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Featured Artists of the Hootenanny Cafe

These are just some of the many fine artists featured on the hootenanny cafe that airs every Sunday at 9:00PM (Eastern). The show can be heard locally on 93.5FM or world wide at www.wtbq.com

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Gordon Thomas Ward Gordon 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 Harris Vicky 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 Peters Joe 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 Smith Valerie 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 Mammals The 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 Baker Andy 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 Wates Rupert 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 Tribute John 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 Silver Arielle 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 Seeger Pete 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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Jeannine Higgins Jeannine Higgins — April 26, 2020

Jeannine Higgins is a Houston-based singer/songwriter. Originally from Bucks County, Pennsylvania, Jeannine grew up in a house filled with music. She cannot remember an age at which she wasn’t singing. In fact, she and her six siblings loved singing so much that the rule in her house was: “No singing at the dinner table.” Her father and theater actress mother valued and encouraged music education. She studied piano and cello as a child, and voice in college. She began playing guitar, performing and writing again after raising her three sons. Jeannine's vocals are beautiful and crystal clear. She writes and sings in a boldly personal and honest style. Her song ”She’s Nobody (Emily’s song)”,a song about the poet, Emily Dickinson, was a finalist in the 2019 Great American song contest. Her self-titled debut album was released in 2018.

David Garrick of Houston Press has said about Jeannine: "Jeannine Higgins makes music that sticks to your soul. The Houston based singer songwriter's debut release, is like a mix of Aimee Mann and Beth Orton." - David Garrick, Houston Press (Jul 25, 2018)

“Jeannine's music is very direct and honest. People will instantly like her like I did. I am happy to spread the word about this brand new folk singer.” -Christine Lavin, Renowned Folk Musician

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Dan Navarro Dan Navarro — April 19, 2020

Dan Navarro’s long and eclectic resume includes “songwriter,” “recording artist,” “singer”, “voice actor”, “road warrior” and “arts advocate” in its range of credits. His former acoustic duo, Lowen & Navarro, released twelve albums, enjoyed widespread Triple A radio airplay and performed 1500 gigs before Eric Lowen’s retirement in 2008 and passing from ALS in 2012. Dan set out solo in 2007, and tours constantly. His new album “Shed My Skin” released last year in the US and in early 2019 in Europe to glowing reviews, produced by Steve Postell with guest bows from Janiva Magness, Wendy Waldman, Danny Kortchmar, Leland Sklar, Freebo, Bob Malone, Brother Sun and Grace Pettis. As a songwriter, Dan wrote or co-wrote heartfelt songs for Pat Benatar (the Grammy nominated “We Belong”), The Bangles, Japanese girl group Wink (the #1 hit “One Night in Heaven”), Dutch superstar Marco Borsato (the Top Ten “Je Hoeft Niet Naar Huis Vannacht”), Dave Edmunds, The Temptations, Dionne Warwick, and Austin outlaw country legend Rusty Weir. His songs have appeared in the films Deadpool 2, Pitch Perfect 2 and Talladega Nights, TV series This Is Us, Stumptown, Mixed-ish, American Idol, The Voice, American Dad and The Office and national commercials for Pepsi, Sheraton, Chase Bank and the United Way. As a singer and voice actor, he’s sung in the Academy Award winning movies Coco and Happy Feet, plus The Addams Family, Dora and the City of Lost Gold, The Lorax, Ice Age 2 & 3, Prison Break and American Dad; voiced characters in Pirates of the Caribbean 5, The Book Of Life, The Playmobil Movie and We Bare Bears; sung on albums by Luis Miguel, Andrea Bocelli and Neil Young; voiced video games Red Dead Redemption II, Fallout 4 and Uncharted 4, and performed vocals and voice-overs in literally hundreds of commercials for Toyota, Coca-Cola, McDonald’s, Honda and many more. In his “spare” time, Dan serves on the Board of SAG-AFTRA, the actor-performer-broadcaster’s union, as the National Recording Artist / Singer Vice President; is a Trustee on the AFM/SAG-AFTRA Intellectual Property Rights Fund; serves on the Mechanical Licensing Collective and is a past president of Folk Alliance International. He has been a vocal activist in Washington DC for intellectual property rights for over 20 years, having testified before the US Senate Judiciary Committee and the Copyright Royalty Board. Dan’s music probes life at its most resonant. In his rich baritone, he sings songs of heart and insight, steeped in experience, soulful tales from a long road well-traveled. Perpetually in motion somewhere, he’s the proud father of a 23-year old filmmaker son, thinks sleep is for babies and is a known abuser of acoustic guitars.

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John Lowell John Lowell — March 29, 2020

“When someone’s music is like an old friend and you’ve just met, that’s John Lowell’s gift,” said Bill Payne, legendary keyboardist and founder of Little Feat. “John Lowell is a man at ease with himself. The musical terrain he occupies, whether his songs or others, is steeped in the tradition of storytelling. The combination of honesty and authenticity bolster the ease of the relationship between himself, his music, and his audience. John’s abilities as a singer, songwriter, guitarist, and human being are inseparable. If you ever have the chance to meet him in person you’ll find his handshake is heartfelt, his smile genuine, and his quiet demeanor humble. He has a knowledge and respect for music that is as serious as a Montana winter but delivered with the grace and confidence of someone who has led the life of sharing what he loves. I respect him and am honored to call him a friend.”

John Lowell’s musical journey began when he crept into his older sister’s room when he was 12 years old to play her guitar.  Since that time, he’s gone on to become a triple threat – he’s a clean, dynamic guitar player, a clear voiced singer and a respected songwriter.  He’s lived for many years in Southwest Montana, carving out a music career while living in the mountains of the Yellowstone ecosystem.

John’s first endeavor on the guitar was learning John Denver songs, but upon meeting a classmate that played the banjo while in high school, he was bit by the bluegrass bug.  While he still enjoys playing bluegrass, his tastes have expanded to most types of acoustic music. John is in great demand as a teacher in the US, Canada, Europe and the UK, and travels abroad to all those countries often to teach at music camps and to tour.  In 2019, he retains his title at Sorefingers Music Camp in Cotswald, UK as the guitar teacher who has taught more than any other.

John Lowell’s songs have been recorded by several groups, most notably his song about love gone wrong in the Old West – Sarah Hogan.  He’s played on Garrison Keillor’s radio show A Prairie Home Companion with his duo The Growling Old Men. He’s played the Grand Targhee Bluegrass Festival stage for several years with his band Kane’s River, the Telluride stage with Loose Ties, and at the Vancouver Folk Festival with the John Lowell Band along with hundreds of other performances in the last 30 years in locations from Shetland to San Bernardino.

