created a new concert series, Local Cream, to showcase the best local and regional songwriters and co-hosts a popular monthly songwriting circle. She has just created a new livestream series, "Takoma Girl & Guests" featuring songwriters from around the country.
The Twangtown Paramours — April 4, 2021
The Twangtown Paramours are an award-winning husband and wife duo from Nashville. Their music is a blend of Nashville, New York, and Austin influences and has been called “Sophisticated Americana”. Some of their tunes are poetic, but many are just a whole lot of fun. Recently, other artists have begun recording their songs. They are 3-time Kerrville New Folk finalists and winners of the Wildflower Contest in Richardson, TX.
Their latest single, “Stars Without a Heaven” was #2 on the Folk DJ chart in January and is being played in a number of Holocaust museums around the world.
The Twangtown Paramours are in the studio right now putting the finishing touches on their new album, “Double Down on a Bad Thing.” It will be released to AAA radio at the end of this year.
MaryBeth sang background vocals for Eva Cassidy and is the main author of the most meaningful songs in the Twangtown Paramours catalog.
Mike is a session musician and songwriter and author of a #1 platinum selling pop ballad in Korea. He also sometimes plays upright bass for Jimmie Dale Gilmore and does a little TV acting. He has appeared on the Investigative Discovery Channel and as a background actor on CMT’s “Nashville”.
You can find the music of the Twangtown Paramours on Spotify, Amazon, and other music outlets. And they will be doing brief Northeast tours in July and in October, 2021. Please check their website for details.
Lisa Jeanette — March 28, 2021
Born and raised in Philadelphia, the youngest of nine, Lisa took to time sharing her siblings’ guitars. She also studied piano, organ and double-bass - getting her music performance degree in the latter instrument at Temple University. Lisa began songwriting after she finished studying classical music in college but stopped writing for a time when life got in the way. More recently, she got a new roommate in the form of a baby grand piano and began to write songs again. She has been finding her voice and honing her song-writing skills while being mentored by Vance Gilbert and attending Ellis Paul's songwriting retreats. Lisa is a multi-instrumentalist and accompanies herself on guitar, piano and sometimes a Harpsicle!
Lisa's latest hit holiday song “Mrs. Claus” (featuring iconic Folk Artist Vance Gilbert) skyrocketed to #1 on the December 2020 Folk Alliance International (FAI) Folk DJ chart and her new album, Jellyfish on the Moon, debuted at #12 on the FAI Folk DJ Chart in December with the holiday release. The new album is Jeanette’s first full album release since her debut album Chasing Happy in 2017.
Jellyfish on the Moon, a song loosely based on the true story of NASA’s experiment of sending jellyfish to the Space Station to study the effects of zero gravity on the sea creatures’ equilibrium after returning to Earth, embodies a whirlwind of topics, ranging from the wistful to the whimsical, each expertly showcasing Jeanette’s songwriting dexterity.
To ensure that this eclectic eccentricity translated seamlessly, Jeanette partnered with Producer Glenn Barratt of MorningStar Studio, to masterfully record her compositions with both bold choices and musical sensitivity. A “who’s who” of all-star musicians were also brought in to create the magical sound of the album including Ross Bellenoit (guitar), Erik Johnson (drums) and Chico Huff (bass), who provided a wonderful collaboration of ideas and took each song lyric to task, creating a variety of arrangements to keep the listener’s ear attuned.
Surprise guest appearances by renowned artists including Gilbert, who has served as a mentor to Jeanette for several years and contributes his wit and charm to the aforementioned chart-topping “Mrs. Claus,” and the highly-acclaimed Jay Davidson on saxes and flutes can also be found on the album, while spotlight performers lend added surprises to some of Jeanette’s standout songs. One of these tracks is the upbeat albeit comical “Aging Like a Son of a B,” which includes fiddle riffs by Gary Oleyar; while the more serene “Top of the Ferris Wheel” features a frolicking cello played by Michael G. Ronstadt.
Jellyfish on the Moon leaves no subject unturned and even the topic of historical fiction is in the mix with The Brahms Trilogy – three songs that depict the intense love triangle of Robert and Clara Schumann and Johannes Brahms, each song told from the character’s perspective. From there, the album delves into more topical issues including women’s empowerment with “Don’t Blame Me (Jolene’s Reply),” which offers the other woman’s side of the iconic Dolly Parton song, and “Still You Choose Love,” an anthemic track highlighting the bravery of the LGBTQ community and their commitment to love against adversity.
Before the quarantine, Lisa performed at Philadelphia area venues including The Kennett Flash, The Living Room, and Jamey’s House of Music. She also performed at many festivals in 2019 including The Black Bear Festival in Goshen, CT, The Ladybug Festival, Wilmington, DE, Turks Head Fest, The Downingtown Arts Fest, the Wayne Porchfest, and the Chester County Restaurant festival.
Lisa's performance at the 2020 Philadelphia Folk Festival Contest led her to be first performer booked for the 2021 festival. Her music can be found on Spotify, Apple Music, iTunes, Amazon, Pandora, Deezer
Paul Kaplan — March 21, 2021
Veteran musician and songwriter Paul Kaplan has been an enthusiastic participant in the folk music world since the late 1960s when his early anti-Vietnam War songs were published in the legendary protest song magazine Broadside.
His involvement with the singer-songwriter movement was sparked by his early love of the songs of Bob Dylan, Phil Ochs and Tom Paxton. He pursued that love as a regular attendee at the Songwriters’ Exchange at the Cornelia Street Café in New York, and as a prolific contributor to The Fast Folk Musical Magazine, in which ten of his songs appeared. In the late 1970s, Paul had the opportunity to produce three posthumous albums by Phil Ochs.
His first album, Life on This Planet (1982), featured the songs “Call Me the Whale” and “Henry the Accountant,” later covered by such folk music greats as Sally Rogers, David Massengill, Jay Mankita and Ed McCurdy. His song “I Had an Old Coat” from King of Hearts (1985) has been sung by Nickelodeon stars Sharon, Lois and Bram (“The Elephant Show”), as well as Claudia Schmidt, Jay Ungar and Molly Mason, Lui Collins, Cilla Fisher and Artie Trezise, Priscilla Herdman and countless others.
Paul’s interest in traditional music is reflected in his four years as a member of the group The Derby Ram, resident band of the Eagle Tavern in New York City. With band founder Dan Milner, Paul co-authored the popular A Bonnie Bunch of Roses—Songs of England, Ireland and Scotland, published by Music Sales in 1983.
In his solo career, Paul’s warm style and gentle humor have charmed audiences at The Philadelphia Folk Festival, The Clearwater Festival, The Gotta Get Gon, Denmark’s prestigious Tønder Festival, and dozens of coffeehouses throught the Northeast.
Paul has been honored by the inclusion of his songs in many songbooks, textbooks and Smithsonian Folkways collections, including the Grammy-nominated Best of Broadside.
“We Shall Stay Here”, Paul’s fifth album, was just released. It contains twelve songs that reflect the way he sees the world. Some may leave you in stitches; some may leave you in tears; some may leave you in your car in the driveway unable to stop listening.
Along with the brilliant engineer Max Cohen, Paul has fashioned each cut on the album to maximize both its musicality and its emotional punch. All in all, the album represents a ray of light and hope coming out of what has been a bleak time.
The high point for Paul in preparing this album was the opportunity to collaborate with some of his musical heroes. “Let’s Make a Toast” is a duet with John Roberts of “Roberts and Barrand” fame, to which John contributes his distinctive singing voice and concertina playing.
