Friday, September 13, 2019 – 8:00 pm
An Evening with Jon Shain with FJ Ventre
Jon Shain is a veteran singer-songwriter who’s been turning heads for years with his words, his fiery acoustic guitar work, and his evolved musical style – combining improvised piedmont blues with bluegrass, swing, and ragtime. He grew up in Haverhill, Massachusetts – a mill-town that had seen its better days by the time he was a child. It was here that he began to discover his love of American roots music and songwriting, specifically drawn to the narratives about regular people and themes of social justice. He continued his musical journey while attending college at Duke University. In addition to studying jazz, he also had the good fortune to learn the piedmont blues tradition firsthand by playing in Big Boy Henry’s backing band. It was at this time that Shain also got to meet and play with a number of the great older NC blues players. Most recently Jon won the prestigious 2019 International Blues Challenge held each year in Memphis, TN taking the top award in the solo/duo category with over 250 participants from around the world.
Saturday, October 5, 2019 – 7:30 pm
An Evening with Malcolm Holcombe
Malcolm Holcombe grew up in western North Carolina, home to some of the planet’s oldest mountains and some of America’s deepest musical traditions. Radio and TV fueled Malcolm’s musical passions as a kid, and music became even more important after he lost both his parents relatively young. He toured with bands and landed in Nashville, where he took up an inconspicuous station at the back of the house – the very back – at Douglas Corner, one of the city’s best singer/songwriter venues. Stories began to circulate about the mysterious dishwasher with the subterranean voice and oracle-like talent. Sadly so did stories of wildly inconsistent behavior – profound sweetness crossed by bouts of stunning abrasiveness. He flirted with an official music career. But his stunning debut album made for Geffen Records was abruptly shelved, producing melodrama that only exacerbated Malcolm’s drinking and depression. A business that once had a place for complicated genius turned its back on him, and he teetered near the edge.
Moving back to the North Carolina hills proved a powerful tonic. Holcombe let in help where before he’d pushed it away. With deep faith in God and a commitment to his art, Holcombe repaired himself and his career. And that’s a pretty good nod to the effect of hearing Holcombe sing. If you’ve not seen him in a live setting, this is what you have to do. His presence is spooky and timeless, as one imagines it was like to see Son House or Leadbelly. No emotional stone is left unturned. While you plan for this important experience, collect Malcolm Holcombe albums… He is cryptic, demanding, polarizing, bold, passionate and free, a combination badly needed in our time of infinite trivia. He’s even more interesting for having made a remarkable journey of recovery and discovery.
Friday, November 15, 2019 – 8:00 pm
An Evening with the Heather Pierson Acoustic Trio
The Heather Pierson Acoustic Trio are a rare bunch – three musicians from three very different backgrounds, bringing their skills, their quiet charm, and their down-to-earth honesty to bear on songs that bring to life the sounds of the streets of New Orleans and the valleys of Appalachia. Their recordings (2015’s Still She Will Fly and 2017’s Singin’) and live performances feature Heather’s multi-genre songwriting, their instrumental virtuosity, and stirring three-part vocal harmonies.
Sunday, November 24, 2019 – 7:00 pm
An Evening with Nobody’s Girl
Hailing from Texas, Alabama, and Georgia respectively, now neighbors in Austin, TX; BettySoo, Grace Pettis & Rebeca Loebe are bewitching audiences with sumptuous harmonies and unforgettable songwriting. Friends now for a decade, they first met at the legendary Kerrville Folk Festival, each winners of the annual “New Folk” award. Luscious harmony singers, effortless instrumentalists, seasoned touring artists – they recognized what each can accomplish individually could be made all the stronger by collaboration. Now, the spark has been set, the fire lit. Their individual and collective fans are eating it up. The harmonies are thrilling; echoes of Emmylou Harris, Dolly Parton and Linda Ronstadt. The songs are powerful and spare.
Saturday, December 14, 2019 – 7:30 pm
An Evening with Liz Longley
Best known for her stop-you-in-your-tracks voice, Liz Longley is an accomplished singer-songwriter based out of Nashville. Known for her deeply emotional music, Liz has earned accolades from some of the most prestigious songwriting competitions in the country, including the BMI John Lennon Songwriting Scholarship Competition. Signed with Sugar Hill Records, her self-titled debut album received critical acclaim, being described as “a thing of beauty” (Pop Dose). Her follow up album Weightless, released in 2016, was praised as “stunning” (HuffPost). Liz’s music has been featured on TV shows such as Lifetime’s “Army Wives,” ABC’s “Beauty & The Beast” and MTV’s “Scream.” The Berklee College of Music alum is set to release her much awaited sixth album in late 2019.
