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.
In the spring of 2001 while recording in Tommy Byrd's studio, Kathy Street sang a simple harmony along with Tommy's melody. But what they heard was something unexpected. It sounded almost like three people singing! They knew they were onto something special, and decided then and there to perform together. Byrd and Street was born. Now, thousands of gigs later, a sixth CD released in 2020 (Love Circles ‘Round) received airplay around the globe and made the “Best of Year” Folk DJ Charts as did 3 of their first four CD's: Stories of Life, Songs of Love; Love Broke the Fall; Then and Now; and Words and Music. Three CD’s also made the Freeform American Roots Charts And the duo is still singing with that rare blend that seems to come from the combination of Kathy's light, almost ethereal sound as it meshes with Tommy's earthy, soulful voice. They were recognized by the TEXAS MUSIC AWARDS with a nomination for Duo/Group of the Year for 2014 as they were in 2012 and 2009. Kathy was also nominated for Female Vocalist for 2012 based on her performance on Then and Now. In addition Tommy was recognized by the KERRVILLE FOLK FESTIVAL in 2013, 2011 and 2009 as a NEW FOLK FINALIST in their song competition. Byrd and Street have continued to perform at venues throughout the southwest and Midwest including over 100 house concerts in 11 states. The singer/songwriter team has appeared on radio and television shows, won numerous songwriting competitions, and were Regional Winners at the Kerrville Folk Festival in 2002, 2003, 2007 and 2012. January 8, 2003 was declared Byrd and Street Day by Austin Mayor Will Wynn. Byrd and Street were Officially Showcased at the Southwest Regional Folk Alliance Conference in 2004 and 2018. In 2005 the song “Just an Old House” from their CD was licensed by the Redman Foundation, a non-profit organization in Watsonville, CA. In 2007 their song “My Forever Family” became the official song of the Adoption Coalition of Central Texas, and is being used by other adoption agencies around the country. Austin German Shepherd Rescue licensed “Let Me Be Your Friend” for use in advertising and promotions in 2008 followed by numerous licenses throughout the US. In the spring of 2011, Paul Stookey (of Peter, Paul, and Mary) recorded that song, “Let Me Be Your Friend” (Lemmie Be Your Friend) to be used for advertising with "Pet Connect" on the east coast. At One World Theater in Austin,TX The duo performed opening sets for Guy Clark, Lori Morgan, Travis Tritt, KC Chambers, Marshall Tucker Band, Suzy Bogguss, BJ Thomas, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Hal Ketchum, Poco, Jimmy La Fave and Eliza Guilkyson. In December 2019, Byrd & Street organized and hosted their 10th annual “Mistletoe Jam,” a collaboration of some of Austin’s finest musicians performing to benefit the Heart Gallery of Central Texas, whose work is to find forever families for Central Texas children in foster care. Byrd's song, "My Forever Family” was adopted by the Heart Gallery as well as by other adoption agencies around the country.
Tia McGraff is a multi-talented, award-winning singer, songwriter, performer, author and podcast host from Southern Ontario, Canada. Along with her husband and co-writer Tommy Parham, the skilled songstress has been making impactful and thought-provoking art for well over a decade. Bringing together a burning passion for the art of music and an honesty that is long lost on today’s modern charts, Tia McGraff is a trailblazer in her genre, one’s whose efforts have made her a beloved figure on the international music scene. Her accomplishments speak for themselves, having won the emPower Posi Music Award in 2021 for her latest single “Go Your Own Way,” a huge achievement for the talented artist. As if that weren’t enough, she’s also won awards for Americana CD of the Year, was a 2019 multi- nominee for Kingdom Image Awards, and has even won the 2019 ISSA award for single of the year.
Tia’s 2018 album release of “Stubborn In My Blood” and the first single “Let ‘Em See You’re Strong” received rave reviews. It would lead to placement on numerous “Best of 2018” lists. It was so powerful that it was even adopted by woman’s empowerment groups, being embraced by communities all around the world.
With nine international CD releases and multiple film and TV placements over the years, her recorded catalog is certainly a proud accomplishment, but where Tia truly shines is in her live performances. Her love for performing has taken her all over North America and the United Kingdom, be it in huge concerts or personal, intimate venues.
Tia is also an accomplished children’s author, notably with her book, “Jake The Road Dawg.” Based on the life and adventures of her beloved pet, the book has inspired classrooms around the world, while supporting Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library and Tia’s local Humane Society. The success of the book has led Tia to venture into the podcast realm with her popular show, “Jake’s Place Songs ‘n’ Tails.” Here, she discusses music, up and coming artists and her own personal opinions on every day topics. It’s a great change of pace, and a fantastic way to connect with the artist on a more personal level. The award-winning folk singer-songwriter from Ontario has released the title cut and video from her latest EP. PORT ROWAN, ON, CANADA – November 8, 2022 - With the September 3rd release of her latest EP “With Love,” Ontario-based folk singer-songwriter Tia McGraff has proven that she’s in top form. The first single, “Go Your Own Way” reached the iTunes country songs chart Top 15, amassing 37K Spotify streams. It won the 2021 Posi Empower Award for Social Justice. Meanwhile, another track from the EP, “Nighthawk” was awarded a 2022 Posi Empower Award for Peace. All totaled, songs from “With Love” have gained well over 100K Spotify streams, in less than 3 months of release.
Now, Tia is issuing the 2nd single and video from “With Love.” The title track continues where “Go Your Own Way” left off, delivering an upbeat and positive message in a concise 3 ½ minute-radio-friendly length.
Tia says, “With love,’ and with a little help from our friends around the world, this video has captured the message of hope and unification Kevin Fisher, Tommy Parham, and I intended to achieve.”
Originally a California girl, Shari Ulrich settled on the west coast of Canada in 1970, and soon launched her life in music as a singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist (violin, mandolin, piano, guitar, dulcimer, harmonica). 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 Bluegrass Band, The High Bar Gang. 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. An accomplished and dynamic performer, Shari makes any size audience feel they are in her living room – drawn in by her insightful lyrics, and her engaging warmth and humour.
James Lee Stanley has released 24 solo CD’s, the three most recent being Without Susie, (2020) At Last – In Philadelphia (2016) and The Apocaloptimist (2015); as well as three duet CD’s with Peter Tork; A Beachwood Christmas with Tom Paxton, Peter Tork and Pamala Stanley; Two Man Band Two-a duet CD with Michael Smith; All Wood and Stones-a duet CD with John Batdorf; All Wood and Doors-a duet CD with Cliff Eberhardt All Wood and Stones II with John Batdorf, and the recently released All Wood and Led (2022) with Dan Navarro , as well as the original cast recording of Straight From the Heart - The Musical, which he produced, performed in and wrote the book, lyrics and music.