Four of the songs feature pitch-perfect backup from Jay Ungar, composer of “Ashokan Farewell” and considered by many to be America’s finest fiddler. The bottom range on those four songs is filled out by the splendid acoustic bass playing of Molly Mason.
The title song features brilliant button accordion player Billy McComiskey, whose sterling reputation got him an invitation to play at the Trump White House. He saved that reputation by saying “No thank you.”
Pete Seeger said “I am a big fan of Paul Kaplan. I love his singing; I love his songs.” Listen to Paul on “Hootenanny Cafe” and found out why.
Aoife Scott — March 14, 2021
Aoife Scott is an Irish artist, based in Dublin.
In 2013 she graduated from the National College of Art and Design with an honours degree in Fine Art Print and Visual Culture.
Upon graduating Aoife received The Graphic Studio - Graduate Award where she worked for four years before moving to London in 2017 to study a Masters in Fine Art Print at The Royal College of Art.
Having recently moved back to Dublin Aoife is working towards various exhibitions and projects in 2020. She remains a full time member of The Graphic Studio and has recently joined Pallas Project/Studios. Having exhibited internationally and in Ireland Aoife has won and been nominated for numerous awards including The Wilkinson Print Award at the RHA Annual Exhibition - 2018, The Honorary Mention at The KoMASK Masters of Print Exhibition, Antwerp and shortlisted for The Fingal Arts Studio Award - RHA 2019. Over the past seven years Aoife has worked in print studios in Dublin and London editioning for established artists including Norman Ackroyd, Richard Gorman and Barbara Rae. Her work has also been collected by The Victoria & Albert Museum, London, The British Library, London and The National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin.
James Lee Baker — March 7, 2021
There's something to be said about the ingenuity it takes to put a group of great musicians together in a great room to record great songs and having them all coming together in one take. Undoubtedly, James Lee Baker has just pulled it off. Coming as no surprise to Baker's existing fans-No Depression once said, "to call him anything other than brilliant would be criminal"-his new album 100 Summers accomplished this feat with graceful execution and the backbone of timeless songs and stories. Available everywhere now, 100 Summers is an eleven-song collection of soothing folk-song melodies that circle around a centralized theme; that of personal transformation. Garnering the attention of outlets like The Bluegrass Situation, American Songwriter, 303 Magazine, and Glide Magazine-the latter of which called Baker's songcraft "poetry at its purest; tender, touching, and flush with sweetness, sadness, and sentiment in equal measure" – 100 Summers is poised for more of the same accolades Baker has received for his previous efforts.
Recorded in one-take recordings at Blue Rock Studios in Wimberly, Texas, 100 Summers finds Baker working with an exceptional group of collaborators - among them, Chris Bell (the man behind the boards for the Eagles, Don Henley and Christopher Cross), Doug Pettibone (John Mayer, Jewel, Lucinda Williams), Matt Hubbard (Willie Nelson, Billy Bob Thornton), Roscoe Beck (Leonard Cohen, Eric Johnson), Paul Simon's Grammy-winning accompanist Joel Guzman, Americana Songwriter of the Year nominee Mark Erelli, and Laurie MacAllister from the famed folk group Red Molly. "I elected to record at the most appropriate studio I could find, with the best session players I could afford and the right engineers for the genre," Baker reflects. "I aimed to give this everything I had in hopes that people who are seeking it can receive it."
The aforementioned theme of "personal transformation" rears its head more obviously in some places than in others – "Santa Barbara" being a good example of the former. The rejoicing refrain of "Santa Barbara, I have come to hear your mission bells ring" precedes Baker's proclamation; "I am here to start a new life again." "In a way, the second verse is a kind of double entendre," says Baker. "While I'm talking about the city and its hay days and eventual struggles, I'm really talking to myself and trying to give a needed pep talk – 'you were a treasure chest of the gold rush, once a dangerous and lawless place.'" Album opener and title track "100 Summers" explores a more subtle change; one that comes through maturity and reflection. "As I grow older, it becomes clearer to me what truly matters most in this short and fragile life we have," Baker reflects. "For me, it is my family, my pursuit for integrity, and my focus on craftsmanship as an artist. While I am always learning, I am coming to find material things and adventurous experiences pale in comparison to the tender and priceless moments I share with my family and dearest friends."
On the whole, 100 Summers reflects a noble effort in Baker's ongoing quest to put pen to paper to song to microphone in a way that not only relates to his life experience but, universally, the lives of anyone who might listen. With his shimmering 100 Summers, that quest continues.
Sparky and Rhonda Rucker — February 21, 2021
Sparky and Rhonda Rucker deliver an uplifting presentation of toe-tapping songs spiced with humor, history, and tall tales. They play old-time blues, Appalachian music, slave songs, spirituals and originals, and they accompany themselves with fingerstyle picking and bottleneck blues guitar, old-time banjo, blues harmonica, piano, spoons, and bones. Rhonda is also an author, and her recent novel, Welcome to Bombingham, is set against the backdrop of the Birmingham Children's March during the civil rights movement.
Over decades of performing, Sparky and Rhonda have performed at the Kennedy Center and the Smithsonian Folklife Festival as well as NPR's On Point, Prairie Home Companion, Mountain Stage, and Morning Edition. Their CD, Treasures & Tears, was nominated for a W.C. Handy Award, and their music is on the Grammy-nominated anthology, Singing Through the Hard Times. The duo’s most recent recording is Down by the Riverside.
Ben Bullington — February 14, 2021
“Ben Bullington's work draws life-breath from the earth, rivers, sky and people of Montana,” says Rodney
Crowell, the Nashville songwriting legend who plays guitar and performs a duet on Bullington’s second CD,
White Sulphur Springs. “In the same way Guy Clark's jeweler's vision captures the eloquent essence of Texas
culture without being regional, Ben frames the stillness of Montana winters, the strength of her women and the
spiritual bankruptcy of no-account politicians with disarming ease. Plus, the guy's a pretty damn good doctor for
Ben released his third CD Satisfaction Garage, with Rodney Crowell returning to produce two tracks, and guest
instrumentalists including Will Kimbrough, Fats Kaplin, George Bradfute, Kenny Malone, and David Jacques.
Vocals were added by Ben Bullington, Rodney Crowell and Joanne Gardner.
Bullington’s fourth CD “Lazy Moon” had a slightly different approach, with guests like Little Feat’s Bill Payne,
Fats Kaplin and Gardner. His “I Despise Flies” and “Cup of Strong Black Coffee” are just two of the high
points from this strong release.
Ben’s final CD, “Ben Bullington” was recorded just after he’d received a Stage 4 Pancreatic cancer diagnosis.
Ben elected to hold off on chemotherapy until this was recorded. The songs are introspective and ponder deeper
During the recording of “Ben Bullington,” at the historic Station Inn in Nashville, Ben was joined by longtime
friend Rodney Crowell, producer Will Kimbrough and songwriter friend Darrell Scott for an intimate show.
Darrell had met Ben in years past, but never knew he was a songwriter. Luckily, video exists of that show and
No Depression writer Holly Gleason captured it all here: http://www.nodepression.com/profiles/blogs/frommontana-
At this point, Ben gave up his medical practice and spent the last several months of his life on tour, playing
music and spending time with friends and family. Ben and I performed at festivals in Florida, Tennessee, Texas
and Montana and Ben took road trips through the West Coast, the South, along the East Coast and included his
hometown of Roanoke, VA. He played theatres and clubs and bookstores and roadhouses. He played to five
people and to thousands, with a grin on his face the whole time.
