Featured Artists of the Hootenanny Cafe
These are just
some of the many fine artists featured on the hootenanny cafe that airs
every Sunday at 9:00PM (Eastern). The show can be heard locally on 93.5FM or world
wide at www.wtbq.com
Upcoming Hootenanny Cafe Mini Concerts
« Previous Page of artists
« Previous Page of artists
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.
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,
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 .
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.
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
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.”
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.
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.
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 — 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
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
•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
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!”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
Joel Rafael — September 2, 2019
Armed with a harmonica rack and an acoustic guitar, Joel Rafael chronicles his life and the world around him, in ballads rooted in the American folk tradition, and influenced by Woody Guthrie, with whom Rafael shares five co-writes; two published in the Woody Guthrie Centennial Songbook in 2012, and another awarded IAMA Folk Song of the Year (2012). “Joel Rafael is a disappearing breed,” Rolling Stone. (2015)
"Joel Rafael's songs are filled with passion and compassion," says Jackson Browne. "Passion for social justice, and compassion - for those among us who have to struggle for a place at the table of American prosperity. His voice is unmistakably his own, big, warm and strong, and a conductor for the human emotions that connect us all."
Joel Rafael’s ninth album, BALADISTA (2015), recorded at his ranch in North San Diego County, California, delivered ten essential ballads that embrace and celebrate the human spirit and reflect the half-century journey of an American Songwriter.
Joel Rafael’s tenth album ROSE AVENUE gracefully defines him and his contribution to the American canon. The ten-song masterpiece includes nine originals that reflect the honest accounting of a man in his 70th year. Recorded and mixed by multi-instrumentalist Marty Rifkin in his Santa Monica studio, ROSE AVENUE radiates warmth and significance. Rafael does not stray from his roots in the songs he selected for this outing, or in his choice of musical accompaniment, playing acoustic guitar and harmonica.
Social change has always been a topic prevalent in Rafael’s writing, and two beautiful examples found their way into the mix of ROSE AVENUE. STRONG, written with Jason Mraz, who duos with Joel on the track, brings a message of solidarity. Originally written to share with Water Protectors at Standing Rock in 2016, it now urges protecting water globally. “I love Joel. He’s a passionate and informed songwriter. You can hear the miles he’s traveled in the tone of his tenor. He creates with purpose, and it’s a real honor to be included.” - Jason Mraz
GLORY BOUND tells the shocking story of Emmett Till and his tragic murder, woven with Rafael’s unique literary twist that brings victory out of loss. In the spirit of Woody Guthrie, Rafael has given the 1955 death of a fourteen-year-old boy its deserved respect and dignity. Both anthems are accompanied by Rafael’s punchy harmonica lead.
Mraz joins Joel on a second track. “I want to know my community better and embrace the diversity that makes us stronger as a people. I wanted to write a song that would express how much we have in common as human beings. When I gave Jason the beginnings of the song, he immediately understood what I was trying to say, and helped me finish it up.”
“UNDER OUR SKIN is our second collaboration, and one that connects not only our beliefs, but our commonality; our humanity. On the surface, Joel and I might appear to come from different generations and backgrounds, but under our skin, we are made of the same earthly ingredients, powered by the same great spirit. I love how Joel is constantly exploring the topic of unity
Eddie Jeff Cahill — August 25, 2019
Eddie Jeff has been involved with Renaissance Fairs since 1970. He has performed in Canada, England and Denmark as well as most of the lower 48. Utah PHILLIPS said: Eddie Jeff restores pride and dignity to the ancient craft of the traveling singer, poet,storyteller. He will be performing at the New York Renaissance Faire in Tuxedo until the last weekend of September.
Katherine Rondeau — August 18, 2019
Katherine Rondeau is a full-throttle singer-songwriter who focuses her passion for classic folk music through a thoroughly modern lens. After bursting onto the Philly folk scene in 2015, she was quickly recognized for her rich, bold voice and engaging performance style. Katherine’s new album Unfortunate Point of View is still going strong with six consecutive months on the Folk DJ charts, including #4 album and #1 original song in January 2019, and 9 weeks on the North American College and Community (NACC) top 30 Folk charts.