John Lowell remained tethered in the Bozeman area for several decades while his children were young and took a few jobs that allowed him to stay connected with his love of guitars and playing – he became the purchasing agent at Gibson Guitars. This allowed him to travel the world and meet many of the luthiers who are still producing gorgeous instruments today including Dan Roberts, Bruce Weber, Kevin Kopp and John Walker. John’s instrumental skill landed him on the cover of Flatpicking Guitar Magazine and Bluegrass Unlimited magazine. He won the coveted Best Musician in Bozeman award from Music Villa, one of the leading showrooms for acoustic music in the Mountain West.

After a solo cd released in 2012, and multiple releases with the Growling Old Men, Kane’s River, and his own European touring band – the John Lowell Band, it was time to produce a record with friends he’d met along the way.

2018 was spent recording in Lowell’s home studio and contacting a who’s who in music, and the project is finally coming together. “This Long Stretch Of Gravel – John Lowell & friends” features 11 original songs with collaborators including 7 time IBMA winner Missy Raines,

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Kyle Hancharick Kyle Hancharick — March 22, 2020

It’s always been about the music for Kyle Hancharick, a singer/songwriter from Warwick, New York. His passionate performances are punctuated by a crisp acoustic guitar and soaring tenor vocals. This is best shown in his latest EP “Breathe,” a four-song project consisting only of acoustic guitar, bass and vocals. And that’s all that’s needed for this artist whose roots are planted in contemporary folk music. His journey as a musician began at the age of 2 when he asked for a “real guitar.” He could play guitar, piano, harmonica and drums by the time he was 6. Kyle’s earliest influences were John Denver and Bob Dylan. When he was 8, Kyle played out for the first time. It was at a Bob Dylan Festival at a local winery. With his 3/4-size guitar slung around his small torso and a harmonica holder around his neck, he took to the stage with about 100 people gathered. No one expected what they would hear. This sweet, shy little boy blew them away with his version of “Blowin’ in the Wind.” He gave the most memorable performance of the day. As he grew up, Kyle’s influences diversified. He discovered Richard Shindell, David Wilcox and Ellis Paul, master storytellers who would have tremendous impacts on his work. He identified with the working class anthems of Bruce Springsteen. He reveres their musicianship, their poetry, and their stories. Throughout all of this, Kyle has grown musically and personally. Kyle has lived his life with Asperger’s Syndrome, a high-functioning form of autism marked by difficulties in social interactions, some motor skill deficiencies, and a pointed interest in a particular subject. In Kyle’s case, that interest is music. Recently, Kyle has begun to make a name for himself in the folk music circle. He has performed on the Emerging Artists Showcase at the 2018 Falcon Ridge Folk Festival, and has opened shows for Ellis Paul at the historic Café Lena and Six on the Square, Lucy Kaplansky, and Red Molly. Ellis Paul covered Kyle’s song, “How You Say Goodbye,” on his 2019 album The Storyteller’s Suitcase. Kyle takes in the world, processes it and turns it into song with his own special touch. He has a unique take on things, a view of the world others may not necessarily notice. He continues to grow as an artist, sharing his story and messages of love and peace. ​Above all, though, it’s still about the music.

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Josie Bello Josie Bello — March 8, 2020

Josie Bello writes songs that tell stories that are relatable—combining memorable lyrics with catchy tunes for an enjoyable listening experience.     Josie Bello’s first CD Can’t Go Home (2019) is a collection of 10 original songs that cover themes such as Infidelity (Dignity), Infatuation (Crush), Relationships (Good People, Bad Love), Drug Addiction (Mother’s Love) and Political Partisanship (Two Trains).  The title track (Can’t Go Home) explores the emotional concerns associated with aging and loss. The album was produced and mixed by Mike Nugent and Kevin Kelly at The Workshoppe East in Huntington, NY. The album Can't Go Home has maintained a continuous presence on the Roots Music Report (RMR) Weekly Top 50 charts since June 15, 2019.  The results for the "Best of 2019" RMR charts for this album are impressive -- #29 NYS Album Chart, #36 Roots Rock Album Chart and #68 Rock Chart.    Can't Go Home ranked at #6 on TME.fm radio's top 20 Albums of 2019.   The title track from the CD appeared at #1 on Radio Guitar One's Folk Cut Chart on August 8, 2019. And the track Hang Tough placed at #1 on the same chart on January 16, 2020. The album broke into the Top 200 of Americana Music Association Album Chart on August 6, 2019.

Tracks from the album have been added to an impressive number of American and International radio playlists, and Josie has been featured on a variety of American and International internet radio shows and podcasts.   The Official Video of the title track Can't Go Home premiered on the website Americana Highways on November 5, 2019, and can be found at AmericanaHighways.org and on YouTube at https://youtu.be/6RLqI1r5TFE     Josie has been singing and making up songs virtually non-stop since she was a little girl—around the house and everywhere she went. She remembers her mother saying to her, “Please, try to pipe down, just for a little while”.  When asked about her songwriting technique, Josie will tell you that she usually starts with a hook that inspires her—and that “hooks are everywhere if you just listen to what’s going on around you”.     Josie is active on the Long Island music scene, playing local gigs and Singer-Songwriter events either solo, or as “Duo Bello” with her husband Frank Bello, who plays guitar and bass. Josie’s band, known as “The Kit House Band” includes Frank on bass along with Vicky Liotta on drums and Mike Nugent and Shawn Cullinane on guitars and vocals. In addition to providing lead vocals, Josie plays keys, accordion and guitar.

Josie and Frank Bello have hosted the Acoustic Stage at the annual Long Island Fall Festival since 2015.  Since 2016, Josie has run three local open mics each month. Two are at Urban Coffee in Greenlawn, and the other is a monthly Singer-Songwriter event at the Harborfields Public Library in Greenlawn.

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Carol Crittenden Carol Crittenden — March 1, 2020

NJ/NY Metro-area based singer songwriter, Carol Crittenden, has been known to “light up the stage” when she performs. As the daughter of esteemed opera director/teacher, Richard Crittenden, Carol’s love of music began at an early age. She could be heard belting out "Annie" songs and putting on variety shows for family & neighbors in her backyard in suburban Northern New Jersey; these are some of her earliest childhood memories.



Her original songs are infused with sweet soaring vocals and thoughtful, melodic tunes. In addition to weaving her personal experience and perspective into her work, many of her newer songs are resistance and social-justice-minded. These songs, including her newest single, "RISE", have been featured at fundraisers, festivals, marches and local events. She recently had the honor of performing at the 2019 NERFA Folk DJ Showcase. She is currently recording songs for her second album. Her debut album, En Route, is available on Spotify, AppleMusic, Youtube, CDBaby.