That night led to Darrell immersing himself in Ben’s songs, capped off by a release called “10-Songs of Ben
Ben was able to hear one track from Scott’s album – “I’ve Got to Leave You Now” – which was recorded on
his cell phone. Ben was quite ill at the time and loved the track. Darrell left the track exactly the same on the
release – performed on an old upright piano on his cell phone. It is just perfect the way it is. Ben died in
November of 2013, surrounded by people he loved.
Gretchen Peters added a song of Ben’s to her retrospective – “Ring Around the Moon” and Darrell Scott’s cover
of “Country Music, I’m Talkin to You” is a favorite on playlists worldwide. John Lowell released a song about
Ben’s journey called “Velvet Western Sky” on 2019’s “Long Stretch of Gravel.” His music continues to touch
other musicians and a legion of fans worldwide.
Ben is buried in a cemetery in Livingston, Montana with a headstone that says, “He Loved Words, Guitars and
Wide-Open Spaces.” People visit from all over the world and leave picks, heart shaped rocks, deer antlers and
recently, small whiskey bottles.
Barbara Jo Kammer — February 7, 2021
Barbara Jo Kammer has become a popular fixture on the acoustic music scene in and around Colorado. She is the band leader of Barbara Jo & The Hippie Buckaroos, performing at local community events, charities and fundraisers, and for elders in retirement communities as part of their music therapy work. In addition to her work as a band leader and music therapist, she recently released her sophomore album, Big Blue Sky In The Morning, which peaked at #13 on the Folk DJ Top Albums chart (July) and was nominated by IndieShark for Album of the Year.
Barbara Jo & The Hippie Buckaroos is composed of seasoned musicians who grew up in the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s. Their passion and love for music is proclaimed through an exceptional mix of tunes from Classic Country and Bluegrass, to Folk, Western Swing, Gospel and Blues. The Hippie Buckaroos were named one of the Best 10 Cover Bands in Colorado by Westword Magazine in 2016.
Barbara Jo has released two solo albums as an independent artist, produced by accomplished instrumentalist, vocalist, and songwriter KC Groves (Uncle Earl). Barbara Jo’s message of hope on the album is personal, having been inspired by her own journey in sobriety. At the age of 62, Barbara Jo released her solo debut album, One Song at a Time. She was named one of the Top Folk Artists of 2017 and her debut album peaked at #2 on the Folk DJ charts.
On June 1, 2020, she released her second album, Big Blue Sky In The Morning: “Since age three, singing has carried me through the rollercoaster of life that includes a 15-year eating disorder and 40-year struggle with alcohol and drugs. I am 12 years clean and sober, and thrilled to be releasing my sophomore album. This album features songs representing different stages of my journey. I remain incredibly thankful for my precious life and my ability—one day at a time—to stay in the present with heartfelt gratitude.”
Recently, being unable to perform with the full band, Barbara Jo has been of service by providing solo music therapy performances, singing to residents of retirement communities, with the full continuum of care, from patios, courtyards, and through open windows. Current events have been challenging, especially for elders who may have limited visits from friends and family, and it is her hope that her music uplifts those in need.
“Barbara Jo has made a strong second album: more sure footed, great song selection, great sound and production—and Barbara Jo is sitting perfectly at home in the center of it all. It’s great to hear her growth.”
— Darrell Scott
“A New Album from Barbara Jo Kammer, the mighty voice of the Front Range. Anyone who has heard Barbara Jo Kammer sing knows that if you had to pick one word to describe her sound it would be ‘joyful.’”
— Kevin Slick, President, Colorado Bluegrass Music Society
“Barbara Jo Kammer’s Big Blue Sky In The Morning is no ordinary sophomore release. Her vocals soar in such a strong way that you wonder if she drank an elixir of youthful exuberance. The musicianship and the production are first class and I’m proud that I was part of it.”
— Mollie O’Brien
Wyatt Easterling — January 24, 2021
Wyatt Easterling has enjoyed success in the music industry over the years as a performer and songwriter as well as a record label and publishing executive. His experience and success in all of these areas have given him a full understanding of what it takes to succeed in this industry.
When Atlantic Records opened their Nashville offices, Easterling signed on as Chief of A&R.” Easterling's track record of success included signing artists Tracy Lawrence, Michael Johnson, Neal McCoy and John Michael Montgomery. Easterling produced Montgomery's multi-platinum debut album, Life’s A Dance, which has sold well over three million units worldwide to-date.
Following his tenure with Atlantic Records, Easterling partnered with Miles Copeland (the Police and Sting) to form the Nashville Division of Bugle Publishing Group and Firstars Management as Director of Operations. Easterling brought Keith Urban to Firstars Management, and worked at length with Urban in the studio recording the project that landed Keith’s first major deal at Warner Brothers Records. Easterling then brought alternative roots artist Paul Thorn into the company for management and publishing. Easterling produced Paul's album, "Hammer & Nail" along with Greg Wells and Billy Maddox for A&M Records, Los Angeles. In addition to ushering notable artists into the mainstream, Easterling organized Nashville’s participation with Bugle Publishing’s Printemps de Troubadours, a songwriter's retreat held twice a year at Miles Copeland’s Chateau Marouatte in France. This event saw great success with a long list of esteemed artists and writers such as Carole King, Peter Frampton, Cher, Olivia Newton John, Jon Bon Jovi, Stuart Copeland and Keith Urban to name a few.
After Bugle Publishing, Easterling decided it was time to get back to the creative side of the street and signed with DreamWorks Publishing, and eventually with EMI. He has had numerous songs recorded by major label acts. In addition to his writing Easterling has been touring extensively with his new CD release “Where This River Goes” on High Horse Records.
Amy Kucharik — January 17, 2021
Amy Kucharik is a ukulele-slinging singer-songwriter based in Somerville, MA. The 2015 Kerrville Grassy Hill New Folk winner explores the full range of her instrument's capabilities as a tool to convey a complex array of subjects and moods: Whether humorous, topical, or intense, Amy steers listeners to view the ukulele as a real instrument, not a toy. At the same time, Amy entertains her audience, and her performances are infused with Vaudevillian charm and an infectious, danceable swing. Her music draws from a range of influences including blues, ragtime jazz, folk, pop and country, as well as aesthetics garnered from film and literature. Amy's catchy, sometimes haunting songs recount tales of reluctant love, revenge, grit, and the challenge of self-expression in a tumultuous political age.
Originally from a musical family in Southern IL, Amy grew up singing in choir and playing piano and french horn. At Southern Illinois University, Amy majored in art and creative writing, ultimately earning her MFA in poetry, meanwhile playing horn in the University Wind Ensemble. However, it was after moving to Boston and through a swing dancing friend that Amy first became interested in the ukulele, the instrument that ignited her songwriting. In 2012, she put together her Friends With Benefits band.
Amy's bands feature a revolving cast of talented musicians. Their 2013 EP, "Dance Crush Blues," was created as a tribute to their mutual love of the swing and blues dance community. The band was selected to perform at Montreal Bagel & Blues 2014 dance exchange and Boston's Sweet Molasses Blues exchange in 2013 and 2015. In 2016, Amy formed Tiger Moan, a blues-specific band, which performs regularly at Boston's Sweet Molasses Blues dance exchange and other blues dance events.
