Kitty Donohoe is an Ann Arbor, Michigan based songwriter (and Emmy recipient) and she's been at it for most of her life. Raised in a big, creative family outside of Detroit, she always had a knack for melody and rhyming, and after picking up the guitar in high school she knew that songwriting was her path. Like most artists she was in and out of several bands over the years, starting out singing covers but gradually adding her own songs to the mix. When the audience began requesting her own music she knew she had chosen the right direction for her life. She now works mostly solo but loves to add other musicians when it makes sense. Deeply connected with her own heritage of Ireland and Canada, her songs are often reminiscent of those places, especially as she likes adding traditional instruments to her originals such as fiddle, uilleann pipes and bodhran. She herself plays guitar, cittern (a large mandolin) and piano. In addition to songs, Kitty writes 'tunes' or melodies, several of which have shown up on her CDs. She's currently putting together an all-instrumental project. Some recent highlights in her career include doing a performance with the Canadian Celtic Choir in London, Ontario a few months ago, and being a featured artist on the long-running Chicago radio show 'Folkstage.' The former host of the program, Rich Warren, says of Kitty "she is far above and beyond most singer- songwriter's" and he included her in his list of "50 of the most significant songwriters in the last 50 years" - high praise, indeed! Kitty's most known song is 'There Are No Words' that she wrote on September 11, 2001 as she was watching the World Trade Centers crumble on television. She was urged to record the song immediately, which she did, and from there it's taken an interesting path. It was used as the centerpiece in a Detroit NBC station special about the attacks (hence the Emmy), in an indie film about the 9/11 attacks on the Pentagon, and a live appearance at the dedication of the Pentagon 9/11 Memorial on September 11, 2008. It's also been used and sung by countless others over the years, including Paul Stookey of Peter, Paul & Mary fame. Kitty toured out east in the 90's, performing in places like the Birchmere, Passim and other well-known clubs, but decided it made more sense to stay at home closer to her family, so she has stayed ever since primarily in the Midwest and Canada ~ although she's looking to expand that territory in the next year
Based in Oswego, NY, Gina Holsopple has been performing and recording music for over 20 years. She has been nominated for two Syracuse Area Music Awards, in addition to winning songwriting contests across the eastern half of the country. For the past 15 years Gina Holsopple has been building Gina Marie Music Studio, a music store that provides instruments and supplies, rentals, and over 200 lessons per week to the wider community. She has served as the Musical Director for many community theater productions: including Suessical Jr., Willy Wonka Jr., and Narnia. Gina works as "mom"ager of Rueby Wood, most recently the lead of the Disney+ film "Better Nate Than Ever" and who also traveled for a year and a half with the first National Broadway Tour of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory in the role of Charlie.
A songwriter first and foremost, Gina has released 12 albums and is getting ready to release her 13th this fall. Her music is lyrically driven, with floating melodies that search out the tiny moments of magic that exist amidst the chaos of being human.
Tina Ross is an emerging New York Singer Songwriter making up for lost time. In her second act, she overcomes vocal and hand injuries to pursue her very patient muse with resilience and perseverance. Ross is full-speed (double time) songwriting with The Jack Hardy Songwriting Exchange and Steven Seskin, recording with Mark Dann (having recently finished her debut album), performing, and embracing her growing music community.
Tina's first act informs her music; as a mother, wife, grandmother, chiropractor, nutritionist, advocate for raising awareness of food insecurity and hunger, public speaker, vocalist in a Jazz trio, and a forever hopeful fan of music. Her life with music wasn't just peripheral. At age ten, she performed in a folk duo with her mother, "Tina Ross and Mom". In college, she performed on campus during her semesters studying voice. Even throughout professional school, Tina never stepped away from her musical roots.
Tina had to overcome challenges before she could fully explore a songwriter career. After being accidentally hit in the throat, she could not talk for more than five minutes without her voice frying. Singing was out of the question. She worked through this successfully with doctors, physical therapists, and vocal coaches. And after she injured her hands as a chiropractor, she searched for a way to adjust her guitar playing to the limitations of this disability. Open tunings became an essential part of Ross’s music, opening sonic landscapes that she would not have imagined without that adaptation. This discovery resulted in distinctive, nuanced textures in her guitar playing.
Tina Ross hosts the Open Stage and hosts and produces the monthly online series “Inside the Song” for The Folk Project of New Jersey. Tina interviews seasoned songwriters and explores their songwriting process. Guests have included Dar Williams, Ellis Paul, Tom Chapin, Christine Lavin, The Kennedys and more. Tina brings her innate curiosity to understand the vision behind an artist’s work.
Tina Ross combines her soaring, intimate voice and sonic-scaped guitar playing with songs that resemble the white space of a timeless painting. Here she probes the indispensable space between yin and yang, light and dark. That space creates shapes, allowing everything to exist, and nothing happens without it. A quiet, elegant fierceness runs through her songs, speaking to wonder, humility, doubt, defiance. They are imbued with vulnerability and mastery alike, a testament to giving it one’s very best shot. Tina is named the winner of the prestigious 2023 FocusMusic Heyman Rising Artist Award. She’s been recognized by the UK Songwriting Contest, The International Acoustic Music Awards and The International Blues and Roots Radio Contest as a finalist, the UK Songwriting Contest as a semi-finalist, and the John Lennon and SolarFest Songwriting Contests as an Honorable Mention.
Tina's debut album, released February 2023, is her official imprint into the digital folk community after performing in notable folk conferences and festivals, including The Hurdy Gurdy Folk Club, Rockwood Music Hall with John Platt's "On Your Radar", The Bitter End, The Troubadour at The Folk Project, Folk Alliance, opening for Tom Chapin and Christine Lavin.
Her lyrics illuminate and unveil the endless discovery that sparks the forging of an authentic life. “I am my most authentic self when singing and writing music and am grateful that I did not let more time pass before I dove in.”
Contemporary folk music with a few twists. Although Sue and Dwight were born too late to be part of the 1960s Folk Revival, their music embodies the spirit of that time. The Canadian songwriting duo’s uplifting and soothing music focuses on themes of peace, courage, and social justice. With one foot planted solidly in folk music, the duo comfortably step out into pop, gospel, and the blues. Their three CD’s and numerous singles reflect on their prairie roots, their experiences in Canada’s largest city, and their travels to rural areas of East Africa. “Their lyrics always tell a story and frequently pull at your emotions...asking us to consider what we can do to improve our world and the planet we live on.” – Bruce Hanson, smalltowntoronto.com The first CD, Darlings Of The Open Stage, is a tribute to passionate performers everywhere who take the stage each night to share their music. The duo honed their own songwriting at an open stage at Toronto’s Cameron House hosted by the Leslie Spit Treeo. Little Child Big World, the follow up CD, is a collection of songs inspired by travels to small villages in Ethiopia, Malawi, Uganda and Tanzania. While there, Sue and Dwight met small farmers, people living with AIDS, night commuters and other courageous and resilient individuals. While underlining the injustice of the disparity between the developed and developing world, the CD’s focus is on the individuals the duo met. Their stories paint pictures of a world so familiar yet so afar. Their most recent CD release For A Moment is a collection of songs that reflect the diversity of moments that make up our everyday lives. Some moments are fleeting glimpses into the lives of people we pass by. Others can be deeply personal...leading to epiphanies that give us a whole new outlook. Our lives are full of these and other moments. The duo has continued to be busy with their songwriting and have released over a dozen Singles since 2018. Many of these will be featured on their upcoming CD expected to be released in Fall 2023. Sue and Dwight like to connect with audiences wherever they are. For the past 20 years, the duo has been a fixture on the Toronto Music Scene performing in clubs, house concerts and festivals including a six-year weekly residency at The Cameron House. Tours have taken them further afield to other parts of Canada. They have also had the good fortune to be able to perform for the very people many of their songs have been written about...women living with HIV, students, and farmers...in school yards, villages and fields in Malawi, Tanzania, and Uganda. Sue and Dwight have also been a part of Toronto’s Subway Musicians Programme. The experiences of a subway busker have provided a rich source of insights and stories that Sue has compiled in a book called Attention All Subway Riders - A Busker’s Eye View. In 2012, Sue and Dwight developed a musical show that pays homage to the duo’s folk heroes like Pete Seeger, Phil Ochs, Buffy-Sainte Marie, and Bob Dylan. ‘60′s Folk Singalong - Where Have All The Folk Songs Gone’ tribute show transports audiences back to the coffeehouses of that special time. During the pandemic Sue and Dwight developed a series of online shows to keep the music alive. 'Livingroom Live', a weekly show of their original songs, a monthly 60's Folk Singalong, and a monthly show dedicated to pop hits of the 1970s are now in their third year. They have played over 200 online shows to audiences across North America since 2020.
