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.

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Wyatt EasterlingWyatt 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.

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Amy KucharikAmy 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.

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Len SeligmanLen 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.

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Tracy NewmanTracy 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!

Website

Severin BrowneSeverin 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.

Website

Doug GillDoug 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.

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Ray CardwellRay 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.

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Aaron Nathans and Michael G RonstadtAaron 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.

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Burns and KristyBurns 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: 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: 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

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Bianca De LeonBianca 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

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Kerry Patrick ClarkKerry Patrick Clark — November 1, 2020

Step right up! Come one, come all! To the greatest spectacle on earth . . . Life.

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!

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Lynn LanghamLynn 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.

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Randy Lewis BrownRandy 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.

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Sandy CashSandy 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.

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Tribute to Ruth Bader GinsburgTribute 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 TimeGathering 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).

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Monica UhmMonica 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.

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George EnsleGeorge 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

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Barry OreckBarry 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.”

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Helene CroninHelene 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.

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Lowry OlafsonLowry 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!"

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Michael and NellMichael 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.

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Brant MillerBrant Miller — July 26, 2020

The release of “Roots, Rhymes, & Branches” is indeed a milestone for Brant Miller, as it brings to fruition a lifetime of musicality fused with his solid commitment to the environment and social causes. Thirteen masterfully crafted original songs span over 30 years of Brant’s songwriting and personal journeys, displaying his diverse roots music influences.  Recently retired from a three-decade career in Forestry and Wildlife Conservation, Brant’s love of nature and his work as a forester have had a strong influence on his life view, as evident from his songwriting. 

Brant grew up in the musically-fertile village of Croton-on-Hudson, New York, where he was steeped in the folk music traditions of fellow Hudson River Valley residents Pete Seeger and Don McClean, whom he met and even got to jam with while crewing on the sloop Clearwater. Folk music icon Lee Hays was a friend and neighbor. With these role models in activism and topical song crafting, Brant started writing his own folk songs in his teens.

Throughout Brant’s career, starting with his first Forestry job with the Peace Corps in Honduras, performing and songwriting were always an important part of his personal life.  During his three years working in Alaska, he became a fixture in the folk music scene and performed at three consecutive Alaska Folk Festivals. He moved to Nashville to pursue his musical dreams, pitching his songs on Music Row and getting several cuts before returning to his forestry work. 

Brant was first-prize winner at the prestigious Chris Austin Songwriting Contest at MerleFest for “The Roadkill Bill,” and has been a top-three finalist there eight times. He’s performed twice in the songwriter showcase at the International Bluegrass Music Association’s annual conference. His songs have been recorded by country, folk, and bluegrass artists in the U.S. and Europe, including a top-ten bluegrass hit, “Fast as I Can Crawl” and “Somewhere Under the Rainbow, which went Platinum in Denmark.

His first solo CD, “Music River- Original Whitewater Songs and River Ballads,” has become popular with paddlers around the world, and had songs featured on the soundtrack of the award-winning 2016 New Zealand film, “Rivering.”

In addition to performing solo, Brant is a member of the acoustic Americana trio, 2nd Nature, with whom he’s performed twice at the Ryman Auditorium, as well as MerleFest and many other venues. They released their second CD, “2nd Nature – Ridin’ Lonesome,” in 2018. Brant and his wife Patricia live with their three cats near Nashville, Tennessee on five acres with over 300 trees they planted.

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Crys MatthewsCrys Matthews — July 19, 2020



About Crys photo by Fred Hayes photo by Fred Hayes

Crys Matthews is nothing if not ambitious. In August 2017, she simultaneously released both a new full-length album, The Imagineers and an EP, Battle Hymn For An Army Of Lovers. These collections showcase two sides of Matthews’ dynamic songwriting; The Imagineers is a selection of thoughtful songs about love and life while Battle Hymn For An Army Of Lovers tackles social justice themes. Songs from both projects have already won her recognition and awards. She was one of ten finalists (from a pool of 5,000) in this year’s NewSong Music Competition and, after performing at Lincoln Center on November 30th, she was named grand-prize winner. Matthews also won the People Music Network’s Social Justice Songs contest at the 2017 Northeast Regional Folk Alliance.