Saturday, January 11, 2020 – 7:30 pm
An Evening with the Eric Scott Trio
Washington, DC singer/songwriter and bassist Eric Scott has thus far had an interesting musical and life journey. As an artist and sideman, he has toured internationally, sharing the stage with B.B. King, Mavis Staples, Aaron Neville, REO Speedwagon, Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters, and many more. He’s written, produced, and released 6 solo albums. His music has been featured on various TV programs and motion pictures, and his singing voice has been featured in international and regional ad campaigns for DC Lottery, HGTV, National Geographic, and numerous others. He is a 15-time Wammie winter as awarded by the Washington Area Music Association.
His “Modern Soul” sound continues to evolve, yet remains funky, upbeat, socially aware, and ever soulful. Pop tunes and hooks meld seamlessly with groovy RnB, funk, and the introspective lyrical approach of a singer/songwriter that examines relationships and the world we live in.
Saturday, February 1, 2020 – 7:30 pm
An Evening with Corin Raymond & Mike T. Kerr
Toronto songwriter Corin Raymond is a troubadour whose robust veracity connects with older folks and children alike. Raymond’s songs, which are slightly apocalyptic and suggest criminal activity, make singing along easy. They have the common touch. Judges quote from his lyrics when handing sentences down. Truckers cry. He has the words you’ve been looking for. Mike T. Kerr is a wild flat-picker and ambitious country songwriter who “is an incredibly engaging performer and master guitar player.”
March 7, 2020 – 7:30 pm
An Evening with The Young Novelists and Piper & Carson
The Young Novelists create contemporary folk songs that marry their effortless harmonies with darkly poetic lyrics and exquisitely crafted hooks. Their third album In City & Country features songs about 10 small towns in Ontario, and has been described as “a lush-sounding feast” (Penguin Eggs) and “emotional, melodic music that variously reminds me of the Jayhawks and Richard and Linda Thompson.” (No Depression) Their previous album landed them a Canadian Folk Music Award for New/Emerging Artist, a nomination for Vocal Group of the Year, and multiple songwriting awards. They have toured across Canada, the United States, and in Europe, often with their young son in tow. Their signature show features confessional storytelling about their songs and travels, singalongs, and the unique sound of bowed glockenspiel.
Born in New York, raised in Toronto, and now residing in Hamilton since 2015, critically acclaimed folk/roots singer, songwriter and social activist Piper Hayes is truly authentic. Hayes released her debut full-length album ‘Piper & Carson.’ in December 2017. Nowadays, Hayes (who is a two-time nominee for the Colleen Peterson Songwriting Award, 2017 and 2018) performs and writes closely with her partner Carson Ritcey-Thorpe and, after a 2017 western Canada tour, many prime showcases at Folk Music Ontario, and Folk Alliance International. Hayes got her start in some of the legendary venues in Toronto. She has toured all over Canada and the USA, headlined three international tours, performed many times on VIA Rail’s national ‘Artists on Board’ program. Piper also teams up with the Canadian Mental Health Association (going into schools and outreach programs to dispel stigma around mental illness), she established a music-therapy-based class for Hamilton Adult Community Support Program and gives workshops on mental health, well-being, music and songwriting.
Saturday, April 4, 2020 – 7:30 pm
An Evening with Eric Brace, Peter Cooper, & Thomm Jutz
Eric Brace and Peter Cooper have recorded and toured together for over a decade. Their last two duo albums were recorded with Thomm Jutz in the role as recording engineer, producer, guitarist, and harmony singer. Whenever they could, they took Thomm on the road, a sideman extraordinaire whose sublime flatpicking guitar style elevates anything he plays. But Eric and Peter knew that Thomm was also a world class songwriter, and they kept twisting his arm to take front-and-center during their shows and sing a few of his own compositions. It was only a matter of time before the duo-into-trio transformation became official with the 2017 release of Profiles in Courage, Frailty, and Discomfort, fourteen songs by all three members, tackling such weighty topics as moonwalks, steamboat captaining, dollar-slots, Johnny Cash’s gravesite, Jerry Lee Lewis’s birthplace, Willie Nelson’s notions of eternity, the downside of Parkersburg, West Virginia, and a Tennessee town flooded for the sake of electricity. Eric, Peter, and Thomm each has something distinct and slightly skewed to say about the world, and when they bring their singular perspectives to the trio table, it’s a perfect example of a whole being much greater than the sum of its parts.
Friday, July 24, 2020 – 8:00 pm
An Evening with Grace Morrison
In a world where we are urged to limit descriptions to hashtags and sound bites it is tempting to describe Grace Morrison as simply: singer-songwriter. But she is so much more. She is pop; she is folk; she is roots; she is country. Hear her music and you’ll be hooked. See her live and you’ll be left wanting more. It has been said that her storytelling “can make you cry; it can make you sing.” With a career that began as a backup singer for rock icons like Eddie Money and Joey Molland (of the band Badfinger), Grace Morrison has become a regular on the national festival and touring circuit. She has won a number of prestigious awards including the Grand Prize of the New England Songwriting Competition and the Big Break contest where her music video was played on the season finale of American Idol.