Ben Bostick is a South Carolina-raised, Georgia-based singer-songwriter and one man band.
After leaving home for a decade of rambling and toiling at odd jobs, Bostick blew into California and decided to try his hand busking on the Santa Monica Pier. To the great surprise of the former ranch hand and roofer, Bostick found that he could make a living playing music. Ben saved his busking money and used it to record his debut EP, My Country, in 2016. No Depression says, “he comes on like an unholy alliance of George Jones and Merle Haggard.” My Country was nominated for an Independent Music Award in the Roots/Country category.
His debut album, Ben Bostick (2017), takes on a more progressive country tone, recalling such artists as Jason Isbell and Sturgill Simpson, and showcases his versatility as a songwriter. “This eponymous album is so well written that it is to look into the heart of the divine, a true great,” says Liverpool Sound & Vision.
Hellfire (2018), Bostick’s sophomore release, is a collection of high energy songs written during his band’s yearlong residency at The Escondite in downtown Los Angeles. Lonesome Highway says, "Bostick has a wicked & wry sense of looking at things and amidst a gumbo of Country, Rockabilly, Blues and Rock we are treated to plenty of drinkin’, hard partying on Saturday nights, lustful love flings, poor boy messes and just downright bitter and mean men - loners set to do you harm."
September 2019 brought Bostick and his family to Atlanta, GA. As a follow up to the raucous Hellfire, Bostick released the contemplative Among the Faceless Crowd in the midst of the pandemic in April 2020. The aptly themed album was about working folks having a hard time getting by. The Daily Vault says, "The haunted feel and moral complexity of these songs inevitably bring to mind Bruce Springsteen’s Nebraska. It’s a point of comparison one should never make lightly, but it’s merited here thanks to the exceptional craft and affecting power of Bostick’s songs."
In February 2020 Bostick welcomed his second daughter into the world. In March the pandemic hit and work dried up. In July Bostick’s eldest daughter was diagnosed with Rett Syndrome, a rare and severe genetic disorder that affects all aspects of her life. In the midst of these global and personal trials, Bostick abandoned an album of portraits and penned a collection of love songs to help his wife and him endure. The songs on Grown Up Love (2021) are born from the experience of a couple that has been through the fire.
A stalwart of the Georgia live music scene, Bostick plays 250+ shows a year in bars, breweries, and barbecue joints around the state. 2023’s The Rascal Is Back is a collection of original tunes that are staples of his live repertoire. If you need a soundtrack to your weekend or a musical companion on a long drive, look no further than this fun, funny, propulsive set of country and heartland rock.
Eddie Jeff Cahill is a wonderful singer songwriter from the Midwest.He has been an annual in studio guest of the Hootenanny Cafe Radio Show - up until the pandemic struck. Happy to say Eddie Jeff will be returning this year as once again he dons his costume as the birdman at the Ren Faire in Tuxedo, NY August 26-Oct 8. Not only is he a wonderful performer at the Faire, but he is a wonderful performer in his own rights. Don't miss the return of Eddie Jeff Cahill to the Hootenanny Cafe Cafe.
Remember: This will air on Monday, Sept 4 at 9PM (Est) - Special Night
Robert Bidney is a Southwest Florida-based singer-songwriter whose songs are both relatable and have a strong commercial sensibility, and whose messages are as strong as his melodies. Accompanying himself on both guitar and keyboards, he is a seasoned performer who connects with his audiences through his infectious energy and emotional performances. Bidney has been writing songs for most of his life -- songs with meaning – songs that define him and reveal his soul.
His latest release, 2023’s Thank Goodness, features eight tracks that Bidney hopes will help heal the world – inspired by the changes and challenges that we’ve all been experiencing over the past few years. Thank Goodness is his third studio album following 2019’s Rush of Hope (which addresses universal themes through a lens of optimism) and his 2015 debut It’s All About Love (whose songs convey a message of love instead of hate). His recordings are available on all the major digital download and streaming sites. An eclectic array of artists around the world has also covered Bidney’s songs.
His creativity and commercial awareness merged while Bidney was employed by advertising agencies for which he wrote and produced a number of national radio and TV jingles for clients and worked closely with many top musicians, producers and songwriters throughout the U.S. and Canada. Among the companies and organizations for which he’s composed national jingles are ARC Angels, Epilepsy Foundation, Levitz Furniture, Mohawk Carpets, Office Depot, PetSmart, Swim ‘N Sport Shops, and The Sports Authority.
Not one to be pigeonholed into a particular musical style, Bidney writes and performs songs in a folk, Americana and folk-rock vein and has incorporated country, pop and musical theater stylings in his work as well. He cites Leon Russell as his biggest influence, while also counting Burt Bacharach and Graham Nash among his inspirations.
For the past five years, Bidney has been a guest songwriter at the two-week-long Island Hopper Songwriter Festival, a nationally recognized event sponsored by iHeart radio that features successful songwriters from Nashville and across the U.S. He is an active member of the Americana Community Music Association. As a songwriter who frequently delves into topical songs, he also is a juried artist with Music-To-Life (a national nonprofit organization co-founded by Noel “Paul” Stookey of Peter, Paul & Mary fame that connects socially conscious musicians with the mentors, resources and training needed to realize their bold visions for community change) and a member of Braver Angels (a grassroots organization that seeks to depolarize American politics).
On her new 9th album ‘Center of the Universe’, Swedish born musician; Sofia Talvik, brings together her own distinctive nordic melancholy, Laurel Canyon vibes and modern folk mixed with bluegrass, further defining the path that is uniquely hers.
Throughout the 10 songs on the album, there is a broad range of topics of some of life’s most earnest moments, ranging from the Ukraine War, American women’s rights, the thousands of missing children in the US and the torment of domestic violence survivors across the world.
The first single "Circle of Destruction" has already been featured in Bluegrass Today as well as picked up by numerous stations around the U.S and Europe, such as the BBC in the UK. A previous version of "Too Many Churches" released last year reached no 3 on Folk Radio Charts in September 2022. An acoustic version of "Meanwhile in Winnsboro" released in the early days of the pandemic was featured in American Songwriter Magazine. The two latter songs are now formally released on the album in new versions.
Talvik has released 9 full length albums and countless singles and eps. She has performed at festivals ranging from Lollapalooza to SXSW. part of the New Acoustic duo Hansan with German cellist David Floer.
Primarily a live artist, Talvik has taken her music across Europe and through 48 U.S. states, riding in her 1989 Winnebago Warrior with her husband and sound technician Jonas at the wheel, digging deep into the American sound and channeling it through her Nordic roots to create a singular brand of Americana. While her Swedish roots serve as the basis for her songwriting, she often calls upon her many journeys and experiences for inspiration, especially the uniquely American archetype of roaming the endless highway.
She is currently on a 4 month 50+ concert Tour of the USA.
Cassidy Dickens is a Nashville-based singer-songwriter originally from the mountains of southern West Virginia. Surrounded by Appalachia’s colorful storytelling, front porch picking, and rich vocal harmonies from day one, Cassidy has always been enamored by the singular power of music to capture fleeting memories and raw emotion. This lifelong enchantment has inspired a musical catalog overflowing with love, heartbreak, home, and other universal-yet-intensely-personal themes.
Cassidy’s debut album, Ghosts, released in 2014, earned her nominations for Beachcomber Magazine Music Awards’ Best Album & Female Vocalist of the Year. She then moved to Nashville in 2017 and co-produced her sophomore album, Anxious Love, with Californian artist/producer Ben Justus. The album drew cross-genre comparisons to lyrical icons like Patty Griffin and Lori McKenna, as well as contemporary powerhouse female artists like Alanis Morissette and Cam.
Detroit singer-songwriter Mike Ward is known for his lyrically-centric, vocally-charged folk songs. While growing up in Port Huron, Michigan, he listened to the Irish music of his heritage and sang in several choirs before digesting the influential sounds of Simon & Garfunkel, Dylan, Springsteen and John Prine. These days, he finds inspiration in the works of Jason Isbell, Sarah Jarosz and John Paul White. His intimate songwriting echoes through empty city streets, back country roads and family portraits. It also resides in the hidden spaces between joy and tragedy, love and loss.