The documentary The Opening Act – The Extraordinary Journey of James Lee Stanley is a semi finalist in the Santa Monica, San Jose, Atlanta and Los Angeles Film Festivals, as well as the recipient of the Peoples Choice Award in the London Film Festival.
He wrote the Top Five hit Coming Out of Hiding, as well as the hits I Don’t Want To Talk About It; Plenty of Reason; All I Ever Wanted; and Make It Tonight.; scored the Emmy Award Winning CATHY Specials for Prime Time CBS-TV, the Cable Ace Award Winning Tom Parks HBO Special, and the Award Winning Tom Parks Diabetes Documentary; has produced the artists Mike Pinder/Moody Blues, Nicolette Larson, and Peter Tork, amongst many others.
James Lee has shared the stage with everyone from Bonnie Raitt to Robin Williams, Dionne Warwick to Steven Wright, Art Garfunkel to Robin Trower; sometimes spending as much as 300 days a year on the road.
He also spent five and a half years on the TV Show, StarTrek Deep Space Nine, as various aliens including the singing Klingon.
James spent two terms on the board of the Folk Alliance International (2009-2015), and was a board member of NARAS-LA (1992-1996).
And he’s still such a nice guy…
Meg Tennant is a Canadian folk-roots songwriter originally from Northern Ontario and currently living in British Columbia. She has performed at festivals, concerts and songwriter showcases in both provinces and has opened shows for Eliza Gilkyson, Slaid Cleaves, Tracy Grammer and Tom Russell at Vancouver’s Rogue Folk Club.
Meg’s latest CD “Echoed Light”, which she co-produced with Toronto roots rock songwriter Mark Ripp, offers up some hope, comfort and clarity. Roots Music Canada said “The songs, most of them recent, pulse with the ideology of perseverance that Meg brings to all of her stories”. “Echoed Light” was included in Roots Music Canada’s list of 11 Favourite New Discoveries of 2019.
Previous releases include her first solo CD “Driving With You”, produced by award-winning producer and multi-instrumentalist John MacArthur Ellis, and a collaborative collection, “The Sweetest Day” with the band August.
Meg's songs have been recorded and performed by Canadian folk, ragtime and bluegrass artists, and her A Capella song “Bucket of Love” continues to be performed by choirs in Canada, the U.S., Australia and Sweden.
In the late ‘70’s, Mike led a Dan Hicks and His Hot Licks influenced band called Light Horse Harry. Barbara happened to be in the room at an audition to replace the band’s departing bassist and, upon discovering that this hot chick was neither the wife nor the girlfriend of the new bassist, Mike asked her out.
Before long, Barbara’s love of singing inspired her to join the band and she went from girlfriend to backing singer to featured vocalist. Mike’s songwriting became more prolific – it must have been love! Light Horse Harry played the NYC college scene; their shows were loose, lots of fun, and hot swing/bluegrass fiddler Marty Laster would always bring the house down.
These were the new wave days of Talking Heads, Elvis Costello and Joe Jackson, and after their wedding in 1981 Barbara and Mike decided to go for the big time with a new band, a rock band, with Barbara fulfilling her destiny as lead singer. The band was called Tour de Force and, clad in her Betsy Johnson splendor, Barbara fronted the guitar/bass/drums (and sometimes keyboards) combo at downtown venues like SNAFU and C.B.G.B. A highly anticipated international stadium tour fell through with the collapse of the Venezuelan economy; after the drummer left, the remaining members continued to write and record.
Then life intervened, Barbara and Mike moved out of the city and started a family, and for a while much of the music in the house was tinkling from wind-up toys. Once their older daughter was no longer an infant, they felt the gravitational pull of singer-songwriter stardom and started networking with local songwriters and musicians. A cornucopia of new songs ensued. Meanwhile, Mike and Barbara were performing at coffeehouses and festivals in the tri-state area, and recorded their self-titled album at PM Productions. The engineer at this recording studio also reviewed equipment for Mix magazine, so they got to play with lots of high-end and vintage equipment, and ended up with a beautiful-sounding album. The Poughkeepsie Journal wrote, "Thoughtful and intelligent lyrics in a base of well thought-out, hook-laden instrumentation...together, the Boroks write and make great music."
Their songs won awards in major songwriting contests, were played on over 50 radio stations worldwide, and they performed in events nationwide, including the Northeastern and Southwestern Folk Alliance conferences, Chicago and Florida festivals, and won Grand Prize at the Music To Life song contest at the prestigious Kerrville (TX) Folk Festival. Their songs also appear on The Folk Next Door IV Local Color, Fast Folk Undercurrents, and on three compilation albums by the Funny Music Project (The FuMP).
Their second album, What’s That Thing?, was recorded at their home studio. One of the songs, “Loch Ness Café”, was played on BBC radio, and it turned out that a Loch Ness Café actually existed in Inverness, Scotland – they contacted the band for permission to frame the lyrics of the song on their wall. (The song went on to be a finalist in the U.K. Songwriting Contest and the Mid-Atlantic Song Contest.) Also, Scottish poet and Inverness ambassador Willie Cameron read the lyrics on BBC Scotland, and Barbara is currently working on a video featuring his performance.
Their latest album is House of Love. In their review, The Ark of Music wrote, "Their perspective is refreshing, their writing is original, and their material, on the whole, is some of the finest songwriting we’ve been fortunate enough to come across in recent years.". Singles from this album include "Quark", "Lazy Me" and "It Ain't What It Ain't".
Barbara and Mike are currently recording two new albums. One is a themed album titled Arguing With God. The other one (no title yet!) will be our usual mix of fun, serious and slightly bent songs in a variety of styles.
Their website is newmiddleclass.com, and their facebook page is newmiddleclassmusic.
Alaska-based Americana singer-songwriter Roland Roberts has released his sophomore full-length album, So It Goes, today. In an interview with DITTY TV, Roland opened up, explaining that he “experienced his lowest lows and highest highs all in the same year, losing his father and brother within a few months. That profound level of grief helped to shape his new album.” The 11-song collection — written while living at the base of Hatcher Pass, Alaska and recorded at Old Crow Recording in Whitehorse, Canada — showcases Roland’s innate ability to capture the character traits of what it means to be an American. He’s spent time in different parts of the country and weaves those experiences into his music. Born in Memphis, TN, he grew up as a Southern boy in Alabama, but moved to Colorado after graduating college. On a Rocky Mountain High for a 10-year stint, he then ventured to set up camp in Alaska, where he currently lives. “Roland Roberts has that raspy Americana voice that puts a lump in your throat . . . he sounds a little like James Taylor.” –Melissa Clarke, Americana Highways, June 6, 2022 Music flooded his senses from a young, impressionable age. “Some of my first musical memories are my dad just playing guitar and dobro around the house,” says Roberts. “He and his brothers and my grandfather would play together at family reunions and stuff like that.” Inspired by early trailblazers such as Kris Kristofferson, John Prine and The Allman Brothers Band, Roberts continues to find modern inspiration from the likes of Jason Isbell and Blaze Foley. “My grandfather, Roland Sr., was an old country music guy and my dad was a big southern rock guy,” recalls Roberts “So both those genres played an early role. Another monumental thing was when one of my friend’s older brother gave me a Drive-By Truckers tape when I was around 14 or so, Gangstabilly was the album. I played that tape until it didn’t work anymore.” With So It Goes, Roland Roberts wants listeners to understand that life goes on. “We love people, we lose people. Sometimes your whole world is turned upside down in both good ways and bad, but you gotta keep putting one foot in front of the other because time never slows…and So It Goes.”
