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A baby girl was born to parents who loved music. The story goes that she started singing before she could talk.
One day her parents brought home a toy piano. She played it and played it until it grew into a big piano.
It was a special day when a neighbor stopped by, saw the piano, and started playing. The little girl was entranced.
The memory of that music stayed in her heart. When her fingers were strong enough, she began taking lessons.
She devoured the lessons.
Then a guitar came into her home and once again she fell in love.
Always there was song. She sang with the guitar, she sang with the piano. She started singing harmony one day while singing with her Dad. She sang in choruses. She sang in trios.
She wrote her first song when she was seven and kept on writing.
Along the way she picked up other instruments, enjoying the variety of sounds they made, and the songs that appeared when she played them.
When she grew up she sang in coffee houses, at festivals and colleges, and even sang at a world’s fair.
As the years went on, she recorded 6 full-length albums.
She has said “a song doesn’t seem finished to me until it’s shared with others.
She’s loved that her music has touched people’s hearts and souls, and has so enjoyed these words written about her music:
By jove, I think she’s got it! — John Lennon
I discovered your music by complete chance whilst traveling the USA recently. Flicking through the record collection of a friend of a friend and your album 'Harvest' caught our eye, we put it on and were blown away. I listened to it three times over."
Definitely my "Peace for the People Album" of the year. Peace Unending gets my vote for "Anthem of the Year" as well. Womenspirit Rising, Taking You With Me, Full Moonlight Dance and the title are written by Karen Beth. That's why this release shines. Fine, fine songs. Every track is strong (the definition of an OMAR). I hope we hear more from her soon.
"Once you have heard Karen Beth's voice, you know it. It is an indelibly distinctive sound; a sensitive, lilting and rhythmic swing from note to note. Most remarkably, it is stylistically authentic." — Gary Alexander, The Daily Freeman
“Beth is a real musician. She writes songs with melodic interest, and she plays a number of instruments very well. (We heard her on guitar, piano and accordion!) she has a quiet intensity which I found captivating. Variety was the spice of the evening —Les Gerber, The Woodstock Times
And the story continues ...
Carole Wise is a singer/songwriter from Brunswick Maine. Her music is sweet and soulful, drawing on a lifelong passion for education, the beauty of the natural world, and the adventures of finding truth through life's challenges. Her music is also organic - grown and nurtured from the seed of a feeling or a visual. "I do not chase a song," Carole says. Nature is where her spirit thrives and meditative walks are often the source of the seeds - as in the hawk she watched soaring above - that was the seed from New Frontier. Once planted in her mind and heart, Carole gifts it the time to grow.
Cadenza of Freeport, ME states, "Carole is a dedicated, talented singer/songwriter who offers provocative lyrics to encourage us to engage in the world around us. Her style is comfortable and honest. Her musical talent and experience is obvious."
Carole's most recent release "Long Way Home" charted as No. 18 on Folk Radio in November 2021, and keeps moving forward from there. The album was co-produced by Carole Wise and Jud Caswell, and was recorded, mixed and mastered by Jud Caswell of Frog Hollow Studio, Topsham, Maine. Carole’s vocal and acoustic guitar performance is accompanied by a stellar ensemble of Maine musicians: Mike Burd, Denny Breau, David Wakefield, April Reed-Cox and Jud Caswell.
Carole's belief in her creative process flows into all of her creative genres: music, writing, photography, and painting. They are all reflective of her personal relationship to the world, and speak to the universal experiences of humanity. Whether at a music venue, a gallery showing, or a poetry share, Carole's connection to her audience is the performance.
Singer-songwriter pianist Jeffery Straker grew up taking piano lessons in small-town Saskatchewan and has gone on to perform over 100 shows per year across Canada, Europe and Latin America. The rootsy-storytelling of his songs has the power to transport a listener - out onto a lake in Canada’s North or to the main street of a prairie town. A clever lyricist with an energetic approach to the piano, his song writing has drawn critical comparisons to the likes of Harry Chapin, Kris Kristofferson & Billy Joel while maintaining a style distinctly his own. He’s recorded his ROOTS/FOLK music for CBC radio’s ‘Canada Live’, has seen his songs used in film, TV and theatrical productions and in 2019 won a Western Canadian Music Award. Recently he was awarded “Roots/Folk Artist of the Year” at both the 2020 & 2021 Saskatchewan Music Awards.
A musical vagabond, he’s toured internationally as far as The Netherlands, Mexico and Nunavut with tour stops ranging from intimate house concerts to theatre shows and festivals. Never one to let ‘genre’ constrain him he’s also taken the stage in sold-out concerts performing his songs with symphony orchestras. International highlights include winning the prestigious Vina del Mar (Chile) song competition, representing Canada while performing to a festival crowd of 20,000 people and a TV audience of 100,000,000 viewers across the Spanish-speaking world. He also recently performed live on BBC Radio in the UK. Jeffery’s 2017 12-song recording, “Dirt Road Confessional” dove deep into his personal storytelling style and debuted at #5 on the iTunes Canada singer-songwriter charts. It played on CBC Radio and college/community radio across the country with listeners and critics taking note. The Chicago Free Press has written, “Rufus Wainwright, as well as k.d. lang are among the Canadians making essential and beautiful music. Add the name Jeffery Straker to that list”.
Straker’s most recent full-length album “Just Before Sunrise” launched in May 2021. Produced by Russell Broom (Calgary AB) the album strikes a reflective and optimistic tone, with many of the songs written in the wake of the sudden & unexpected passing of Jeffery’s mom. Two co-writes with Royal Wood feature on the recording. Several singles were released in the lead up to the launch including the upbeat “Light a Fire” and the pensive ‘Morning Light’. ‘Ready to be Brave’ was sparked by time spent as artist-in-residence at a summer camp for LGBTQ2+ youth in Saskatchewan and speaks to finding the courage for difficult conversations. ‘Play that Song Again’ in the feel of an old-time waltz adds to the varied soundscape of the recording. The launch was celebrated with a 6-show national virtual tour and a 55 date “Pandemic-Piano-Backyard-Tour” crossing the country in the summer of 2021. The album was voted #2 in the Saskatchewan Music Awards Best Albums of 2021 rankings, by music lovers across the province. “Direct, honest and sure-handed, there's a magic to Straker's folk-based piano styling and powerful storytelling…a brand of contagion well worth catching” (The Walleye/Just Before Sunrise)
Jeffery is a classically trained pianist and swears he was born under the piano on the family grain farm. He was raised by a church-organist mother and auctioneer father which might explain his incredible ability to share songs with audiences.
“I try to write songs on a human scale, but that also highlight the small details that can lead us to think about larger issues. I often walk around for days or weeks with some question about how the world works, or why people do what they do, chewing at me, and try to find that image or phrase that creates a way in – a seed to build the song around. “
Doug Kolmar is an award-winning singer/songwriter based near Portland, ME. Growing up in the suburbs of New York City, with parents who worked in theatre, he was steeped in the music of Broadway and Tin Pan Alley from an early age, and still harbors a soft spot for their wit and romanticism. A varied musical journey followed, including jazz guitar studies, stints in rock and blues bands, and a Master’s Degree in Music Composition from NYU. Since moving to Maine 20 years ago, he has focused on writing and performing songs that connect with audiences by telling stories of everyday struggles, with warmth, empathy, and a touch of dark humor. He regularly performs around New England as a solo artist and with the Folk/Americana group, Arcadia Band. A reflection of his dedication to the craft of songwriting, Doug is also currently President of the Maine Songwriters Association. So Said Life, his fourth solo album, will be available in April 2022. His music is available on all the popular streaming platforms as well as at his website http://www.dougkolmarmusic.com, you can also follow him on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/dougkolmarmusic
Attraction is inexplicable. It’s pheromonal, quasi-spiritual, physiological and physical. For songwriter-pop artist Natalie Gelman, the pull to music has almost been innate. As an eight-year-old, she freely roamed the wilds of New York City, stoking the fire of her artistry, spurred on by violin and piano lessons, and her innate singing and songwriting gifts.
The Ojai, California-based artist has aptly titled her milestone release, Moth To The Flame. The 13-song album is a sublimely melodic and heartfelt blend of polished production, telepathic musicianship, and finely crafted pop with emotionally raw lyrics and storytelling. Natalie’s songwriting recalls sophisticated-but-still-pop tunesmiths such as Jewel, Sara Bareilles, and Jason Mraz. Her songs are subtly lush, detailed with ethereal atmospherics, majestic cello flourishes, chiming electric guitars, stately piano, and layers of dreamy vocals.
“I have put years into this album. While working on it, I got married, lost my mom to Alzheimer's, and had the opportunity to open for major artists,” Natalie says. “The songs on the album were written before going through those things, but the pain and passion are in the performances and recordings. These songs have taught me to focus on the love you can give and the integrity with which you live your life.”