Ward brings a unique perspective to his songwriting after having spent 40 years working in the advertising industry while continuing a lifelong passion for hockey, which resulted in his infamous nickname “PsychoWard.” His debut album, We Wonder, released in 2018, was named “Best Folk Album of 2019” by Phil Maq of 89.3-FM (WHFR).
In 2019, Ward immersed himself into the songwriting community in Detroit as well as Folk Alliance Region Midwest (FARM) and several online groups. This led to an association with David Roof of Rooftop Recording as well as collaborations with some of Michigan’s finest songwriters and musicians who would contribute mightily on his future projects. Ward released his second album in 2021, "The Darkness and The Light", as a thoughtful way to highlight past struggles, including regret and loss, and champion the need for hope in a changing world. The album landed at #33 on the Folk Alliance International (FAI) folk charts in March 2021 and has been played on the radio internationally.
A year later, Ward dropped "Particles to Pearls", which explores the love of family and the passage of time. In addition to multiple Detroit Music Award recognitions, he received an honorable mention in the Great River Folk Fest Songwriting Contest for the song “Letting Go.” That same year also brought Ward’s sociopolitical EP "Troubled Times" as a bold reminder to raise your voice and chase your freedom. The EP’s three contemplative tracks emphasize protecting individual rights, upholding free speech, and supporting immigration.
This spring, Mike will release his fourth album Love Never Rests, which features 11 introspective tracks that examine observations about life, love and loss along with relationships of the past, present and future. All stories are told through his emotive viewpoints of wisdom and gratitude.
Outside of his releases, Ward performs regularly at small venues, clubs and house shows throughout Michigan, the Midwest, and the East Coast. He’s been on stage at Trinity House Theatre, Wiltsie’s, Lager House, Pete’s Candy Store, Folknet and Over Yonder Concert House. Mike also performs at notable festivals, including the Wheatland Music Festival, FARM DJ showcases and performance lanes, Nor-East’r Festival, Thumbfest, Holler Fest, Thunder Bay Folk Festival and Soaring Eagle Arts, Beats & Eats. Finally, Ward has been featured on several radio, podcast and streaming shows such as Ron Olesko’s Folk Music Notebook Shelter in Place Showcase, Jon Stein’s Hootenanny Café Showcase, John Bommarito’s Acoustic Alternatives, Charlie’s Open Mic Acoustic Showcase with Charlie Mosbrook, The Stratton Setlist and Bruce Swan’s Music My Mother Would Not Like.
Christie was born in Newfoundland, Canada, where her father was stationed with the U.S. Navy. Her family moved to Virginia Beach, Virginia when she was six months old. Her father served in the US Navy and her mother was a business owner. Still, as she recalls, “My parents worked a lot when I was little, my father was still in the Navy and my mother was a business owner. The one memory from my childhood that stands out the most was that there was always music playing at home. My parents loved to play music on the stereo every single day. My sisters and I would move the living room furniture out of the way and sing and dance and use a hairbrush for a microphone.” Christie and her sisters took piano and ballet lessons for a few years, but only her sisters took singing lessons.
That was fine with Christie since her ambition from an early age was to become a ballet dancer. “We would visit my aunt in Norfolk every Sunday. On the way home, we would drive by the Hofheimer's Shoe Store, and see the beautiful, satin, pink pointe shoes spotlighted in the window. I would always point them out to my family and say, ‘I am going to be a ballet dancer one day and dance in pointe shoes!’” Christie took to playing piano as if born to it. “Mom said I started playing songs from the radio by ear on the piano, two hands, when I was four years old. I could sing 2-3-4-part harmonies when I was six.” Besides a knack for playing piano, Christie’s singing talents proved to be even more formidable. Even though her dream was to become a ballet dancer, she had to stop dancing when she landed her first professional “gig” on The Spirit of Norfolk, a local dinner cruise ship, when she was only fifteen and a half years old. Her career blossomed to include singing for weddings and receptions. These musical ventures solidified Christie’s ambitions to pursue a career in the performing arts. In college, Christie shifted back to her first love of dancing, first earning a B.A. in Theater, with a dance emphasis, at Old Dominion University and an M.F.A. at the University of Oklahoma in Modern Dance Pedagogy, Choreography, and Performance. After graduate school, she achieved her childhood dream by joining two of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s casts of CATS, first performing in the Hamburg, Germany production, and later in the National Broadway Tour as Sillabub which played throughout the US and Canada. After years of touring, she would go on to become a professor at the University of Virginia’s School of Continuing and Professional Studies (a position she still holds), teaching courses in the Anthropology and History of the Fine and Performing Arts of World Cultures. She also taught Ballet and Jazz Technique at Christopher Newport University in Newport News, Virginia. The starting point of her recording career began in 2001 when she traveled to Vermont to renowned Imaginary Road Studios to record a demo. What began as a demo evolved into recording her first vocal album, Don’t Look Back. As often happens, life intervened. The time from her first recording session to the formal release has been a wonderful journey and Christie is excited to launch her career as a vocal artist. Her first single, "Leap of Faith," was released earlier this year, and her debut CD, Don't Look Back, produced by Will Ackerman, Grammy Award winning artist and founder of Windham Hill Records, will be released on October 26, 2023.
This is what some are saying about Jim Page. Good reasons to tune in!!!!
“One Of The 50 Most Influential Musicians In Seattle History” - Seattle Metropolitan Magazine. Recorded 21 albums. Songs covered by Doobie Brothers, Christy Moore, Dick Gaughan, Michael Hedges, Roy Bailey. Toured 13 countries. “If Jim Page ain’t the bastard son of Woody Guthrie I’m T-Bone Walker” - Robert Hunter
And the theme that Jim chose for the Singer Songwriter Showcase: Success Against The Odds (or, Beating The Odds).
Jeni Hackett is a singer/songwriter from Kresgeville, Pennsylvania. Jeni started performing while in high school back in 1996. She never had a passion for music until suffering a knee injury opened a musical door that led Jeni to where she is today. She is a self-taught guitarist and with a natural vocal ability. Never having a music lesson in her life, she has mastered her way through the live and recording scene of Northeast PA. In 2000 she traveled out to Kansas City, MO to record her first EP: Frozen Hearts/Flaming Fire. After coming home, she worked her way through all of the local open mics to finally get her foot in the door to start playing live PAID shows.
In 2002 she released her first full length album, Gravity, which was produced and recorded at the Menagerie Studios in Saylorsburg, PA. Right Before My Eyes, was Jeni’s second full length disc. That was also produced and recorded at the Menagerie Studios and released in 2004. Jeni has also had her tunes released on a few compilation CDs, including The Stage TV-Stripped, WNTI Unsigned Volume 1, and The Menagerie Compilation Disc.
In 2005, Jeni’s solo career came to a halt when she joined her first band, SteelCreek. This was her first experience venturing into the country music world. Her uncle, who was the keyboard player of the band at the time, convinced her give it a shot. Almost 20 years later, the band is still together and playing more than ever! It is comprised of six musicians who have been in and around music for the majority of their lives. Jeni and the band have opened for national acts such as, Joe Nichols, Confederate Railroad, The Weight Band, The Bacon Brothers, Tim Foust of Home Free, Austin Burke and Kaleb Lee. They have also been seen on local TV stations and various telethons, and have appeared on numerous radio stations.
Jeni is currently in the studio mixing her third full length CD, Black & Blue and she released her first music video last year for the title track of the album: Black and Blue. She is also very busy performing live. Just this year alone, she has 163 shows booked for herself as a solo act, acoustic duo or trio and the full six-piece band.