Kris Schultz took the scenic route to songwriting. She spent years working for Austin-based musicians and bands as merch slinger, van driver, and road manager without playing, writing or singing herself. After taking a break from that life to start a pet care business with her twin sister, on a whim she bought a cheap guitar and decided to take a songwriting coaching consultation with one of the artists she had previously worked for. After penning her first song, Kris was hooked. Within five months she was playing her first set at a local coffeeshop, discovering she loved live performance as much as she did writing songs. In the five years since that first song, she’s toured the Midwest, the Southwest and part of the Southeast, as well as playing dates around Texas. She released her debut album, “Standard Issue Heart” - produced by Charlie Richards - in October of 2021, and plans to record the follow up with Richards producing in 2022-23.
After a 15-year hiatus, Folk-Americana singer-songwriter Aimee Van Dyne is receiving a warm welcome back to the music community. Her new 11-song release, ‘Broken Love Songs’ has been aired on over 100 radio stations nationally and abroad, and has placed on the Alt-Country Chart, the FAI Folk Chart, and the RMR Americana-Country Album Chart, to name a few. Her song, ‘Lonely Me,’ was selected as a finalist in the Country category for the 2022 John Lennon Songwriting Contest, and her song, ‘Hold On,’ was selected as a finalist in the Folk category for that same contest.
Born into a musical family, Van Dyne is a classically-trained pianist who picked up the acoustic guitar at the age of thirteen after discovering the music of Neil Young. Moving on to study art and architecture in college, it wasn’t until she was in her thirties and working as an architect in New York City that Van Dyne began to pursue music professionally, performing at venues such as The Bitter End and The Living Room, where her live performances were hailed as “three of the best voices in town soaring through a uniquely imaginative blend of ideas.” (NY Music Daily).
With the birth of her twin daughters, Van Dyne made the difficult decision to devote herself to child-rearing full-time, casting aside her guitar into her cellar, where it remained for the next ten years. A move from Brooklyn to the Berkshire Mountains, along with the dissolution of her 23-year marriage, was the impetus for her return to songwriting.
Written and arranged by Van Dyne, ‘Broken Love Songs’ is a deeply personal and confessional exploration, whose “loosely connecting thread is that of going into the wilderness and emerging intact” (NY Music Daily). Indeed, Van Dyne has submerged herself into wild places, both figuratively and literally, examining the dark entanglements of failed relationships, but acknowledging that “on the other side of dark comes the light.” Her original compositions, acclaimed as “songs of durable beauty and intricate craftsmanship” (Alan Young, Lucid Culture), are characterized by strong melodies, catchy hooks, and symphonic, three-part harmonies. They reflect influences such as Neil Young, John Lennon, and Lucinda Williams.
Co-produced by multi-instrumentalist Jim Henry (Tracy Grammer, Eliza Gilkyson) and recorded by David Chalfant of The Nields, ‘Broken Love Songs’ features a first-class team of musicians, including Jon Carroll (Mary Chapin Carpenter), Paul Kochanski (Lori McKenna), and Jon Graboff (Ryan Adams, Norah Jones).
Van Dyne is thrilled to be playing live music again! She has upcoming shows scheduled in New York City and throughout the New England area. She currently lives in Berkshire County, MA, with her two lovely daughters and her three silly cats.
Kris grew up on a farm in Florida making up songs with her sister in their treehouse. She started doing plays and musical theater and moved to LA to pursue acting. But she kept writing songs and eventually that became her main focus. She put out a full-length album called “The Left Atrium” in 2013, then “Heartbreak Is Contagious” EP in 2017, and “Pieces That Were Stolen” in 2018.
In 2019, Kris Angelis packed up her broken heart into her little blue Prius and personally booked and performed over 100 shows across all 50 states. The album that came out of her experiences "That Siren, Hope" produced by Bill Lefler, partially co-written with Garrison Starr, and featuring fiddle by Jeb Bows (Gregory Alan Isakov) came out on Jan 24th, 2020 debuting at #1 on the iTunes singer/songwriter chart and as the highest ranking independent release that week on the Billboard Top Current Albums chart at #79. It also appeared on the first-round Grammy ballot and Kris was selected for the Grammy NEXT program.
“That Siren, Hope” was on the Americana Albums radio chart for 19 weeks, getting to #59 with spins all over the country on FM and SiriusXM, the title track was featured on Netflix’s “Atypical”, and the music video was premiered by American Songwriter Magazine. Her music video for “Photobooth” had 4 nominations including Video of the Year and 3 wins in the International Independent Music Video Awards including Best Folk/Americana Video and Fan Favorite.
Apart from writing and recording the new record, Kris kept busy in 2020 with live-stream performances including the UnCancelled Festival, Folk Alliance Unlocked showcases, Happy Hour for the Guild of Music Supervisors with KT Tunstall, Live from The Hotel Cafe, RoadNation's Road-Less Series, and many many more, as well as releasing a Live album and some singles including an original Holiday song with Abe Abraham.
Kris’s last album, “The Skies We Look To” came out April 30th at #1 on the iTunes singer/songwriter chart and “I’d Give Anything” was featured in American Songwriter, landed on New Music Nashville, Next From Nashville, and Indigo Official Spotify playlists, and charted for 15 weeks on Americana radio. “My Quiet”, another song from the album, is a winner in the International Songwriting Competition.
Lynn Crossett is a singer-songwriter based in San Marcos, Texas, who travels between Central Texas and Southern California performing Americana, alt-country style music. His latest album titled "In the Company of a Song" was produced by Grammy Award winning alt-country legend Lloyd Maines and features not only signature steel guitar work by Lloyd Maines but also fiddle and mandolin by Dennis Ludiker (Asleep at the Wheel, Milkdrive) and harmony vocals by HalleyAnna Finlay Welch on two songs ("Warren and Whitney" and "Child Support Trips"). Because Lynn divides his time between his home base in the Austin, Texas area and Southern California, the album contains a wide range of lyrical and musical themes - from the tale of a busker on the Santa Monica Pier in the first song ("Stay Awhile"), the road trip song, "California Ride," the title track with its Eastern, Central, and Pacific Time Zone allusions, the more playful "Do You Remember Me," the word-painting storytelling of "Warren and Whitney" and "Child Support Trips," to the observations of Los Angeles in the final song, "Boulevard," which has elements of reggae on this Americana/folk record and even has Lloyd Maines singing harmony vocals, something he has only done for artists with whom he has worked for many years, such as Joe Ely, Terry Allen, and Terri Hendrix. The songwriting combined with the masterful yet minimal production makes this album an engaging listen from start to finish.