Katherine’s sound is an organic blend of folk, blues, and mountain music. Her music really shines in her live performances – her big, bold voice and engaging style have made her a festival favorite. After making her festival debut at the Philadelphia Folk Festival (PFF) in 2015, Katherine began spreading her music to large audiences throughout the region.
With the support of fans, folk DJs, and critics for her newest work Unfortunate Point of View, Katherine is establishing herself as a national touring artist from venues from Maryland to Chicago to North Carolina and beyond. Look for her next musical release in 2020.
John John Brown — August 11, 2019
> In the winter of 2013, right after his twin boys were born, John John Brown started writing songs that would turn into his debut album The Road. No Depression calls it "a supple and suggestive blend of astute Americana accompanied by a quiet, reflective glow", while Elmore Magazine dubbed him "one of the more promising young names in folk music today". John John's live performances have been garnering critical claim as well. In 2015 and 2017 he was chosen as a Kerrville Folk Finalist for the legendary New Folk Competition. He went home a winner of the South Florida Folk Fest in 2016, and he was selected as a 2017 Emerging Artist at the Falcon Ridge Folk Festival. In August of 2019, John John was selected to perform at the 50th Anniversary of Woodstock at Bethel Woods, which is the original site of the legendary festival. He will be joined by musical luminaries such as The Doobie Brothers, Santana, Ringo Starr, John Fogerty, Grace Potter and Derek Trucks. His sophomore album is currently in production, and it is heavily influenced by the writing style of John Prine. It is expected to be released in 2020. Seeped in goody storytelling and fingerpicking melodies, John John Brown seems to have discovered part of the mystery that surrounds the great singer/songwriter tradition.
Terri Hendrix — August 4, 2019
Terri Hendrix is a pioneering independent Texas songwriter who spins sorrow into joy and wrings wisdom from the blues with a poetic grace and engaging melodic flair that has endeared her to fans around the globe. A classically trained vocalist and accomplished multi-instrumentalist (guitar, mandolin, and harmonica) recently recognized by “Acoustic Guitar” Magazine as one of Texas’ 20 essential contemporary singer-songwriters, she is also one of its most prolific — having averaged nearly an album a year going all the way back to her 1996 debut, “Two Dollar Shoes.” To date, every one of her albums has been released on her own Wilory Records label, making Hendrix the rare artist who has owned all of her master recordings from day one. Along the way, she’s also co-written a Grammy-winning instrumental (the Dixie Chicks’ “Lil’ Jack Slade”), and garnered such honors as a star on the South Texas Music Walk of Fame, the Art of Peace Award by Saint Mary’s University in San Antonio, the Distinguished Alumni Award at Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene, and a 2015 induction into the Women’s Hall of Fame in San Marcos, Texas. Now well into her third decade as a performing artist, Hendrix is currently in the midst of running a “sonic marathon” she calls “Project 5,” which by the time she finishes it will comprise four thematically-linked albums and a memoir. Hendrix is also hard at work building a nonprofit creative center for the arts serving the greater San Marcos area and beyond. It’s called the OYOU, an acronym for “Own Your Own Universe” — words that this free-spirited, self-made woman has lived and thrived by her entire adult life.
Naming The Twins - Remembering Robbie Smith — July 28, 2019
Naming the Twins is the Nova Scotia based, harmony rich guy-gal duo of Robbie Smith and Kath Glauser whose vocal blendings sound a bit like Simon & Garfunkel, if Art was a girl, a bit like Peter, Paul & Mary, if one of the boys was taking the night off. Their original material maintains the tradition of Ian & Sylvia, Gordon Lightfoot and Stan Rogers.
Their energy, casual banter, wide variety of song styles and remarkably well matched voices captivate audiences wherever they perform. Their presentations are well balanced with thoughtful ballads and toe-tappin’ numbers, transporting the listener with lyrical imagery and sweet harmonies.
Robbie Smith has been a songwriter, singer and player of instruments all his life. From an early age, through the windows of his scenic home outside Shelburne Nova Scotia, his imagination took flight gathering scenes and circumstances which flowed back through his pen and onto the page.