A southeastern North Carolina native who now calls Herndon, Virginia home, Matthews blends Americana, folk, jazz, blues, bluegrass and funk into a bold, complex performance steeped in traditional melodies and punctuated by honest, original lyrics. Having been compared to everyone from Toshi Reagon to Tracy Chapman to Ruthie Foster, Matthews’ eclectic infusion of genres has won her honorable mentions at the 2017, 2013 and 2014 Mid-Atlantic Song Contest and extensive radio play from Woman of Substance radio to WTJU-Charlottesville and WMRA-Harrisonburg to KBOO-Portland.

Equally at home in an acoustic listening room as she is on stage at large music festivals, Matthews has quickly gathered a loyal following on the east coast playing such prestigious venues as the Sundance Film Festival, The Birchmere, The Hamilton, and Jammin’ Java. Matthews’ festival and showcase roster has included BMI’s Island Hopper Songwriter Festival, the 40th Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival, Folk Alliance International, 30A Songwriters Festival, Northeast Regional Folk Alliance and many more.

A prolific lyricist and composer, Matthews has found inspiration in her surroundings; from driving through the Blue Ridge Mountains to the compelling and heart-breaking love story of Richard and Mildred Loving. Thoughtful, realistic and emotional, Matthews’ songs speak to the voice of our generation and remind us why music indeed soothes the soul.

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Judy NazemetzJudy Nazemetz — July 12, 2020

JUDY NAZEMETZ is a “song humorist,” a singer-songwriter who brings the funny to everything she writes. Growing up in Central New Jersey, Judy started singing at a young age. In her backyard on her swings. In the kitchen, drying the supper dishes with her older sister. In elementary school, when she was the only third grader to not back out of the talent show. Her influences? A lot of polka. Every Sunday, the house was full of polka music. From the NJ Polish radio stations or the polka albums played on the record player. Polka was so ingrained that Judy had a polka band play at her wedding, and she danced every polka. Moving to NYC, Judy started doing sketch comedy, musical revues and cabaret shows, and her comedy senses blossomed when she started performing improv. She thrilled audiences when she instantly made up songs from audience suggestions of genres of music or titles. She moved to LA and sang and did comedy in musicals (“it was heaven when Marty Stuart accompanied me in his musical” ), on commercials, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno (100 appearances), at the Aspen Comedy Festival in a live episode of Fernwood 2 Night, with Fred Willard in his sketch shows, and for the legendary Mike Stoller when she sang his music as the lead in the Broadway workshops of the show "The People in the Picture." Judy wrote and starred in her one-woman show with a cast of 5, ALL THAT NAZ, and it was for this show that Judy actually starting writing down songs she came up with. Her music is a virtual smorgasbord that includes folk, rap, country, holiday, Beach Boys, reggae, Irish, Jimmy Buffet, smooth jazz, gospel, hard rock and more. But, Judy also does serious stuff. Her producer, Chad Watson, cried his eyes out when she recorded the vocal to her “A Song for Mary.” Yes, there are a couple serious tunes as well as fun songs on her second album; that’s why it’s called BALANCING ACT. Her first album, VARIETY PAK, is all comedy. “Songs in the key of fun.” The Andrews Sisters jazz style THE HAMSTER DIDN’T DIE TODAY won Best Blues Song of the Year in the UK on SevernFM’s Dr. Wart Hoover’s Blues Hour. Right now, Judy’s working on her next album, on which there might be a protest song, or two. And an electronic dance tune. And, a tango. And, possibly a song about Whole Foods. We’ll see.

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Gordon Thomas WardGordon Thomas Ward — July 6, 2020