Big Little Lions are an award winning duo who were born out of a collaboration that won them a JUNO Award in 2014. Since then they have been cranking out infectious folk pop songs that are jam-packed with emotion and tight harmonies that sound like the product of two people working side-by-side instead of living in different countries.
They have released 6 albums to date, which have garnered them awards including the CFMA Ensemble of the Year, Independent Music Awards Americana Single of the Year and the John Lennon Songwriting Competition Song of the Year. Their critically acclaimed music has appeared on the CBC’s Top 20 and featured on shows like q and Vinyl Cafe. The duo consists of Paul Otten and Helen Austin, both hugely prolific songwriters - their music has been placed in hundreds of movie trailers, ads, network TV shows and on MTV.
They are currently releasing a new song a month, most of which are on some great Spotify editorial playlists. Their music has been dubbed ‘a blissful marriage of new folk and sophisticated pop’ by Mariposa Folk Festival, and is packed with emotion and tight harmonies.
A laché is an athletic feat of movement — a leap of belief that involves holding onto something and swinging in repetitive motion, gathering momentum, and releasing into mid-air before landing or moving to another object.
Singer-songwriter Rachel Garlin, who tours nationally and who has earned songwriting honors at the Newport Folk Festival, Telluride Bluegrass, Kerrville, and Edinburgh Fringe, has been called “a troubadour in motion.” A lifelong athlete who played basketball at Harvard, she learned both the term and the skill of laché-ing while training over the past year to compete in the upcoming season of NBC’s American Ninja Warrior.
Garlin’s music career follows a similar trajectory. Her lastest EP, The State That We Are In, came as a quick laché-leap from her 2020 LP, Mondegreens, which earned praise from her hometown paper the San Francisco Chronicle (where she was commended for her community involvement through weekly Sidewalk Session performances), Americana Highways, Country Queer and more. Radio also embraced Mondegreens, with regular airplay in major markets like San Francisco, NYC, Los Angeles, Chicago, as well as global streaming platforms like Folk Alley, Folk Music Notebook, and SiriusXM’s The Village.
The State That We Are In — recorded and mixed at a distance across San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Paris — features four COVID-era originals, plus a singular cover of “Layla,” a solo rendition that flips the script on Clapton’s iconic recording and exists as a musical nod to Garlin’s wife of the same name. Rooted in a sense of immediacy and marked by Garlin’s imagery-rich songwriting style, the album is filled with tasty strings and finger-picking, a wake-up-call rhythm section, and a refreshing breeze-through-the-window draft of woodwinds and brass. Producer Jonny Flaugher’s multi-dimensional arrangements strike up chemistry with Garlin’s literary lyrics and conviction-filled vocals, allowing for a provocative walk through songs both personal and political.
In both music and these Ninja Warrior games, it takes practice, strength, and a certain amount of courage to let go of something, reaching for the next bar to hold or space to occupy. With The State That We Are In, Garlin tried to release her preconceived notions of what an album should sound like and instead focused on the process--the creative work and collaboration, as well as the feelings and instincts that go into making music. She wrote music every day of February, allowing herself to be a vessel for expression — inspired by the famous quote by modern dancer and choreographer Martha Graham who reminds us to “keep the channel open.”
As a result, the songs on The State That We Are In tell a range of stories all sprung from a well of authentic impulses to create. The ballad “Some Weights Are Heart to Bear” has a deep and haunting air, whereas the up-tempo track “The State That We Are In” serves as biting commentary on current American politics including gerrymandering and climate change (topics Garlin is well-versed in addressing, as a certified educator, community activist, and songwriting mentor at San Francisco’s Sunset Youth Services).
On stage, Garlin combines a warm stage presence with songs and stories related to her work as an artist, athlete and activist in her own community and beyond. Just like with the laché, it’s all about building momentum and knowing when to let go and fly.
Songs from the heart touch the heart. And as we are touched we feel a full range of feelings, which move us to heal, connect and take meaningful action. Through her original songs and other songs that inspire her to cover them, piano playing singer-songwriter Linda Marks brings her whole heart to music, reaching the heart of the audience. Linda is a multi-genre artist anchored in contemporary folk, integrating elements of jazz, gospel, pop, and Latin in her songwriting arrangements. Over the past decade, she has played many of Boston’s top venues including Scullers Jazz Club, Club Passim, The Burren, City Winery, Club Cafe and Ryles, as well as participating in festivals and performing arts series like the Newton Festival of the Arts, the Rhode Island Folk Festival and the Boston Public Library. Linda has both performed at and written songs especially for fundraisers and non-profits such as Buddy Dog Humane Society, The global Light Up The Love movement, Upstage Lung Cancer, Charity Umbrella and the Cat Connection. She has been featured in the Boston Globe, Boston Magazine and Metrowest Daily News, and on National Public Radio’s “All Things Considered.” Linda has released ten albums, nine with award-winning Doug Hammer of DreamWorld Productions. Her first of two pandemic albums, Monuments Of Love was released at a triple album release concert at the Burren on 8/1/21. Her second pandemic album, Home, was released digitally on 11/25/21, and as a special CD mastered by Grammy award winning sound engineer Glenn Barratt of Morningstar Studios on 01/01/22. Linda is at work on her 2022 album Every Day Legends, and a special folk album in collaboration with Erik Balkey of Hudson Harding Music and Glenn Barratt. Linda's career is a tale of two chapters: the first one starting in toddlerhood where her first word was piano, having her first work performed public in 8th grade, studying music with honors and distinction at Yale with Tony-winning composer Maury Yeston, co-founding Yale's 3rd women's a cappella singing group "Something Extra," collaborating as a duo with singer-songwriter Lisa Wexler post-college, and releasing her first studio album "Dreams And Themes." The undertow of life took its toll for several decades as Linda raised her now young adult son as a single mom and cared for her mother with Alzheimer's. While Linda ventured out as she could during that time, it was not until the end of her mother's life in 2013 that she could fully devote herself to music once again. Building community through music and the arts has been a lifelong commitment. Linda co-founded artist-alliance group Women In Music Gathering, created the Music Salon as an intimate house concert series in 2014, and pivoted to grow it as an online community during the pandemic, and is a LadyLake Entertainment Artist. To provide upliftment during pandemic times, Linda has been playing a weekly lifestream, "Songs From The Heart, Meditations For The Heart" on her personal Facebook pages since March 2020.Special projects in 2022 include a new song written with lyricist Mike Greenly, "Let There Be Love," a duet with singer-songwriter Kemp Harris on her new song "Safe Harbor," and a new song being written for Unsung, a brand new book by Diane Cameron Elam about the struggles of Delta Blues musicians. Linda has served on the board of the Boston Association of Cabaret Artists for many years, and is a member of FAI, RISA, NERFA and ISSA.
Listen to your body...follow your heart...
Reggie Harris is a singer- songwriter, storyteller and world-renowned song-leader who is a powerful interpreter of the global music narrative. A passionate, engaging inspirational entertainer and concert artist Reggie is known for focusing new energy on the important role of music in the discourse for inclusion and the struggle for human rights using the lessons of history as a base. As an expert on the music of the Underground Railroad and the Modern Civil Rights Movement he is at home on stage as performer, lecturer, or leading discussion in seminars or in the classroom.
Mentored by luminaries Pete Seeger and Bernice Johnson Reagon and other elders of the community, Reggie represents all that is best in social and cultural musical and narrative engagement. His powerful work on the music of Underground Railroad and of the role of music in the Modern Civil Rights movement has raise public awareness within education and historical circles. He has presented for thousands of all ages in audiences at colleges, schools and in public festivals, symposiums and concerts throughout the U.S. Canada and Europe.
A 2021 winner of both the Spirit of Folk Award from Folk Alliance International and the W.E.B. Du Bois Legacy Award, Reggie is a charismatic community builder Reggie who was featured in 2020 on CNN’s Silence is Not An Option with Don Lemon and in the New York Times to discuss his familial connection as the descendant of slavery as a great-great-great grandson of confederate General Williams Carter Wickham and his slave Bibhanna Hewlett with his White cousins.
A teaching artist in the Kennedy Center’s CETA program (Changing Education Through the Arts) and a fellow for the prestigious Council of Independent College lecture program he also serves as Co-President and Director of Music Education for the Living Legacy Project, an advocacy group that sponsors Civil Rights pilgrimages throughout the South and online education seminars worldwide. http://www.uulivinglegacy.org
His 2018 CD “Ready To Go” ranked as the #5 CD of the year on the Folk DJ Charts and was in the top 30 on the US Folk DJ charts for 5 months of 2018. The title cut was the #1 song for May 2018. In 2019 Reggie and Greg Greenway released the CD “Deeper Than the Skin” in response to their challenging and insightful presentation of the same name. Reggie is currently a rotating DJ featured on Prisms: The Sound Of Color on The Village on SiriusXM Radio
His April 2021 release “On Solid Ground” is a CD of 13 songs compiled in response to the challenges and changes in American civic circles stirred by the COVID pandemic and years of racial and political unrest that erupted post the murder of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and thousand of others. Reggie’s leadership in racial and interfaith dialogue continues to open opportunities for dialogue and courageous conversation.