Carol is also lead singer of Four Celtic Voices with a #1 CD on the Billboard World Music Chart, Top Ten on multiple Heatseeker charts, Top 40 on the Indie chart. As a professional Actress and Musical Theatre performer as well, she has worked with the New Vic Theatre of London, performed in regional US tours, and various productions in New York City and Los Angeles. Carol has appeared live on QVC, as a soloist on CBS television and her voice can be heard on national and regional commercials. She enjoys connecting with the audience through live performance.

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Ava Della Pietra Ava Della Pietra — February 16, 2020

14-year-old singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and Broadway alumna Ava Della Pietra burst into the spotlight with the release of “Christmas Tonight,” a beautiful and uplifting new song about the magic of the holiday season. Written by Ava with the help of producing partner Will Hicks (Ed Sheeran, Jamie Lawson), “Christmas Tonight” was named one of Tiger Beat Magazine’s Top Holiday Songs of 2019, alongside artists like The Jonas Brothers, Alessia Cara and Liam Payne. A beautiful and uplifting new song about the magic of the holiday season, “Christmas Tonight” is a heartfelt tribute that goes beyond presents and Santa on Christmas – a fresh snow, shimmering lights, and family and friends coming together to share in the special day. “Gather around everybody, it’s getting close to midnight,“ Ava sings, “It’s cold outside but it’s warm in my heart.” The song was recorded at Manhattan Beach Recording in New York City, and according to Hicks, "has all the ingredients of a new Christmas classic."  “Christmas Tonight” is one of forty songs that Ava has written, and the first of ten already produced, to be released in the coming months. A multi-instrumentalist who plays piano, bass, guitar, violin, and ukulele, Ava began performing at age four and writing songs at age five. She performed on the national tours of Les Misérables and White Christmas before joining the original cast of School of Rock, and has been featured on Good Morning America, Sesame Street, the Tony Awards, Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, and more.  Ava is gearing up for the release of her debut EP, featuring material she collaborated on with producers Will Hicks, Adrian Gurvitz (Jesse McCartney, Cheetah Girls), Brian Malouf (Michael Jackson, Sabrina Carpenter), and Justin Gray (Avril Lavigne, Mariah Carey). The EP will feature songs like “Optimist,” about brushing off the negativity that so often brings us down, and "Home," inspired by the devastating stories of families torn apart on the southern border. Ava has been touring in support of the EP, and recently performed at My Father’s Place in Roslyn, New York, and in front of a sold out crowd at NYC’s Rockwood Music Hall.   Did we mention that Ava is 14 years old?    Though she is preternaturally accomplished, Ava is also a down-to-earth girl-next door — charming, relatable, and inspirational. She is passionate about music and performing — and has practiced four instruments with a passion— but she is also interested in medicine and could see being a doctor someday. But for now the Long Island, NY, native is focused on music, showing a determined streak that colors everything she does, whether it’s learning to play bass guitar four days before her audition for School of Rock or proving wrong a major music agent, who told her mom that a Broadway career would never happen for six-year-old Ava.  Ava’s earliest memories are of her mom singing to her, “but my dad never wanted to sing to me when I was little because he didn't want to ‘ruin my ear,’” Ava says with a laugh. “There are videos of me coming up with my first songs. They were about how excited I am to have an ice cream cone or what a beautiful day it was outside.” Nowadays, many of Ava’s songs start as poems, including “Rising Star” — a feel-good tune about “showing others that it’s possible to do what you love” — and “Reflection,” which she wrote with Jeff Franzel and Andy Marvel about growing up and trying to find yourself. “It’s saying that even if you don’t know right now, everything’s going to be okay,” she explains.  

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Sawyer Fredericks Sawyer Fredericks — February 2, 2020

Americana singer-songwriter, Sawyer Fredericks, hailing from his family farm in central New York State, cut his teeth at the age of 13, playing local farmers markets, open mics, and iconic New York venues like Caffe Lena, the Towne Crier Cafe, and The Bitter End. With his deep, beyond-his-years original lyrics and melodies, raw, soulful vocals, and powerful live performances, Sawyer seemed an unlikely match for reality tv, but having been scouted by casting directors at 15, he quickly won over broad audiences with his genuine delivery and unique arrangements of classic songs, going on to win season 8 of NBC's The Voice.



Fresh from that whirlwind, Fredericks went forward with the release of his major label debut, A Good Storm, with Republic Records, an impressive blend of soulful Folk, blues, and rock, entirely written or co-written by Sawyer. Choosing to go independent, for more creative freedom, his 2018 Hide Your Ghost, fully written and produced by Fredericks, sheds the high gloss major label treatment, and stays true to Fredericks’s honest and elegantly stripped down style, a self-described “free range folk”, incorporating elements of blues, roots rock, and jazz with live instrumental arrangements throughout. In writing about his top ten Americana albums of 2018 in No Depression and AXS Magazine, Chris Griffy recommends Hide Your Ghost as “a bluesy folk rocker with a no-frills production that relies on Fredericks' raw voice to carry the emotional weight.”



Throughout his career, Sawyer has played many festivals and prestigious venues like the Falcon Ridge Folk Festival with 2019 touring highlights including official showcases at SXSW, AmericanaFest, Folk Alliance International, and BMI's Island Hopper Songwriter Fest. In November, Fredericks released the title track for his upcoming full length album, Flowers For You. The song, which strongly represents the direction of the anticipated album, harkens back to the signature blues infused roots rock that first drew the nation's attention, alternating heavily featured musicianship with biting self-deprecating lyrics sung with all the fierceness, rage, and frustration of a young man calling out his own shallowness and hypocrisy. The album, slated for a spring of 2020 release, is recorded fully to analog tape at Dreamland Recording Studios in Woodstock, NY.

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Michael Jerling Michael Jerling — January 26, 2020

Saratoga Springs, NY is home to Michael Jerling, a nationally touring singer-songwriter with four decades of poignant, poetic, wry songs. As a keen observer of American life, Michael has a special genius for touching, timeless ballads that continue to sound fresh down through the decades. His songs are eye-opening without being shocking, funny without being silly, and instructive without preaching. His immediately recognizable, rich, melodic folk-rock sound comes from his 6 and 12 string guitars, harmonica and mandolin.

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Annie Sumi Annie Sumi — January 19, 2020

Dancing on a line between imagination and reality, ethereal-folk artist, Annie Sumi, invites you into a familiar world. Like an inbound wind, her voice begins with a whisper -- gathering strength and purpose -- it transforms into an airy howl. The songs take you to a place of quiet wonder, unspoken love, and serene landscapes. With support from the Ontario Arts Council, Sumi has shared these compositions with audiences across North America, the UK, and Central Europe. Since the release of her debut album, in 2015, she has received nominations for "New/Emerging Artist of the Year" (Canadian Folk Music Awards, 2018), "Best Singer-Songwriter" (TIMAs, 2015), "Female Vocalist" (HMAs, 2016), and more. She will be releasing her latest creation, "Solastalgia", in 2020 -- a reflection on the malleability of love and landscape .

