Archive for Folk

Martin Simpson

Friday, October 4, 2019 | 8:30PM

Martin Simpson
Advance $25.00 / Door $30.00 *

There is no doubt that after 45 years as a professional musician Martin is, right now, better than ever. Widely acknowledged as one of the finest acoustic and slide guitar players in the world, his interpretations of traditional songs are masterpieces of storytelling. His solo shows are intense, eclectic, spellbinding and deeply moving.

There is no-one who has more successfully combined the diverse elements of British, Afro-American and old-timey music than Simpson. His 15 years living in the US were well spent. In addition his own songwriting has produced some real gems, from the truck-stop epic, “Love Never Dies” to the profoundly moving “Never Any Good” and “One Day”.

His career includes collaborations on stage and record with Richard Hawley, Richard Thompson, June Tabor, Kelly Joe Phelps, Jackson Browne, Danny Thompson, Danú, Martin Carthy, Cara Dillon, David Lindley, Roy Bailey, Martin Taylor, David Hidalgo, Steve Miller, Dick Gaughan, Dom Flemons and many more.

Martin has been nominated an astounding 27 times in the fifteen years of the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards – more than any other performer – with 9 consecutive years as nominee for Musician of The Year, which he has won twice. The year 2008 saw an incredible 5 nominations for “Prodigal Son’ and 2 wins, whilst in 2010 he had an unprecedented 6 nominations for his CD, “True Stories” and a win for Best Traditional Track, “Sir Patrick Spens”. 2012’s nominations for Martin include, Best Album for ‘Purpose & Grace”, Best Traditional Track for “The Lakes Of Ponchartrain” and Best Musician. In 2014 his album, ‘Vagrant Stanzas’ was nominated for Album Of The Year, but it was a member of The Full English that he collectively took home awards that year, for Best Group and Album Of The Year. 2015 saw him working in a new trio with the wonderful Andy Cutting and Nancy Kerr and they also released an album together, ‘Murmurs’, to wide, critical acclaim. He is currently working on new material for his next solo album.

Whether playing American old-time music, blues, a Dylan song or his own material, Martin Simpson is unpredictable, individual and a guitarist of immense subtlety.

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The Jitters

Saturday, September 28, 2019 | 8:30PM

The Jitters
Advance $25.00 / Door: $30.00 *

Always fun, funny, irreverent and rockin’, The Jitters return to Hugh’s Room Live after an 18-month absence. Snarky, sarcastic, the pop-rockers may not look like they did in their heyday but they deliver a great evening of laughs and catchy songs.

The Jitters (singer Blair Packham, guitarist Danny Levy and bassist Matthew Greenberg) originally formed in 1981. They recorded with super-producer Bob Ezrin, made an independent video in 1984 for the song “Take Me As I Am” and eventually got a record deal with Capitol-EMI Music of Canada. Along the way, they picked up David Quinton Steinberg on drums (who has been the driving force behind the band’s latter-day reunions). In 1986, The Jitters opened for Huey Lewis and the News at the Canadian National Exhibition, tied for third place in Q107’s Homegrown Contest with the song “Last of the Red Hot Fools.” They opened for The Kinks, The Byrds, Kim Mitchell, Rik Emmett, and in 1988, they played support for Heart on their UK tour, ending the tour with three sold-out nights at Wembley Arena. Nominated for a Juno Award that spring, the Jitters flogged their debut album across Canada, and then began writing for their second album with producer Jules Shear.

With a total of 5 Top 20 hits in Canada to their credit, the Jitters are enjoying playing together again, and looking forward to the release of the Universal Music best-of compilation which will include two new songs.

Youtube: www.youtube.com/watch?v=-sgWpUuaDRM

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Debi Botos

Saturday, July 27, 2019 | 8:30PM

Debi Botos

Advance: $20.00 / Doors: $25.00 *

From an early age, Debi Botos has cultivated an interest in Hungarian Gypsy music (where she was born). Now 23, as a self taught musician, Debi continues to explore and experiment with the sounds of the Legendary Django Reinhardt. Through gigging around the Toronto Circuit and growing up in a very musical Botos Family, she has found a sound that is both contemporary and an homage to the Greats. Debi has had amazing opportunities to meet and play with some of the most influential musicians in this style. Incorporating colourful and inventive sounds from her Hungarian Gypsy roots to the music of Django Reinhardt, she is creating a beautiful fusion of swing and free improvisational music. She will be joined by her family and good friends on stage singing and playing authentic Hungarian Gypsy folk music as well, all with a jazzy twist. Ever-evolving, Debi has written multiple compositions (that she will be debuting) infusing both these styles and creates a moving yet very enjoyable atmosphere that feel electric, traditional yet modern and continues to amaze her audiences at venues and concert halls across the country.