Dubbed “the total package” by his fans, GRAMMY-balloted, singer-songwriter and recording artist Gordon Thomas Ward tours as a solo performer with songs charting in the Folk and Alternative Folk music charts, the Euro Indie Music Chart, DRT Global Adult Contemporary Airplay Chart, DRT Global Top 150 Country Airplay Chart, and more. His song stylings have been influenced by the singer-songwriters of the late 1960s through the 1970s, yet Gordon's songs occupy a space all their own filled with honesty, emotion, and personal politics from time to time. Gordon is, at heart, a storyteller who paints musical portraits that plumb the depths of our emotions and bring the past to life while pointing to a hope-filled future. His listeners travel mystical and historical roads, winding through lush, sonic landscapes. Employing his experience as a teacher, writer, paranormal investigator, storyteller, group facilitator, and radio host, it’s no wonder that his fans often comment on Gordon’s knack for establishing an endearing relationship with them through his extraordinary and captivating words and music, which fit into the contemporary folk rock, adult alternative, and Americana genres. At the end of his performances, audiences leave inspired. Jimmy Rae of Skope Magazine says, “When you think of the phenomenal story-tellers of yesteryear like Bob Dylan, Paul Simon, or James Taylor, Gordon Thomas Ward would be in that same vein for today. [He] is setting the gold standard for singer-songwriters for generations to come.” Lee Zimmerman of Goldmine Magazine says, “Few make as immediate and impassioned an impact as Gordon Thomas Ward manages to do... Evoking a heartfelt sound reminiscent of Dan Fogelberg in particular.” Utilizing a variety of instruments in his shows, including six-, eight-, and twelve-string guitars and an eight-string Walkabout dulcimer, results in a varied spectrum of tonal colors. His songs have led him to work with notable musicians such as Eric Troyer and Mik Kaminski (Electric Light Orchestra, ELO II, and The Orchestra), William J. Hall, Caroline Cotter, share the stage and billing with Natalie Merchant and Christine Lavin, and open for noted singer-songwriter Bill Staines. Gordon’s first album Welcome to the Past was released in 2013. His celebrated, Grammy-balloted record Providence was released on August 30, 2018. Gordon followed that up with the release of his new, much-anticipated, and critically acclaimed double album titled Eiderdown on May 1, 2020, which has charted nationally as the #3 alternative folk record, the #7 folk record, and as the #1 record in Maine where Gordon resides Gordon has written songs for documentary film, historical events and celebrations, and The United States World War One Centennial Commission. . As an artist interested in social issues, Gordon produced and performed in a Concert Across America to End Gun Violence in 2016 and 2018. He is no stranger to television and radio, and has performed at many festivals and venues, including Musikfest for three years running. He's also been "Artist of the Week" on radio, received enthusiastic reviews by prominent music critics, and highlighted in media articles.

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Vicky HarrisVicky Harris — June 28, 2020

Vicky Harris is a Connecticut-based singer-songwriter whose most recent awards include an honorable mention in 2017 for her song “Blue Skies” and in 2018 for the Judge's choice award at the Eventide Songwriting Contest for her song “All The Pieces Of Your Great Big Heart.” Her first studio release “Touch," is an album of personal ballads with Vicky’s sound likened to Joni, Beth Neilsen Chapman, and Laura Nyro by some luminaries of the folk community. “August in December” released in 2015 is a lighter-themed album with a country folk/feel with a hint of bluegrass. Both albums were produced by good friend, Michael Mugrage of (Orleans) - (Rory Block) fame. On her songwriting inspiration, Vicky says: “Most of my songs are written from my personal experience, with repeating themes of love, loss, family, friendship, heartache and life’s watershed moments.  There is a longing that runs throughout... an invisible thread. I am drawn to melancholy melodies and though I would consider myself a very happy glass is half-full type, it’s my deeper well that fuels my songwriting. I am most at home writing and singing ballads, but even in the darkest and saddest of my songs, I attempt to weave hope into my stories. touch Vicky’s voice is “at times intimate, then soaring through rich melodies and compelling, intricate lyrics,” (Irene Jackson, The Muse’s Muse reviewer) and “touches the heart,” (Angela Page, Radio WJFF, NY, writing in Sing Out!).” It's a privilege to be invited into her world,” (Joy McKay, Rambles.net). “One of the best I've ever heard,” Derek Sivers, former president, CDBaby. “Add my name to the list of those who think Vicky is an exceptional talent.”Pete Fornatale, Host of ‘Mixed Bag’, WFUV, New York, R.I.P. August In December FolkWords.com - Tom Franks Vicky Harris has released ‘August in December’ and it’s the warmest, most endearing composition I’ve heard in a long time. Were anyone looking for a thoroughly feel-good yet thought-provoking musical experience, this is it. This collection of melody rich, softly sung, meaningful songs arrives with soft expression, stays with enduring grace and remains within your heart as Vicky’s voice ensures each one is soaked with feeling, reaching out and perfectly poised.