His truly inspired lyrics capture the essence of life lived by and on the sea and the attention of Roger Whitaker who recorded four of Smith’s songs. Robbie has also shared the stage with Pete Seeger and John Allan Cameron and recorded several albums of his own.
In 2008, after years of being a solo artist, Robbie was taken with the voice of an acquaintance and knew he had found his vocal soul mate – a special blend that some performers never find.
From the beginning, Kath Glauser brought her clear natural folky harmonies, organizational skills and engaging stage presence to the table and has since added lead vocals, guitar and mandolin.
"On February 27, 2019 after a courageous battle with cancer, the folk world learned of the sad and shocking death of Robbie Smith - way way too soon. Over the last two years, since meeting and hearing Naming The Twins at NERFA 2017, I became a tremendous fan and admirer of their music. Robbie left behind a true legacy of amazing songs that captivated me and left me always wanting more and more. Robbie will truly be missed!!! But, his music and spirit, will be with us forever. I send Kathleen special and loving thoughts as I devote this show to the memory and legacy of Robbie Smith.
The singer songwriter showcase will be remembering the music of some other wonderful artists we lost over the years, as sent in by artists from all over the country.
It is my hope that the Hootenanny Cafe will help play a vital part in "Keeping the Music Alive"..... Jon Stein, Host of The Hootenanny Cafe
Rachel Marie — July 21, 2019
Rachel Marie follows in a tradition of unapologetically forthright women folksingers, with songs that hearken to "overstuffed lines of Tori Amos, philosophical turn of Indigo Girls, and lilting vocals like Joni Mitchell." The social awareness of folk meets the introspection of the singer-songwriter tradition with a moderate dose of snark. Rachel takes a straightforward and honest approach to songwriting in an effort to foster genuine human connection and encourage empathy through music. Passion for using the power of her voice to shed light on injustice gives rise to poignant poetic statements on subjects from heartbreak and death to police brutality and immigration. An endearingly quirky stage presence as honest as her songs keeps audiences charmed.
Boston-based and Pennsylvania-raised, Rachel has played at prestigious folk venues including the me&thee (MA), Club Passim (MA), the Burren (MA), and Godfrey Daniels (PA) and has shared stages with Cheryl Wheeler, Antje Duvekot, Michelle Lewis, Grace Morrison, and the Kennedys. Rachel's latest full-length album, False Foundations, was released in May 2018. Her November 2018 single “Looking for Light” was featured on an officially curated Spotify playlist the week of its release.
Roger Street Friedman — July 14, 2019
Roger Street Friedman is a singer, songwriter, activist, husband and a father of two, from Sea Cliff, NY. In 2017, Roger released the masterful album, Shoot The Moon. It’s a full-emotional spectrum collection of vivacious and reflective vignettes from real life that recalls the singer-songwriter tradition of Marc Cohn, Randy Newman, Warren Zevon, Mark Knopfler and Robbie Robertson. In an age of irony, few songwriters are this brave in their vulnerability. The album received national airplay and reached #2 on the Roots Music Report’s Americana Album chart, where it spent over 25 weeks in the top 20.
Critic Bill Bentley said, “[Roger] writes with the wisdom of someone who’s seen his share of living, and actually was savvy enough to take notes along the way…” and called Shoot The Moon “one of the best albums” of the year.
Previously, Friedman garnered acclaim for his debut, The Waiting Sky. Champions for the album included USA Today, No Depression, American Songwriter, Relix Magazine, MSN, The Alternate Route, Elmore Magazine and the New York Daily News. He’s toured regionally, performed on Today in Nashville, opened for such venerated artists as Los Lobos and The Blind Boys of Alabama and shared festival stages with Amy Helm and Dar Williams. For the past two years Roger has been dividing his time between New York and Nashville where he’s been writing and performing.
Roger teamed up with folk greats Tom Chapin, Guy Davis, Joel Rafael and Peter Yarrow on his track “Sun Never Sets,” which is a compelling protest song in support of all immigrants. He is using the song to raise awareness of and support for groups that provide legal, financial and educational assistance to immigrants and refugees. Roger performed at the Clearwater Festival in June and will be at The Turning Point in Piermont on July 25 (tickets: https://store.turningpointtickets.com/index.php/roger-street-friedman.html).