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Jordi Baizan Jordi Baizan — January 12, 2020

Jordi Baizan is a first generation American and native Texan songwriter. He is multicultural, born in Houston to Spanish and Cuban parents, and married to Carmen who hails from Mexico. Jordi is also a multi-tasker, writing songs and managing his flourishing music career in the same home-office where he runs his small business, which helped he and Carmen raise their two girls and two boys. Now that the kids are away at college and beyond, the empty nest at home has provided Jordi the opportunity to take his music on the road.

In May of 2017, he released his first record as a solo artist. This record, appropriately named Like the First Time, and some of the songs on it enabled Jordi to be recognized by two prestigious Texas songwriting competitions, the Grassy Hill Kerrville New Folk Songwriting Competition and the Songwriter Serenade Competition. Jordi continued writing new material with his next record in mind. These newer compositions garnered him recognition by the Songwriter’s Serenade for the 2nd year in a row as well as the 2019 South Florida Folk Festival’s Singer/Songwriter Competition, and the 2019 Grassy Hill Kerrville New Folk Songwriting Competition.



Jordi felt the songs on this record were important enough to present in the very best way possible. He knew the sound he was looking for and pursued his first choice, Walt Wilkins, as producer for the project. Jordi was pleased and honored when Wilkins accepted. Wilkins states, “This is a deeply artistic group of songs: moving, hopeful, mature, honest. I’m anxious for Jordi to have this record out in the world, finding new listeners.” In late 2018, Wilkins assembled some of the best Folk/Americana artists and musicians at co-producer and engineer Ron Flynt’s Jumping Dog Studios in Austin, TX.



Jordi shared the new record with the prestigious Berkalin Records and was signed to the label in April 2019. Berkalin Records owner Brian J. Kalinec says "Jordi's songs convey authenticity perfectly intertwined with memorable melodies. His unique voice and his stories draw you in from the beginning, and you can't wait to hear the next page." The new record, Free and Fine, was released on June 28, 2019 and debuted at #20 on the Folk DJ Chart and #4 on the Euro-Americana Chart. It’s release was followed by an extended tour of the US and Europe. With the support of dedicated fans, Jordi is taking to the road to humbly bring to each listener a sense of joy, adventure, gratitude, and respect for our common humanity.

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Ken Tizzard Ken Tizzard — January 5, 2020

Very few Canadian musicians have had as fascinatingly diverse a career as Ken Tizzard. In over two decades as a professional musician, he has gone from plying his trade as the charismatic bassist in top Canadian rock bands The Watchmen and Thornley (he is featured on six gold and platinum records received numerous Juno nominations and MuchMusic Awards, and licensed songs to such TV shows as CSI and Fashion Television) to then emerging as an eloquent roots-based singer/songwriter and guitarist with a prolific solo career.

Wearing his rock 'n roll hat, Ken has toured internationally, appeared on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, and played such major venues as The Air Canada Centre. When he puts on his cowboy hat, Tizzard can be spotted performing his original material, solo or with a band, for a loyal and growing audience in pubs, clubs and concert halls across Canada.

Ken remains very active on many different musical fronts. The Watchmen continue to occasionally perform large concerts, he works on co-writing musicals and booking shows at Westben, and as head of independent label Booth Street Records, he produces and releases albums by such area artists as Brian Finley, Muddy Hack, Ontario Kelly and Carvan Haylan, Elly Kelly, and Jane archer and the Reactionaries.

A Good Dog Is Lost is a musical labour of love, one crafted with passion, patience and immense skill. To be released November 6th, 2018 it features singer/songwriter Ken Tizzard offering fresh versions of 11 songs written by the late great Ron Hynes, the Newfoundland folk songsmith who passed away in 2015, but whose deep and rich catalogue lives on.

Now based in Campbellford, Ontario, Ken Tizzard was born and raised in St. John's, Newfoundland, a locale that retains a huge place in his heart and soul. As does the work of Ron Hynes, an artist who became both a friend and songwriting mentor for Tizzard.

The roots of this project date back to November 2013, when Hynes asked Tizzard to accompany him on bass for a 12-date tour of Newfoundland, a highly memorable experience that had a lasting impact on Ken.

“His new album No Dark No Light is his strongest work yet. The sparse instrumentation is acoustic-based, allowing Tizzard’s evocative and deeply soul-searching songs to shine.” - Kerry Doole - New Canadian Music

“Tizzard is a born storyteller… a little Townes Van Zandt can be heard as he performs a descriptive and hugely impressive folk blues number that speaks of how the devil lives in St Johns Newfoundland… his vocal style has more to do with John Hartford than anyone other than himself for presentation, warmed with a hint or two of James McMurtry.” - Maurice Hope - Americana UK

“…gentle giant is a musician with a gift for storytelling that is unrivalled. His voice can be soft and warm like a summer rain, or rough and tumble like a much-travelled gravel road. He is a modern troubadour, a young Canadian whose sound would do Bob Dylan and Pete Seeger proud.” - Al Beeber - Lethbridge Herald

“Ken Tizzard continues to impress as a multi-talented artist” - Rolly Ethier - The Sheild

“…the type of stuff you'd hear in a (pre-bylaw) smoky bar, with a harsh, heavy domestic beer in your hand, listening to a crooner sing his heart out for truck drivers and seasoned cougars.” - Bill Alexander - Soundproof

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Katie Dahl Katie Dahl — December 15, 2019

“Katie Dahl’s songs aren’t just melodies and words, they’re journeys that are firmly grounded in a sense of place—beautiful, real landscapes that help you feel places that you may have never been before. That’s the very best kind of songwriting.” -Dar Williams

Singer-songwriter Katie Dahl has performed her original songs everywhere from the dusty cliffs of Mali, to the winding canals of southern France, to the cedar forests of the American northwoods. Particularly well-respected on her home turf of Door County, Wisconsin, Katie tours regularly and has earned accolades nationwide for the depth and power of her alto voice, the literate candor of her songs, and the easy humor of her live performances. In 2019, Katie hit the top of the folk radio charts with her song “Worry My Friend” (#5) and album “Wildwood” (#7). Her musical play “Victory Farm” premiered to high acclaim in 2012 and has since been made into a live cast album. Karen Impola of Iowa Public Radio says, “Katie Dahl’s music combines a love for her rural midwestern roots, a droll wit, and a clear-eyed appraisal of modern life, all served up in a voice as rich as cream.” Katie’s latest album, “Wildwood” (September 2019) was recorded in Nashville and features Birds of Chicago’s JT Nero (producer) and Allison Russell (harmony vocals). Though Katie currently makes her home in rural Door County, Wisconsin, with her husband and 3-year-old son, she travels extensively, sharing stages with the likes of Dar Williams and Peter Mulvey, and playing intimate house concerts as well as established venues like Chicago’s Old Town School of Folk Music. Richly steeped in the folk songwriter tradition, Katie navigates the muddy waters between the personal and the public with the skill of a writer twice her age. She is equally adept at writing about relationships (without being indulgent or myopic) and taking on the threat of chain restaurants to her own small community (without being polarizing or didactic). The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel says that Katie combines “old-fashioned populism, an abiding love of the land and wickedly smart love songs, all delivered in a rich and expressive alto.”