Amy's full-length debut album, "Cunning Folk," was released in 2014. It contains 10 of Amy's originals arranged for a diversely instrumented band featuring luscious vocal harmonies and swirling New Orleans-inspired brass. "Cunning Folk" was nominated for Red Line Roots Album of the Year in 2014.
In 2015, Amy was a winner of the Grassy Hill Kerrville New Folk competition, an honor given to six songwriters selected from a pool of 800 applicants. She toured central Texas with the other five winners, and has collaborated with New Folk finalists on various other musical endeavors. Amy has also shared bills with Denver, CO-based YouTube ukulele sensation Danielle Ate the Sandwich, Boston Music Award 2014 Folk Artist of the Year Dan Blakeslee, and notable ukulele-based singer-songwriter, Victoria Vox. Her song "Creepy Dead Bug," co-written with Greg Klyma, was covered by Trout Fishing in America (who NPR call "the Lennon and McCartney of kid's music") on their 2013 release, "Rubber Baby Buggy Bumpers." Amy was a formal showcase artist at SWRFA in 2015, WFMT Folk DJ Rich Warren’s pick for the DJ showcase at NERFA in 2016, and a Falcon Ridge Folk Festival Emerging Artist for 2018. Her second full-length album of original music, "Until the Words Are Gone," was released worldwide in 2018. In 2018, she was also chosen as the Somerville, MA Arts Council December Artist of the Month.
Amy also performs with her swing dance band, the Mezzcats, her 1920s project, the Four-String Serenaders, and as a guest vocalist with other bands, including Chris Hersch and the Moon Raiders. In 2020, her DIY social-distancing video for her song "AloneTogether" was featured on CNN Entertainment.
Amy has taught beginning and intermediate ukulele classes at the Cambridge Center for Adult Education as well as various workshop sessions, and is available for private lessons via Zoom.
Len Seligman — January 10, 2021
"It's been said that John Lennon distilled his entire catalog down to one word: 'love.' Len Seligman walks gracefully in the master's footsteps." - The Kennedys (Maura & Pete), award-winning recording artists
LEN SELIGMAN (pronounced "SELL-ig-min") is a Sarasota, Florida-based singer-songwriter and string instrument virtuoso. Inspired by poets Rumi and Mary Oliver, songwriting greats John Lennon and Randy Newman, and the world music fusion of Ry Cooder, "Seligman's music radiates joy. When you listen to him, you’ll find your spirit lifted to a higher, truer realm, and you may just find yourself dancing!" (Independent Artist Buzz blog). His awards include First Place, 2015 Great American Song Contest and Finalist, Best Video, 2018 Positive Music Awards.
OUR TURN NOW is Seligman’s third album. It features 10 original songs, including a co-write with Tom Kimmel, and one traditional song of peace and justice. Seligman says, "I hope it will inspire joy and a feeling of connection with all life. Themes include gratitude, loss, playfulness, mindfulness, and the ongoing struggle to create a more just and compassionate world."
Commenting on the album, award-winning recording artist (and Bonnie Raitt's long-time bassist) Freebo called it "a lovely, very upbeat, positive, and relevant album! It is beautifully produced, brilliantly played, with a whole bunch of well-written, excellent songs."
The title track, which reached #14 on the Folk Alliance International Folk DJ chart as an advance single for October 2020, pays tribute to civil rights icon John Lewis and all those who get into "good trouble, necessary trouble" to advance the cause of human rights.
The album features stellar guest musicians Moksha Sommer and Jemal Wade Hines (of HuDost, winners of the 2020 Indie Music Award for Social Justice), Tom Kimmel, JD Martin, Jan Garrett, piano virtuoso John Lee Sanders, and world percussion master (and brother) Jon Seligman.
Seligman began his music career in folk and rock groups in New England in the 1970s before pursuing a career as a PhD computer researcher geek. In 2018, he returned to his first love and again became a full-time musician.
Tracy Newman — January 3, 2021
TRACY NEWMAN… Picture a scrawny fourteen-year-old girl sitting on a diving board over an empty pool on an overcast day, strumming the same four chords over and over again, on her brother’s cheap acoustic guitar. From her point of view, the pool is full and clear blue, it’s a bright sunny L.A. day, and her brother’s guitar is the best guitar in the world! And so, the lifelong journey as a writer and performer was born.
As a teen Tracy led summer camp singalongs; in her 20’s she was a singer-songwriter and had her own children’s TV show “What’s New” on PBS; in her 30’s she taught nursery school and ran the singing programs. Her 40’s brought the high-profile career as a TV comedy writer/producer. Shows included: Cheers, Bob, The Nanny, Ellen and The Drew Carey Show. In 1997, she and writing partner, Jonathan Stark, won an Emmy and Peabody Award for the groundbreaking “coming out” episode of Ellen. In 2001, they created the hit ABC comedy, According to Jim. Tracy is also a founding member of the LA-based improv group, The Groundlings, which has become the farm company for Saturday Night Live.
After two decades in television, Tracy returned to her first love as a singer-songwriter releasing three CDs to date: “A Place in the Sun,” “I Just See You” and “That’s What Love Can Do to Your Heart.” Several of her songs have garnered awards with The Great American Song Contest, American Songwriter Lyric Contest, Song of the Year Songwriting Contest, and the International Songwriting Competition.
A keen observer of life, Tracy plucks a snapshot from everyday life and brings it to the forefront, painting pictures with clever storytelling and even a bit of whimsical satire. Her voice is simple, clear and lyric-centric, and her honest vocal deliveries make you feel as if she is having a conversation with you and you, alone. The musicians and singers on her recordings are the frosting on the cake! The purity of the arrangements and production and beautiful vocal harmonies underscore beautifully those snapshots of life that Tracy so nimbly navigates.
“She is one of the most talented story-song lyricists on the folk scene today.” – Jackie Morris (Folkworks)
And not to leave a stone unturned, Tracy also writes songs for kids, releasing three multi-award-winning CDs of children’s music with her new company, RUN ALONG HOME.
And the stories and music continue. Stay tuned!
Severin Browne — December 27, 2020
If you tell Severin Browne’s fans that he’s about to release a new album, the collective response is, “Well, it’s about time.” His new album is called, “Overdue,” to celebrate its title track. For eight years Severin’s been a member of the Tall Men Group, a collective of – yes – tall men who agree to write a new song 10 times a year to a common prompt. Never missing a challenge over those years means that many more song nuggets have found their way out of his prolific mind. Even in 2020, the age of digital song streaming, Sev’s loyal fans still crave a physical CD with a cover, liner notes, and lyrics. In “Overdue,” Severin has curated a solo album that’s sure to satisfy. Anthems, upbeat reflections, a loving story told in haiku of the Fukushima Japan nuclear disaster, and an out-of-print treasure are among the tracks.
When not hampered by COVID gathering restrictions, Severin Browne performs solo to house concerts, intimate listening rooms, and even an occasional almost-rowdy bar crowd with friends from his SoCal roots. He is a sought-after guest in many singer-songwriter festivals and shows, and is regarded as one of the most delightful performers in the Los Angeles area. Severin’s easy manner in front of an audience convinces you that playing his guitar and singing his songs is effortless and second-nature for him. His brilliant lyrics invite listeners into the songs while his solid melodies carry the story from one note to the next. This natural and inviting delivery has charmed audiences for almost 50 years.