A featured artist in the “Americans Who Tell the Truth” Portrait Series by Maine artist Rob Shetterly https://www.americanswhotellthetruth.org/portraits/reggie-harris Reggie is also a recipient of a 2018 Magic Penny Award from the Children’s Music Network for lifetime achievement in music.
His many recordings and collaborative CDs can be found at: www.Reggieharrismusic.com They contribute to the national dialogue on history, wellness and to the opening of dialogue and courageous conversations.
Armed with original songs and feisty, powerhouse vocals, Karen Morand delivers soulful roots with gritty gospel on the side. Karen radiates with energy in live performances both solo and when accompanied by her acoustic trio The BOSCO Boys (Benny Santoro on cajon/drums and Aaron Verhulst on guitar, pedal steel and mandolin). A graduate from the University of Windsor’s music therapy program, Karen enjoys experimenting as a multi-instrumentalist – piano, guitar, ukulele, accordion and the banjo. Karen’s songs celebrate the joys and broken parts of real life. She is the recipient of the 2016 Canada South Songwriting Contest and finalist in the Blues and Roots International Song Contest 2021 In concert, Karen performs original songs spanning her four album releases, alongside folk classics and new favorites from her songwriter friends. She appears live both as a versatile soloist and accompanied by the Bosco boys. Since her first studio release, “Carry On” (2012), followed by “I Think I'll Lose My Mind Today” (2014), Junkyard Heart (2016) Karen has maintained an intense schedule of performances throughout Canada. Karen has brought her music to eclectic backdrops including inner-city churches, stages tucked deep into the Ontario forest, classrooms, living rooms and concert halls. Her first solo and most recent release, “Every Flash of Light” (2018) is an EP including co-writes with Nashville songwriters Steve Hindalong (the Choir), Kelly Kessler and Linda McRae (Spirit of the West). Other collaborations include her recent pairing with internationally renowned bluesman, Manitoba Hal Brolund as bluesy gospel Americana duo, “Even the Bird Was Free.” Highlights of Karen's musical adventures feature showcases at the Songwriters' Symposium and SWERFA, both in Austin, Texas, sold-out performances at The Bank Theatre in Leamington, appearances at the Winterfolk, Blue Skies and Kingsville Folk Festivals and joining the Windsor Symphony to perform her original song as part of the Six String Nation project. Karen Morand and the BOSCO Boys’ newest album is “Ghost Hotel” (February 2022). Praise for Ghost Hotel: "Bringing the twang down from Canada, this award winner and her acoustic crew show just how to raise the roof once the power goes out. Just because they keep it simple doesn’t mean they don’t go deep and have their finger on the pulse of loads of contemporary things that are easy to take for granted. Her pen is definitely mightier." Chris Spectre - Midwest Records "Karen’s new album is sooooo good!!!...Been waiting for this album! Karen Morand & The Bosco Boys new album Ghost Hotel out now! Unbelievably awesome! Perfect production and impeccable songwriting." Dan MacDonald Hear + Now AM800 What some folks are saying about Karen Morand: “I met Karen Morand at the Ontario Council of Folk Festivals in 2010 where I was a mentor. She was just beginning her career as a singer/songwriter and I was immediately impressed by her warmth and straightforward attitude. She has made great strides since then and has just released her second recording of her own material. Her songwriting belies the amount of time she’s actually been writing and I believe she is on her way to becoming an artist who will be a force on the Canadian music scene”
This CalArts music graduate has composed music for commercials/TV, films, and radio shows all over the globe (including Old Fashioned, The Fosters, This American Life Radio, The Art of More, and Last Tango in Halifax just to name a few). She also has music placed all over China, Sweden, The UK, and Australia. Posner appeared in two episodes of GLEE on season four playing banjo and guitar, and in 2018 she appeared in the Freeform TV show Famous In Love in playing banjo on the Conan O’brien Stage.
Posner has scored four films including: Award winning short animation, Elizabeth Sees, Across Land Across Sea, and Through Their Eyes, and the recently released Documentary Lady Buds. Posner was a primary role playing banjo and singing in a Bank Of America commercial for the Ken Burn’s new PBS Country Music Documentary in 2019, while performing and touring with her Americana folk band Abby and The Myth.
Drummer-turned-guitarist Kim Ware of the Good Graces is known for her unique brand of raw, folk-leaning “southern indie” music. Performing with a rotating cast of musicians, Ware has been crafting tracks with both guts and heart since picking up her first guitar in 2006. She’s one of those rare artists whose melodic lines and candid lyrics feel so natural they’re almost unnatural; she’s been praised as a “songwriter’s songwriter” as well as “an Atlanta treasure” by local musicians and press alike. Named after Ware’s spirited grandmother, Grace, the Good Graces blend the gritty realness of 90s-era alternative rock with the straightforward charm of classic country and folk, inspired by artists like Lucinda Williams, Liz Phair, Kathleen Edwards, and Lydia Loveless. There’s an irresistibly relatable humanity to Ware’s music, which seems to transcend masculine and feminine perspectives to create an accessible, gender-neutral tone: She’s part Taylor Swift, part Joni Mitchell, with a little John Darnielle of the Mountain Goats thrown in for good measure. Driven by Ware’s knack for deceptively simple narrative lines, the Good Graces make songs that explore life’s unresolvable dichotomies through lyrics that feel both intimate and universal. “I’ve always tried to make my songs a very honest reflection of who I am. But what part of life fits neatly in a box? Life is not a simple thing. So I often end up writing about that non-simplicity.” Born and raised in a small North Carolina town called Kings Mountain, Ware was a shy, introverted child. Her love of music led her to take up drumming, where she could participate in songs safely from the back of the stage. She got her first drum kit for Christmas at sixteen and taught herself to play, drumming in alt-rock bands (including popular Wilmington, NC act Tex Svengali) throughout her twenties and thirties. Eventually she moved to Atlanta, where she joined two bands whose songwriters (Jeff Evans of Chickens and Pigs and Mary O. Harrison of Virginia Plane) inspired a new appreciation for lyric-driven, narrative songwriting. But it wasn’t until finding an old acoustic guitar at the Lakewood Antiques Market in '06 that Ware began writing and singing her own work as the Good Graces. the Good Graces dropped debut full-length album Sunset Over Saxapahaw in 2008, followed by several EPs. Next came full-lengths Drawn to You in 2013 and Close to the Sun in 2014, developing a uniquely southern, stripped-down indie style driven by percussive guitar and Ware’s characteristically pure vocal twang. In 2017, Ware teamed up with Atlanta guitarist, songwriter, and producer Jonny Daly to release third full-length Set Your Sights (acclaimed by major music outlets Noisey and No Depression) and 2018’s The Hummingbird EP. Daly also contributed to 2019’s Prose and Consciousness, recorded over a handful of live sessions at The Green House in Atlanta, as the Good Graces’ sound evolved into a more expansive, atmospheric Americana still rooted in simple, acoustic folk. Over the years, and Kim and the Good Graces have toured the East Coast, Texas, California, and the Midwest, performed at festivals including 30A, NXNE, and LEAF (where Ware was a finalist in the 2019 NewSong Singer-Songwriter Competition), and shared stages with a long list of renowned artists, including Indigo Girls, Sierra Ferrell, The Love Language, Elizabeth and the Catapult, Granville Automatic, and The Old Ceremony. During the 2020 pandemic, Ware launched two projects designed to connect local artists and friends despite quarantine restrictions: a virtual Facebook venue called “Kimono My House,” which includes members across the world and continues to grow daily, and a podcast called "Quarantuned With the Good Graces," where she interviewed musicians about their creative processes and the need for artists to stay connected.
Nationally known Maine-based writer/performer Jud Caswell has a demonstrated writer’s eye for detail, drawing from the experiences of his home and community, always bringing to his writing an inherent sense of optimism. His most recent record, “Live at the Seagull Shop” was the #1 CD of the month on the March 2020 FAI Folk DJ Charts. Jud’s songs have received wide recognition - as a Kerrville New Folk winner, being recorded by Judy Collins, having the “#4 Song of the Decade” as named by New York’s WFUV Radio, and in being taught in the songwriting curriculum at Berklee. Jud turned the pandemic into an opportunity to support his fans and community with his daily “Morning Cordial” video, sharing the warmth and connection of music while raising money for local charities. He continues to record at his home based studio, and is actively writing and recording for his next release.
Abigail Dowd calls herself a “song catcher” rather than a songwriter.
She’ll be playing her guitar and picking out riffs, and she’ll find songs and lyrics
spilling out fully formed from some creative place she really can’t explain. But she
knows it comes from some place deep, some place spiritual. That, she says, is so
much a part of her.
Those songs make up Abigail’s third album, “Beautiful Day.”