Global folk sensation The Scooches, led by vocalist Betina Hershey and multi-instrumentalist Nick Russo, have announced the release of ‘LIFT YOU UP,’ the celebrated group’s third full-length album. The NYC-based band, formerly known as Banjo Nickaru & Western Scooches, raise their voices, their instruments, their consciousness, with an eclectic melting pot of original music inspired by world folk traditions, global Americana, New Orleans verve and the unfettered exuberance of the 1920s. Expertly helping with the lifting is a world-class lineup of standout musicians from New York, Suriname, Sapelo Island (Georgia), Mexico, India, and the Caribbean. Elmore Magazine championed the group’s “remarkable musical dexterity with songs that bask in a genuine roots regimen and a sense of timeless tradition” while Big Takeover Magazine best described their fluid convergence of minds, souls and cultures as “Not just music forged from myriad sounds and cultural styles garnered from genre and geography but the music of the world, about the world.” The new 12-song collection builds upon the exuberance that made 2018’s ‘Get Us Out Of Fearland’ (#2 on the International Folk Chart) and ‘Very Next Thing’ (2016), a transcendent breath of fresh air. Inspired by the current social climate, most of the songs on LIFT YOU UP, including “Let’s Grow Our Roots Deep And True,” “Spread Your Wings And Fly” and “Open A Door,” call upon society and the human race to believe that we, collectively, can make a difference, a change for the better. Lead single, "Stop This Climate Change,” a poetic and uplifting anthem fraught with grave concern, yet infused with positive intuition, perfectly encapsulates their empathetic, yet urgent, call to action. Other album highlights include the reggae-dub groove of the title track, the playful, country break-up song “I Broke The Egg,” the 1920s-inspired “What’s Meant To Last Will Last,” the smoky Motown-inflected duet “Give It To Me Real” (featuring Miles Griffith and Hershey trading lines), the gospel-tinged “Leavin’,” the eerily lilting “Run,” about trafficking and gun violence, and the rollicking bluegrass-driven “Let’s Grow Our Roots Deep And True,” about finding home. The ever-timely traditional protest song “Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me ‘Round” (which Joan Baez recently sang with Justin Jones of the Tennessee Three at Newark airport) is presented in two versions and both are stunners; the first a celebration to lift the spirits, the second a Gullah Geechee version featuring stirring contributions from improvisational vocals from Miles Griffith and drumfolk riddim percussionist/vocalist Dr. David Pleasant. With production and jaw harp from Len Monachello at Soundtronics in NYC, LIFT YOU UP raises the bar with spirited contributions from Angela Workman (vocals), Russell Hall (bass), Kenny Kosek (fiddle), Jennifer Vincent (double bass), Ahmad Johnson (drums), Hilliard Greene (double bass), Art Hirihara (organ) and dancer Michela Marino Lerman, who adds a bit of tap on “What’s Meant to Last Will Last.” In total, 17 musicians combine forces to lift you up. Over the years, The Scooches have performed at the Kansas City Folk Festival, Club Passim, Blue Plate Special, WFUV, John Platt's “On Your Radar” and syndicated old-time radio show WoodSongs with various members also performing with artists such as Paul McCartney, Paul Simon, Willie Nelson, James Taylor, Jerry Garcia, Julia Roberts, and Wynton Marsalis. Russo and Hershey have made appearances in movies such as Disney's ‘Enchanted,’ ‘Mona Lisa Smile,’ ‘Away We Go’ and PBS Masterpiece’s ‘The Chaperone’. “Americana music at its purest and most impressive” - No Depression “A band that has to be seen to be believed.” - John Platt (WFUV) VERY NEXT THING #6 Album - International Folk DJ Chart (Sept 2016) GET US OUT OF FEARLAND #2 Album - International Folk DJ Chart (April 2018)
Amber Ikeman’s music is water, quenching your soul and soothing your heart. Inspired by the legacy of powerful truthtelling songstresses like Joni Mitchell, Jewel, and Joan Baez, Ikeman’s songwriting is imbued with the knowledge that without rain, there is no life—that growth and change only come from weathering the storms that will inevitably come. Images from her years as a nomad wandering the western United States, and residing in Wyoming and Montana, give a living backdrop to her lyrics of self-discovery, resilience, wildness, and women’s issues. Based in Nashville, Tennessee, Amber has toured all across the United States and parts of Canada, earning praise from audiences and tastemakers alike. Songs off of her first full length album, Rise, earned the 2017 Vic Heyman Songwriting Award from the South Florida Folk Festival and the 2018 John O’Hara Outstanding Folk Song Grant. She released "Wild and Uneven," an EP themed around body liberation and mental health, in March of 2023.
Mitch Hayes is a singer-songwriter originally from North Carolina who now calls Oklahoma, home. Coming from a very musical family, he has been playing and singing all of his life. His musical journey began in Junior High and High School as the drummer in a band playing private parties and dances with his brother and some friends. While in High School and College, he picked up the guitar and began performing in the iconic 60’s and 70’s coffeehouse scene. It was then that he began to develop his songwriting skills. It’s no surprise that his signature Folk/Americana style was influenced by those singer songwriters of his day whose music defined an entire generation. Mitch has performed in many iconic venues such as The Commodore Grille in Nashville, TN, Opening Bell Coffee in Dallas, TX, Kulak’s Woodshed in North Hollywood, CA, John & Peter’s Place in New Hope, PA and Café Artiste at the Jersey Shore Arts Center in Ocean Grove, NJ. He has performed with or opened for well, known Folk/Americana acts such as the late Jerry Burgan, co-founder of We Five, Folk Soul Revival, Canadian sensation Corb Lund & The Hurtin’ Alburtans; and in songwriter rounds with the likes of David Childers, and Nashville’s legendary Jerry Foster who on one occasion commented to Mitch, “those are some mighty fine songs, you’ve written, keep up the good work.” Hayes has three studio albums to his credit. They are “My Reflection” 2014, “Heroes” 2016, “A Long Way Home” 2020 and will be releasing his fourth, “Gentle Man” in June of 2023. He has been written up in music publications such as No Depression, Music Connection Magazine, Americana Highways, Wildfire Music and most recently by the highly respected Alan Cackett. In 2017 two songs from his “Heroes” album charted on FMQB’s AC chart; “All Fall Down” peaking at #26 and “Look At You” coming in at #40. On a more personal note, Mitch is a Cancer survivor. In 2012 he was diagnosed with and underwent treatment for throat Cancer. Therapy was successful and he is now cancer-free. However, this experience left him with some changes to his voice and a new outlook on life. "I went from having a smooth, choral sounding voice to having more of a rough edge, like Bob Seger or Tom Waits. This was quite the difficult ordeal to go through but I was just happy and thankful to be alive and to be able to sing and perform my songs, again” recalls Hayes. Mitch’s songs will take you on an emotional journey through timeless themes of love and loss, self-reflection, joy and sadness and social consciousness. His lyrics will sometimes make you laugh, sometimes make you cry, but will always entertain you. These days you can catch him performing as a solo artist in venues and in songwriter rounds around Oklahoma, Texas and the Southwest or on the occasional tour as a duet act with his talented daughter, Erin Hayes on vocals and flute. For sure, a Mitch Hayes show is a wonderfully entertaining experience and one that should not be missed!
The Kutztown Folk Festival is the oldest continuously operated folklife festival in America. This nine-day event continues to draw visitors from all over the world, entertaining families while providing valuable insight into the traditions of the Pennsylvania Dutch and their fascinating way of life. Children's activities abound and admission is free for children 12 and under. The festival also houses the largest quilt sale in America and has an internationally attended Quilt Auction of top prize-winning quilts.
Dave Kline is a performer and musical director Heather Zimmerman is the first ever woman executive director of this amazing Folk Life Festival.
Texan Brian Kalinec has been called "a combination of Woody Guthrie, John Steinbeck, James Taylor, and Rodney Crowell in the stories he tells" in a review in music magazine Rootsy. He has also been described by Robert Bartosh of Roots Music Report as “one of the most creative songwriters from the Texas music scene". Brian has received a considerable recognition here and abroad, winning events such as the Songwriter Serenade Competition, the Big Top Chautauqua Song Contest, second place in the Woody Guthrie Song Contest and a finalist in the UK Songwriting Contest, to name a few. He was nominated for Songwriter of the Year and Musician of the Year in the Texas Music Awards in the recent past. He has appeared at the Kerrville Folk Festival, and venues such as Uncle Calvin's in Dallas, The Bugle Boy in La Grange, and as a featured guest on Rich Warren's Folkstage on WFMT in Chicago.
Brian is now releasing a new project, “The Beauty of it All” in June 2023. A song from this album, “Redwood Fence”, premiered in late January on Americana Highways. He recently toured the UK this summer with his duo partner Kj Reimensnyder-Wagner in late July 2022 in support of the Kalinec & Kj 2021 release “Let’s Get Away”, which included appearances at the Belladrum Festival near Inverness. His 2023 touring plans include a festival in the Czech Republic and an appearance again at Belladrum.
Brian and his wife Pam own Berkalin Records, a label which is home to a number of well-respected folk and Americana artists. Brian is Past-President of the Southwest Regional Folk Alliance, and was recently on the boards of directors for Songwriter Serenade and HoustonLive.