Whether performing solo or as a member of the Tall Men Group band, Severin’s songs are crowd pleasers. There are toe-tappers, dance favorites, thought-provoking charmers, and sing-alongs. This new album is … overdue … and a much-anticipated follow-up to the widely acclaimed “Lucky Man,” released in 2012.
As if that isn’t enough to keep a man busy, he is a popular guitar and songwriting teacher at festivals, retreats and camps.
Doug Gill — December 13, 2020
Doug Gill might just be writing the story of your life. The Monterey, CA native has a knack for reaching into his own heart and finding the core of emotions that drives us all. He has spent the last thirty years writing, recording and performing music in Nashville and has worked with some of the best writers and musicians on the planet. His songs have been recorded by a long and illustrious list of artists, including Patty Loveless, Pam Tillis, Chris LeDoux, Tammy Wynette, Wynonna and the Marshall Tucker Band. Doug's song "I Just Come Here For The Music" was the first single from Don Williams album "And So It Goes". Recorded as a duet with Don and Alison Krauss, it was nominated for a 2013 Grammy award. The following year saw the release of "Stronger Back" on Williams' last album, "Reflections." In 2018 his song “Peace In This House” was featured in the British film “Wild Rose”.
After stints at Acuff Rose and RGant Music, Doug wrote for Nashville's Hori Pro Music for many years. He currently operates his own publishing company, Peacehouse Music, in affiliation with Eleven Eleven Music, and has released two fine studio albums, "Stronger Back" and "Everyman". He is a committed volunteer at Operation Song, an organization providing songwriting therapy to American veterans, and at the Country music Hall of Fame’s Words and Music Program. As Langham and Gill, (a duo with Lynn Langham) he is a regular performer at festivals and house concerts across the country. His powerful songs speak of strength and redemption, passion and perseverance, and he sings them with a voice that resonates with the truth.
Ray Cardwell — December 6, 2020
If an Americana listener doesn’t know Ray Cardwell’s name yet, it is understandable. Tennesee Moon, his album debut, came just three years ago, charting 10 songs, and he has since charted six more from his follow up Stand On My Own. Four of his 16 charting songs reached the top spot in Grassicana and “Hurricane Rain” and “Alright” ended 2019 as numbers three and four on the yearly Grassicana charts.
The classic bluegrass configuration of his latest album Just a Little Rain doesn’t hide his polish, but rather bends the genre to it. Five of the tracks are written or co-written by Cardwell, with his powerful four-octave voice is on display. Getting his start performing regionally with The Cardwell Family in Missouri, this collection was heavily inspired by the singer’s humble upbringing, which included stops at venues and Bluegrass festivals throughout the 70s and 80s, along with performing as a member of New Tradition in the 90s.
While the straight ahead “Standing on the Rock” reminds us of Cardwell’s upbringing in the grass tradition, that same appeal and Jimmy Buffett-esque relaxation in his voice keeps the song a universal statement. An advance track, “Born to Do,” hit No. 1 on Bluegrass Today's Grassicana Chart. “Take Me To The River” would be a bold choice for any acoustic artist without Cardwell’s range, clarity, and savvy. The cleverness and refinement of this bluegrass arrangement of Al Green’s song keeps the same energy and sparseness that made it a smash hit on radio.
Adam Hayne’s fiddle on “Thief in the Night” grounds the band’s progressive tendencies and the smoky blues of Cardwell’s vocals squarely in bluegrass. “The Grass is Greener” has the same ‘grass appeal, but an uninitiated listener would guess the percussive opening guitar work to be that of a Dave Matthews or Keller Williams before the band kicks in. Two tracks have a more folk/acoustic instrumentation. "I Won’t Send You Flowers" is a beautiful song about showing love through actions not objects of affection, and “Constant State of Grace” would find a home in Elton John’s catalog, or even as a power ballad, but here Cardwell’s sophistication blankets the tune with a sensitivity and a subtlety that keeps the tune from drifting into sap and gives both the song and the subject, a homeless woman, dignity and beauty.
Cardwell set out here to make a bluegrass album, and ended up making much more. It is sometimes a curse in the music industry to have a sound that is both distinguishable and universal, but Cardwell’s Just a Little Rain is more proof that bluegrass and Americana are still growing and still have places to go. From the song selection to the performances, it is as welcome an addition to Cardwell’s catalog as it would be to any fan of Americana or Bluegrass.
Aaron Nathans and Michael G Ronstadt — November 22, 2020
Cello-based songwriters are rare, and the alt-folk duo of Aaron Nathans & Michael G. Ronstadt take advantage of Ronstadt’s adventurous and wildly creative technique to face our shared disaster, head-on.
Philadelphia based guitarist /songwriter Aaron Nathans and Cincinnati cellist / songwriter Michael G. Ronstadt present their third album, the rich, dark and foreboding Shadow of the Cyclone, released October 1. With sobering clarity the duo weave intricate metaphors in the form of fallen saviors (“Strongman”), a Leonard Cohen-esque embrace of the anti-hero (“I Go Low”), and straightforward accounts of our loss of empathy (“Sinner’s Bible”). These songs hint at a sense of just retribution for the troubles we’ve brought upon ourselves, while “Haunted House” and “Come on Sun” coax a sense of levity and hope while accepting our brutal present.
As an acoustic duo, the two create a compelling musical palate. Ronstadt’s cello lines are reminiscent of the live-layered magic of Zoe Keating, and his songwriting reflects the creative diversity of Paul Simon. He weaves intricate patterns around Nathans’ baritone voice, studied folk meters and dash of irony in the tradition of David Wilcox and Dar Williams. As multi-instrumentalists the two play a total of 33 distinct instruments between them while Serenity Fisher guests on piano and vocals, Stan Ginn on drums, Phil Henry on backing vocals and percussion and Ciara Grace on backing vocals.
Ronstadt, nephew of Queen of Rock Linda Ronstadt and a member of a family with a rich musical heritage, holds a master’s degree in cello performance from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. Nathans is an award-winning songwriter and a leader in Philadelphia’s community of songwriters.
Shadow of the Cyclone brings in fans of folk, Americana and singer-songwriters who are seeking refuge from the storm that 2020 has unleashed on us.
Burns and Kristy — November 15, 2020
Burns and Kristy:
Terry Burns and Ron Kristy, a/k/a/Burns and Kristy, met in 2003 in Nashville, TN, where Terry was a former staff writer for EMI Publishing, MCA/Universal and others, and Ron was one of Nashville's most prolific composers for TV/Film. They were married in 2004, but it was not until 2012 that they made the decision to become a musical duo and produce their first CD.
Their debut CD, "Caravan" was released to rave reviews; "Caravan" is one of the most entrancingly beautiful and timeless set of songs to grace a debut album in many years!" ~ Simon Beards, Maverick Magazine, UK 5 Star review, and was followed by "Always Home", a spiritual, healing journey through song.
Terry Burns's music has been described as "fresh, contemporary, moving, melodic and fun". A former staff writer for EMI Publishing, MCA/Universal and Larga Vista Music, her songs have been recorded by many artists, including David Kersh, Lari White, River Road, Alecia Elliott, Ruby Lovett, Pam Rose, Dawn Sears, Jason Sellers, The Burns Sisters, and many more. Her music has been featured on various TV shows, including "Nashville", "The Fosters", "Alecia", and "Who Wants to Marry My Dad?". While in her Early 20's, Terry recorded 2 CDs on Columbia records with her sisters, "The Burns Sisters". She has also recorded an independent CD of some of her favorite original tunes.