Katie Dahl was a college freshman when she slipped on a patch of sidewalk ice and broke her wrist. Suddenly unable to play the oboe in her college orchestra, Katie used her newfound free time to learn guitar, teaching herself chord shapes as she strummed the strings with her stiff right hand. Nine years later, that icy day has proven to be a blessing in disguise, as Katie has made a career as an accomplished writer and musician whom acclaimed author Parker Palmer has called “a singer-songwriter you need to get to know.” Katie has four original studio albums to her credit, County Line (2009), Leaky Boats and Paper Birds (2012), Ordinary Band (2015), and Wildwood (2019). In 2017, Katie teamed up with Rich Higdon and Eric Lewis to record Solid Ground: The Songs of Fred Alley. Katie’s musical Victory Farm (live cast album released 2012; co-written with James Valcq and Emilie Coulson) is a fictionalized account of the real-life German POWs who came to Wisconsin to pick cherries during World War II. She is currently writing another musical based on the story of two sisters whose home is threatened by eminent domain when Wisconsin creates a state park in 1908.

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West My Friend West My Friend — November 24, 2019

In the modern musical landscape, it’s rare to hear something as put-together as three-piece Cascadian folk outfit West My Friend - something so layered, deeply symphonic, baroque, and mysterious in its own winking way while still courting an edge of disaster. Simple is safe, but complex is fiery, intricate, and ultimately more rewarding.

Steeped in the visual styles of western Canada, West My Friend are veterans of the Victoria music scene. After 10 years as a band, they just last month released their fourth album, In Constellation. On this, their latest effort, the band continues to refine the art of creating achingly poignant folk music, only this time, they’re backed by a full symphony orchestra, heavily layered while remaining lighthearted. Intricate yet accessible. Melancholic yet optimistic.

Mingling grassroots guitar, mandolin, accordion, orchestral instruments, and interweaving harmonies, In Constellation (produced by Joby Baker, co-produced and arranged by Adrian Dolan) features longtime members Eden Oliver, Alex Rempel, and Jeff Poynter conceiving a new box, then thinking outside of it. Punctuated by musings on anxiety and belonging, song structures vary and dynamics change from moment to moment, painting powerful lyrical portraits over backgrounds of violins and trumpets that swell, collapse, and tumble between bold harmonies. With over 650 performances and several tours under their collective belt, West My Friend is bringing forth a new sound you’ve never known you’ve wanted and new meaning to the things you’ve never known you needed.

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Howard Rothenberg Howard Rothenberg — November 17, 2019

Dr. Howard Rothenberg knew he wanted to become a veterinarian when he was eight years old. He earned a Bachelors degree in Biology at SUNY Stonybrook, and then went on to Veterinary School in the Philippines. Veterinary school was academically rigorous and living in the Philippine Islands provided him with a culturally rich experience as well. After returning to the United States, and passing licensing exams in several states, he practiced in Spring Valley, New York, and later in Greenwich, Connecticut. In March of 1988, Dr. Rothenberg moved to the Hudson Valley. He became the Sole Proprietor/Director of Goosepond Animal Hospital and is currently the Chief of Staff. He has a special interest in orthopedic and soft tissue surgery and has attended extensive continuing education classes in both areas. Dr. Rothenberg is committed to medical excellence in himself and his staff. He takes an active role in making sure that the hospital is one that provides a high level of medical care, as well as compassion for clients and their animal companions. Dr Rothenberg currently resides in the town of Blooming Grove with his family and pets. In his spare time he enjoys playing golf and guitar. Dr. Rothenberg uses music as a means of expression of his inner most feelings and sometimes just for fun. His musical influences are mainly from the 1970s and 1980s. His style is derived from folk, blues, jazz, and even a little country. Songs vary from story telling to love ballads. As with all song writers, many of his songs come from life experience both good and bad. He has performed at open mic nights, parties and for his friends. He has written song parodies for special occasions and also performs many cover tunes as well.

Loretta Hagen Loretta Hagen — November 10, 2019

Reviewers describe  award winning singer-songwriter  Loretta Hagen  as ‘heart driven, soul filling, Folk Americana.‘ With 4 CDs to her credit, Loretta’s rich alto voice and strong  song-writing  skills have led her to win many awards, including a JAM Awards’ (Jersey Acoustic Music Awards) “Top Female Songwriter of the Year,” JAM nomination “Album of the Year,” 4 time nominee 2017/2019 Just Plain Folks Music Awards for Album of the Year” (Mud and Stone), New Folk Song, Traditional Folk Song, and Holiday Song. 2018 PureM Magazine  winner for “Best Song” nominee Best Album (Lucky Stars) winner of the  NJ Folk Festival  Songwriter Competition  and  2 time  designation as a  CT Folk Festival  finalist.

"Lucky Stars" Loretta's 4th CD, brings Loretta's journey full circle, when faced with the heartache of illness, death, and going on without loved ones so cherished. She finds solace in the promise of new beginnings, love, and the inherent knowledge that our Lucky Stars are watching over us.

Loretta's third CD, “Mud and Stone,” well received by DJs worldwide, debuted at #10 on Folk DJ Charts, consistently #1 on the Roots Music Report for NJ, #5 Top 50 Folk Albums RMR, and topped many best of lists. Five years later the album is still going strong, recently receiving 4 nominations for the Just Plain Folk  Awards with awards being announced late fall 2020.

"This effort [Mud and Stone] is first class, top tier, a true contender as an artist to reckon with."  John Apice ~ No Depression

Following her critically acclaimed CD Something More, co-produced by Pat McInerney (Nanci Griffith), Hagen released Sundown Till Dawn, a CD that garnered rave reviews and radio play across the country.