Roger is also scheduled to perform at the Huntington Folk Festival, is a 2019 Falcon Ridge Folk Festival Grassy Hill Emerging Artist and is a two-time NERFA showcasing artist. His third full-length album is expected to be released late this year.
Aztec Two-Step 2.0 — July 7, 2019
Since Neal Shulman’s retirement in early 2018 from the renowned folk/rock duo Aztec Two-Step, Rex Fowler continues his legacy as it's co-founder, lead singer and principle songwriter by welcoming four new and talented musicians into the band. Dodie Pettit (Rex’s wife and an original cast member of Broadway’s The Phantom of the Opera and also CATS) is featured on acoustic and electric guitars, keyboards and vocals. Did you know she first met Rex in 1979 as a session player on ATS’s “Time of Our Lives” album? Also featured on upright bass, blues harp and vocals is Steven “Muddy” Roues, Peter Hohmeister on percussion, drums and vocals, and the band's newest member, Joe Meo on sax, flute and clarinet. Jazz pianist and vocalist Chris Coogan also sits in with the band on special occasions.
Rex’s band banter and stage patter is still as fun and engaging as ever; and of course ‘Rex & Friends’ always perform tons of Aztec Two-Step fan favorites and forgotten gems. However, don’t be surprised if you hear Dodie perform a song or two from her impressive 15-year Broadway career; or Muddy and Joe singing lead on one or two of Neal's classic blues-infused ATS originals as well.
The Levins — June 30, 2019
The Levins (pronounced LeVINNs) are a NY-based, nationally touring acoustic duo known for sun- splashed, peace-filled music that connects on a universal level with lighthearted depth. This self- produced NEW RELEASE (4/26/19) "CARAVAN OF DAWN" goes deeper by taking an aerial view of life's ability to break the chains of darkness and light, to explore the sorrow inside joy and joy inside sorrow. Guitar (Ira Levin) and piano (Julia Bordenaro Levin), along with unique harmonies & tightly blended unison vocals, reflect the married couple’s own compatible musical & personal relationship. They closed 2018 with an original full-scale San Francisco musical theater/EuroCircus production based on their 2013 release, "My Friend Hafiz" and they're looking forward to where this new collection will
"The open-hearted songs of The Levins feed my soul. What the world needs now more than ever is the poetry, spirituality, & humanity of their upliftng musicality." - John Platt, WFUV
"Caravan Of Dawn, which hit TOP 10/FolkDJ Chart and Roots Radio Top 20. is a powerful distillation of the duo’s artistic forays, bringing together its varied musical and sonic explorations into a signature aesthetic. Adding to the album’s potency is The Levins’ careful album sequencing, offering the listener a smoothly curated experience, brimming with elegant touches of cello, lush soundscapes, passages with trumpets, and tasteful electric guitar textures. Together, the songs on Caravan Of Dawn orbit around transformative messages of healing. Ira shares,“These days people seem so divided and polarized—many people seek safety in bubbles. We want to offer people hope and a place to connect." Julia concludes, “We hope the album reaches people through its openness and honesty, and that it helps people to move forward and not feel so alone."
These award winners (Indie Acoustic, Empower Music, CTFolk, S.Florida Festival, MASC) were 2017 SERFA and 2016 NERFA Formal Showcase Artists and 2014 Falcon Ridge Emerging Artists. In addition to performing/presenting at the Parliament of World Religions in Toronto, The Levins rounded out 2018 in San Francisco with the multiple show production of My "Friend Hafiz", a theatrical circus directed by Broadway director, Mindy Cooper, featuring the live music of their 2013 recording.
Unique harmonies and tightly blended unison vocals, along with their guitar and piano interplay, reflect the couples own compatible musical/personal relationship which began after meeting at an open mic at The Freight and Salvage in Berkeley CA. Ira and Julia (a.k.a The Levins) married in 2002 and left their California comfort zone 9 years ago to make music full time on the east coast. The key to their success is their continued dedication to making the world a better place through music.