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Joe PetersJoe Peters — June 21, 2020

The songs of Joe Peters are written with gentle honesty and delivered with a voice that is like an old leather belt - durable, comfortable, and familiar. This CD just feels like home. --Amazon.com customer review for Red, Black & Blue

Joe Peters is an American singer-songwriter who has released fifteen CDs of original folk-rock music since 1998. Joe grew up in the Midwest during the late 60s and early 70s, and his songs hearken back to a time when young people sought the experience of peace, love and adventure and expressed this search in the music they made and listened to. Through his own music, Joe hopes to rekindle in others that spark of the truth seeker that was awakened in him long ago by the songs of other introspective songwriters. Joe wrote his first song at the age of 42 in the pages of an Indonesian phrase book. This first song seemed to open the flood gates of creativity and originality, as Joe went on to write the bulk of his first two albums in the weeks and months that followed, capturing them on 4-track cassette recorder in the nighttime hours when things grew quiet.

The following year, he happened to catch one song in a short set by Indiana guitarist extraordinaire, Michael Kelsey, and Joe was convinced this was who he would like to record with in the future. After following Kelsey’s shows for several months, Joe approached Michael with the 4-track cassette, Kelsey liked what he heard, and now 22 years and 12 albums later, the two are still making music under the name The Joedai Warriors. After the first two albums, which were almost exclusively just Joe and Michael, Joe reached out to an ever-evolving and expanding group of collaborators including vocalists, keyboardists, and string players. The many textures of these additional voices and instruments help to define Joe’s sound as much as the distinctive instrumentation, arrangement and production of Kelsey himself.

In 2006 while living in Indiana, Joe began performing his songs at venues around the Midwest with the continuing collaboration of Kelsey and a host of fellow performers. After ten years and hundreds of shows, Joe and Dai moved to California to care for her mother, the last of their parents. Joe continues to expand his musical connections in the Golden State, and still plays occasional shows and records new material with Kelsey and others.

A..."magnificent opus. For indeed, it is more than just a gathering together of wonderful songs. It is, in fact, a carefully woven tapestry, its soulful threads blending to yield an overall marvelous depiction of humanity's imperfections and failures." --Praise for the CD Prophetstown by The Joedai Warriors (poet Frederick Michaels, author of Potholes in the Universe)

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Valerie SmithValerie Smith — June 15, 2020

Valerie Smith is an award-winning Grassicana artist whose style is a mixture of bluegrass, country, and Americana music. NPR radio host Dave Higgs has noted, "She can be sassy, sultry, siren-like, sweet, smooth, soothing and smoldering-sometimes during the span of just one song!" Valerie Smith has developed a unique style and sound that has rocked the bluegrass world for almost two decades with a string of national and international tours, critically acclaimed recordings, and Grammy, IBMA, and Dove Award nominations. Val's vocals are impressive. She has a staggeringly expansive range and the ability to portray an amazing array of emotions.Valerie Smith and her East Coast-based band, Liberty Pike featuring legendary Hall of  Famer, Tom Gray on bass, are consistent audience pleasers and skilled musicians. When Valerie walks onstage with her fabulous band, expect to be inspired, amused, and thoroughly entertained.  Valerie’s hit single, “Red Clay Halo,” written by Gillian Welch and David Rawlings, climbed the Bluegrass Unlimited, Country Music and Americana reporting charts, receiving heavy radio airplay for five years. BU included the song in their list of the top 60 songs of the decade.  The International Bluegrass Music Museum in Owensboro, Kentucky, commissioned Valerie Smith & Liberty Pike to create a special “Bluegrass in the Schools” program to share bluegrass music and its history with thousands of students in western Kentucky for 15 years. She later developed the “American Roots Music” program, which she continues to present in the United States and overseas.  Smith was invited by producer Bil VornDick and the legendary Ralph Stanley to be a part of the Grammy-nominated album, Clinch Mountain Sweethearts. Val and Stanley sang “I’ll Remember You, Love in My Prayers.”  Country Music Hall of  Famer,  Tom T. Hall made a special appearance on Valerie’s second album No Summer Storm. Tom T guested on “Sit Down and Cry,” a song written by Miss Dixie and Tom T Hall. The Halls also invited Valerie to participate in all three albums by the “Daughters of Bluegrass,” featuring an all-female cast of singers and musicians, on Blue Circle Records.  Smith recorded a CD of duets with Becky Buller called Here’s a Little Song, which received critical acclaim. After 10 years in Liberty Pike, Buller formed her own touring band and has become a respected singer, songwriter, and bandleader in her own right. And Val couldn’t be prouder of her! Andy Leftwich, the fiddler with Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder, also worked for five years in Liberty Pike. The list of incredibly talented musicians and singers who have stood in the Liberty Pike circle onstage with Valerie Smith is too numerous to list here.  Smith released her first gospel album, Wash Away Your Troubles, and her arrangement of “Wade in the Water” was included in the independent movie, Bell Witch: The Movie. Valerie,  Kraig, and  Buller also co-wrote the song, “Ole John Bell,” which appeared in the soundtrack for the film.  Valerie and her band have appeared on several television shows, including Ronnie Reno’s television numerous times, including performances on Reno’s Old Time Country Music on RFD, Bluegrass Underground, and Song of the Mountains, both on PBS.  Valerie recently released a project, "Small Town Heroes" with her band that is located in the Virginia, Maryland, and DC area. Tom Mindte at Patuxent Studios and Valerie co-produced and engineered the project.  In addition to national and international tour dates, Smith continues to write, produce and record music released by Bell Buckle Records.