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Folklife

Friday, July 26, 2019 | 8:30pm

Folklife
Advance $20.00 / Door: $25.00

Jayme Stone’s Folklife treats old field recordings not as time capsules, but as heirloom seeds passed down from a bygone generation. Planting these sturdy seeds in modern soil, this versatile gathering of musicians has cultivated vibrant Sea Island spirituals, Creole calypsos, and stomp-down Appalachian dance tunes for contemporary listeners. Their concerts and educational programs are moving, inventive, and participatory experiences that prove folk songs are indeed perennials for the people.

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Eilen Jewell

Wednesday, July 24, 2019 | 8:30pm

Eilen Jewell
Advance $25.00 / Door: $30.00

Eilen Jewell laughs when told her label’s president called her a musicologist. But she confirms she and her husband and bandmate, drummer Jason Beek, have a passion for studying American music.

“We really love to uncover the past. It’s almost like digging for buried treasure,” she says. “For me, that’s where music is at. I like all kinds of music as long as there’s the word ‘early’ in front of it.” For her new album, Down Hearted Blues, released Sept. 22, 2017 on Signature Sounds, she and Beek unearthed 12 vintage gems written or made famous by an array of artists both renowned and obscure, from Willie Dixon and Memphis Minnie to Charles Sheffield and Betty James. Then, like expert stonecutters, they chiseled them into exciting new shapes and forms, honoring history while breathing new life into each discovery.

Known for what allmusic.com describes as a “country-flavored and blues-infused version of contemporary folk (which also can include healthy doses of rockabilly and surf),” Jewell’s discography includes several albums of original material and one of Loretta Lynn covers. Jewell has also recorded two albums with her eight-piece gospel-group side project the Sacred Shakers. But this latest effort, which she and Beek co-produced, with engineering by pianist/banjo player Steve Fulton and Pat Storey, is her first collection of blues — despite the fact that she credits the genre for igniting her musical curiosity in the first place.

That’s because, even though she’s dreamed of recording a blues album since discovering Howlin’ Wolf as a Boise, Idaho, teen, Jewell had to convince herself she could — and should.

“I’ve always had this sense of self-doubt about it,” she admits. “Like, who am I to sing the blues? I’m a white girl from Idaho. I don’t know if I have a right to do that.” But she also remembers an old friend’s advice: “Everyone has the right to do what they love in this world, regardless of who they are and what background they come from.”

Finally, she tired of waging her internal battle and decided to let the “do what you love” side win. It was a wise choice — particularly because she’s hardly appropriating or imitating anyone’s style; on the contrary, Jewell makes each song her own, while paying homage to her beloved inspirations. It also should be noted that American blues music, like its country of origin, is a melting pot of influences, and that all music evolves from what came before — and that, by recording these songs, she’s helping to strengthen the legacy of those who created and popularized them.

Some of them she heard while listening to her husband’s Radio Boise show, Spoonful. The pair also cite John Funke’s Backwoods, on Cambridge’s WMBR-FM, as a source of discovery. In fact, the couple’s mutual attraction to musical obscurities led directly to their relationship. A friend who knew of their common interest made the introduction, correctly guessing they’d hit it off.

That happened in Boston, where Jewell lived for nine years after leaving Boise to attend college in Santa Fe, New Mexico, then migrating to Los Angeles and finally, to the East Coast. Jumping into Boston’s roots-music scene, she began hunting for a guitarist. Beek pointed her to Jerry Miller, a bona-fide Boston legend known for his versatility. They’ve been playing together ever since; she chose some Down Hearted Blues tracks, such as “Crazy Mixed Up World,” a Dixon tune recorded by Little Walter, and Albert Washington’s “You’re Gonna Miss Me,” to showcase Miller.