The Levins' Universal message of inclusiveness and encouragement, coupled with their desire to herald and uplift humanity, as a whole is inspirational and infectious. Their songs, stage presence and energy offer a palatable, positive vibe that leaves you on a musical high. This married singer-songwriter duo (Julia and Ira Levin) give audiences a sense of hope and opportunity for global transformation. Or as one audience member shared, "Their music is good medicine."
Lynn Hollyfield — June 23, 2019
Blend a powerful, passionate singer, a crisp, acoustic guitar player and a heartfelt observer of the world and you will have, singer-songwriter, Lynn Hollyfield. Hollyfield's roots hail from Staten Island, NY when she picked up the guitar at age 10 and ran with musical influences she experienced from home. From great jazz artists, Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday to the Beatles, Cream and CSNY, Hollyfield launched into her own songwriting infusing these influences to create a diverse repertoire of contemporary folk, pop, blues and jazz.
Layers, her first solo recording, exploded on the folk scene in 2010, receiving air play and positive reviews-nationally and internationally-marking her as a rising star of contemporary folk. Layers, marks a turning point in her work, and brings together her wit, silky sweetness and a thoughtful reverie to her first, solo recording. "Her indie-folk-pop style would have (her) opening up for 10,000 Maniacs or Cowboy Junkies." (Leicasterbangs, UK). Lynn in fact has opened for headliners including: Jesse Winchester, Loudon Wainwright III, Jonathan Byrd and Christine Lavin. Layers, "presents a pensive, roots-driven collection, which feature the artist's angelic voice and fluid guitar picking." (Dickson Mercer, Maryland Independent). Well received by the Folk community, Layers became listed as one of the Top Albums of 2010 on the Folk DJ Playlist and in the Top 99 Albums of 2011, Dan Herman's Crystal Blue Radio Program. "Hollyfield's songs are beautiful and contain a universal wisdom we can all identify with. (Her songwriting) celebrates the truly important things in life ~ the journey not the destination. A wonderful CD you can listen to over and over and discover something new each time." (Jane Woods, Fanrealm.com). The Album graced the artist with four WAMMIE Washington Area Music Awards nominations (2011). Her songwriting received recent Honorable Mentions in the Mid-Atlantic Songwriting Contest and The Indie International Songwriting Contest-Folk Category. "Lynn is a wonderful singer-songwriter," states Steve Wolf, Bassist. "Your songs are mesmerizing" Carol Lite, Program Committee, Washington Folk Festival.
Hollyfield's highly anticipated second solo recording, In The Balance, was released the end of April 2014. The album was funded in part by a successful Kickstarter campaign In the Balance, went on to be one of the TOP ALBUMS for 2014 on the Folk DJ Listserv. In The Balance is a compelling collection of 12 original songs set in arrangements that highlight Hollyfield's skillful guitar playing and her inviting, rich vocals. John McLaughlin, Folk DJ/This Digital Folk Life.org, reviewed In The Balance and stated, "there's a range of moods and emotions captured in this music; it's a beauty." Lynn Hollyfield and In the Balance received 5 WAMMIE Nominations and Songwriting awards in the Mid-Atlantic and UK Songwriting Contests.
Hollyfield's vocals have developed since her early musical endeavors as part of the duo, Hollyfield & Spruill, who released two recordings, Slipping Time and Blue & Green. Recently described as "the warmest voice since Christine McVie," by Ron Goad, percussionist, SAW (Songwriter's Association of Washington-Board of Directors) and "a most gorgeous tone, I could listen to your voice all day..." Lynn Veronneau, Jazz vocalist. "I love hearing your voice! It’s rich, gentle, comforting and inviting," writes Amy White, Award Winning Musician (Al Petteway & Amy White). In addition to performing throughout the Northeast, Hollyfield supports other musicians and songwriters by hosting a popular, SAW Open Mic (Songwriter's Association of Washington) at the New Deal Cafe, Greenbelt, MD, as a Venue Manager for Focus Music Alexandria, as The Music Director at the Celebration Center for Spiritual Living and as a founding member and producer of Homegrown Coffeehouse, held at the National Colonial Farm-Accokeek Foundation, Accokeek, MD since 1999.