Ron Kristy has been a songwriter/TV & Film composer for many years, literally since his teens, and has been a composer for Universal Production Music for over 20 years. He has composed many genres of music, from deep trailer/sports/action projects to the more recent "fun, upbeat, guitar-based" music projects, which are played daily around the world.
A former staff writer/producer for Warner Chappell Music in NY, Ron was co-writer of Aretha Franklin's Coca Cola spots and Brook Benton's "If You've Got the Time" Miller Beer spots, among many others. Later, while living in Mexico, Ron co-founded the largest music production company in Mexico, Musicastil. Since returning to the States, he has continued to be one of Nashville's and New York's most prolific composers for TV/Films for over 30 years, composing and performing many hundreds of TV/film scores. Ron's music can be heard daily around the world on shows such as "20/20", "Good Morning America", "The Voice", CBS Sports, and The Summer Olympic Games, to name just a few.
"Burns & Kristy are what we call a 'triple threat' here in Nashville. Great songwriting, gorgeous vocals and perfectly tasteful & highly skilled guitar playing all rolled into one beautiful act! And, they are as sweet and professional as they are talented. The Music City Center For Spiritual Living LOVED them and we can't wait to have them back!"
~Rev. Dyann Woody, of the Music City Center for Spiritual Living
Ithaca LOVES the Burns & Kristy band! They performed at the UU Church venue for a packed house last night and received several well-deserved standing ovations. They embody the celebration of light, love, humor, spirit, and humanity in us all. Many thanks to them and all their
Bianca De Leon — November 8, 2020
‘Who ever saw a concert by Bianca undoubtedly knows what I mean: though you're somewhere in the Netherlands, you look at her and listen, and get the feeling that you are in Texas. This lady writes, I think, quite often from her own experience; and you can hear that this is real, this sounds lived, this goes right to the heart.‘ Dani Heyvaert, Rootstime BE ‘
"I Sang Patsy Cline" is a story that any singer would give her soul to have been able to write truthfully.’ R2 Rock N Reel, UK
“Bianca’s songwriting has matured into a ripe fruit, texture, flesh and juice. You can bite into her songs, tearing the pulp with teeth, with juice running down your chin” Robert Earl Hardy, A Deeper Blue, The Life and Music of Townes Van Zandt
‘Wistful tales of love and loss and that feeling which forms in the décor of the local cantinas and bars where broken hearts hide somewhere in a dark corner to lick their wounds. Bianca De Leon is not to be underestimated as a songstress.’ Door Cis van Looy, Written In Music, NL
Kerry Patrick Clark — November 1, 2020
Step right up!
Come one, come all!
To the greatest spectacle on earth . . .
Kerry Patrick Clark has reached into his childhood memories to find juggling clowns, flying trapeze artists, dazzling plate spinners, death-defying tightrope walkers and red-coated lion tamers among them. This larger-than-life cast of characters winked at him as he sat rapt in the bleachers, their smiles an invitation to run away with them and join the circus. It was such a tempting idea that his first song, Circus Town, written when he was 11, gave voice to that dream. And now he revisits the fantasy from the distance of decades to release his 9th studio album.
The ringmaster in Kerry has always understood the appeal of being transported away from the monotony and challenges of real life, and getting caught up in a more magical and captivating world. That’s what entertainment is all about! After all, “living life is crazy, people need amazing, for just one moment we forget.” But in a world increasingly full of dangerous distraction, disconnection and carnival spin, he sinks more deeply into the real wonders of living. Love. Silence. Hope. Justice. Connection. Being heard.
What a Show! is whimsical, thoughtful, probing and self-reflective. In it, Kerry recognizes his longing for simplicity as he grapples with how to make sense of our world. He seeks to speak comfort, spark gentle conversation, and root us to the moment. For each marvelous moment we have is a wonder to behold.
So, here’s to life.
Cue the spotlight and the music.
Enjoy the show!
Lynn Langham — October 18, 2020
Lynn Langham is a Grammy winning singer, songwriter and musician. Her song, “Old Yellow Moon” (written with Hank DeVito) was the title cut of Emmylou Harris and
Rodney Crowell’s first duet album which was named Album of the Year at the 2013 Americana Music Awards. In 2014 “Old Yellow Moon” won the Grammy Award for Americana Album of the Year.
A native Texan, she began her career in Houston and Austin where she performed at local clubs, including renowned Anderson Fair. From there she moved on to New York City and Los Angeles, finally settling in Nashville. Shortly after her arrival she signed with Hayes Street Music and Liberty records/Capital Nashville and recorded an album produced by Jimmy Bowen. Although the album was never released it gave her the opportunity to work with some of the best musicians and writers in Nashville. She continued writing for Hayes Street and producing her own demos. She now has her own publishing company, Blue Boot Music.
Lynn has had songs recorded by Wynonna Judd, Emmylou Harris and Rodney Crowell, Elizabeth Cook, Carolyn Hester and more. She has appeared on recordings by Johnny Cash, Emmylou Harris and Rodney Crowell, Albert Lee, Todd Snyder and Richard Dobson. She has also had numerous songs released by independent artists, including Texas artists Shake Russell and Bonnie Bishop. "Trains", a collaboration with Bishop, was in the Texas top ten for several months.
She has opened shows for John Prine, Rodney Crowell, Cheech and Chong, Leon Redbone, Asleep at the Wheel and Larry Gatlin, to name a few. She has also appeared as a studio musician and back-up vocalist on recordings by such artists as Johnny Cash, Emmylou Harris and Rodney Crowell, Albert Lee, Todd Snyder and Richard Dobson.
While living in L.A. Lynn voiced the “Fuzz the Fob” character in the World of Teddy Ruxpin, the mechanical bear that sold over 30 million tapes worldwide. She has written soundtracks for two independent films and co-wrote (with Phil Rosenberg) and performs the theme song “I’ll Meet You There” for the movie “Sweet Old World”. She also volunteers, through Operation Song, to write with soldiers dealing with PTSD.
In Lynn’s music, you will find a wide swath of wisdom, an open hearted love of life, a sweet lingering touch, a little country, a little gospel, and a little jazz; always a teardrop and a smile.
Lynn tours nationally with fellow songwriter, Doug Gill, performing at festivals,
clubs and house concerts as Langham and Gill.
Randy Lewis Brown — October 11, 2020
Listening to East Texan, Randy Lewis Brown is like reading a great Southern novel. A down home, laid back style filled with sharp contemporary edges. Tales of of hard resignation with the occasional dappled sunlight of wounded optimism shining through. Despite describing himself as "well past his prime with an early bedtime", his songs are more poignant and focused than ever, providing both chuckles and serious insights into everyday life and the human condition. His songs have won numerable songwriting contests, the BW Stevenson In 2016, South Florida Folk Fest in 2018 and Woody Guthrie Fest in 2020 to name a few. His newest record, RED CROW on Berkalin Records received wonderful reviews in the US and Europe as well a spending several months on the Americana charts.
Kelly Henkins of Country Angel Blog had this to say about RED CROW; “The depth of not just the lyrics but the undercurrent of emotions attached to each song makes this one of the best albums to ever cross my desk.