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The MammalsThe Mammals — June 7, 2020

The Mammals can hear the Earth calling, and they’re asking us to listen. Why is the societal pain and political-environmental challenge in this album actually so listenable? Our ears can hear it because it’s been composed with great care by two of folk-Americana’s most heartfelt topical songwriters and lovingly performed by an ensemble of nine musicians.

The Mammals are a warm-blooded party band with a conscience, equally inspired by their folk predecessors and Americana peers. One wintry week in New York’s Hudson Valley, they descended upon the studio with an abundance of emotionally potent songs and an expansive nine-piece ensemble to create an album worthy of their nearly 20 year history.

” ’Nonet' marshals the defiant spirit needed to heal a damaged world".” - No Depression

[Nonet] is big and free and uplifting me at the perfect time! A great fuckin’ record.” - Ani DiFranco

”Song that drip with raw humanity” - Folk Alley

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Andy BakerAndy Baker — May 31, 2020

Michigan singer/songwriter Andy Baker has spent a lifetime peering through microscopes. As a veterinarian, it’s a necessary skill…searching for small clues in order to grasp the bigger picture. Pretty handy tool for a songwriter too. In fact, Andy has spent a great deal of his life with his own lens turned inward…and outward…resulting in a pondering writing style that moves with a purposeful stride, a playful heart, and a hopeful eye to the horizon. Three decades of crafting songs have resulted in four studio albums, with nods to his many influences including Counting Crows, James Taylor, Ryan Adams, and the Indigo Girls. His 2010 release “Down” garnered multiple awards from the Great Lakes Songwriting Competition, and songs from his 2017 album “One Fine Day” landed him a coveted finalist spot at the Kerrville Newfolk Songwriting Competition. For his 2020 album “North Country Sky”, Andy teamed up with award winning producer Ian Gorman and an all star cast of Michigan bandmates to create a sonic landscape as rich and varied as the northern seasons. But his colorful characters and dirt road story lines remain front and center. His voice, which has drawn comparisons to the likes of Jackson Browne, moves easily from the soft sci-fi ballad of “Love & Gravity” to the alt country anthem “Next Right Thing”, to the raucous gritty “Fixer Upper Blues”. Andy’s love for his day job and family life keep him deeply rooted in his tiny rural town of Gobles, Mi…but when he gets to hit the road he does so with a glint in his eye and a trunk full of instruments. A long time multi-instrumentalist, Andy’s live shows feature a mesmerizing rotation of songs played on guitar, bouzouki, dobro, and even bass. Jim Bizer of MAMA’S Coffee House says “Andy’s an engaging performer…well crafted tunes, slices of life from touching story songs to hilarious sends, performed on a variety of stringed instruments. A real pleasure!” In his spare time, Andy enjoys listening to Detroit Tiger baseball games on AM radio, training for his yearly Ironman Triathlon…and writing in third person :-)