The album’s 12 songs touch on her childhood in North Carolina and her five years
working and living in Maine. But mostly, the songs mine her present life in North
Carolina. She and her husband discovered firsthand the ferocity of Mother Nature,
the warmth of neighbors and the resiliency of the human spirit.
During a 13-month period, from September 2018 to October 2019, their home in
Greensboro, North Carolina, was flooded six times. Two weeks before Christmas,
city officials bought their house and demolished it because the floods, brought on
by hurricanes and torrential rain, caused so much damage.
“It was a series of shit storms,” Abigail says.
In the beginning, after the first two floods, Abigail had to live with her in-laws for
three months because the house made it hard for her to breathe. Jason moved
back into their unheated house to repair and remodel it and take care for their cat,
Scout, and their dog, Oscar.
Meanwhile, Abigail saw specialists at Duke Medical Center because of the pain in
her chest. The water damage had affected her lungs and caused so much pain that
she worried she would have to quit singing.
After Jason renovated the house, Abigail moved back in and stayed for seven
months. But that summer, while touring through Georgia and Florida and attending
a songwriter retreat in Colorado, the house flooded again –– worse than before.
When Abigail came home, she became a nomad. For five months, she bounced from friend’s house to friend’s house. She didn’t know where she would be or what would happen from one day to the next. It became the most uncertain time of her life –– and the most abundant. She found herself finger picking, memorizing lyrics, hitting record on her iPhone, and working on songs by herself in all sorts of places, at all times of the day. She found songs while staying in her mom’s home, playing on neighbors’ front porch, sitting at a stoplight in her car and parking herself on a boulder in the middle of a creek in Colorado, a rock skip away from where she pitched her tent. The songs came. Abigail’s “Beautiful Day” was born. Abigail recorded “Beautiful Day” during a five-day period in late February 2020 in Fidelitorium, the acclaimed recording studio in Kernersville, North Carolina. Run by Mitch Easter, the indie music legend who co-produced REM’s “Murmur” and fronted the North Carolina band, Let’s Active, Fidelitorium has been a go-to place for years for artists such as Wilco, Suzanne Vega and the Drive-By Truckers. It now became the go-to place for Abigail. Behind the board was Jason Richmond, the Grammy-nominated producer who had worked with everyone from The Avett Brothers to Branford Marsalis. Abigail connected with Richmond after she released her second album. The two talked over coffee about working together on her next project. That next project was “Beautiful Day Abigail’s husband, Jason Duff, her constant sideman, played bass. Richmond then brought in a stable of session musicians –– Joe MacPhail on keyboards, Austin McCall on percussion, Alex McKinney on dobro and pedal steel guitar and Scott Sawyer on electric guitar. “I wrote these songs fearlessly when I went through a period of not knowing where I would live,” she says. “All that reaffirmed my faith. It’s that idea that even when we go through the darkest places, we can be transformed. Then, those places become magical.
“And these songs that dropped in, they remind me of those magical places. I wanted to share that.”
John Roy Zat has been performing in the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond since the 1970s. His songs have been recorded by Kate Wolf, by Banish Misfortune, Caroline Herring, and others. With Appalachian influences, Cajun, dust bowl, and a dash of rockabilly, JRZ comes from a long line of American singer-songwriters who occupy that space between country and folk music. Think Gram Parsons, John Prine and Jesse Winchester -- you get the idea.
"It was a pleasure hearing your set last night. I was sitting next to a friend of mine from New Orleans who spent time in Nashville as a songwriter, and several times he noted to me the expertise you exhibited in performing your set. Your proclivity for language is apparent in your songwriting, as is the heart you deliver in each song. I'm sure wherever your travels take you, the audiences respond to this warmth and wisdom." T. Martin, Armando's Singer/Songwriter Series
JRZ's latest CD, WHERE ZAT, was released in November 2021 and is just starting to get airplay. Produced and recorded with the legendary Ed Tree, it features a full band on ten new songs. There are story songs about small town life (American Dream Cafe) and the magic of new love (I Took Hold Of Your Hand). There is love I wish I’d never gotten into (Except For That One Thing), fishy love (I’m A Salmon In The River), whimsical love (Let’s Take The Long Way Home) and All About Love -- and a lot more. Hear it on Spotify, iTunes, Amazon and everywhere else.
JRZ's three previous CDs have all charted in the top ten on Roots Music Report. Who Zat? features his vocals, guitar and fiddle, with bass, duets, and drums on several of the tracks. Collaborations is a collection of mostly live recordings, made with musicians he performs with regularly. Solo, as the title suggests, is a studio recording of JRZ singing and playing on his own. These are also on Spotify and everywhere else.
Too tough for folk and too blues influenced for country, Lynne Hanson's brand of "porch music with a little red dirt" can turn on a dime from a sunshine, blue sky ballad to a full-on thunderstorm of gritty Americana swamp from one song to the next. She's known for her high-energy, roots guitar driven live performances, whether playing solo or with her band the Good Intentions.
Lynne is a two-time Canadian Folk Music Award winner, a recipient of the Colleen Peterson Songwriting Award, winner of the Blues and Roots Radio International Song Contest, two-time Folk Music Ontario Blues Award winner, a two-time Indie Acoustic Project Alt-Country album of the year winner, and a two-time Kerrville New Folk finalist.
Over her fifteen-year solo career, Lynne has recorded seven studio albums, published a book of haiku in 2016, and released a book of poetry in February 2020 along with her latest release “Just Words.” Lynne is currently recording a new album slated for release in April 2022.
RECENT QUOTES: “Just Words is an impeccable artistic creation ... will sit alongside the finest country-Americana albums one will encounter in 2020” - Exclaim Magazine
"Canada's own Queen of Americana" - Jan Hall, Folk Roots Radio
"Canadian Americana artist Lynne Hanson turns heartbreak into poetry with a rock backbone ... a tour de force." Glide Magazine
Jim Jones is a Western/Folk Singer/Songwriter and a native Texan who lives in New Mexico. He was the International Western Music Association’s 2014 Male Performer of the Year and winner of that organization’s 2019 Song of the Year, along with the Academy of Western Artists 2016 Western Song of the Year and the Western Writers of America 2013, 2017 and 2021 Spur Awards for Best Western Song. His songs and books are about the West … cowboys, horses & cattle, cattle rustlers, the coming of the train … songs about people and land, rivers and mountains, the beauty of the Western sky. Jim has produced eleven Western/Folk albums as well as five Western novels, a novella and a Children’s Book in the Western genre. His Western novels include the Jared Delaney series, Rustler’s Moon, Colorado Moon and Waning Moon, and the spin-off series including The Big Empty (2016) and The Lights of Cimarron (2019), published by both Five Star Publishing and Speaking Volumes Press. In addition, his novella, “Scarecrows,” is part of a four piece anthology from Five Star called Perilous Frontier: A Quartet of Crime in the Old West, that was just released in 11/21. His children’s book, Bolo the Brave, illustrated by Kamee Young, was published in 11/20 and was a Western Writers of America Spur Finalist in the category of Illustrated Children’s Books. The second book in the Bolo the Brave series will be coming out shortly. Solo albums include “Race with the Wind,” 2015, “Headin’ Home,” 2018, compilation CD, “Favorites,” 2019, and the recently released CD, “Good Days Are Comin’” in 2021. • Western Writers of America: 2021 Spur Award- “Don’t Say Goodbye to the Cowboy Way,” (Jim Jones, Randy Huston) Western Song of the Year • Western Writers of America: 2021 Spur Finalist- “Bolo the Brave,” illustrated by Kamee Young • International Western Music Association: 2019 Song of the Year- “It’s a Cowboy I Will Be.” • International Western Music Association: The Cowboy Way- Group of the Year, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2021 • International Western Music Association: 2019 Traditional Album of the Year, “Go West” • Western Writers of America: 2017 Spur Award- “Halfway Down the Devil’s Road,” (Jim Jones, Allan Chapman) Western Song of the Year • Western Heritage Wrangler Award: 2017 Best Traditional Western Album, “The Cowboy Way”; 2019 New Horizons Award for Co-Producer of “I’ll Ride Thru It” by Deanna McCall • Academy of Western Artists: 2016 Western Song of the Year • Western Music Association: 2014 Male Performer of the Year • Western Writers of America: 2013 Spur for Best Western Song- “Texas is Burnin” • Academy of Western Artists: 2008 Male Vocalist of the Year • Western Music Association: 2011 Outstanding Western Book- Colorado Moon
David Kleiner is an award-winning singer songwriter. His “Stand Up for Freedom” (co-written with Mick Choder) won the Philadelphia Songwriters’ Project’s Vote Festival award for best song. During David’s performance as winner of the Performing Songwriter Competition at the Avalon Folk Festival, the audience at that clothing optional event gave his song “That’s Why I Fight” a memorable standing ovation. David has recorded two studio CDs since his return to Philadelphia. Sing Out described his This Human Heart, as “all about intensity and passion.” Minor7th.com raved, “Words are magically transmuted into music.” France’s Cry of the Coyote named The News That’s Fit to Sing--his homage to the topical songwriters of the 1960s--among the year’s 5 best releases. David has headlined Philadelphia area venues including the Mermaid Inn and World Café Live Upstairs.