Sandy Cash — October 4, 2020
From the Midwest to the Middle East – that’s the route traveled by American-born singer-songwriter Sandy Cash. Now living the ex-pat life in her adopted country of Israel, Sandy is a musical storyteller whose thoughtful – and theatrical – performance style is rooted in the songs on which she grew up back in her native Detroit. At the same time, Sandy’s original songs offer a penetrating look into the world in which she has chosen to make her home. Drawing deeply from the well of history while holding up a mirror to the politics of the present day, Sandy’s writing also embraces universal themes: the sustaining love of family, a commitment to community, and – oh, so important in this part of the world! – a healthy sense of humor.
With five solo albums to her credit, Sandy has performed at the Jacob’s Ladder Folk Festival, tours in Israel and in North America, and was a finalist in the Falcon Ridge Folk Festival’s Emerging Artist Showcase. Her humorous song “Survival of the Fittest” was performed by the “supergroup” folk music trio of Priscilla Herdman, Anne Hills, and Cindy Mangsten.
Sandy attended Yale University, where she excelled in extra-curricular singing and musical theatre while completing a degree in Judaic Studies. Sandy originally set her sights on the rabbinate and moonlighted as Israel’s first female cantor – but eventually switched her focus and entered drama school in Tel Aviv. The road to the professional stage was paved with music; the first jobs she landed were in the Israeli Opera Chorus and in the original Hebrew-language casts of Les Miserables and Evita. Today, she works as a science writer at the Weizmann Institute—Israel’s premier post-graduate research institution in the exact sciences—but continues to give concerts and perform on stage. Her favorite community theater roles include Anna in the King and I, Diana in Next to Normal, Prospera in The Tempest, and The Stage Manager in Our Town.
Sandy’s 2012 CD, “Voices From the Other Side”, was named one of the best folk music releases of that year by NPR-affiliate radio program “The Back Porch”. Her most recent recording is “More Than Meets the Eye” (2020). Drawing on Sandy’s love of storytelling and science, the title track describes the career of pioneering female astrophysicist Vera Rubin, and was made into a video by Sandy’s long-time folk music inspiration, Christine Lavin. An additional video of “More Than Meets the Eye” was created by the owners of a popular astrophysics website in India, introducing Sandy’s music to tens of thousands of new listeners.
Tribute to Ruth Bader Ginsburg — September 27, 2020
America, and the world, lost a remarkable woman, and a true champion of Women's Rights, Civil Rights, Equality for All, Human Rights, Education, etc to name a few. This American hero truly deserves to be recognized for all that she as done. In my opinion, there will never be another justice in the Supreme Court quite like her - especially any new ones! Songs from artists all over the country have come in for this important and worthy show.
Please don't miss this show as we celebrate the legacy, life and achievements of RUTH BADER GINSBURG!!!!
Gathering Time — September 20, 2020
Voted best band runner-up (and top folk band) in the 2011 Long Island Press readers' poll, Gathering Time is like a rocked-up Peter, Paul & Mary or a co-ed Crosby, Stills & Nash, with a bit of The Byrds and a jot of Joni Mitchell; a head-turning folk-rock harmony trio described as "getting a whole beehive-full of buzz" on the northeast regional folk scene.
Founded in 2006, Gathering Time quickly became a fan favorite. Members Stuart Markus, Hillary Foxsong, and Gerry McKeveny have strong roots in traditional folk as well as 1960s and '70s folk-rock, and they've been known to interpret some of those classics alongside their original songs at shows.
Gathering Time's March, 2016 release Keepsake swept the Folk Alliance International Folk DJ chart, taking #1 album for the month, with “Who Knows Where the Time Goes” the #1 song and five more songs in the top 25, earning them the #1 artist for the month.
Since then they’ve followed up with four top-5 singles; the latest, “Get Together,” was #1 for July, 2020. The album it is from, Old Friends, was released Sept. 1.
Bob McKillop of MaineFolkMusic.com writes, "Gathering Time ... has perfected two separate but related art forms: three-part harmony and having a ball on stage! When they harmonize, some sort of fundamental, cosmic concordance occurs that makes you very happy that you have ears.”
WFUV's John Platt has written that they are "among the finest performers in the New York metropolitan area, whatever the size of the venue, from a house concert to an outdoor festival," with "harmonies that can charm the birds out of the trees, strong original songs, and a savvy repertoire of cover songs, ranging from traditional folk to classic rock. They appeal to audiences of all ages."
In addition to concerts of original music, Gathering Time performs specialty tribute shows featuring the folk and folk-rock classics '60s & ‘70s.
The trio first recorded in 2007, with a remake of Peter Yarrow's "Light One Candle" that has been spun on stations ranging from NYC's top-rated WCBS-FM to Israel's Galilee plains; their 2008 album Songs of Hope and Freedom won wide acceptance on folk stations nationwide. The trio's second CD, Red Apples and Gold, rose to #5 on the Folk DJ chart in September, 2012 and to #12 on the national Roots Music Report radio chart in October, charting at #76 in the year-end Top 100 Albums. Their third album, When One Door Closes…, reached #3 on the chart in January, 2014. Three past singles also reached the top-5 of the Folk DJ-Chart: “Tanglewood Tree” (D. Carter) in March, 2017, and a 2-song co-release with Mara Levine, “By My Silence” (E. Bukstell/N. Annis) and “Too Far to Turn Back Now” (S. Markus).
Monica Uhm — September 13, 2020
Monica is a singer-songwriter based in New York known for her catchy tunes, intelligent lyrics and quirky live banter. Her lyrical style is self-dubbed “philoso-folk” and musical style self-dubbed "kitchen-sink twist on Americana” given the eclectic influences and unavoidable quirks thrown into more traditionally familiar music styles.
Monica is an accidental songwriter; the songwriting kicked off when she wrote songs as a means to learn how to play guitar. She eventually found herself fronting various indie/alt-rock bands in lower manhattan. After weaving in and out of band-centered projects, she unplugged to return to what sparked her music journey in the first place - to express her conviction that the secret to life is to “keep on keeping on” while giving shape to the various melodies and lyrics that circle around her like muses.
She released her first full-length studio album "Cowboys&Aliens" in April 2018 (recorded with Joe DiGiorgi at Headlines Studios and features a small army of local musicians and friends) and received accolades for songwriting, vocals and production quality.
A new full-length studio album was in the works for 2020 (with Sam Wagner at The Koop Studios) that involved a 20th anniversary commemorative remakes of songs from her 2000 demo "Six Years to Zanzibar". Due to the pandemic, studio work stopped mid-way. In lieu of a full-length release, singles are being released for the remainder of 2020.
George Ensle — September 7, 2020
George Ensle (pronounced Enslee) started out in Houston Folk clubs in 1967, sharing stages with Townes Van Zandt and Guy Clark. He sings StorySongs, delivered with his intricate finger picking style on 6 string, Resonator, and 12 String guitars. And sometimes he adds a keyboard to the mix. He is a member of the Texas Arts Commission Touring Artist Roster and has been inducted into the Houston Folk Music Archives at Rice University. In addition to songwriting awards, he’s received Government grants to teach songwriting through the Artist in Schools program. He has released 15 albums in the US and Europe and is the creator of PortraitSongs, a custom songwriting service. He is an album Producer for other Artists and conducts songwriting workshops. Some call him a Songpainter. His stories ring true. His characters are real. You feel like you know them, or wish you did.
“warm, engaging…packed with vivid characters, intriguing stories and insightful wisdom…”
John Lomax III
Barry Oreck — August 23, 2020
Brooklyn-based singer-songwriter, Barry Oreck is known for his thought-provoking, often darkly humorous prose encompassing a range of topics from the personal to the political. His songs, touching on societal and ecological issues as well as the perils of aging and long-forgotten love, harness the power of music to connect and inspire others.