Gigi Love writes songs from her travels, about people and places she has experienced and that have inspired her. She takes listeners on a musical journey through life and nature.
Born in Texas, Love began playing the guitar and singing at age seven. She moved to Pennsylvania and was a young performer in the Bucks County Bandstand, then moved back to Texas to play at major venues around the state. Gigi lives in Utah. Since 2016 she has performed in the National Parks across the nation, playing her songs from National Parks Centennial Songs album. Gigi was named the first Trails & Rails Troubadour with the National Park Service and Amtrak. She performed her national parks songs on long-distance Amtrak trains. Love continues to play in national parks and monuments including a 2019 appearance at the Grand Canyon for its 100th Anniversary. Gigi sings for wilderness and the environment. Her album Listen to the Red Rock is a call to listen, act & protect this precious land.
“LISTEN TO THE RED ROCK is a beautiful compilation of songs inspired by the wild and expansive landscape of Utah’s Red Rock wilderness region. The album brings together a number of award-winning folk, Americana, and bluegrass artists; Anke Summerhill, Cosy Sheridan, Gigi Love, Kate MacLeod, Leraine Horstmanshoff, Marv Hamilton, and Meander Cat, who have donated their songs in passionate support of the passage of America's Red Rock Wilderness Act (ARRWA). Topics range from songs that exalt the beauty and majesty of these lands to poignant, heartfelt reminders of how cheaply we give away our greatest treasures, and songs about the fight to preserve them amidst great pressures. Gigi’s hope is that listeners will feel inspired by the message and will petition their senators and representatives nationwide to support this bill.”
Harriet Reynolds is an award-winning singer songwriter who knows her way around the music industry. She has performed on stages from coast to coast for over two decades and continues to draw a crowd of faithful fans every time she picks up her guitar and walks on stage.
Her music is carefully crafted to entertain and elicit emotion with her compelling melodies, rhythms, and lyrics that she crafts and delivers straight from the heart. Her music has been described as Americana and folk and pop—she works across the gamut. And as she always says, a good song is a good song, as long as it connects with the listener.
She loves the exchange of energy with the audience and all those who hear her—online or in person—leave uplifted and engaged in a mutual admiration society.
Harriet’s fourth original album Ready For A Change has been recently released to great acclaim. She will be touring with a series of in-person concerts in the fall of this year and well into the spring of 2023, and she is so excited to be back out on the trail again.
In addition to her upcoming live performances, she appears on Tuesdays at 5pm Central on Facebook for the online show she created during the pandemic. Harriet’s Happy Hour has aired for more than 90 performances to date.
You can find her latest album, as well as the previous three, on all the major online outlets. And of course, you can find her on Spotify, Pandora and all your favorite streaming sites, and you can find her many merch items on www.harrietreynoldsmusic.com
For venue or house concert bookings, custom song creations, or other info about Harriet and what she is up to, you can find her at www.harrietreynolds.com
Joe Jencks sings with a lyric baritone voice that has the edgy richness of a good sea-salt caramel. A 25-year veteran of the international Folk circuit, an award-winning songwriter and celebrated vocalist based in the Chicago area, Joe delivers engaged musical narratives filled with heart, soul, groove, and grit. Jencks has penned several #1 Folksongs including the ever-relevant Lady of The Harbor. Joe is a dual US-Irish citizen and has served as a Cultural Ambassador with the U.S. State Department.
In August of 2022, Jencks released his 17th recording, The Coming of the Years, an album that stands firmly in the modern Celtic traditions and is still quintessentially a Joe Jencks record. Centered around songs Jencks wrote while on tour in Ireland over a 12-year period, this album emerges as a synergistic blend of past and present merging with themes of immigration spanning multiple generations. The album is already being received with critical acclaim. Jencks’ 2017 CD Poets, Philosophers, Workers, and Wanderers earned #1 Artist, #1 Album, and #1 Song on the North American Folk DJ Chart as well as spending several weeks at #1 on the SIRIUS XM Americana Chart. In addition to his work as a touring performer, songwriter, and producer, Jencks leads songwriting workshops with diverse communities from Military Veterans to School Children. Jencks is also a grant recipient from the Archives of American Folk Music at The Library of Congress. From Carnegie Hall to Lincoln Center to Festivals across the US and Canada, Joe Jencks has become a fan favorite throughout North America and beyond.
JOHN DILLON is a singer/songwriter in long-term recovery from alcohol and drug addiction. His recent album HOPE ROAD - from Addiction to Recovery chronicles his life journey from recreational drug use in the ‘60s to full-blown cocaine addiction in the ‘80s. His recovery began in 1992 at a treatment center in Pennsylvania.
Through the release of HOPE ROAD and ongoing live performances, he aims to raise awareness of the disease of addiction and the hope of recovery.
During the 1960s hippie movement, the mind-altering substances were part of the culture, part of the adventure. For three days in August of 1969, John soaked up the music, the mud and the vibe at Woodstock, and a few months later decided to drop out of college to get a ‘real’ education. Sacramento to Cheyenne brings to life his years of traveling the country via thumb and freight train… before the drugs and alcohol turned against him.
John settled in a New Mexico new age spiritual community, where he didn’t drink or use drugs for 8 years. When his marriage broke up and he left the group, the drugs and alcohol returned.
Years later and re-married, he found himself leading The Double Life, one while he was on the road for work, and the other while he was home with his wife and kids. John’s Addiction reached a point where he could no longer get through a day without using. The inner torture became a War (written by his son, Jackson).
In White Flag, John recalls a ‘divine intervention’ in the form of a run-in with the law. His true recovery journey began at an addiction treatment center in 1992 getting The Help I Need. His cover of John Hiatt’s Thirty Years of Tears describes the rehab experience.
Subsequent songs on the album show how John has maintained sobriety and spiritual growth through working a 12-step program, Learning to Serve and much Gratitude. Chesapeake Bay acknowledges that even in sobriety, life can present serious family challenges. BYOG refers to one of the tenets of 12-step recovery, that it’s a spiritual program, and it doesn’t matter what your religion (or lack of one) is. The album closes with the title song Hope Road, which offers encouragement to listeners by describing what's possible in a sober life.