Freshly nominated for Canadian Folk Music Contemporary Singer of the Year, Nova Scotian funeral director-turned-songwriter Terra Spencer discovered her passion for crafting songs while touring with country artist Ryan Cook, after being recruited as a backup singer in 2014 while scooping ice cream at a music festival. Since making her solo debut in 2018, she has charmed audiences in the Maritimes, Ontario, the UK, and Europe with deft fingerstyle guitar, gospel piano, butterscotch voice, and easy onstage conversation, making you feel knee-to-knee with her even in a room of 500. Her knack for telling intimate stories with heart and humour has caught the attention of Canadian musical mentors like David Francey and Ron Sexsmith, and she has become a sought-after studio vocalist and co-writer, leading a successful series of Words & Noise songwriting workshops in person and online. Terra's debut recording Other People's Lives was nominated for 2019 Music NS Americana Album of the Year, and she was selected by Dave Gunning to receive an Emerging Artist grant from the National Arts Centre in 2020. Her newly-released followup Chasing Rabbits, recorded at Sonic Temple in Halifax during quarantine, is a collection of very personal songs about family life and wildlife, leaving and longing, and the meaning of home. Set against the backdrop of the Canadian winter, the album features some of Nova Scotia's best players including The Bombadils and Bela Strings, with Terra in the producer's seat. Chasing Rabbits has received international airplay, quickly claimed spots on numerous lists from critics, DJs, and listeners of the Best Albums of 2020, and recently took home the 2021 Music NS Award for Folk Recording of the Year. Following a successful full-band summer tour celebrating the golden anniversary of the music of 1971, Terra is at work on her third album, produced by international artist Ben Caplan and set for release in spring 2022 with a cross-Canada tour.
Hey all ,"variety is the spice of life!" along with some of my original bluegrass influenced tunes we will be exploring other forms of roots & Americana music. This show will will be a melting pot of blues, rockabilly, folk and more. We will be on the trail of the masters in their respective genre's. The pillars that American music was built on including material by Bill Monroe, Robert Johnson, Big Bill Broonzy, The Carter Family, Leadbelly and Woody Guthrie along with other great 20th century trailblazers like Chuck Berry, Johnny Cash and Bob Dylan. Few musicians can cover this broad spectrum of music with authority and authenticity. I have gathered a great crew for this task. Doug Moody on fiddle, Roy Coates on the big bass and John "JP" Potter on guitar. This is all acoustic. You can expect some great fingerstyle guitar, flatpick guitar, harmonica, 5 string banjo & hot fiddling along with some stellar harmony singing. Whoo-hoo! check my web site for new releases
Cheryl’s family roots run deep in the mountains of Eastern Kentucky though she grew up in Covington, Kentucky near the banks of the Ohio River. Up until now her life has been anything but typical. She’s lived a musician's lifestyle since 25 yrs old while balancing a job and family. How did that work out? Well, to date she has survived several divorces and love relationships. I guess she could blame it on a strained relationship with her mother? Who knows. Then along comes the National Disaster known as The Opioid Epidemic which wreaked total havok! The turn of the century pretty much sucked the life blood out of any semblance of normalcy for Cheryl and her family. It was time for more soul searching! Not much beats a good ole session of songwriting for therapy. Cheryl is certainly no stranger to turning to music when life gets mean and knocks the dominoes down. “When the heart aches… pour it out into the universe via your very own vehicle. Write a song dammit!”
A 2nd studio release is arriving in early 2022. Want to know this girl's early beginnings? This is a collection of songs that reflect her Cawood roots that grow deep in the hollar’s of Harlan County, Kentucky. She is thrilled to have 2 co-writes with iconic songwriter Jack Saunders on this collection. The Ballad of Spade Cooley takes the listener on a journey through the story of an intriguing murder sage from the 1960’s! She also included a tune about a real-life feud that happened in her family in the late 1800's. She is the writer on many of the tracks on this project but felt compelled to include two regional favorites. This gal has let loose some serious Hillbilly on this CD!
Cawood expects to release an EP in mid 2022. It will focus on songs of hope and healing. A new music-driven program, HOPE LOVES HARMONY, has been created and is ready to launch! It is aimed at parents/caregivers of those with a substance abuse disorder. Cheryl is thrilled to have been accepted into the Texas Accelerator program with MUSIC TO LIFE (MtL) to create and develop this program to help create positive change in the community. MtL was founded in 2000 by Noel “Paul” Stookey (of the 1960’s folk trio Peter, Paul & Mary) and his daughter, Elizabeth Stookey Sunde. Click the links! https://www.musictolife.org/about/ https://www.noelpaulstookey.com/
Reviews from her 1st solo studio release Love ~Pearl: "Cawood’s effortless way in which she moves between musical genres, and her vocal stylings, which range from sometimes reedy, sometimes powerhouse, but always rich with warm resolve, evoke true emotion in every tune and give the listener a glimpse into the ability and psyche of a songwriter who easily rivals any singer-songwriter on the music scene today.: ~Houston Music Review
"Singer-songwriter Cheryl Cawood is a woman in motion. Blink, and you may miss her as she zips by, juggling her full-time job as a laboratory scientist at the University of Texas Health, her family, her band, and her own songwriting career, all while advocating for causes she believes in and taking the time to work on 3 albums simultaneously. For some, the very notion of wearing so many hats all at once would seem daunting, but for Cawood—whom I’ve never seen without a hat—this kind of stuff is all in a day’s work. She seems to thrive on staying busy, writing songs, and making music with her friends." ~Houston Music Review
His award-winning voice has been described as "sheer perfection" (Lesley Mitchell-Clarke - WholeNote Magazine) Over 45 years Larry Folk has written and performed in a variety of styles. From simple folk ballads to the swinging standards of the American Songbook, Larry delivers the goods with style, ease and emotion.
A great story teller, Larry's ability to write lyrics that create stunning visuals for his listeners is matched perfectly to his masterful guitar playing. When he began performing regularly in Toronto's coffeehouses in the 70's, Larry's early songs mused about love and the beauty of the vast Canadian wilderness, but didn’t shy away from more serious subjects such as the questionable treatment of North America's Indigenous Peoples. In the 80's he sang on Ottawa's Parliament Hill and at Toronto City Hall during rallies to end Apartheid in South Africa, performing his original song Amandla! Ngawethu! (Power to the People!)
Larry's songs continue to challenge the status quo, confronting our complex relationship with the planet (Take What You Want From the World) political divisions (Feeling Lost in America) the loss of innocence (Woodstock Nation) and his response to Covid 19 (A Hit of Love).
Larry began his recording career in the 80's releasing albums and singles that span a variety of genres including contemporary Christian, Pop, Rock, Country, Celtic/Roots, and Jazz. His 6th studio album In The Moonlight sees Larry returning to his folk roots. Upcoming plans include two follow-up folk CDs Embracing Folk and Thru a Dark Lens (both coming in 2022)
In The Moonlight includes a new version of Gathering of Friends, a song of good-bye that has been a listener favorite since its release on his 1997 album Caught In The Light. A re-release of that album with new takes and alternate mixes is slated to coincide with the album's 25th anniversary in 2022.
He has written and performed with country artist Rena Gaile, legendary soul-singer George Olliver, former Pat Metheny vocalist David Blamires and a host of others. He was a chorus member on the Rita MacNeil Show, (CBC TV) and an arranger/copyist on Sylvia Tyson's Country in my Soul (CBC TV) with music director, the late Ron Dann who also produced Larry's first recordings.
Future plans include a new Holiday Jazz recording of originals and standards that promises to delight his listeners.
Acclaimed Calgary, Alberta-based Americana artist T. Buckley returns with his second solo album Frame By Frame. Backed up by his top-notch band of multi-instrumentalists, Buckley delivers another of the trademark smooth and soulful vocal performances that make him one of the most talked-about artists from western Canada.
Frame by Frame is inspired by the impact others have on our lives. On the song "Marilyn", Buckley remembers his father-in-law's sister, saying “We carry our loved ones with us even after they have passed. Their spirit remains with us, guiding our lives through the stories we tell about them.” On “Before I Get To Turn Around,” Buckley sings about a friend attempting to rebuild his life, and the album’s title track, was written in honour of his grandfather who always stressed the importance of savoring life’s special moments.
For his debut solo release, 2018’s Miles We Put Behind, Buckley pushed his creative boundaries by working with Grammy-nominated and multi-genre enthusiast, producer/engineer Howard Bilerman. The slick-yet-measured interpretation of Buckley’s tooth and bone songwriting style gave new life to his narratives, and earned a Canadian Folk Music Award nomination.