 Sundown Till Dawn is extremely personal, with the title track written about her mother who suffered with Alzheimer’s disease. Loretta’s Mom passed away peacefully at her home. The emotionally charged ballad is included on the soundtrack of a film called “10 Mountains 10 Years” chronicling the journey of a group of mountain climbers who are raising awareness about the disease.

 Loretta  has performed at premiere venues across the Northeast and Nashville, sharing the stage with Pete Seeger, Roger McGuinn, Sloan Wainwright, Steve Forbert, Richie Havens, Kim Richey and Marshall Crenshaw among  many  others.

Loretta performs primarily with her trio consisting of husband/guitarist Gary Hagen and djembe players Linda Lambiase or Curtis Kretz.    

"Award-Winning New Jersey Folk Singer Always Shined -- Now She Sparkles"   Lucky Stars - "Loretta is in fine voice – probably the best of her career. The tonality is angelic yet possesses strength. Inspiring and beautiful. These songs resonate, and the guitar-work continues to be superlative. Loretta’s album attempts  to be a positive message despite the difficulties many face daily.  Loretta has a definite talent for well-decorated lyrics tied with meaning."  No Depression

“Loretta's manner and voice are imbued with such quiet, unassuming grace that you don't realize at first that she has completely stolen your heart! ” — Laura Foord, Heights House Concerts

"Loretta Hagen is back with  Lucky Stars… a very nicely produced recording featuring eleven thoughtful and reflective songs by Loretta, that are beautifully sung with lovely accompaniment. Definitely worth checking out." Jan Hall, Folk Roots Radio with Jan Hall

 "Loretta Hagen,  Lucky Stars  is a very well produced album with delicate, clear arrangements, talent as a songwriter with very soulful songs, ..a strong album...a beautiful pleasure."  - Mike Penard, Radio Isa France

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Si Kahn Si Kahn — November 3, 2019

“If the 'arc of the moral universe bends toward justice', as Martin Luther King said, then Si Kahn has devoted his life to riding that arc. His powerful impulse to service, combined with deep compassion, is a force of nature. I put Si in the same category as Woody Guthrie, as Pete Seeger, and in a strange way, with my Dad, who shared his righteous sense of humanity, and his love of the 'meek' who he truly believed would 'inherit the earth.'” --Rosanne Cash

SUMMARY: Si Kahn is a folk and bluegrass legend, once described as “a rumor in his own time.” At 75 years old, he is at the peak of his powers as performer, recording artist, song and musical theater writer. His original folk, bluegrass and children's songs have been recorded and performed by hundreds of artists in Europe and North America. Si’s musical body of work includes:

•18 CDs of his original songs, with eight releases on the Dutch record label Strictly Country Records, plus albums on Rounder, Flying Fish, and the Swiss label Doubletime Music.

•A double album of historic civil rights songs recorded with Pete Seeger and Jane Sapp.

•Two CDs of his previously unrecorded songs done by Irish-American artist Joe Jencks and the German bluegrass band The Looping Brothers.

•The cast album of his musical Mother Jones in Heaven.

•A CD of original songs for children, Good Times and Bedtimes on Rounder.

•The songs and/or scripts for seven musical theatre productions.

AWARDS: Si has been inducted into the Blue Ridge Music Hall of Fame, joining such legendary artists as Doc Watson, Roy Acuff, Etta Baker, Uncle Dave Macon, Ralph and Carter Stanley, Jens Kruger, Emmylou Harris, Dolly Parton, Earl Scruggs and Lester Flatt.

In 2011, Folk Alliance International gave Si a specially-created “Triple Crown/Hat Trick/Trifecta Award,” honoring him for having had the #1 CD (Courage) and the #1 song (“Peace Will Rise”) and for being the #1 folk artist for the previous year, based on statistics compiled by the international Folk DJ List for airplay by DJs around the world. At its 2016 conference, Folk Alliance International presented Si with its “Spirit of Folk Award."

“In a world rife with many talented songwriters, Si Kahn stands alone. And his deeply thoughtful, elegantly simple, sometimes majestic, often achingly moving and always hard-hitting songs have stood, and will continue to stand, the test of time." ...Dave Higgs, Bluegrass News

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Twin Kennedy Twin Kennedy — October 27, 2019

Twin Kennedy has been described as "Nothing Short of Awesome!" (Cashbox Magazine). With Carli on guitar and vocals and Julie on fiddle and vocals, these sisters have toured extensively throughout Canada and the US.

3-time Canadian Country Music Award Nominee, Winner of two 2016 VIMA Awards and Grand Prize Winner in the 2015 John Lennon Songwriting Contest, Twin Kennedy is known for their sibling harmonies and high energy show that blends their classical training with their country roots. Most recently, Twin Kennedy released their debut holiday album, recorded in Nashville, TN with some of Music City’s best including the rhythm section from the Grammy award-winning group The Time Jumpers. The lead single from A Twin Kennedy Christmas was featured in Rolling Stone Magazine, and their original holiday track “I’m a Child Again” won the 2019 Independent Music Award for Best Holiday Song. In the words of the Nashville Examiner, “Twin Kennedy is 100% made for the stage and made to entertain!”

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Shelley Posen Shelley Posen — October 20, 2019

Shelley Posen is an Ottawa, Canada-based songwriter and long-time performer of his own and traditional songs. He writes in too many styles and on too many subjects (canoes to codfish, seders to Sacred Harp) for them to be “genre-fied.” But they are recognized not only for their variety, but for their wit, craftsmanship, and their profound effect on listeners. They’ve been recorded by artists in Canada, the United States, and Great Britain, and sung around campfires and in living rooms by people who love a good song. Shelley is a member of the much-admired vocal trio, Finest Kind, who performed for years at folk venues on both sides of the Atlantic, and reunite nowadays for Christmas concerts in Ottawa. Other than there, the only place to hear Shelley’s songs sung by him is on his CDs (5 solo, 7 with Finest Kind), and radio programs like Hootenanny Café. He is still writing great songs and recording them, but he has retired from solo performance.

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Christopher Mark Jones Christopher Mark Jones — October 13, 2019

Christopher Mark Jones sees the world through song. First-person stories can be from the point of view of a Mexican immigrant ("Caravan"), a single mother ("I Work Hard For A Living"), a young worker in crisis in Montreal ("Dans La Ville"), or an auto worker ("Lordstown") to mention but a few. This Best New Vocalist in the British Music Talent Competition (1978) now has a voice that’s “slightly rough around the edges” (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette), but still grabs the listener with his “fascinating lyrics” (Melody Maker) and the “wide-ranging textures and exquisite instrumentation” (Saturday Light Brigade) of his recordings. Listeners have mentioned “Greg Brown's pacing and a Lyle Lovett attitude” (Ben Shannon), as well as Bruce Coburn and Darrell Scott when describing Jones’s songwriting.