Steve and Kristi Nebel bring passion, finesse, and beauty with their songs of social justice, knife edge observations, and pure, simple love. They have done nine tours in UK folk clubs and festivals. They have recorded more than ten CDs, mostly of their own songs. Kristi’s solo CD, “Detour” got her was nominated “western swing female performer of the year”. The Nebels' style is informed by a wealth of experience lending their voices to the other for a blend that exceeds the sum of their two parts. They are currently promoting their latest CD, “The Very First Time”.
Hailing from the mystical community of Penny, nestled in the Rocky Mountains on the banks of the Fraser River in Northern BC, Dawn Boudreau draws from this earthy upbringing in her music creation. Although educated in jazz studies, this artist cannot deny her deep-seated folk influences. The mountains, river and railway are almost audible in her instrumental selections, utilizing mandolin, violin, flute, pedal steel, accordion and electric acoustic guitar, as well as the more traditional jazz choices, such as saxophones, upright acoustic bass and her own instrument of preference, piano.
Since 2012, Boudreau has resided in beautiful, busy Vancouver, BC, where she studied jazz at Capilano University. Studying jazz at the age of 40 was enlightening, as she realized her music was more of a combination of folk and jazz pop. She obtained her Bachelor of Music, but focussed mainly on teaching following her graduation. In 2019, she started producing music again and is loving it!
Nancy K. Dillon, an award-winning American songwriter/performer, possesses a warm expressive voice unique in revealing both strength and vulnerability. With a finely focused musical ear, Dillon mines a vein of avant garde Americana in her compelling tales of mythopoetic darkness and light melding past and future. Nancy has released three full-length studio albums. A 6-song EP (Live at The Royal Room) was released in September 2017. Two Christmas singles followed in 2017 (In the Bleak Midwinter) and 2019 (Coventry Carol). Dillon's newest full-length studio album (Cawker City Blues) is set to be released in 2023. Dillon writes compellingly, poetically and sometimes mysteriously. This talent elevates her writing beyond the usual fare of singer-songwriters. She initially found inspiration in dreams and in traveling across vast landscapes in the western US. Then it was her family's history in Ireland, Scotland, Europe and Britain which yielded new inspiration and newly minted stories. She unearthed unknown facts along the way: Her musician father fought in the brutal Battle of the Bulge in World War II; her 7th great-grand-uncle in Scotland wrote a treatise called Lex Rex upon which the 2nd amendment was based. Dillon grew up in Central Oklahoma in a musical family. Her composer/professor/jazz-saxophonist/church-choir-director father, Bob Dillon and her mother, Betty Lou, a former vocal teacher who sang hymns around the house, surrounded her with music. After graduating from the University of Oklahoma, a move to Seattle led to travel, adventure and varied musical opportunity. Nancy performed in roots-based bands and was in demand as a backing vocalist and session singer until her decision to focus on songwriting in the New Millennium. In 2004, Dillon released her first solo studio album with Grammy Award-winning engineer, Garey Shelton. A rootsy outing of mostly original songs, Just Let Me Dream gained airplay around the world and was highly praised by reviewers. The release of her 2nd album, Roses Guide To Time Travel (2010), began a musical exploration of Dillon’s American roots. She designed a haunting image of an old-time locomotive for the cover and dedicated the album to her great-grandfather Kansas trainman and BLFE Union Officer, Asa Dillon. She continued her travels throughout the West writing and singing songs of railroads, Okies, Texas tornados and lonely roads of red dirt. Dillon's 2018 release, A Game of Swans was inspired and informed by her passion for genealogy. The album hearkens back to her immigrant roots in the Old Countries while fixing her gaze firmly forward. The 12 tracks on A Game of Swans reveal ancestral strains of Celtic folk music migrated to America, strains always flowing just beneath the surface of Dillon's music. A Game of Swans echoes with strengths and challenges of history, a promise of new hopes and dreams and draws out the ghosts of yet untold stories. To achieve perfect colors, tones and authenticity for the album, contributing tracks from the UK and Scotland were blended with recordings made in the Pacific NW, USA. Continuing the magic born of the internet and several musical collaborations begun on Nancy's previous album, Roses Guide to Time Travel, A Game of Swans fulfills that promise and is a masterful showcase for Nancy K Dillon as a bandleader. She pulls together a cast of extraordinary players and guides them into creating the perfect sounds to fit each song. Personnel includes UK musos, Gavin Sutherland (Sutherland Brothers & Quiver), Ian Lang (Small Change), Chris Parks (Any Trouble) and Ollie Collins (Badly Drawn Boy/Angie Palmer). They combine their prodigious talents with American contributors Stacy Phillips (Dobro), Michael Connelly (fiddle/uilleann pipes/penny whistle), Wes Weddell (mandolin), Chris Leighton (percussion), Garey Shelton (bass guitar/engineer) and harmony vocalists, Joy Mills and Tom Parker.
“Mark Bishop Evans is a natural-born storyteller, and it’s more than evident in his emotionally-weighted performances. Sit back with a cup of joe as Mark guides you through vivid, sundrenched tales of uplifting folk rock -- truly captivating material from the Arizona-based folk rocker.”
With a heritage deeply rooted in folk and rock, Arizona-based Mark Bishop Evans has been putting out uplifting folk hits that sink in like a home cooked meal. Feel-good vibes are rife in Mark’s music, and his signature sound encapsulates the heart and soul of the breadth of his influences. He cites Gordon Lightfoot, Bob Dylan, Peter, Paul and Mary, The Kingston Trio and The Beach Boys as influences that helped shape him into the artist that he is today.
Mark grew up around the beaches of southern California, and his introduction to music began early with the trumpet. Guitar would soon follow, as his heart gravitated towards becoming a singer-songwriter. He would develop and nurture this skill at church groups in San Diego, known as hootenannies. Inspired by the East Coast coffeehouse scenes and their rich ties to folk, Mark began writing his own brand of folk-infused rock and ballads.
For Mark, music’s never really been about the pomp or ceremony, but instead a vehicle for which he chooses to move hearts and souls with. Deeper messages and meaningful lyrics mark the very core of what Mark Bishop Evans is about and can be attributed to the profound impact that the folk and protest songs of the ‘60s had on him.
Mark’s musical migration has seen him traverse the rock, Latin, pop, country, and gospel scenes, though has now come full circle back to folk, where it all began for him. With 4 contemporary Christian records released between 2000 and 2014, Mark’s creative endeavors have certainly kept him busy.
He has recently finished two projects titled ‘The Seeds of Today’ and ‘No Guarantee’. These to go along with his 2019 release, ‘Something ’Bout Tomorrow’, which premiered in June 2019. All of these are an intriguing blend of folk, folk rock, and ballads, lyrically it’s rich in emotional content and melodically comfortable in Mark’s signature style.
Lucie Blue Tremblay’s new album, SO MANY WOWS, is a much-anticipated addition to her canon of extraordinary music—her first album in five years. We are all better off having her compassionate yet empowering perspectives to listen to during these tumultuous times. Lucie’s legacy as a fixture in the Woman’s Music movement since the 1980s continues with her songs about the past and the present—overflowing with honesty, candor, and empathy.
SO MANY WOWS highlights her folk music legacy, especially her insightful and empowering lyrics. Lucie’s place in the history of Women’s Music is well-known and this recording marks an important addition to her musical catalog. Lucie Blue’s bucolic life with her wife in Paradise, Nova Scotia has inspired her to write hopeful songs such as the title cut and “I Will See You” which mimics the movement of the tides, as well as the Acadian influenced song “You Set My Sails Free.” Lucie Blue shows another side to her music by including some political messages like the anthemic “Do Something,” a song about taking action and making change in the world and “We Are Magnificent” which calls out the “bullies and lies” and encourages hope beyond all else.
Much of SO MANY WOWS was crafted during the pandemic lockdown when Lucie Blue presented the songs to her fans via Zoom twice a week. Eventually, Lucie Blue was able to travel to Montreal to collaborate with her co-producer, Daniel Loyer and all the talented musicians he assembled for the recording including Caroline Richard, Denis Fortier, Bernard LeBlanc, Philippe Brochu, Alain Boyer, and Alain Bertrand. Lucie’s songs exude a great deal of warmth and gently encourage the listener to love, learn, and make a difference.
Lucie Blue has mesmerized her audiences with her bilingual lyrics and soulful melodies since the release of her first album in 1986 when it was named one of the Boston Globe’s Top 10 albums of that year. Lucie Blue’s music has secured her a place in music history; her songs strike the heartstrings of men and women alike with words of love and humanity.