On the latter, his notes bend around her supple, dramatic minor-key vocals, which slide in after a punchy sax and bass intro. Jewell, who titled a previous album Queen of the Minor Key, says its “scary, creepy” tone fit right in with so many songs they’ve done, it already felt like an old friend the first time she heard it. That horn, by the way, comes courtesy of Curtis Stigers, a fellow Boisean who had several soul hits before segueing into jazz. A fan who pumps her music through the PA before his own shows, he also sits in with her band when they’re both in town. (Jewell and Beek moved to Boise in 2012 to be closer to her family and start their own.)

“He played with us at a local festival and we loved what he did so much we asked him, very spur of the moment, to come to the studio and record with us. He literally dropped what he was doing and said, ‘I’ll be there in 15 minutes,’” she recalls, marveling about how he created a horn section with overdubs — chartless, on songs he’d never heard.

He’s also on “You Know My Love,” another Dixon tune popularized by Otis Rush. Jewell’s torchy rendition emphasizes its spooky message: “You think you’re gonna get on with your life, but there’s this thing between us that will never die; it’s always gonna come back and haunt you.

Laughing, she says, “I can definitely attest to that being a real thing in life.”

Other picks, such as Dixon’s “You’ll Be Mine,” have a more personal connection. She came to it through Howlin’ Wolf, whom she found while rooting through her dad’s garage-stashed album collection. The minute she heard him, she says, “I knew what I was supposed to be listening to.”

By then, she had absorbed the classics — Hendrix, Janis Joplin, the Doors — and noticed her favorite rockers had something in common: they were influenced by early blues artists. Down the rabbit hole she went, finding Bessie Smith, represented here via the Lovie Austin and Alberta Hunter-penned title tune Smith turned into a hit, then Memphis Minnie (“Nothing in Rambling”) and “Big” Maybelle Smith (“Don’t Leave Poor Me”).

“I’m always drawn toward anything that women accomplish in the musical world, especially of previous eras,” Jewell says. “It was amazing that women could do anything back then, when it was so frowned upon.”

Jewell, who also plays guitar and Hammond organ on these tracks, claims she’d be happy singing nothing but Big Maybelle songs — if they weren’t such a heavy vocal workout. On the propulsive “Don’t Leave Poor Me” she practically dares her voice to leap up high and swoop down low before stepping aside for the pulsating guitar-and-percussion bridge.

Her easy glide from note to note on the back-porch picker “Nothing in Rambling” contrasts with that style — and with lyrics expressing the difficulties of life on the road (a life that now includes daughter Mavis, already a world traveler at age 3) — further highlighting the smooth/raw dichotomy inherent not only to this album, but the genre itself.

While Jewell doesn’t exhibit whiskey-scratched vocal tendencies, she can certainly make a gutbucket lose some splinters — or beguile with silky sexiness. It’s as if she’s doing a one-woman play, slipping into a different persona with each song — a feat that becomes even more impressive when she reveals these tracks were recorded in only two days, live, and that Miller and upright bass player Shawn Supra hadn’t even heard some of them beforehand. That’s how spontaneous it actually was. They just happened to book some studio time during a free day in Boise, and had so much fun playing these songs they decided to make an album.

“It really felt serendipitous, like what was supposed to happen was happening,” Jewell says. “I finally gave myself permission to do what I wanted to do, and the universe supported me.”

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Sylvia Tyson + Scarlet Rivera

Tuesday, July 9, 2019 | 8:30PM

Sylvia Tyson and Scarlet Rivera
Advance: $40.00 / Doors: $45.00

Sylvia Tyson
Sylvia Tyson started performing professionally in 1959 as one-half of the internationally acclaimed folk duo, Ian and Sylvia. She wrote her first song, “You Were On My Mind”, in 1962, and three years later it reached #3 on the Billboard chart for a group called We Five, subsequently hitting the British charts as a hit for Crispian St Peter.

Through the sixties and early seventies, Ian and Sylvia produced thirteen popular albums and toured extensively in North America and Europe, sharing their manager, Albert Grossman, with such luminaries as Bob Dylan, Peter Paul and Mary, The Band, and Janis Joplin. The duo went their separate ways in 1977.

Sylvia has continued to have a long and successful solo career. She has recorded ten albums, written over two hundred songs and has for the last twenty years also recorded and performed with three other well-known Canadian female singer-songwriters in a group called Quartette. As well, she has had a long and distinguished radio and television career, both in music and in documentaries.

Sylvia is an emeritus member of the boards of CARAS (Canadian music awards) of FACTOR (funding body for Canadian artists), and she is one of the founders and past president of The Canadian Songwriters’ Hall of Fame.
She is also a member of the Canadian Music Hall of Fame, The Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame, and has received Canada’s highest civilian honour, The Order of Canada.