John is recognized for his work as producer and co-host (along with his wife Vivian Nesbitt) of Art of the Song a one-hour program about songwriting and creativity heard across America on over 100 public radio stations. He is musical director and guitarist to support Vivian’s acting as they tour Si Kahn’s musical, Mother Jones in Heaven. John’s book The 20-20 Creativity Solution gives readers a step-by-step process to enhance their creativity. As a luthier, John has built over 80 custom guitars for the likes of Hank Williams, Jr., Trisha Yearwood, the Mavericks, Tish Hinojosa and Steve Earle.
John lives on a farm in upstate New York with his wife Vivian, her mother, two dogs, two horses and lots of guitars.
J. W. McClure mixes humor, heart and a deep poetic sensibility with sweet tenor vocals and nimble-fingered guitar in his songs, influenced by folk, country, blues, jazz and early pop styles, and honed over decades in the classic folk circuit of coffee houses, bars, festivals and concert venues. His tunes evoke a world both mundane and subtly spiritual, mordant but hopeful, and always splashed with wry humor and only slightly self-mocking optimism. In his recorded efforts, J. W. is joined by long-time collaborator and extreme multi-instrumentalist Thaddeus Spae on guitarron, harmonica, guitar, keyboards, trombone and more, as well as other musical guests adding long-distance accompaniments. We have three albums that are current: Family History, Interpretations of Jimmie Rodgers, andCowboys on the Skyline. I have earlier stuff that shows up now and then. The Jimmie Rodgers stuff is no accident as I have always tossed that inwith some antique classics onall my shows
A classically trained musician with a love for great songwriting, Roxi Copland’s innovative sound is forged at the crossroads of Americana, roots, and jazz. From her confessions that “the things I speak aloud might hurt the ones I love” to professing seductively “I prefer my arms with yours entwined,” the five songs that make up her I Come From Crazy EP reveal an artist unafraid to divulge her shortcomings, frustrations, and desires.
“It took a while for me to be self-confident enough to write a song without complex chords in it,” she recalls, referencing her previous life as a singing pianist in jazz clubs. “I noticed that what I really loved as a kid were songs that told stories, and a lot of those were country and Americana … my songwriting started to have more of a tilt towards that direction.” Throughout the EP, Copland’s sultry vocals are framed by country-tinged instrumentation from a stellar lineup of some of Austin’s finest. The resulting sound is akin to a rowdier, rootsier Madeleine Peyroux or Melody Gardot.
Lead single “Daddy Don’t Do Politics,” which has earned accolades from both the International Songwriting Competition (2020 Semi-Finalist, Folk/Singer-Songwriter category) and the Great American Song Contest (2021 Finalist, Folk / Americana category), might be the most timely of all the tracks on the EP. In just over two minutes, it offers up a succinct summation of that moment when a father gets a lesson in privilege from his more progressive daughter. “He didn’t appreciate me pointing out that he had a huge head start in life, and I didn’t appreciate him willfully ignoring a massive amount of privilege. So I got a little passive-aggressive and wrote this song and admittedly had a lot of fun while doing it,” Copland recalls.
Looking for an escape of sorts during the pandemic, Copland says she steered her efforts towards simply having fun with music, centering the storytelling, and looking internally to family dynamics for inspiration. “I was focusing on telling a story, whether it was funny, sarcastic, or getting a political dig in, and trying to write to that story rather than coming up with a song and then writing a story to fit.”
When almost all of her gigs fell off the calendar due to Covid, most of her income did as well. Serendipitously, Copland noticed that Douglas, an award-winning producer/engineer, had also lost all his bookings and was offering a “pay what you can” option for time at his King Electric Recording studio in Austin. Having worked with a massive list of artists that span every genre imaginable, from Celine Dion to Jimmy LaFave, Douglas proved to be the perfect guiding hand for putting Copland’s self-reflective musings to tape, and the EP came together very quickly. It didn’t hurt that Copland came in with a solid sense of direction in terms of how she wanted things to sound; “I knew 90% of what I wanted on every song before I went in there,” she explains. “When I took it to Justin, he added these interesting touches that I don’t think I would have come up with.”
The EP closes with one of the most well-known of all traditional folk songs, “House of the Rising Sun.” As Copland details, she crafted an arrangement that harkens back to the lesser-known original version. “It was initially written for a woman to sing, which changes the meaning of the lyrics from the Animals’ arrangement that most folks are familiar with—about a guy that apparently just can’t stop visiting a New Orleans brothel. The original version is about the sex worker herself, and my arrangement goes back to that.” The resulting darker, more dissonant take is the perfect showcase for Copland’s most unique strengths, her ability to play with tradition and give it her own stamp, one of equal parts confidence and wit, and one that will have you returning to I Come From Crazy again and again.
Whether in a cinematic crescendo of all-consuming sound or in a quiet soliloquy of only voice and guitar, Ever More Nest allows audiences to wade deep into the waters of their humanness or stay safely ashore, where the rhythm of waves—the steady rock and roll—bring contentedness and joy. Featuring songs written both before and during the pandemic, Ever More Nest’s newest release Out Here Now (August 19, 2022) builds upon the immersive sounds and themes of its predecessor with textures, tones, and lyricism that delve deep into what makes us human. Produced by Neilson Hubbard, the album is a “journey to and celebration of the soul that lends itself well to the active-listeners, dreamers, travelers and seekers,” according to songwriter Kelcy Wilburn. A native of North Louisiana, Ever More Nest’s Kelcy Wilburn (“Kelcy Mae”) was equally influenced by the gospel, country, and blues of her Bible Belt hometown as she was by the emotional rawness of the artists that consumed her generation: The Cranberries, Counting Crows, Tori Amos, Radiohead, et al. At 18, she moved to New Orleans, where open-mindedness and acceptance gave her the freedom to be herself and to find her voice. As a student of creative writing, she fostered a love of language evident across her early releases as Kelcy Mae and across Ever More Nest’s debut and sophomore albums. Also produced by Neilson Hubbard, the Ever More Nest debut (The Place That You Call Home, 2018), was nominated for Best Alt-Country Album in the Independent Music Awards and its single, “Major Tom,” named a semi-finalist in the International Songwriting Competition and Unsigned Only Music Competition. Following its release, Wilburn and her cadre of accomplished New Orleans musicians graced a variety of stages across the Southeast, Midwest, and Northeast United States, including the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Milwaukee’s Summerfest music festival, and listening rooms across the country. Inspiration for the band name “Ever More Nest” came from a line in a poem by Mary Ann Samyn, which Wilburn found striking in its ability to evoke both a nostalgia for and discomfort with place. The Place That You Call Home is likewise obsessed with the idea of place and poses the universal question: “Just where do I belong?” According to Folk Radio UK, “The answer is clearly in any discerning Americana CD collection.”