In 2017 he released Incantations, his fifth album, and the book Smoke On The Meadow: Selected Lyrics 1977-2017. He has been playing and recording since his 1978 Transatlantic Records (UK) release No More Range to Roam. A former pro basketball player and French professor, Jones spent his early career busking in Paris, touring the UK, Denmark, and Holland, and upon his return to the US, Boston-area clubs. While he now travels primarily as a solo performer from his Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania base, he plays regionally in formats including a full band.

The songwriter saga started in Paris in 1976, when Christopher found that all he wanted to do was sing and play guitar. He had spent a half-dozen years playing professional basketball (in Portugal) and studying languages (Portuguese, French, Spanish) and was enrolled at the National Institute for Oriental Languages and Civilizations in Paris at the time where he was studying Chinese. He finished that degree, while playing in restaurants and the Metro, then headed to London to do music full-time. He played a showcase at the Cambridge Folk Festival, where Rosie Hardman heard him and recommended him to Bill Leader, a legendary producer (Bert Jansch, John Renbourne, Nic Jones), who had a deal with Transatlantic Records to issue records under his imprint. The album they did together, with contributions from traveling partner Mick Linnard, Christopher's brother Jeff, Gerald Moore, (a popular club guitarist in London) and Pick Withers on drums (Dire Straits) was licensed in five countries in Europe, distributed by Rounder, and getting good reviews, but it came out at the same time that punk hit in London, and the reception for acoustic songwriters was at an all-time low in the UK. Moving back to Boston in 1979, he put together a band called Christopher Jones & The Regulars, which worked consistently for several years with excellent musicians --Andre Locke (Mandrake), Reeves Gabrels (David Bowie's Tin Machine), Reed Butler(Chris Smither) and Sheldon Mirowitz (Livingston Taylor & Patty Larkin), among others. After moving to Pittsburgh to teach French Studies at Carnegie Mellon, he returned to acoustic music through swing and blues, recorded a catch-up album, Heartland Variations, and re-mastered the Transatlantic (UK) album No More Range to Roam. Three additional recordings of new songs have since followed, including Suburban 2-Step (2012), Atlantica (2014) and Incantations (2017) and a sixth album is on the way. Listeners have mentioned echoes of Greg Brown, Lyle Lovett, Bruce Coburn and Darrell Scott in Christopher’s songs. He now performs in multiple formats, but collaborating musicians have included Jim Spears, Vince Camut, Mark Weakland, Mark Perna, David Hart, Eric Kurtzrock, Ryan Socrates and (on Michigan excursions) Dave Gillespie and Greg Winters.

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Ray Lambiase Ray Lambiase — October 6, 2019

Ray Lambiase is a veteran Long Island songwriter, who has opened up for artists as varied as Marshall Crenshaw, Pure Prairie League, The Mamas and the Papas, Dave Van Ronk, Roger McGuinn, Dr. John and many others.

His latest release, Kid Bayonne, debuted at #7 on the Folk Music Dj chart, with the title cut capturing, through the eyes of a boxer, the CD's theme that love is always worth fighting for.

His previous CD, The Ballad of Three Finger Brown, debuted at #12 on the Folk DJ charts in 2016. The title cut recounts the unlikely true story of the Chicago Cubs baseball pitcher who led his team to what had been their last World Series Championship in 1908. The song remains a baseball season staple on college radio stations around the country.

Highlighting his two earliest CD releases, Twenty Lies (And Other Stories) and Time Leaves Things Behind, was Twenty Lies being named one of the Ten Best Albums of 2014.

Ray was an early contributor to the New York City folk singer collective, Fast Folk, in the early 1980s, that launched the careers of Suzanne Vega, Shawn Colvin and John Gorka, before forming his first band and recording his first single, Slow Dance Romeo.

His earliest touring and recording efforts led to local FM radio play and publishing contracts with Combine Music in Nashville, and Special Rider Music, Bob Dylan's publishing arm in New York City.

Three of his songs have been covered by other artists. When I Build My Home can be heard on the Raquette River Rounders album R3. Free Men was recorded for Fast Folk by Doug Waterman. Cedar Hill was recorded by the indie-rock band King Penguin for Fruits de Mer Records.

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Tina Ross Tina Ross — September 27, 2019

A New York lyric and rhythm-driven Indie Singer/Songwriter, Tina Ross, with her soulful, emotion-soaked vocals, has been performing since age ten. Tina’s music has been described as “essence writing” as she forages for and captures the unifying threads common to our mutual experience. Her songs have been recognized as an Honorable Mention winner in The John Lennon Songwriting contest, and a Folk/Country Category Finalist in The UK Songwriting contest. Her first gigs were as a child with her mother as a duo, “Tina Ross and Mom” playing folk music for a variety of audiences. In college she studied Biology and Voice, was a Jazz DJ, continued to perform and and met her future music and life partner. She then chose the predictable, carefully designed life of a Chiropractor and Nutritionist. She is now reconnecting to her musical roots and stepping out and trading that in for the uncertain, exposed, gloriously creative and mindful path of a Singer/Songwriter. After the death of her father Tina started more seriously songwriting and performing, finding a community with local songwriters and forming a band with her husband, Andrew (Doc) Hirsch, who plays the fiddle and mandolin. They toured locally playing venues such as The Turning Point in Piermont, NY and the Towne Crier in Pauling, NY. She wrote songs for charities and organizations. She recorded the vocals for a playwright pitching a broadway musical, which spurred her interest in writing a musical. Tina crafts songs that draw from diverse influences; the folk roots from her very first guitar teacher/mentor who introduced her to American and British folk traditions, the pop she feverishly listened to on the radio growing up, her father’s love of crooners and Frank Sinatra, the music that she and her friends coveted - Joni Mitchell, CSNY, The Beatles, then the discovery of Bonnie Raitt when her sister came home from college with cool albums, which morphed into an appreciation for blues, Robert Johnson and Sippie Wallace. Then she soaked up Jazz in the candy store known as the record library at WHRW radio station in Binghamton, NY. She discovered a freedom in singing blues and Jazz but found herself writing music in a folk story-telling style. She is always looking out for those precious song seeds that present themselves to us when we are open and aware. Tina is back in the studio writing and recording her original music and is thrilled to be on track. She has a few projects on tap. She is having her songs illustrated for children’s books, as well as being prompted to write a musical. She performs in retrospective projects celebrating the music of Carol King, James Taylor as well as The British Invasion. She also enjoys performing with her Jazz and American Standard Trio, Triad.