In 1985 she co-edited with Tom Russell a songwriter book entitled And Then I Wrote – The Songwriter Speaks, a collection of quotes from songwriters about their craft (from Stephen Foster to Stevie Wonder).

Her first book, Joyner’s Dream, a work of fiction was published in March of 2011, and a CD of music was released under the same title.

She continues to perform as a solo artist, and as a member of Quartette. She is presently working on her second novel.

Scarlet Rivera
Scarlet Rivera is a talented and accomplished American violinist. She is best known for her work with Bob Dylan, in particular on his album Desire and as part of the Rolling Thunder Revue.

Bob Dylan is often credited for discovering Scarlet before the rehearsal for his 1975 Rolling Thunder Revue tour. After a session with her, Dylan invited her to play on the “Rolling Thunder Revue” tour.

Scarlet has multiple CD’s as a composer in numerous styles, instrumental, New Age, Celtic and world music. Scarlet has performed in the US, Europe and Japan with her Celtic group. She also recorded and performed with Tracy Chapman, Indigo Girls, Kori Linae Carothers, Keb Mo and others. Scarlet was a soloist with the Duke Ellington Orchestra at Carnegie Hall, Kennedy Center and the Carnival of Venice, Italy. She continues to be an active recording artist, performer and composer.

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Christine Lavin

Monday, July 8, 2019 | 8:30PM

Christine Lavin
Advance: $35.00 / Doors: $40.00

Christine Lavin is a singer/songwriter/guitarist/recording artist who has been based in New York City since 1984.  She has just released her 23rd solo album, SPAGHETTIFICATION, which was #5 for the month of September according to the International Folk DJ chart.. Her 22nd album, CHRISTINE LAVIN & FRIENDS LIVE AT McCABE’S GUITAR SHOP was produced by Hillary Rollins, and includes five LA performers (Gary Stockdale, Pat Whiteman, Cynthia Carle, David Lucky, and MaryJo Mundy), and one revered British singer/songwriter, Daniel Cainer.  Christine sings seven songs on this album, too.

She has produced ten compilation CDs JUST ONE ANGEL v2.0 being the latest, showcasing the holiday songs of 19 songwriters whose work she loves. The food-themed compilation One Meat Ball, includes a 96-page cookbook that Christine edited.  For four years she hosted “Slipped Disks” on xm satellite radio, playing CDs slipped to her backstage by compatriots, and is the occasional guest host for the City Folk Sunday Sunday Supper on WFUV-FM at Fordham University. She also writes freelance for various publications (including The Washington Post, Huffington Post, The St. Petersburg Times, The Performing Songwriter, and Delta “Sky” Magazine).  Her song “Amoeba Hop” was turned into a science/music book by illustrator Betsy Franco Feeney (Puddle Jump Press), received the stamp of approval from The International Society of Protistologists, and a “Best Book Award” from the American Association for The Advancement of Science.

Betsy and Christine have collaborated again on HOLE IN THE BOTTOM OF THE SEA, a children’s book with CD that tells the story of an oil spill with an emphasis on clean, alternative energy. More than 50 singers from around the world are included on the CD. That book was crowd-funded by Kickstarter and is currently looking a publisher.

The book THE PLUTO FILES:  THE RISE AND FALL OF AMERICA’S FAVORITE PLANET, written by Neil deGrasse Tyson, head of the Hayden Planetarium in NYC, includes the complete lyrics to Christine’s song “Planet X,” which details Pluto’s history and planetary status debate in rhyme.  The book is published by W.W. Norton. And Christine got a “D” in Astronomy in college (see kids? You CAN make up for the mistakes of your youth).

Christine performs concerts all over the US, Canada, and points beyond (Australia, Germany, Israel), and hosts knitting circles backstage prior to each show.  Songs of hers have been performed by artists as diverse as Broadway stars Betty Buckley, Sutton Foster, and David Burnham, cabaret divas Andrea Marcovicci. Barbara Brussell, and Colleen McHugh, the college a cappella Dartmouth Decibelles, and The Accidentals, winners of the National Harmony Sweepstakes championship.

Christine has recently added intermission tutorial activities — namely, teaching audience members how to fold cloth napkins in the Downton Abbey style.