Apple & Setser (Brad Apple & Pam Setser,) officially a duo since 2017, have played music together on and off for 30 years and have similar performing backgrounds in their respective family bands. Both musicians grew up playing music at the Ozark Folk Center and traveling the region performing separately. The duo regularly performs at the Mountain View Meeting Place in Mountain View, Arkansas, and travels the road to play shows and promote their music throughout the area. Apple & Setser were nominated for Best Acoustic Act for the 2022 Arkansas Country Music Awards. Apple & Setser's self-titled debut album APPLE & SETSER is a collection of new originals, classic favorites and lesser-known traditional songs that take us on a nostalgic visit to that past when songs told stories that touched our hearts and memories. The album takes us on a journey back in time with foot-stomping songs, fond thoughts of family and friends but also digs deeper into our souls with a few songs about lost love. Brad Apple and Pam Setser capture our hearts by producing an album chock full of the sweet sounds of acoustic stringed instruments and the flavor of Mountainview, Arkansas, featuring notable and award-winning bluegrass and gospel guest musicians David Johnson, Tim Crouch and Danny Crawford. Golden-voiced singer and multi-instrumentalist Pam Setser, based in Mountain View, Arkansas, was nominated for Americana Artist of the Year for the 2021 Arkansas Country Music Awards. The folk/bluegrass/country singer and musician was part of her family's band (The Simmons Family Band) for 16 years. Her experiences included appearing on Hee Haw and performing for Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton. Pam has performed at the Ozark Folk Center since 1973. She also had the honor of sharing the stage with Grandpa Jones, Ramona Jones, The Whites, and Joni Bishop. Pam also performs with the Pam Setser Band, Apple & Setser, and the Ozark Granny Chicks, an old-time string band quartet. Pam plays autoharp, mountain dulcimer, guitar (left-handed!), upright bass, and spoons. Pam's discography includes four albums with "The Simmons Family Band," five mountain dulcimer albums with her mom Jean Jennings, and three solo albums; At Last, Crooked Ridge (familiar tunes), and her most recent release on the Bell Buckle Records label, Now (primarily originals, an Americana mix of folk, bluegrass, gospel, 1930s swing, and country.) Brad Apple is a multi-instrumentalist, vocalist, and songwriter with a smooth, expressive and commanding voice suited to folk, country and bluegrass. His original songs have been recorded by Auldridge, Bennett & Gaudreau, and the former members of J.D. Crowe and the New South, known as Flashback. Brad's Acoustic Music Talk podcast featuring interviews with artists and discussions about all facets of acoustic music, was nominated for Best Publication/Podcast for the 2022 Arkansas Country Music Awards. Brad played in his family band for many years and regularly performed at regional bluegrass festivals and the Ozark Folk Center State Park. His family ran The Apple Family Bluegrass Festival from 1979 to 1984. Brad was the audio mastering engineer at Raney Recording Studio in Drasco, Arkansas, for 10 years. Today, he has a recording studio where he records and masters his own projects and for other artists.
“Arielle Silver is a born communicator... exudes intelligence and humanity.” – MUSIC CONNECTION (Hot Unsigned Artists / Top Prospects)
Arielle Silver is a consummate storyteller whose rich, expressive voice and acoustic guitar frame expansive melodies that echo her tours and travels across the American heartland. The daughter of a guitar-strumming architect and a bookworm religious educator, Arielle was raised on folk festival fields and synagogue pews, in woodsy and watery places up and down the Atlantic Seaboard. She moved to Boston for college, where she studied classical and renaissance woodwinds, and moonlighted as a folksinging busker in Harvard Square.
Now based in Southern California, Arielle lives just a traffic jam away from the Pacific Ocean. After a decade break from performing music to focus on creative writing and Eastern philosophy, her fourth album, A THOUSAND TINY TORCHES (2020), is luminous, literate, and alive, with songs that crosscut exacting details of the seismic heartbreaks of ordinary life. Recognized in numerous songwriting contests, the album has been heard regularly on tastemaker station 88.5FM (KCSN Los Angeles), was a New Discovery in American Songwriter, and a 2020 Top 10 Albums in Americana Highways.
Arielle currently serves as Secretary for Folk Alliance Region West (FAR-West) Board of Directors. She teaches Creative Writing at Antioch University Los Angeles and for the International Women's Writing Guild, is producer and host of the podcast Tomes & Tunes, and co-owns Bhavana Flow Yoga, where she teaches daily Zoom yoga and leads retreats with her sweetheart, the composer/songwriter Darby Orr.
She loves pie.
A pure-voiced poet and a dulcimer wizard weave their voices and instruments into a rich, harmony-driven sound that is fresh and innovative. Intricate arrangements, harmonies “so tight, they pulse” (Mary Cliff—WAMU-FM), comic repartee, a repertoire ranging from critically-acclaimed originals and contemporary songs, to finger-dancing instrumentals and unexpected covers---these are the hallmarks of every Jubilant Bridge performance. Vox Populi winner at the Independent Music Awards and two-time finalist for Best Group/Duo in the International Acoustic Music Awards, Jubilant Bridge comes from a rich aural tradition, but surprises audiences with counter melodies, changing time signatures, and well-chosen dissonance. The duo’s instruments go beyond simple accompaniment; the arrangements and the songs themselves are meshed. They use the vocabulary, but step outside of the conventions, of folk, rock, and pop---not simply stitching together genres, but folding the seams under. Every song becomes their own.
Vocalist and guitarist Carol Van Alstine provides Jubilant Bridge with most of its distinctive original songs. She comes to songwriting by way of poetry. Often inspired by dreams, and musical and lyrical phrases that take her unexpected places, her emotionally wise songs depict states of mind and heart and the conflicts between them. Her awards include the BMI Songwriter Award for her song “Power Lines,” as well as Silver in the Mid-Atlantic Song Contest, one of the longest-running song competitions in the nation, and several Honorable Mentions in the Billboard World Song Contest. With a voice that has been described as “striking,” “ethereal,” and “far purer than Michael Jackson’s fondness for gloves,” she is often asked after a show, “How does such a big voice come out of such a small person?” Her musical experiences range from performing at the bottom of the Grand Canyon to singing soprano in Renaissance choirs.
Mountain dulcimer wizard and vocalist Willie Jaeger takes what is often thought of as a “simple” folk instrument and discovers its complexity. He strums, he fingerpicks, he flatpicks, he plays lead, and he even experiments with electric dulcimer. His unique style of playing, and his popularity as a teacher at the renowned Swallow Hill School of Music, inspired Westword, Denver’s alternative weekly, to vote him Denver’s “Best Local Folkie.” He won Silver in the national mountain dulcimer championship at Winfield, Kansas, has been a finalist twice for Best Instrumental in the Mid-Atlantic Song Contest, and won a Gold Medal for Best Original Instrumental Composition at the National Veterans Creative Arts Festival. An engaging singer with a lyrical baritone, he also plays hammered dulcimer and guitar, and composes instrumentals and the occasional song.