Lexington, Kentucky-based singer-songwriter Kevin Holm-Hudson lives an exciting double life. He has earned a doctoral degree in music composition, which he has frittered away writing songs instead of symphonies. By day he is Professor of Music Theory at the University of Kentucky; evenings and weekends, he writes and sings songs about desperate characters, disasters, dogs, and Pablo Casals, playing as a solo acoustic performer and with his electric trio Dr. Kevin Holm-Hudson & The Adjuncts, featuring drummer David Chapman and (until recently) bass player Scot Kaeff. The band’s name came about when Kevin was scheduled to play Red Barn Radio, a live syndicated radio program based in Lexington. Having been told by the producer, “it would be better if you had a band,” the Adjuncts came together for the promise of that one gig and one gig only, with no promise of further gigs or pay. (That performance can also be seen and heard on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8bV1BLRA-tU).) Nevertheless, they persisted, and Dr. Kevin Holm-Hudson and the Adjuncts have created two full-length album releases, Message from the Margins (2021) and The Trembling Air (2003).
A tireless songwriter and performer, Kevin has a deep catalogue of some 200 songs, which he delights in sharing with audiences of all ages. His favorite themes include travel, nature, spirituality, and story-songs. His songs come from experiences of travel around the world—to far-flung destinations such as Sweden, Lithuania, and Australia—as well as places closer to home in Eastern Kentucky. He also enjoys writing songs based on history, whether real or imagined (he often tells audiences, “everything in these songs is true, and some of those things actually happened”). His music similarly transcends genre, dipping equally (and sometimes unpredictably) into Americana, pop, indie-folk, and classic-rock styles, sometimes with a satirical bent. He lists Neil Young, Randy Newman, Paul Simon, Bruce Cockburn and Todd Rundgren as some of his major influences and musical heroes.
Kevin is the winner of a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Lexington (KY) Music Awards; he has won three other Lexington Music Awards for music education and keyboard playing. Message from the Margins was nominated for Album of the Year in the Lexington Music Awards, the Appalachian Arts and Entertainment (APPY) Awards, and the Nashville-based Josie Music Awards. The Trembling Air was also nominated for an APPY Award. Both albums are available on Bandcamp: kevin-holm-hudson.bandcamp.com.
Kevin often says, “Music is something we do together.” In the spirit of this statement—which he regards as something of a life motto, he is grateful for the work Jon Stein does in promoting independent folk and acoustic music week after week on Hootenanny Café, and also archiving the broadcasts so they can still be enjoyed (or experienced again) after broadcast. He is also beyond grateful to you, the listener, tuning in every week to experience something new. We have locally-sourced, artisanal food and beer—we should be able to also hold locally-sourced, artisanal music in similar high regard.
Thanks for listening, and enjoying, with open ears and heart.
«The Pacheco project» by Steinar Albrigtsen
The Norwegian artist Steinar Albrigtsen had his debut as a recording artist in 1990 with the album "Alone too long". Albrigtsen lifted country music onto the musical map of Norway, and he was quickly recognized as Norway's bestselling artist that year. Over the years Albrigtsen has been known to be one of the most versatile and uncompromising artists in Norway. He has released 17 albums in the genres of country, blues, jazz, folk and rockabilly. Of musical highlights throughout his career, Albrigtsen says that his performance with Jonny Cash at Norwegian Wood (1992) is a milestone.
Steinar has always had a genuine interest in preserving music history and that the audience should know both creators, contributing musicians and not least sources of inspiration.
With "The Pacheco project", Steinar wants to pay tribute to one of today's best songwriters, his closest friend and collaborator since the 1990s, Tom Pacheco. Pacheco has written over 3,000 songs and is lauded by legends such as Rick Danko and Bob Dylan for his ability to captivate listeners with his outstanding lyrics.
For "The Pacheco project", Steinar Albrigtsen has handpicked 14 songs from Tom's unique songwriting universe. Listeners may recognize some songs from Tom's previous releases, while several of the songs have not been released before. Tom Pacheco has written the lyrics and music on all the songs, except for two songs written in collaboration with Steinar.
"The Pacheco project" launches on vinyl and all digital streaming services on April 24th. With a pre-launch and mini concert on April 9th at the Hootenanny Cafe Radio Show.
Amelia Hogan is an impeccably authentic singer of Celtic music, and her heart comes through in honeyed tones on Irish, Scottish, British, and American-styled vocals. She sings in the Irish music tradition of Sean-Nós, or “old style”, a highly lyrical solo a cappella style, as well as with accompaniment, plays bodhran and a small 22-string Welsh lap harp, and has toured internationally to global acclaim.
Hogan recently recorded and released Taking Flight, with Steve O’Neill of Foxtail Sound, co-produced by Ray Frank, under her solo label. This new album showcases the talents of traditional music heavyweights: Richard Mandel, David Brewer, Marla Fibish, Rebecca Richman, Maureen Brennan, and Christa Burch. Taking Flight is a cathartic and healing endeavor. Songs were chosen to acknowledge grief, loss, heartache, hope, and ultimately a joy-filled conclusion. The theme of birds runs through the project. Often seen as a symbol of loss and sorrow, birds also represent hope and healing and the ability to find beauty in the midst of hardship. The intent of this work is to take the listener on a journey through grief and out the other side, as a bird taking flight might.
Previous recordings include her first solo project, Transplants: From the Old World to the New, released in March 2013, about ancestral immigration and identity, and two traditional Irish music albums with Sheltering Sky, Keeping Watch Upon the Stars, and Long Night’s Journey, and Falling You’s trance electronica album, Blush. Hogan has toured with Molly’s Revenge as their lead vocalist for their frequently sold-out, sensational Winterdance holiday tour and collaborates with artists including her group The Strand, Richard Mandel, Christa Burch, Maureen Brennan, Ray Frank, Julie Henigan, Niamh Parsons, Shay Black, and Cullan’s Hounds.
In addition, she is a board member of the San Francisco Folk Music Club; a headliner at the SF Free Folk Festival; a sometime host of the internationally known Starry Plough, Berkeley, Sunday night session; a headliner at The Irish Club of Alaska’s Galway Days; a repeat guest of the An Goilin Singers Club in Dublin, Ireland; a special guest and community partner with the Consul General of Ireland, San Francisco; a United Irish Cultural Center in San Francisco headliner; a special guest performer and regular of Hyde street Pier NPS Maritime History Museum Sea Music Festival and concert series; and a repeat special guest performer of many other renowned festivals and events, enchanting audiences in the US and abroad.
FRED ARCOLEO has spent 36 years teaching in urban high schools, & as long on the front lines of struggles both local & global: from daily struggles against racism & sexism to supporting immigrant workers & combating police brutality & imperialist wars. These experiences have shaped, informed, & inspired his songwriting. Fred writes songs & poems that strive to reveal the contradictions in our society between appearance & reality, & he spends most of his time channeling his anger over the conditions of life that exist for so many into productive activities. He is interested in the role music & the arts play in raising awareness of societal issues & inspiring people to study & act on pressing challenges of our time. His mission & his music are one: RALLY FOLK! His last CD, TODAY AGAIN, charted #7 on the Folk Radio Charts & his newest project, WE ARE MIGHTY: Sustenance for the Struggle had its title track reach #15. As he tells his students & colleagues, the struggle continues!