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Rupert WatesRupert Wates — May 25, 2020

Rupert Wates was born in London, UK. He fell in love with music in his teens and has remained so ever since. He first picked up a guitar at the age of sixteen and to this day, a guitar is never far from his hands. He studied English literature at Oxford University, and on graduating he was asked to write the music for a musical play to be performed at the Edinburgh Festival. Other commissions soon followed, his path was set and he embarked on a full time career in music. In 1994 he signed an exclusive publishing contract worth $15,000 with Eaton Music Limited. The contract required him to write and record a song every week for several years. This proved to be an invaluable training in the craft of songwriting. He wrote material in all kinds of styles, for some of the outstanding artists in the British pop, rock and jazz scenes. But London proved limiting and in 2001, Wates moved to Paris. This was the first of two major changes which have enabled him to reconstruct his life from scratch. In Paris Wates formed his own group, an acoustic trio, and for the first time began performing as an artist in his own right. In time Paris, like London, proved too small. In late 2006, in search of both greater opportunities and an English-speaking audience, Wates moved to the US. This was the second of his two significant life changes. He became a naturalized US Citizen in May 2017, and is now based in New York City and Colorado. Since coming to the US, Wates has won well over 40 songwriting and performing awards (list on AWARDS page at the weblink below). He was a finalist at Kerrville in 2018, and an Emerging Artist at Falconridge Folk Festival the same year. Over 30 of his songs have been covered by other artists, and two full length tribute albums to his material have been recorded: ‘Crazy Puzzle’, by Nashville based performer Roxie Rogers, in 2015; and ‘Wide Open Heart’ by Los Angeles vocalist Susan Kohler in 2018. Wates has released 9 full length Cds of his own: ‘Coast To Coast’(2007); ‘Dear Life’(2008); ‘Joe’s Café’(2010); ‘At The Losers’ Motel’(2012); ‘The Rank Outsiders Ball’ (2014); ‘The Nightwatchers’(2015); ‘Colorado Mornings’(2016); ‘The Lights Of Paris’(2017); and ‘Full Circle’ (2019). Plans are afoot to record a 10th CD, ‘Lamentations’, in summer 2020. Rupert Wates’ material is acoustic, melodic art/folk. It gives equal prominence to his virtuoso guitar playing and to his distinctive vocals, at once soft and intense. He plays over 120 live shows a year, usually solo, in every state in the US, in Canada and in Europe. He prefers smaller rooms where the audience is up close and real emotion can’t be faked. For these reasons, his favorite performing arena is perhaps the house concert, because of the opportunity it presents to engage fully with the audience. The international house concert network Concerts In Your Home (www.concertsinyourhome.org) voted Rupert Wates their ‘Artist Of The Year’ in both 2013 and 2016. In small theaters, at major festivals, and in private living rooms, audiences everywhere respond to the music of Rupert Wates: haunting songs that ring true

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John Prine TributeJohn Prine Tribute — May 17, 2020

On April 7, 2020 we lost John Prine to complications from COVID-19. He was loved and admired by fans and friends around the world. For 50 years, John Prine gave the world so many incredible songs. He sang with so many incredible artists, including Bonnie Raitt, Kathy Mattea, Tom Paxton, Nancy Griffith, Josh Ritter, and the list goes on and on. His songs resonated in the hearts and minds of so many people around the world. Who didn't sing a John Prine song? Not only was John Prine an incredible songwriter, but he was an incredible human being. I remember meeting John in the early 70s after a concert that he gave in Albuquerque, NM, where I attended college.I got to say hello and shake his hand. He was such a decent person... and that impression stuck with me through the years, and still does. He will be missed by so many, but his music, and his humanity, will live on!!!!! Especially at this time, when so many people are faced with the ravages of COVID-19. So, in a way, by remembering, and paying tribute, to John Prine, we are also remembering and paying tribute to all those afflicted with this disease and to the real heroes - the doctors, nurses, emts, and all the amazing first responders. And thanks to the several other artists who contributed to this special show. Long live JOHN PRINE!!!!