Carol and Willie have six recordings. Their latest , “A Bell A Bird A Star,” called “a gem of a Christmas album” by Significato Journal, achieved #7 on the Folk DJ charts. It consists of beautiful songs of the Christmas season by 20th-century composers, some based on medieval texts; traditional carols in several languages; and Latin pieces. Many of the songs are not often heard except by choral ensembles, but here, they are intricately arranged for two voices, guitar, and dulcimer. Gracing the collection are several original songs and instrumentals, including the title track, for which Carol was a finalist in both the Grassy Hill Songwriting and SongDoor competitions. The duo’s five previous recordings include “Power Lines,” in which Victory Music Review found “an amazing level of melodic richness and complex songwriting,” and the songs “musical and lyrical tapestries that can be surprisingly deep and poetic.”; “Happenstance”; “Under Shattered Skies” (which Victory Music Review proclaimed “a rich aural feast”); “Another Run At the Mountain”; and “Crazy Like The Wind.”
In a country that loves its Celtic music, it’s no surprise that Vancouver’s Pat Chessell has become known as one of the most exciting roots artists in Western Canada. Pat’s rootsy vocal style, charismatic stage presence and expert musicianship (guitar) are making for an ever-growing audience of enthusiastic fans. While his mostly original music falls solidly under the broad umbrella of ‘Celtic’, Pat’s range is prodigious and eclectic. It’s been variously described as straight-ahead “folk”, “upbeat Celtic influenced Canadian folk/pop”, and “moving mid-and-up-tempo contemporary Celtic”, among other labels. His tunes have also, on occasion, known to be tinged with Americana influences. But, to cut to the chase, it’s all Pat’s music. Its music played and performed, and often written, in Pat’s distinctive and unique voice; strongly rooted in the Celtic tradition, but with an open-hearted connection to the place he calls home and the modern world around him. His lyrics are at turns profound – or witty and high-spirited – but always dynamic and relatable.
Curtis & Loretta’s music comes straight from the heart. The husband and wife duo’s extraordinary harmonies and proficiency on a parade of stringed instruments create an alluring frame for their poignant original songs. The current menagerie includes folk harp, mandocello, guitars, clawhammer banjo, and National steel ukulele, plus a bit of kazoo, harmonica, and shakers. Based in Minneapolis, the folk singer-songwriter duo racks up countless miles each year, criss-crossing the U.S., to play for their loyal following. Curtis Teague’s down-home sense of humor and Loretta Simonet’s theater background engage the audience in an experience that runs the gamut of rolling with laughter to holding back tears, with plenty of side-trips in between. Their latest CD, When There’s Good to Be Done, is all songs Loretta wrote about real-life people who overcame great challenges in their lives. Minnesota Bluegrass said, “These are amazing stories - and each song is more powerful than the last... Instrumentally, the pair are a folkie power duo. Capable of double-digitry, they limit themselves to a half dozen instruments on When There’s Good to Be Done.” They were awarded a Creative Support for Individuals Grant in 2022, Arts Tour Minnesota Grants in 2018 and 2010, and an Artist Initiative Grant in 2015, all from the Minnesota State Arts Board, and were named Best Acoustic Performers of the Twin Cities by City Pages. Their CDs have appeared on “Top Albums of the Year” at folkradio.org, and they’ve received several nominations for “Best Acoustic Folk Artist” for the Minnesota Music Awards. They’ve released nine recordings, and shared billings with such luminaries as Pete Seeger, Arlo Guthrie, Holly Near, Vassar Clements, Claudia Schmidt, and many more! Curtis Teague and Loretta Simonet are married (to each other!), and live in Minneapolis. “Known simply as Curtis and Loretta to most folks, the husband and wife duo of Curtis Teague and Loretta Simonet has been making vital and lovely music together for some three decades. With their brilliant, self- penned odes, these two take music and give it space to hang out for you to enjoy. Accompanied by an array of instruments including but not limited to Celtic harp, mandocello, mandolin, guitars, clawhammer banjo and National steel ukulele, plus a touch of kazoo, harmonica and shakers, they blend humor and realism in a poignant performance of super-duper stuff.” ... Tom Irwin, Illinois Times Curtis and Loretta are in many ways the quintessential folk duo: finely honed vocal harmonies of multidimensional intrigue, abundant talent on an array of stringed instruments, deep traditional roots, great originals, and equally strong strains of gravity and playful irreverence. Loretta's remarkable originals are often certifiable tearjerkers, tackling, for instance, the ravages of Alzheimer's and the story of a concentration camp heroine. Loretta pulls it off by sidestepping melodrama in favor of eloquent writing and clear-eyed journalistic detail. It's both musically riveting and spiritually invigorating.” ... Rick Mason, City Pages “The duo sings beautifully.....The singing is robust and the accompaniment of mandocello and Celtic harp very lovely.” ... Tom Druckenmiller, SingOut! "Keeping the modern folk tradition alive.” ... Frank Gutch, No Depression
With her po8werful voice, captivating melodies and finely-crafted lyrics, Susan Cattaneo is one of Boston’s most respected singer/songwriters. A compelling performer and vivid storyteller, Susan’s music blends folk, rock and blues with hint of country. Call it New England Americana.
Following up on the success of her chart-topping double album. The Hammer & The Heart, Susan Cattaneo is releasing All is Quiet in April of 2022. Susan is known for her lyric and melodic craft, and for this project, she brought her mastery to a quieter place. Embracing simplicity and vulnerability, the nine songs on All is Quiet speak to the personal nature of loss, relationships and hope for the future. All is Quiet was recorded remotely during 2020 and features the beautiful guitar work of national talents, Kevin Barry and Duke Levine and was co-produced with Lorne Entress.