Craig Bickhardt is a singer-songwriter of the old school- you’ll hear echoes of 60s folk revivalists Tom Rush, Gordon Lightfoot and Eric Andersen in his work along with the melodic grace of a Paul Simon or a Jimmy Webb. His virtuosic guitar playing interweaves folk, blues and ragtime influences into a style inimitably his own. His musical vagabondage has taken him from the boisterous club scene of Philadelphia, to the country-rock milieu of Los Angeles, to the picking parlors of Nashville. With each opportunity he has immersed himself in the sights and sounds of American music. His prodigious output (over 1200 original songs) reflects a life lived as a rock band lead singer, a solo troubadour, a dedicated musician, a husband and father. Craig's musical passion is a family inheritance. His father, Harry, moonlighted as a big band saxophonist when he wasn't working his day gig at WIP Radio in Philadelphia. Craig’s own musical journey began when he discovered an old guitar in the family attic at the age of 12 and taught himself to play. Soon he was writing songs and performing at Philadelphia’s famed Main Point Coffeehouse, where he also spent many free evenings listening to and studying the troubadour-guitar masters of the day. By the mid-70s, Craig was a singer-guitarist with Wire and Wood, an eclectic country-rock quintet that won a fervent East Coast following. After relocating to Los Angeles, the band attracted the interest of Bob Dylan’s manager Albert Grossman, who signed them to his Bearsville/October Records label. Unfortunately, Wire and Wood’s album wasn’t completed and the group called it quits. Craig was then tapped to write and sing two songs for TENDER MERCIES, a country music-themed film starring Robert Duvall. This led to a lengthy residency in Nashville, where his songs were recorded by numerous artists including Ray Charles, B.B. King, Johnny Cash with the Highwaymen, Kathy Mattea, Martina McBride, Poco and Alison Krauss. Since then, his career has been a continuing dialogue with his six-string, a dialectic with his dreams and a reckoning with memory. His songs are human portraits painted with a sense of wonder and clear-eyed grace; superbly rendered miniature studies that achieve a deeper resonance with sharp-drawn images and indelible hooks. A Craig Bickhardt live set is a mix of absurd anecdotes and personal confessions, accompanying a well-stocked bag of original tunes and the occasional choice cover. His decades in music have given his performances the depth of experience – his love songs seem sweeter and more poignant, his story-song narratives more true-to-life than they could have in the past. During his five decades as a performer, he has shared the stage with many notables including Bruce Springsteen, Stephen Stills, Harry Chapin, Little Feat, Judy Collins, Janis Ian and Pure Prairie league. He has also appeared on the long-running TV concert series Austin City Limits (as part of the trio SKB) and has been a featured main-stage solo at the legendary Philadelphia Folk Festival.
Accordionist, guitarist, and player of pocket-sized instruments, Mary Beth Carty of Nova Scotia possesses a magical voice that earned her a nomination for Traditional Singer of the Year at the Canadian Folk Music Awards. Carty’s second album, Crossing the Causeway, fuses traditional song, instrumental tunes, & originals to create a multilingual opus that reflects the diverse yet unified roots of her region. The project features some of Cape Breton Island's best musicians including Colin Grant (Rum Ragged), Bradley Murphy (Mhira Blood), and Donnie Calabrese (Sprag Session), and guest vocalists including Cassie and Maggie. Mary Beth has toured throughout Canada, performed in Austria, Switzerland, France, Italy, Rwanda, and Congo, and performed on Holland-America and NCL cruise lines. She is known for her entertaining live shows, ripe with sing-alongs, dance jigs, and all around good vibes! Carty believes that Celtic music is inherently therapeutic, and has the power to rouse you to dance or sing-along, then bring you into a reflective, meditative place to help feel all the feelings. The new album features this range of emotions, as well as Mary Beth’s mesmerizing voice, layers of acoustic instruments ebbing and flowing through each track, and the sounds of friends singing lush vocals. The advance single, a 100-year-old Gaelic song called "Mo Mhàthair" (My Mother), received radio play on BBC and "Tow Truck Song" is currently climbing the CIOE East Coast Top 30.
Carty's first solo album, Les biens-nommés, was nominated at the East Coast Music Awards in 2018. Composed mainly of original songs in her second language, French, the album features a powerful quartet of Mary Beth on accordion, Donald MacLennan on violin, and brothers Greg and Brendan Melchin as the rhythm section. All of the song titles are the first names of imaginary characters - Yvon, Anthony, Felix, Clare, and so on. On the strength of these songs, Mary Beth was invited by the Canadian Embassy in Kinshasa to perform with the all-female band Nkento Bakaji for an epic tour to Congo and Rwanda in 2014.
Before breaking out as a solo-artist, Mary Beth was half of a successful duo called Bette & Wallet, along with the multi-instrumenalist singer, Quebec’s Gabriel Ouellette. The duo released two albums and performed in every Canadian province. Their cult classic song Squeegees helped sell 4000 copies of their debut album, Voici… At the moment, Mary Beth’s original song Aliens are Nice from their second album Électrique is seeing a resurgence in light of recent news events. The duo performed at major Canadian folk festivals including Vancouver, Winnipeg, and Calgary, and toured around France five times.
In her free time, Mary Beth enjoys cultivating berry patches, cooking, and hiking. She also enjoys sending snail mail. The opening song from Crossing the Causeway, Dear Island, is in part a tribute to her affinity for writing letters and postcards as a way of keeping in touch with old friends. The song Blueberry Mountain was inspired by a hike. Commissioned by the CBC for the pandemic edition of a radio-special, Mary Beth went on a hike in Cape Breton Highlands national park, and the following week, the song was born. For this record, Mary Beth wanted to showcase some of the deeply-rooted traditional music that she performed over the years alongside original songs.
“My buddy Bob Mersereau has referred to Mary Beth as “the Swiss Army Knife of the East Coast, playing accordion, guitar, bass, bones, and multiple percussion instruments.” But for my money, her finest attribute is her voice. It has a gentle and understated quality, a little like her fellow Nova Scotian Mary Jane Lamond, and yet it dances through the sometimes-complex melodies and Gaelic lyrics of many of these songs seemingly effortlessly – while at times showcasing a gorgeous resonance.” - Gordy from Folk Music Canada
Sarah grew up in a house full of music. While her father played the bassoon in the Cleveland Orchestra and her mother played the cello and string bass, she fell in love with the folk music of the sixties and the Beatles. Based on her knowledge of the violin, she taught herself to play guitar and learned songs by listening to records. A professional microbiologist, with an MS in Biology, songwriting has remained as much of a passion as singing. Several of her songs have received awards, been arranged for choirs and orchestrated as instrumentals.
Locally, Sarah is best known for her work with children in the community and immediate area: song-writing in several elementary schools and through the Youth Enrichment Series concerts, performing for all 700 first graders from the county at the historic Memorial Theatre annually for over twenty years. She works with special needs campers and counselors at Camp Nuhop (www.nuhop.org) and spent many years in the duo Prairie Orchid, performing in schools, libraries and family concerts throughout Ohio, Michigan and West Virginia. Most recently, as a board member of SPI (Science Play-space Initiative – a local science museum advocating for learning about science through play) she started the Summer Music Garden, an outdoor concert series that included science activities provided by SPI, and a music component at a beautiful outdoor children’s garden. Sarah performed for several years with Kerry Kean, a fellow songwriter from Kent, as Goslee Reed and Kean.
Discography: Prairie Orchid: Pocket Full of Lizards (awarded Best Classic Recording for Older Children by the Children’s Music Network), Plant A Little Seed, New Day. Duo: Goslee Reed and Kean (live recording from Quarry Chapel in Gambier, Ohio) Solo (in chronological order): Like the Light of the Moon, Cowboy on the Highway, It’s About Time, Plenty, Songfest (Camp Nuhop Songs), Sleep Like Fish, The Healing.
Sarah’s recent CD, The Healing, reflects her latest songwriting during the pandemic, a time of cleaning closets and drawers, discovering old songs in need of re-writing and recording. Taking almost two years to complete, this recording features John Gorka on harmony on Family Holiday and Jon Vezner on keyboard, strings and harmony on the title cut (The Healing). Many other songs were written in song camps such as the Swannanoa Gathering and in Colorado at Darryl Purpose’s Camp Ned. It also includes a song inspired by John Lewis (Walk With the Wind) and a song for a grandchild (Song for Simon). Sleep Like Fish features favorite songs sung to her children and grandchildren (Pony Man by Gordon Lightfoot and Morningtown Ride by Malvina Reynolds), as well as songs written for some of the grandkids, including one from Camp Ned (Marrow of Our Bones). Plenty includes a song written with first graders (All Living Things) and one performed at Disneyworld by high school choirs (Feed the Right Wolf). The earlier CD’s feature Sarah’s father, George Goslee, principal bassoon in the Cleveland Orchestra on two songs (Like the Light of the Moon and Timing).
She lives in Mount Vernon, Ohio with her husband, pets and numerous plants, plays violin in the Knox County Symphony and spends her spare time gardening, knitting and playing with her grandchildren. Recordings are available on all online platforms.