Oreck honed his craft surrounded by the rich folk and blues tradition of his native Chicago. He studied with such folk luminaries as Frank Hamilton and Steve Goodman at the famed Old Town School of Folk Music and soaked in the exploding blues scene. This early introduction to folk and blues paved the way to what would become his signature style.
Oreck has three albums to date. His 2016 self-titled release features 10 artfully-crafted original tracks described by fellow musician Trudy Williams as “a unique collection of songs full of wry, thought-provoking lyrics, sweet harmonies, with a satisfying touch of funk.” His successful 2018 follow-up, How the Bright Earth Spun, is a collection of new and old songs spanning the folk tradition with intricate guitar interplay, tight vocal harmonies, and rousing fiddle.
His third release, We Fit Together, which reached #9 on the folk radio charts in May 2020, was inspired by the “political shock of 2016.” Oreck says. “In a country and world where so many seem to be retreating to the fringes of mutual distrust and tribal isolation, the idea that we do and can fit together – all of us, all over the globe, across economic circumstances and political ideologies – became vitally important to me.”
Throughout his musical journey, Oreck has been fortunate to be surrounded by a talented and well-respected community of artists. Barry Oreck and Friends features seasoned musical collaborators who reflect a wide range of musical influences from jazz to rock to world music. Their tight, interlocking instrumental arrangements and three-part harmonies offer a satisfying and original take on songs by Oreck as well as by other contemporary songwriters and traditional songs that invite audience members to sing together.
In addition to his songwriting career, Oreck has also spent decades in New York as a performer and choreographer in dance and theater and creating sound and text scores for numerous productions (www.nicollandoreck.com). He has worked extensively in arts education and has published numerous articles and research papers on the impact of the arts on learning and teaching, the nature of artistic talent, and ways to identify potential talent in young people in the performing arts. His academic work can be found at www.barryoreck.com/articles. He has taught extensively throughout the world and continues to work with teachers, schools and school districts in New York and elsewhere.
Whether performing solo or with his band, Oreck believes that “music approached collectively can inspire action. At its best, music supports movement and change. It touches emotional chords that make us reexamine our lives and our relationships to others. It can change us.”
Helene Cronin — August 16, 2020
Helene Cronin, a Texas artist, released her album Old Ghosts and Lost Causes in 2019. Produced by Matt King and recorded in Nashville, it received unanimous critical acclaim in the Folk/Americana world. This comes right on the heels of being named a 2018 Kerrville New Folk Winner. Helene's artistry draws comparisons to Lori McKenna, Mary Gauthier, even Leonard Cohen, and other songwriters who are known for strong lyrics, unique voices and honest perspectives.
"There’s some of Gretchen Peters’ darkness and incisive poetry in [Helene Cronin's] terrific debut, and that alone should be more than enough for singer-songwriter fans to give Cronin their attention. Cronin is a wordsmith who pulls no punches. Some songs may make you uncomfortable but leave you marveling at her songwriting just the same." - Jim Hynes of Elmore Magazine
For 16 years, Helene has maintained a presence in Nashville honing her writing chops in that legendary songwriting community. She writes for her own projects and for the commercial country market. She often co-writes with up-and-coming artists as well as other seasoned writers aiming for cuts with major artists! Helene hosts rounds at The Bluebird Cafe, plays coffeehouses, festivals and songwriter events and tours in Texas. She loves intimate venues and house concerts, finding that a living room or back yard is the ideal environment for connecting with people. Audiences are drawn to her intimate, personal performances and call her raw, honest and vulnerable, saying, "her songs make me think".
Helene's most well-known song "Lucky Me" is based on a conversation with a soldier in the airport and has over 133,000 views on YouTube. It has led to appearances on national TV, for Medal of Honor events and many other military functions. Prior to Old Ghosts and Lost Causes, she released 2 EPs, Belong to the River in 2015 and Restless Heart in 2014.
Relating to people through the emotion of music, finding grace in the chaos of life, these are the things that motivate Helene to continue writing and pursuing the musical life that began when she first borrowed her brother's guitar and taught herself a few chords.
Lowry Olafson — August 9, 2020
Lowry Olafson is a Canadian songwriter, and motivational speaker who has released nine albums and toured the globe.
Lowry's songs and finger-style guitar playing will open your heart, calm you downm inspire you and re-connect you to what really matters.
When he's not performing, speaking and recording, Lowry also has a long history of facilitating songwriting sessions. He has written over 500 songs with more than 10,000 people. He draws on that experience these days to write PowerSongs with Organizations and individuals to give them the clarity and confidence needed for transformation in work and life. Check them out at www.PowerSongs.ca
He lives on the ocean on BC's beautiful Sunshine Coast and loves to row, and laugh and sing when he's not rowing, laughing and singing.
As he likes to say: “It’s your life. Make it sing!"
Michael and Nell — August 2, 2020
Nashville-based folk artists Michael & Nell (Michael J August and Nell Levin)
created the acclaimed multimedia Joe Hill Road Show and released their
companion CD, Joe Hill Roadshow, in 2016. They have performed the Show live 27
times for colleges, unions and community groups. They recently posted an online
version on YouTube. The Show has received grant funding from the Tennessee Arts
Commission, Metro Nashville Arts Commission, Humanities Tennessee and the
Puffin Foundation. In addition to Tennessee, the duo has presented the Joe Hill
Road Show in San Francisco, Louisville, Saint Louis and Winnipeg, for UNIFOR,
Canada’s largest union.
Michael & Nell formed the “formidable” Shelby Bottom String Band in 2008. In 2012
the Band released their East Nashville Rag CD. In 2014, the Tennessean named
Nell’s song Displacement Blues “Nashville’s newest social justice anthem.” Michael
& Nell have performed at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium and at many venues,
including house concerts and benefits for environmental, community and economic
justice organizations. In 2010, they played at a folk festival in Finland. Their album,
Welcome Home, comprised mostly of original songs that reflect their participation
in social justice movements for a good many years, was released in August 2020 and
is being widely distributed to folk radio.
Nell was active in the anti-war movement (while Michael was a soldier in Vietnam)
and has advocated for fair taxation, affordable housing and environmental issues.
She was director of the non-profit Tennessee Alliance for Progress for 14 years.
Michael is a member of Veterans for Peace and has worked to end the death penalty
in Tennessee. Despite being a native San Franciscan, Nell somehow learned to play
old time bluegrass and country music. Michael also spent time in SF playing mostly
solo acoustic guitar in bars and coffee houses. He hosted “The Acoustic Guitar
Revival” radio show in Nashville for 11 years. They met at a songwriter event in
1989 and got married in 2007. Nell has a degree from Jacobs School of Music at
Indiana University and has played bluegrass, folk and country in bands in San
Francisco, Colorado, Indiana, Los Angeles and Nashville. She is the executive
producer, fiddler and backup vocalist on the Grammy-nominated A Well Traveled
Porch album by songwriter Tom Roznowski. She was voted most promising female
songwriter by the Tennessee Songwriter Association in 1993.
Michael & Nell have lived in their 110-year old East Nashville house since 1996 and
have survived two tornados, a flood, gentrification, and a raccoon in their attic. Their
Welcome Home album includes songs of social significance along with a few
humorous selections, “to take the dryness off,” as Joe Hill put it. Nell has one
daughter and two grandchildren and Michael, who comes from a large Portuguese
family, has relatives all over the country.