Buckley takes that approach a step further on Frame By Frame by working with producer/engineer Jeff Kynoch, whose past credits include albums by fellow Albertans Cayley Thomas, Jay Gilday and Altameda. Kynoch’s open-minded sonic approach makes for an excellent pairing with Buckley’s spirit of creatively pushing the envelope.
With songs taken from stories etched in the trappings of prairie grasses and campfire ashes, T. Buckley commemorates the Western arena while paying hushed homage to the greats of songwriting and storytelling. His dedication to his craft continue to make his name known across provinces and states, steadily establishing him as a truly prolific and celebrated songwriter.
“Take the inventiveness of Bob Dylan, the melodic voice of John Denver,
add the showmanship of Garrison Keillor … and that’s Michael Johnathon.”
Bob Spear – Publisher, HEARTLAND REVIEW
“This popular songwriter has embraced the modern age in a very unique way.” Jonathan Widran – ALL MUSIC GUIDE
“Michael is one of the few performers who understands that music of the future must respect the music of the past. His strong understanding of the folk tradition is a breath of fresh air in this era of cookie cutter singer-songwriters.” Phil Shapiro – BOUND FOR GLORY
Michael grew up in upstate New York along the shores of the Hudson River. At 19, he moved to the Mexican border town of Laredo, TX and found a job working on at small radio station. One night, he played ‘Turn, Turn, Turn’ by The Byrds. As the song played, he recalled seeing his neighbor Pete Seeger, performing in his Dutchess County hometown. By the time the song had ended, he decided to pursue a career as a folksinger.
He bought a guitar and a banjo and settled into the isolated mountain hamlet of Mousie, KY, traveling the Appalachian mountains and learning the music of the mountain people. Michael experienced hundreds of front porch hootenannies where folks would sit on their front porches and play the old songs their grandparents taught them. He began performing at hundreds of colleges, schools and fairs, over two thousand Earth Concerts, plus benefits for the homeless, farm families, and more. In all, he sang to over two million people in one four-year stretch. Billboard Magazine headlined him as an “UnSung Hero” and he has been featured on CNN, TNN, CMT, AP, Headline News, NPR, Bravo and the BBC.
He also created one of the biggest roots music, live audience shows on radio and TV: the WoodSongs Old-Time Radio Hour. He organized the national WoodSongs Front Porch Association to celebrate rural and community music. Members are called “SongFarmers.”
His 16th studio album, Legacy, featuring the massive title track, a nine-minute epic about the history of songwriters from Bob Dylan to James Taylor, Harry Chapin to the Kingston Trio, hip-hop tp the collapse of the record industry as we knew it.
The most recent album, The Painter, is a song cycle about art, music, love and family. The album includes “Vincent” by Don McLean, “Cats in the Cradle” by Harry Chapin, and “Make You Feel My Love” by Bob Dylan.
He wrote the screenplay for the upcoming motion picture. “Caney Creek: The Legend of Alice Lloyd.” Pitched as the “Dances with Wolves” of the Appalachian mountains.
His latest release is the 176-page book, “WoodSongs 5: A Folksinger’s Compendium & Van Gogh Reader.”
Joy Zimmerman’s soulful vocals and lyrical songwriting light up her new acoustic roots album, “The Canvas Before Us”, which reached #8 on Folk Alliance International’s Top Albums of August 2021. Listeners will hear echoes of their own journeys in Joy’s songs of hope, challenge and resilience. Her new album invites the question: What story will the canvas of our lives tell? Joy’s reinvention as a dynamic singer/songwriter might seem surprising. She didn’t pick up a guitar, sing a solo or write her first song until her sons were in elementary school. But the elements were all waiting…a voice of honey, insights for days, and a deep love of music beginning with kindergarten violin lessons. A touring musician based in Kansas City, Joy has recorded eight albums of original music. She has received an American Songwriter Lyric Contest Honorable Mention and ten Walnut Valley Festival NewSong Showcase wins. “The Canvas Before Us” not only showcases Joy Zimmerman’s lovely voice but also an array of new songs speaking eloquently and emotionally to the human condition.” ~Bob McWilliams, host, Trail Mix on Kansas Public Radio “The title fits this project perfectly, and the palette of instruments and Joy’s crystal clear voice have added just the right colors in just the right places. This CD is a WORK OF ART!” ~Donna and Kelly Mulhollan, aka Still on the Hill
Arthur Davenport wrote his first published song "So Near, So Far" in 1974, featured on a compilation CD “Until You Come Home II”, in support of recovering veterans.
Arthur "went public", breaking out with much akimbo, buzz and flutter into the D.C. coffeehouse and brew-pub scene in the 1980's, playing in the shadow of people like Mary Chapin Carpenter and Emmy Lou Harris.
Arthur Davenport's musical career now spans over 45 years of songwriting and performance.
He has been featured on National Public Radio performing his song, "Lonesome Cowboy," specially written in 1994 for a KRWG Las Cruces NM cowboy music compilation album entitled "'Round-em Up!" published by David Brower, the program host.
This review for his 2002 "Reality Bends" album provides a fitting description of his solo style:
"Using only an acoustic guitar as backup, Arthur Davenport crafts sparse, haunting folk songs with a wry sense of the absurd. Deftly hopping from one vocal personality to another, sometimes within a line, this far-out mountain man keeps the listener guessing." Mike McGuire, Listen.com
Arthur’s second album, "Whispering to the Wind", was released in 2010 with ten original Americana ballads produced with a full band.
He released several single songs during 2017-18, including “Long Dark Highway”, “La Rosa Dulce”, “The Rich Man Always Gets His Pay”, “Jonathan Leviathan” and “Family Reunion”. “La Rosa Dulce” was a winner in the “A Still Small Voice 4U's” songwriting contest award in 2020 on the subject of “Monuments”.
“Jonathan Leviathan”, his third album published in 2020, includes the previous singles with new songs, presenting something old, new, borrowed and blue.
Arthur is currently working to publish his body of works of poetry, and beginning a new album of music. “Stay Tuned”.
Howard Gladstone, Toronto-born-based singer/songwriter, releases his 7th album of original material in October 2021. “Concord Sessions” is a “hybrid folk” album that holds a mirror up to human nature, in the age of environmental and humanitarian crisis, and a future we have limited time to shape. Looking in the mirror reveals many sides of our human nature, our strengths, weaknesses, even foibles. There are themes such as activism and protest, the environmental crisis, human nature, history, forced migration and the plight of refugees. A constant theme in Howard’s music is finding strength and resolve in facing difficulty to help heal the broken world and ourselves. Howard’s previous album “The Promise” was recorded in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic shutdown and explores similar themes. Confined to his home, Howard recorded the guitar and vocal tracks of the album’s nine songs. Other musicians – including Kevin Laliberte, Bob Cohen, Russ Boswell, Marito Marques, Julie Gladstone, Laura Fernandez – collaborated remotely to add tracks, background vocals and finishing touches to the album. Taken together the two albums continue Howard’s musical explorations in a world where meaning and truth become ever more elusive and debased. The releases come at a time when the stakes could not be higher for those struggling personally, and for the world at a crossroads. The albums are a balancing act, juggling personal and global concerns. Howard has been playing guitar since teenage years and writing songs since university days in the 70’s. He returned to music in the early 2000’s and released his first album "Sunflowers Light the Room” in 2002. It was followed by “Candles On The River" (2005), "The Breath In The Wind (2007), “Roots and Rain (2010)” and “Hourglass” in 2017. “Hourglass” features songs created during the period when Howard was recovering from a spinal cord injury and focuses on the themes of healing and resiliency. Howard Gladstone’s songs, music, and lyrics are a multi-faced musical prism, and can be experienced differently depending on where you enter, where you sit, and how the light strikes it. There are diverse themes, musical styles, and multiple approaches. With a craftsman approach to lyric writing, Gladstone sometimes approaches his subject matter as a seasoned journalist would: with an eye for detail, and a sense of story. Other songs reflect a lyrical and romantic side. Howard’s vocal style has been variously called a “silky, “a blues-inspired voice”, “a singing poet!” and “a comfortable warm croon.” Howard was co- founder of the Toronto City Roots Festival, which ran from 2004 until 2010. Other interesting sidebar accomplishments include a 1970s article on William “Grit” Laskin on guitar making, and an interview with Robbie Robertson of The Band that was re-printed in Rolling Stone magazine. Howard established (and eventually sold) a successful engineering and manufacturing company business that gained a world-wide reputation supplying an essential component to the “high end” audio and musical instrument industry. Howard is still involved in his own company supplying a leading-edge power conditioning product for recording studios and high-end custom audio installations. Being grounded is essential to clean power and also Howard’s approach to song writing art and craft. Gladstone shapes ordinary words into beautiful visions… these are songs of strength and courage…. .…lyrics (that) bite into the social conscience of humanity and touch us right in the heart… …. arrangements that really make the songs interesting .. - Virginia McIsaac, Rambles.net "Howard Gladstone balances thoughtful and passionate lyrics with calming, soulful and diverse tunes that compel you to take a deep breath, and simply take the time to enjoy some good music" - CHRY RadioYork “If you heard this music in a crowded room, you'd suspect it was a lost gem from another time” – Greg Quill, Toronto Star