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Barry Adelman Barry Adelman — September 22, 2019

http://musicforhumanity.org exists to help spread more music throughout the world. We do that via a monthly music series and awarding music scholarships to young aspiring musicians. It really all started in 1968 when Co-Founder Barry Adelman attended a performance of Beethoven’s 9th Symphony at Carnegie Hall and was impressed by the power of the performance. In 1969 he attended the Woodstock Festival in Bethel NY. Again he saw people of all faiths and persuasions gathering for music. Over the next few decades he became a singer/songwriter and wrote many spiritual songs. In 2005 Barry heard the voice of God. It whispered "Music for Humanity". He looked around, but no one was there; however he couldn't deny the whisper. It was like the whisper in the movie Field of Dreams; Barry knew he had to take action. He looked up Music for Humanity on the internet and discovered the name reserved, but no website. Barry contacted the person, Kurt Irmiter, who had reserved the name, and together they decided to create a not-for-profit, Music for Humanity. In 2007 Music for Humanity was officially given a 501c-3 status by the IRS, which means donations to MFH are tax-deductible. MFH has given 47 music scholarships ranging from $1000 to $10,000 for a total of $100,000. The requirements to apply for a scholarship are simply to be a music major at an accredited college or university in the United States. Scholarship winners are selected based upon talent, financial need and an ability to become an “ambassador” for Music for Humanity. That means an ability to help build the invisible bridges, roads and tunnels that connect our hearts via music. More connections, more music, means a better world for all of us. You can see the scholarship winners and donate to MFH at http://musicforhumanity.org/ MFH has a monthly music series (for over 9 years) on the 3rd Saturday of the month at Noble Coffee Roasters in Campbell Hall. We invite three outstanding local/regional performers to share their music, both originals & covers. The list includes a who’s who of performers in the Hudson Valley & beyond. All of these outstanding performers have donated their set to support future musicians. If you’d like to perform and/or be a volunteer please call 845-469-0900 or email Barry@MusicForHumanity.org

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James Curley James Curley — September 16, 2019

"Singular Songwriter" James Curley sees the world through various lenses - evolutionary theory, Buddhist principles, South Philly street smarts, 6 decades of living in America, literary leanings, musical curiosity - and writes songs that reflect the information coming through those lenses. "My work is my musical style' says James. Hard to categorize, always interesting, worth a listen.



Once dubbed 'the best damn songwriter you never heard', James began writing songs in the mid 1970s in his native Philadelphia, influenced mainly by trips to the Philadelphia Folk Festival and to local clubs like The Main Point, Grendel's Lair and others. He appeared as a solo songwriter back then, opening locally for other artists of the day, including Artie Traum and Lou London.



Leaving Philadelphia in 1976 , James traveled via hitchhiking, bus and friend's cars, living and playing in Boulder, Eugene, and other areas and eventually wound up in Houston, where he was heavily influenced by the Texas songwriter scene there at the time. Moving to Austin in 1979, he immersed himself deeper in the local songwriting scene and performed in venues there until moving to Chicago several years later.



Taking a hiatus from music from 1987 until 1997 to raise a family and start a small business, James took up songwriting with earnest again, and released his first CD - Tom's Cafe - in 2002, Several tracks continue to get modest airplay on indie, folk and college radio stations, as well as having been synced to film and cable television shows. The CD was produced by guitarist Larry Clyman (Big Shoulders, The Otters, Lonnie Brooks Band) and featured performances from some of James musical friends like Nancy Walker and Sue Demel (Sons of the Never Wrong), Jay Sebastian (Twang Bang) and others.



In 2007, James released his 2nd CD - Manufactured Meaning - again working with Larry Clyman. Larry had moved to upstate New York, and James collaborated there with local musicians like Tony Markellis (David Bromberg Band) and Rick Rourke (Lost Wages) to produce the record. Several songs from the record, especially Lay Down Big Easy - a lament for the post-Katrina reality of New Orleans - continue to receive radio airplay.



2013 saw the release of There Used To Be a Train – James’ 3rd CD. Produced and arranged by John Abbey and featuring some of Chicago’s best Folk/Americana musicians (Jenny Bienemann, Don Stiernberg) as well as support from the groups Sons of The Never Wrong and 2-Bit Palomino, the record enjoyed excellent early reviews and radio airplay.



In 2015, James lost his wife and partner of 36 years to cancer, and receded from live performance and recording for a time. Now remarried, he performs solo under his own name, and as a duo with his partner Ilsabe OConnell under the name 'Earnest & Troubled'. He is planning to record both a solo record and a duo record in the near future, as fortune and grace permits.

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Shari Ulrich Shari Ulrich — September 8, 2019

Originally a California girl, Shari Ulrich settled on the west coast of Canada in 1970, and soon launched her life in music. A singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist (violin, mandolin, piano, guitar, dulcimer, harmonica), she’s been winning hearts across North America with her voice, sublime songs and on-stage charisma ever since. From her time with the legendary Pied Pumkin to The Hometown Band, and on as a solo artist, her career has resulted in 25 albums to date, including collaborations with Bill Henderson and Roy Forbes (UHF), Barney Bentall and Tom Taylor (BTU), and more recently The High Bar Gang, a 7+piece bluegrass band with Barney Bentall and Colin Nairne. Along the way, she has garnered 2 JUNO awards and several nominations, an induction into the BC Entertainment Hall of Fame, and a 2014 Canadian Folk Music Award for English Songwriter of the Year.

Not surprisingly, Shari’s daughter Julia Graff, also a multi-instrumentalist, began accompanying Shari on stage at the age of 12. Receiving a Masters degree from McGill University in music (sound recording), Julia is now a busy engineer, producer, and music editor in film and television. Among other projects, Julia engineered and co-produced Shari’s last three albums with partner and fellow McGill grad, James Perrella. Julia’s violin and signature familial vocal blend is frequently heard in Shari’s concerts and recordings.

Shari tours much of the year in a variety of configurations: from solo to a trio that includes Julia and fellow High Bar Gang member, Kirby Barber, to a quartet with pianist Cindy Fairbank, and with a full band. Shari also performs with BTU and the High Bar Gang, and produces and hosts Vancouver’s SongBird North series (for 23 years) for the Songwriters Association of Canada.

An accomplished and dynamic performer, Shari makes any sized audience feel they are in her living room – drawn in by her insightful lyrics, and her engaging warmth and humour.

Her ninth solo album, Back To Shore (June 2019, Borealis Records) showcases Ulrich’s award-winning songwriting, musicianship, and vocals at their finest. With songs that delve with unique insight into the joys and sorrows of the human condition, Back To Shore brilliantly reflects the depth, range and caliber of this highly regarded Canadian artist.

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