Critics, audiences, and fellow artists have instantly connected with the personal nature of Susan’s songs. Susan is a three-time Kerrville New Folk Finalist (2020, 2018, 2015) and a three-time nominee for Best Americana Artist at the Boston Music Awards (2020, 2019, 2018). Susan won the 2018 CT folk Festival, and has been a finalist or winner at some of the country’s most prestigious songwriting and music contests including the Falcon Ridge Folk Festival, Philadelphia Songwriters Project, the Wildflower Festival, the IndeFollowing up on the success of her chart-topping double album. The Hammer & The Heart, Susan Cattaneo is releasing All is Quiet in April of 2022. Susan is known for her lyric and melodic craft, and for this project, she brought her mastery to a quieter place. Embracing simplicity and vulnerability, the nine songs on All is Quiet speak to the personal nature of loss, relationships and hope for the future. All is Quiet was recorded remotely during 2020 and features the beautiful guitar work of national talents, Kevin Critics, audiences, and fellow artists have instantly connected with the personal nature of Susan’s songs. Susan is a three-time Kerrville New Folk Finalist (2020, 2018, 2015) and a three-time nominee for Best Americana Artist at the Boston Music Awards (2020, 2019, 2018). Susan won the 2018 CT folk Festival, and has been a finalist or winner at some of the country’s most prestigious songwriting and music contests including the Falcon Ridge Folk Festival, Philadelphia Songwriters Project, the Wildflower Festival, the IndeFollowing up on the success of her chart-topping double album. The Hammer & The Heart, Susan Cattaneo is releasing All is Quiet in April of 2022. Susan is known for her lyric and melodic craft, and for this project, she brought her mastery to a quieter place. Embracing simplicity and vulnerability, the nine songs on All is Quiet speak to the personal nature of loss, relationships and hope for the future. All is Quiet was recorded remotely during 2020 and features the beautiful guitar work of national talents, Kevin Barry and Duke Levine and was co-produced with Lorne Entress. pendent Music Awards, the International Acoustic Music Awards, 5 Unsigned Only, the USA Songwriting Competition, the Mountain Stage New Song Contest and the Mid-Atlantic Song Contest. Her last album The Hammer and The Heart charted #1 on the Billboard Heatseekers chart and yielded a #1 song on folk radio and a top 10 album of 2017. Susan is also an in-demand educator and collaborator. As a Songwriting Professor at the Berklee College of Music for the past 20 years, Susan has helped students work on over 15,000 songs in all musical genres and styles and mentored over 2,000 artists.
Deidre McCalla doesn’t merely take the stage - she owns it. Her songs embody hope and celebration, struggle, loss, and longing - sometimes all in one song! A dreadlocked singer-songwriter-guitarist for close to five decades Deidre McCalla, Black woman, mother, lesbian, feminist, has long been in the forefront of the growing number of Black musicians reconfiguring perception of how Black folk do folk. With five independent albums to her credit, including her most recent release Endless Grace, Deidre McCalla has touched audiences from Maui to Maine, church basements and college coffeehouses to Carnegie Hall. Her music taps a variety of musical styles with Deidre’s vocal the connecting thread drawing the listener in with rich warmth and a feather-light depth. Deidre McCalla’s powerful songwriting exhibits an unyieldingly honest perspective grounded in her life and expressed with a simple and direct lyric touch that fearlessly celebrates the power and diversity of the human spirit. The Austin-American Statesmen cites Deidre as “...a highly distinctive voice in a crowded field of contemporary folk music" and Sing Out Magazine lauds her CD, Playing for Keeps, as a work of "power, conviction and grace.” Deidre McCalla's first Olivia Records album Don’t Doubt It is listed as one of 25 Classic Women’s Music Albums by Ms Magazine. In 2021 Deidre received a SERFA Award from the Southeast Regional Folk Alliance for distinguished service and exceptional contributions to folk music in the Southeast region of Folk Alliance International. Deidre McCalla came of age in the fiery blaze of NYC's folk heyday - a time when Greenwich Village clubs were filled with the likes of Dylan, Baez, and Ochs; a time when Motown ruled the top of the charts and the streets of America screamed with anger and civil unrest. Her first album, Fur Coats and Blue Jeans, was released on Roulette Records when Deidre was 19 and a student at Vassar College. With a theater degree tucked under her belt and an acoustic guitar tossed in the back of a battered Buick station wagon, Deidre McCalla hit the proverbial road and never looked back. Deidre later majored in jazz guitar at the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music and released three albums with the pioneering women's music label Olivia Records. A much beloved performer in both folk and women's music circles, Deidre McCalla has shared the stage with a long list of notables that includes Suzanne Vega, Tracy Chapman, Holly Near, Odetta, Cris Williamson, and Sweet Honey in the Rock. She has taught Performance at Warren Wilson College's Swannanoa Gathering, and songwriting at Common Ground on the Hill. Deidre's work has been published in Home Girls: A Black Feminist Anthology, The Original Coming Out Stories, and Chrysalis: A Feminist Quarterly, and she is featured in The Power of Words: A Transformative Language Arts Reader. Deidre is a proud member of AFM Local 1000 and the North American Folk Alliance
Rissi Palmer's gift lies in reaching across all musical boundaries. While she made her mark in Country Music, she is equally at home in R&B music, bringing the entire spectrum of popular music to bear on music she calls “Southern Soul.”
The daughter of Georgia natives, Rissi was born near Pittsburgh, PA and spent her adolescent years in St. Louis, Missouri. Raised in a musical family that loved both country and R&B, Rissi was a part of a singing and dancing troupe sponsored by a local television station at age 16, and by the time she was 19 years old, she had already been offered her first publishing and label deal.
In 2007, she released her debut album Rissi Palmer, charting singles, “Country Girl,” “Hold On To Me,” and “No Air.” Since then, Rissi has independently released a Christmas single, her first children’s album, Best Day Ever and an EP titled The Back Porch Sessions. Her most recent album, Revival, was released in 2019 and has been critically hailed as her most personal and uplifting work to date.
A few highlights throughout her musical career include performances at The White House, New York's Lincoln Center and multiple appearances on the Grand Ole Opry. She has toured extensively across the country, sharing stages with Taylor Swift, The Eagles, Chris Young, Charley Crockett and many more. Rissi has also made numerous national appearances on Oprah & Friends, CMT Insider, CNN, CBS This Morning, GMA, Entertainment Tonight, and FOX Soul's "The Book of Sean and has been featured in Associated Press, Ebony, Essence, Huffington Post, New York Times, Newsweek, NPR's "All Things Considered," PEOPLE, Rolling Stone, The Wall Street Journal and Washington Post, to name a few. As a passionate voice for country artists of color and those who have been marginalized in mainstream country music, Rissi launched her own radio show Color Me Country with Rissi Palmer on Apple Music Country. Since making its debut in August 2020, listeners have been treated to in-depth and riveting, often funny, yet very necessary conversations with Brittney Spencer, Cam, Chapel Hart, Crystal Shawanda, Maren Morris, Miko Marks The War and Treaty, Darius Rucker and Mickey Guyton and author/journalist Andrea Williams. Fans can tune-in live to Color Me Country with Rissi Palmer every other Sunday on Apple Music Country at 4pP/7pE. To watch previous episode on-demand, click HERE. In conjunction with her radio show, Rissi created the Color Me Country Artist Grant Fund designed to support new country artists of color who are just beginning to build their music careers. Rissi is also a Special Correspondent for CMT's Hot 20 Countdown. The weekly series airs Saturdays and Sundays on CMT at 9a/8c and features chart-topping music videos, news stories, live performances and candid interviews from country’s biggest stars.