Buddy Mondlock writes songs. He does it so well that some great songwriters have recorded his songs on their own albums. Guy Clark, Nanci Griffith, and Janis Ian, to name just a few. You might’ve heard his song “The Kid” (recorded by David Wilcox, Peter, Paul and Mary and Cry, Cry, Cry) and maybe even sung it yourself around a campfire. He draws you into his world - where a single snowflake follows the trajectory of a relationship, where you get you pocket picked by a Roman cat, where you might swim over the edge of the world if you’re not careful and where dreams that don’t come true still count. When Buddy’s not on the road you can find him in Nashville but he grew up in Park Forest, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago. He didn’t have a troubled childhood. His parents were nice to him. They paid for guitar lessons when he was ten and they never said, “when are you going to get a real job?” He sang Crosby, Stills and Nash songs with his sisters and answered his little brother’s questions from the top bunk. A few years away at college puzzling over Homer and Plato and then he was back. Living in the big city this time and playing open mics at Chicago’s crucible for songwriters in those days, the famed Earl of Old town. He once opened for the amazing Steve Goodman there on New Year’s Eve. Buddy was 21. Says he could have walked out of there that night and gotten hit by a bus and he wouldn’t have felt like life cheated him at all. When Buddy made his first trip to Texas from his native Chicago, Guy Clark heard him singing one of his songs under a tree at the Kerrville Folk Festival and liked it. So Guy went back to Nashville, opened the door and said, “listen to this kid, he’s good!” A publishing deal and a U-Haul headed south soon followed. People were starting to pay attention. In 1987 he was a New Folk Award Winner at Kerrville and he released his first album called “On the Line”. Over the next few years David Wilcox recorded “The Kid” on his first record for A&M. Buddy did some writing with this other new kid in town named Garth Brooks. Janis Ian heard him singing at the Bluebird Cafe and asked him if he’d like to write with her. Their song “Amsterdam” got recorded by Joan Baez. Nanci Griffith asked Buddy to sing on a show she was taping for Irish television. She ended up liking that song so much that she recorded “Comin’ Down In the Rain” on her Grammy Award winning collection “Other Voices, Other Rooms.” Garth became a star and “Every Now and Then” ended up on his album “The Chase.” Buddy was touring all over the U.S. by this time playing coffeehouses and the occasional festival (he’d become a regular on the main stage at Kerrville). And there were trips to Europe too. Buddy’s second album, produced by Steve Addabbo in 1994, got picked up by Son Records, a small label in Ireland started by the band U2, and he was well received on the island of poets. He’s toured there consistently ever since. 1996 was a good year. Peter, Paul and Mary recorded “The Kid” and then asked the kid himself to sing with them on their “Great Performances” TV special. He won a Kerrville Music Award for Song of the Year that autumn for “The Kid” too.
Pacific Northwest folk musicians, Mike and Carleen McCornack have shared their musical artistry with grateful audiences since the sixties. From coffee houses to concert halls, Mike and Carleen's beautifully crafted songwriting comes to life in their music with superb vocal harmony and sparkling guitar accompaniment that touches the heart and never fails to tickle the funny bone!
With music firmly rooted in contemporary, evocative Folk music, Mike and Carleen are award winning songwriters and 2-time winners of the Florence Winter Folk Festival's People's Choice Award.
With performances filled with themes of love, humor and the natural world the McCornacks are equally at home performing for audiences who know them from their award-winning children’s recordings and for “grownups” who appreciate their musical depth and off-center humor.
In addition to their long-standing performing career, Mike and Carleen have released 9 recordings, including their latest release, Dream True. They received a Parent’s Choice Gold Award for their ever-popular children’s recording, Beasties, Bumbershoots and Lullabies and a Parent’s Guide Award for their very “adult-friendly” record, High Hopes.
Mike & Carleen perform as a duo and are frequently joined in concert and on their recordings by several outstanding musicians in their Garden Variety Band including; cellist and bass player, Dale Bradley, cousin, Kevin McCornack on concertina, bassoon and harmonica, son, Andy McCornack, percussionist and Eileen Sterns on accordion, Celtic harp and mandolin.
Oregon natives and Folk Alliance Far-Westers, Mike and Carleen have travelled and toured the West for years and continue to share their music every chance they get! They live in the beautiful Willamette Valley in Eugene, Oregon with their two Labradors and two cats and are so happy to live close to their children, grand-children and family.
“Beautiful melodies, great musicians. Pure heartfelt vocals all blended together into music that will leave you smiling in your heart.”
Bill Staines, Singer/Songwriter
“The songs are wonderful and the recording is so meticulous, just exquisite. I love their voices too, very sweet harmonies and beautifully expressive singing. I'm very proud of what they’ve done with "Darcy Farrow." It's one of the nicest versions we've had. The original songs are very fine as well. Steve Gillette, Songwriter
Efrat believes in the power of music to transform and heal, which shines through in her powerful performances and in her poignantly personal songwriting. Her third release, We Just Need Love (September 2021), is the result of her own transformation as a mother, artist, & empathetic soul-searcher. She started recording in 2018 but life stepped in the way when it was discovered that her son had a rare heart disorder. The next 18 months was spent learning how to keep her son safe. She gained eyes to the silent suffering & hope that surrounds us as she met other heart families & learned that life seems to always get in the way. We hope there is a “later,” but it may never come. She learned that, “We Just Need Love,” to learn to “Let Go” of expectations, and to embrace what we are given. And, she understood we must live boldly with the precious time we have and be true to ourselves. This album will tear at your heart strings, make you think about those around you and leave you with a sense of hope of what we can achieve if we love one another and our planet and live boldly. Efrat’s journey to becoming a sought after session and tour musician as well as an esteemed singer-songwriter is one that many would envy. Before receiving a master’s in music and performing in orchestras around the world under top conductors, she was already seeking her place as a crossover musician performing with klezmer, bluegrass, rock, irish bands, and more. Her first foray into the folk genre landed her a coveted juried showcase at the North East Regional Folk Alliance Conference in 2015, with no standing room left in a hall for 250. Composer David Amram sat in with her band in two of her other showcases, invited her to perform at his birthday show and he praised her composition “Serenade” saying, “Beautiful, just beautiful, keep writing!”. Efrat did just that! Previously named “the quintessential fiddler” Review of Fiddler On The Roof (Cumberland Co. Playhouse, Crossville, TN) by Rob Robbennolt from the Crossville Chronicle; and “…the consummate musician… comfortable in multiple genres, from jazz to Americana…” by John Platt from WFUV in the Bronx she continued on.Efrat has worked with the top of the music industry and performed most roles while doing so. She was concertmaster for Olivia Newton John Orchestras, recorded strings for pop icon Ashanti, & was part of the Broadway touring company of Oliver. She later went on to join Spuyten Duyvil for their Temptation album & has performed onstage with top-charting folk musicians like Reggie Harris, Joe Jencks, Pat Wictor, Mara Levine, Gathering Time, and David Amram. She has shared the stage with some of the greatest jazz musicians including Joe Magnarelli (Harry Connick Jr.) & was in Harry Whitakers’ last band (Miles Davis, Roberta Flack) and has two songs with drummer Dennis Davis (David Bowie, Stevie Wonder). Two songs from her premier CD, No Strings Attached (2010), were featured in the movie How To Seduce Difficult Women and the title song garnered over 10 million Youtube views as part of the official trailer. With her sophomore release, The Silver Lining (2015), which included folk, jazz, pop, klezmer, swing, and blues where she truly radiated. It debuted at #14 on the International Folk DJ Chart for October 2015 and was played on the radio in over 10 countries and across the USA.Today, Efrat often uses her looper to create a symphony behind her soaring violin melodies and improvisations or to complement her robust vocals. Efrat currently performs as a soloist with her looper and with her folk/pop/jazz band. She also leads a jazz and blues combo, a jewish music group, an all female modern string quartet, as well as an eclectic acoustic pop trio and has three educational shows she performs regularly at pre-schools and primary schools. Additionally, she works regularly as a tour and session musician, composer, arranger, performer, recording artist, videographer and editor, and teacher/lecturer.
"Renaissance" crosses through multiple musical genres while still staying true to the Valerie Smith sound that encompasses an acoustic flair with a touch of bluegrass. The songs cover subject areas of love, finding love, acceptance, and regret. The project signifies the journey Valerie has made in her life with optimism to which others can relate. She includes upbeat, happy songs that encourage the listener to move to the grove. The project also includes lush ballads with meaningful lyrics and melodies that grab soul. The album is called "Renaissance" because in looking at the world and herself, Valerie has been reborn. The line-up of songs is about self-worth and acceptance.