Bryce Ernest Taylor delights audiences with his talent, energy, and insight. This artist, musician, psychologist, lover of life, gives testament to life's enduring excitement and mystery. While he began singing, playing guitar, and writing songs at an early age, the seeds of his passion remained mostly below the surface for years. Perhaps fed by the experiences of love, marriage, fatherhood, and a career as a psychologist, these seeds have grown as Bryce has discovered more fully his passion for songwriting and sharing his music with others. While the fruits of his passion had been incorporated into therapy sessions and performances in coffee shops and bars in Texas, South Carolina, and Indiana, he realized the music needed to be closer to the center of his life. Now, true to himself as an artist, Bryce is intentional about communicating and connecting with others through music, and is truly cultivating this musical garden with audiences large and small, near and far away. Breaking into the live music scene in the Indianapolis area, Bryce became known and respected by the singer/songwriter community there as a great songwriter with excellent vocal and guitar skills. He has opened for Dead Horses and Jason Wilber (John Prine's guitarist of over 25 years) and his song "The Man with the Muse" was the winner of the Songwriter's Challenge at the 2018 Eagle Creek Folk Festival. His unorthodox use of multiple capos is also clearly respected as a unique skill that produces interesting and unique guitar tones, distinguishes him from other musicians, and helps to create an interesting listen. In his debut national release, Bryce dips deep into painting truths of the enduring excitement and mystery of living in this beautiful, yet sometimes troubled, world. Man with the Muse expresses themes of creativity in love and art and in the natural beauty found in nature and relationships. The muse for his songs is clearly found in both expected and unexpected places, in both reality and imagination, addressing both pragmatics and possibilities. While a vocally strong, lyric-driven album, Bryce's finger-picking and distinctive strumming accompanied by rich, unique cello, violin, dancing banjo, and mandolin lacing, color the spaces and more clearly define the musical images of longing, hope, and delight. Vocal harmony contributes to the feeling that we are not alone in any of this. "What Happens to the Music", "Another Way", and "Love and Art" create images of practical concerns relating to the music industry and relationships, while "Alice", "Man with the Muse", and "Isle of Skye" express a longing for perspective and understanding that is most often found in creative thinking and dreaming. But Bryce's concern for the realities of world around him is not left unexpressed. "If I Were a Woman" starts out with a somewhat fanciful response, but quickly injects cautions for his daughters and messages of empowerment. Images of gratitude for the healing attributes of nature are heard most clearly in "Water", "Naturally You", and "Kickin' Off Our Shoes". And, of course, some learning about life, love, understanding, and acceptance, is clearly inspired by a stray "Black Dog". Having raised three daughters, Bryce is now based in the beautiful, inspiring hills of Lexington, KY where he is able to devote more time to dipping in flowing streams of inspiration and tilling the rich musical soil, writing and performing in listening rooms, wineries, coffee shops, and house concerts. From reflections on the day-to-day goings on of love and life to more broad urgings for personal growth and social justice, Bryce entertains and reminds us of what it means to experience both the joys and the struggles of a life well-lived. His latest album, "Man with the Muse" was listed in the top 20 albums in October 2022 on the FAI Folk Radio Chart. Bryce was also listed as one of the top 25 artists on those same charts.
“American folk music washes gently against Americana … a terrific release from a major singer.” This is how Carol Markstrom’s award-winning 4th album, Mile After Mile, is described by Country Music People Magazine. Across the U.S. to the far north of Alaska, audiences have been captivated by Carol’s clear, emotion-filled vocals and songs that transport to other places, times, and people. Her music spans Americana, Western Roots, Folk, and Country. Her ballads range from the whimsical to bittersweet, and the beauty of Western landscapes inspires her songwriting. Carol is also involved in filmmaking and has won music score awards and recognitions from film festivals in Europe and the U.S. Carol was previously a university professor and her knowledge in Native American Studies inspired many of her songs including, Medicine Bottle, about a Dakota Sioux leader, and is now in the soundtrack of the film, The Indian System. Carol has received Silver Arrow Awards from Spirit Wind Records and has been a finalist for a Native American Music Award. She has received other awards for her albums, songwriting, and as a performing artist. Her music is played by DJs worldwide.
The River Drivers have cultivated a unique passion-infused style of music that draws from Celtic, Americana and Appalachian influences. Anchored by Kevin McCloskey (vocals, guitar, mandolin, banjo, bass) and Mindy Murray (vocals, guitar, banjo, bass) with accompaniment by Marian Moran (tin whistle, low whistle, concertina, melodica) and Meagan Ratini (fiddle, Irish flute, tin whistle), their music is known for its high energy and pervasive themes of hard-working men and women and social justice. Mindy was in her early teens when she started writing songs and soon began singing and playing guitar and dulcimer in coffee houses, pubs, and campus radio stations. While in medical school in West Virginia, she witnessed firsthand the struggles of day-to-day life in Appalachia. The music of the mountains and the miners infused into her repertoire. Perhaps Mindy is best known for her songs that reflect these struggles and triumphs of common folk, past and present-- songs that she has crafted from oral histories of both her family and the people she has met along the way. Early on, she and her daughter Meagan would play music together long into the night and eventually formed the musical duo Port Murray. She now brings her voice, instruments and songs to River Drivers. At a very early age, Kevin was playing guitar and banjo and singing harmonies to Irish standards with his father, Irish tenor, Tommy McCloskey. In his early twenties, he cut his teeth playing weekly at a Trenton pub alongside his father and “Irish Billy” Briggs. Kevin developed a passion for songs portraying the plight of working men and women. Kevin’s musical tastes are broad, and he toured North America and Europe extensively with his hardcore punk band. He brings the intensity of that genre to River Drivers with his powerful and resonating songs and vocals. Marian’s family roots lie in the town of Ardara in County Donegal--known throughout the world as an epicenter of Irish traditional music. Whenever she can break away, she steals back to the rugged coastline village bringing her concertina and whistles to recharge at its nightly sessions and the many music festivals held there--including the famed Cup of Tae and Johnny Doherty festivals. She brought the River Drivers to Ardara to play at the venues of the Cup of Tae for the past several years. Meagan grew up in a house that seemed like it had more musical instruments than practically anything else. She learned how to play the flute and dulcimer when she was quite young and then moved on to other instruments, eventually picking up the fiddle and the tin whistle and falling into Irish music. While helping direct the New Jersey Folk Festival in college, Meagan was introduced to the world of the traditional Irish session by some of the best trad musicians in the region. River Drivers’ music has received rave reviews from the likes of No Depression, fRoots, and Irish Music Magazine and has been heard on WXPN, WPKN, and hundreds of other stations globally. Their “Blair Mountain was picked up by the United Mineworkers of America and included in their annual report the year it was released. Mindy’s song, Did Ya Vote, recorded in her living room during the early pandemic, was recognized as an International Women’s Freedom Song in 2020. The powerful music of the River Drivers can be heard on radio stations in all parts of the US and Ireland, worldwide in podcasts, and onstage at festivals and pubs on both sides of the Atlantic. They have played for the last five years for the internationally acclaimed Philadelphia Folk Festival, as well as Musikfest, which had over a million attendees in 2022. Mindy also has a solo career as a singer songwriter that has included appearances at Musikfest and the Philadelphia Folk Festival.
The Boston Imposters (Davey Harrison and Maire Clement) use their eclectic musical training from classical music, contemporary improvisation, and traditional American, English and Celtic Folk music as the grounding for their original songs. The Boston Imposters duo was formed while Maire and Davey were living as midwestern imposters in Boston. The Great Lakes finally pulled them home and they now reside in Wisconsin with their beautiful son Alasdair.
Alicia Stockman is a Utah-based folk-meets-Americana singer-songwriter whose music pulls back the veil to reveal everyday vulnerability. Her songs are written like intimate moments, drawing listeners into a relatable emotional journey.
At a young age, Alicia Stockman began her deep love for music, compelled by the vivid storytelling of powerhouse songwriters including Patty Griffin, Indigo Girls, and Jewel. After performing in a loud rock n’ roll band, playing bars with sticky floors and belting out Stevie Wonder tunes, Alicia began writing her own music more seriously. Realizing her new songs didn’t have a place in a loud bar with a party atmosphere, she branched out and started playing more intimate venues, quickly finding her home in the folk and Americana scene. Her whisky-dipped soulful vocals and creative takes on day-to-day realities soon sparked the interest of “Nashville’s Americana Queen” Mary Bragg who began collaborating with Alicia on her new album.
Her debut 10-track full-length album is entitled These Four Walls and is a collection of "songs to make you feel and feel seen." The album says, “I see you. I've been there. I understand.” Written over a three year period, These Four Walls is a luminous roots release infused with gritty blues rock guitar licks and attention-worthy melodies.