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Arielle SilverArielle Silver — May 10, 2020

Arielle Silver crafts songs that are luminous, literate, and alive. A Thousand Tiny Torches, the singer-songwriter’s new Indie Folk Americana collection, is a testament to her renewal of inspiration, the rekindling of dreams, and the redemptive power and connective compassion that defines her artistry. Arielle’s newest single, Headlights, debuted in April on the music blog For Folk’s Sake, who called the song vibrant, uplifting, and optimistic, and “made for a time such as this.” Her rich, expressive alto voice frames expansive melodies that echo the American heartland. Now based in Los Angeles, Arielle knows this geography well. A performing itinerary transported her from Club Passim in her adopted hometown of Boston to venues including Eddie’s Attic in Atlanta and Nashville’s 12th & Porter, plus stops to the Southwest, as she steered a vegetable oil-fueled vehicle across Texas to Abilene, Odessa and Austin. Ten years ago, with three well-received releases accompanied by national tours, she lost sight of her future as an artist. “Though my heart still ached to write songs and sing, I found that I couldn't do it anymore,” she recalls. Arielle moved to the City of the Angels. She divorced and remarried, taught yoga philosophy, and worked behind the scenes in the music industry. She penned and published essays and poems, and was nominated for the Pushcart Prize and Best New Poets. She baked innumerable pies. After being rejected for a PhD program, she constructed a blue “she shed” in her backyard. And it was in this rustic space – surrounded by 47 volumes of her journals – that she rekindled her love for music and dedicated herself to writing one song per week. The result is A Thousand Tiny Torches. Produced by Shane Alexander, the project is propelled by the masterful playing of a sterling cast of players with credits from Lady Gaga to KT Tunstall to Lukas Nelson: Denny Weston Jr., drums; Carl Byron, keyboards; Darby Orr, bass; Jesse Siebenberg, steel guitar; and Mike Mullins on mandolin. Michael Gehring tracked the project at Secret World Studios in Los Angeles in the famous Sound City Studios complex, and GRAMMY-winners Brian Yaskulka and Hans DeKline mixed and mastered, respectively. A loyal group of supporters funded the recording through a Kickstarter campaign. A consummate storyteller, Arielle’s narratives crosscut exacting details with universal themes. On the lead single “What Really Matters,” she recalls a harrowing season in Southern California as gunshots ricocheted through a country bar and the surrounding hills ignited with apocalyptic wildfires. In contrast are incandescent songs with characters and conversations etched in fine lines and deep empathy. Vivid imagery glows with headlights, porch lights, lighthouses, bolts of lightning, fireflies, and stars that have been shining for ten billion years. After launching her return with a holiday single, Arielle is now back onstage at house concerts and listening rooms, including the fabled Hotel Café in Hollywood. Plans are underway for West Coast tours and upcoming dates in Boston. This time, she says, she is doing it for the right reasons. “When I was younger I was performing,” she confirms. “Now, I’m connecting.” Arielle Silver says that when she made her break with music, her ambition for everything stopped. “I couldn’t see the future. It was beautiful. I became so present in a way I never had been before, and the sense of being present lasted for a long time.” Now, in themes that speak to losing and rediscovering the path, emerges a musical alchemy of renewal and rebirth: A loving light that is reflected from A Thousand Tiny Torches.

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Pete SeegerPete Seeger — May 3, 2020

The Hootenanny Cafe presents the annual Special Pete Seeger Birthday celebration and remembrance day. “Participation! It’s what all my work has been about.” – Pete Seeger

For nearly 70 years as a performer, Pete Seeger has embodied the ideals of folk music – communication, entertainment, social comment, historical continuity, inclusiveness. The songs he has written, and those he has discovered and shared, have helped preserve our cultural heritage, imprinting adults and children with the sounds, traditions and values of our global past and present. A fearless warrior for social justice and the environment, Pete’s political activism – from the Civil Rights movement and anti-McCarthyism to resistance to fascism and the wars in Vietnam and the Middle East – has become the template for subsequent generations of musicians and ordinary citizens with something to say about the world. It's gonna be a great show with Pete and many of his friends. A MUST!!!

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