Valerie wrote two of the songs for "Renaissance," and the remaining selections were carefully chosen from the works of other seasoned writers. She chooses the songs which best express what she wants to say with her Music. The quality of the music has always come first when she produces a project, which is why it takes her so long to create an entire album.
Valerie has always been interested in all kinds of Music; bluegrass, acoustic, baroque, classical, neoclassical, Music from Asia, Middle-Eastern folk, rock, indie-rock, Kpop, pop….in other words, anything with sound! In addition, she loves to study melodies and chord progressions, by which she has always been fascinated.
For example, not many years ago, Valerie heard the arrangement and immediately drew to the haunting melody and lyrics of "I Found," which the indie rock group Amber Run had released. She found herself really enjoying singing the song's unique melody and lyrics. Valerie's final arrangement developed during band rehearsal with her touring band, Liberty Pike. Wally Hughes and Lisa Kay Howard Hughes added harmony to the chorus, and everyone fell in love with singing the song together. It became an "earworm" for the whole group.
Valerie Smith grew up in the midwest, near Kansas City, and was exposed to several musical genres from her childhood through her college days. She watched movie musicals with Judy Garland, listened to country music while her mother worked, sang on the radio, and sang gospel music on Sundays in church. And, of course, she and her sister listened to classic rock on the radio. Valerie studied Music in college, where she was exposed to blues, jazz, opera, and a wide array of other genres; Valerie also studied dance at the University of Missouri, Kansas City. On weekends Valerie would play old-time fiddle near her hometown and developed a love for traditional American string music. Later, she fell in love with bluegrass because of its incredible acoustic sounds, virtuosic musicians, and soulful melodies. The folk and bluegrass audiences fit her personality the best; they love music.
With vivid storytelling, vibrant musicianship and arresting honesty, Anya Hinkle explores the beauty of song craft through the lens of the Appalachian string band tradition. Originally from the mountains of Virginia, Anya’s music is steeped in the tones of folk and bluegrass and seasoned by travels across the world. A founding member of Asheville-based bands Dehlia Low (Rebel Records) and Tellico (Organic Records), Anya released the first full-length album under her own name, “Eden And Her Borderlands,” July 2021 on Organic Records, "...one of roots music's gems so far this year" writes No Depression.
Hinkle won the MerleFest Chris Austin Songwriting Competition in 2019 and was a finalist in the Hazel Dickens Song Contest for her song “Ballad of Zona Abston,” featured on Tellico’s 2018 release Woven Waters. The album, produced by Irish guitar legend John Doyle (Transatlantic Sessions, Joan Baez, Tim O’Brien), had a #1 single, #1 band and #2 album ranking on the Folk DJ charts in November 2018. Anya tours all over the US, Japan and Europe.
Richard Paul Thomas (his friends call him RpT) is a free-thinking dreamer and Texas based singer songwriter with decades of love, life, and laughter to share. His songwriting spans a wide range of musical genres and emotional experiences ranging from lighthearted fun to challenging one's convictions about life and our place in the world. His writing and performance style encompasses elements of Folk, R&B, jazz, ballads and good old rock n' roll. RpT's soulful voice ranges from thermal to edgy reflecting the musical influences of a lifetime. His thought-provoking lyrics speak to the heart and soul of the listener.
RpT’s third CD entitled SALADO, was produced, engineered, and mixed by Chris Gage. Recorded at Gage’s Moonhouse Studio in Austin, the ten tracks are a refreshing presentation of life’s joys challenges and deeper meanings. The title song, SALADO, depicts the life of a stagecoach driver of old on his last trip home. SALADO was adopted by the Village of Salado, which stated, in an official proclamation, that this song “represents our community’s spirit, character and history.” SALADO is the next major step in RpT’s continuing musical development. The sheer focus of his lyrics along with the soulful intensity of his voice and melodies places the listener in a comfortable frame of mind and takes them on a musical journey thru the emotions and experiences of RpT’s life.
Emily Barker is an award-winning singer-songwriter, best known as the writer and performer of the theme to the BBC’s hugely successful crime drama Wallander starring Kenneth Branagh. She has released music as a solo artist as well as with various bands and collaborations including The Red Clay Halo, Vena Portae, Marry Waterson and Applewood Road (with whom she released a remarkable album of original songs recorded live around a single microphone, dubbed “flawless” by The Sunday Times) and has written for film, including composing the soundtrack for Jake Gavin’s lauded debut feature Hector starring Peter Mullan and Keith Allen.
Emily Barker’s new album A Dark Murmuration of Words was released on September 4th 2020. Produced by Greg Freeman and recorded at StudiOwz, a converted chapel in the Welsh countryside, A Dark Murmuration of Words takes Barker’s clear, expressive vocals and warm acoustic aesthetic and subtly shifts her sound in the direction of contemporaries such as Laura Marling and Phoebe Bridgers. Lyrically probing, by turns both dark and optimistic, Barker searches for meaning through the deafening clamour of fake news and algorithmically filtered conversation, delivering a timely exploration of the grand themes of our age through the lens of what it means to return “home.” Throughout the ten songs that make up the album, Barker draws connections between the familial, the local, and the global: a mother sings to her unborn child, asking for its forgiveness on ‘Strange Weather’; ‘When Stars Cannot Be Found’ explores the humbleness and comfort of the night sky when far away from home. Other highlights include the nostalgic ‘Return Me’, ‘The Woman Who Planted Trees’, the gloriously defiant ‘Machine’ and the effortless album closer ‘Sonogram’.
On its release, A Dark Murmuration of Words hit number 1 on the Official Americana Album chart in the UK and has garnered widespread acclaim.
“an album of spare, striking beauty” Mojo ★★★★ “…a kind of Australian equivalent of PJ Harvey’s Let England Shake” UNCUT 8/10 “bold, direct, uncompromising” CLASH “a high-class piece of songwriting and beautifully expressed musicianship” Americana UK 9/10 “irresistibly catchy…an album replete with nooks and crannies, light and shade” The Australian ★★★★★ “an album full of grace and danger” RnR ★★★★★ “One of the most literate and probing folk albums of the year. I really love it.” AnnPowers, NPR Music
String Bone is the artistic vehicle for the solo and collaborative songwriting of Canada's Barry James Payne. As a songwriter, Payne walks in the shoes of downtrodden vagabonds, wrestles with the aftermath of broken dreams and heals the wounds of collapsed love with cinematic, heartfelt songs that move from bleak darkness into hopeful illumination. The bone and string point to the unbreakable bone nut that creates the essential contact point between a guitar’s strings and wooden body; String Bone draws inspiration from life’s chaotic vibrations. Payne’s recent tidal wave of creativity has been sparked by collaborations with other songwriters and producers melding together a hybrid of imaginative musical ideas. In particular his latest project with award winning Las Vegas-based producer/ composer George Leger III and their B>A>G Music Productions partnership and music library, has landed them an exclusive multi-song deal with Vo Williams' fledgling sync agency Sound Dose Music Group out of LA. While Payne & Leger continue to create for sync, some of their best songs are still sitting in the hopper ready to be signed. Payne's String Bone has released 5 singles and 14 videos on digital platforms throughout 2020 and 2021; “Two Stars Collide” (with accompanying video), a collaboration with drum and bass producer Nathan McKay, “A Lot More Better” a co-write with Jay Reihl, “Waitin’ For My Dyin’ Day” (with video) with George Leger III, a cover of Ferron’s “Ain’t Life A Brook” (with video) and several other singles. These singles lead up to two full-length waterfall releases planned for early 2022 - “Coping Mechanisms”, a collection of original songs, and “Cover-Up Conspiracy Theory” an album dedicated to Payne’s early songwriting influences. In the last 12 months, String Bone has attained over 200,000 streams and views across all platforms globally essentially from zero when he became interested in the online world, reaching a 100,000 streams milestone on Spotify alone just a couple of months ago. That's pretty good for a folk artist in Canada with no team, no manager, no publicist, no label, no booking agent and no Spotify editorial playlists. String Bone is on over 1200 user playlists and growing with songs being saved over 5000 times. Payne has been writing music and performing live for four decades and has coproduced and released two full length String Bone albums, ‘nadir’ (2009), ‘Love & Highways’ (2016), an EP ‘Killing Town EP’ (2008), several singles in the last year and has performed internationally in the US, Europe and across Canada throughout his career. He has collaborated with high-profile Canadian artists such as Bob Egan (ex-Wilco, ex-Blue Rodeo), Aaron Allen, Bill Bourne, Mae Moore, Ginger St. James, Sarah Jane Scouten, Trent Severn and Shannon Lyon. Payne is a core member of Canadian Celtic-Roots band ‘Rant Maggie Rant’, who has performed with several orchestras and in many theatres across Canada. His songs have been featured on three of their recording projects. He also produced their last two albums.