Christine received a 2012 NYC Nightlife Award given annually to the best concert and cabaret performers.  In November 2011 her book COLD PIZZA FOR BREAKFAST: A MEM-WHA?? won the 43rd Annual ASCAP Deems Taylor Award for excellence in nonfiction writing about pop music. Christine has also won five ASCAP composer awards, the Backstage Bistro Award for Best NYC Singer/Songwriter Of The Year, The Kate Wolf Memorial Award, and her album Good Thing He Can’t Read My Mind won Album Of The Year from the National Association Of Independent Record Distributors.

* Advertised pricing excludes taxes and fees.

Melanie

Thursday, July 4, 2018
Melanie

$60 Advance / $65 Door

“It’s me — I’m back.”

Melanie, who became the voice of an era in one magical instant onstage at Woodstock, has been putting the pieces in order. Pieces of a career, scattered by the winds of experience and assembled again by the force of love into the most personal and brilliant moments of her musical journey. Melanie is poised to enlighten new generations about what it means to sing with both passion and eloquence, to write at once with intelligence and emotion, and to inspire through song… and nobody does this better than Melanie.

Others learned this that night at Woodstock, where as a New York kid barely known outside of the coffeehouse circuit in Greenwich Village, she sang her song “Beautiful People” and inspired the first panorama of candles and cigarette lighters ever raised at a concert event. That, in turn, moved the young singer to write Lay Down (Candles in the Rain), which sold more than one million copies in 1970 and prompted Billboard, Cashbox, Melody Maker, Record World, and Bravo to anoint her as female vocalist of the year. Her single “Brand New Key,” an infectious romp about freedom and roller skates, topped the charts in 1971.

And so her story began.

With guitar in hand and a talent that combined amazing vocal equipment, disarming humor, and a vibrant engagement with life, she was booked as the first solo pop/rock artist ever to appear from the Royal Albert Hall to Carnegie Hall, the Metropolitan Opera House, and later opened the New Metropolitan Opera House in New York, the Sydney Opera House, and in the General Assembly of the United Nations, where she was invited to perform on many occasions as delegates greeted her performances with standing ovations.

The top television hosts of all time — Ed Sullivan, Johnny Carson, and Dick Cavett — battled to book her. (After her stunning performance on his show, Sullivan goggled that he had not seen such a “dedicated and responsive audience since Elvis Presley.”)

Accolades rolled in, from critics (“Melanie’s cult has long been famous, but it’s a cult that’s responding to something genuine and powerful — which is maybe another way of saying that this writer counts himself as part of the cult too,” wrote John Rockwell in The New York Times) as well as peers (“Melanie,” insisted jazz piano virtuoso Roger Kellaway, “is extraordinary to the point that she could be sitting in front of us in this room and sing something like ‘Momma Momma’ right to us, and it would just go right through your entire being.”)

In the years that followed Melanie continued to record, continued to tour.

UNICEF made her its spokesperson; Jimi Hendrix’s father introduced her to the multitude assembled for the twentieth anniversary of Woodstock. Her records continued to sell — more than eighty million to date. She’s had her songs covered by singers as diverse as Cher, Dolly Parton, and Macy Gray. She’s raised a family, won an Emmy, opened a restaurant, written a musical about Wild Bill Hickok and Calamity Jane…

She has, in short, lived a rare life. But all of it was just a prelude to what’s about to come.

“For the first time, I’m not afraid to voice exactly what I feel. I used to feel that I didn’t want to say too much, but now I can say anything. I feel like a person who’s never been heard. Maybe people think they’ve heard me, but they never really have. I’m a new artist who is having so much fun with my voice — a person shouldn’t be allowed to have so much fun. I’m the woman I wanted to be when I was sixteen and going for Edith Piaf. It’s me — I’m back.”

We are simply elated to announce this performance and invite everyone to Hugh’s Room Live on Thursday, July 4, 2019 for a rare, intimate performance by the folk icon who struck a generation, Melanie Safka.

 

Doors: 6:00 PM
Performance: 8:30 PM

*Advertised pricing excludes taxes and fees.

Andy Irvine

Tuesday, June 18, 2019 | 8:30pm

Andy Irvine
Advance $25.00 / Door: $30.00

Andy Irvine is one of the great Irish singers, his voice one of a handful of truly great ones that gets to the very soul of Ireland. He has been hailed as “a tradition in himself.” Musician, singer and songwriter, Andy has maintained his highly individual performing skills throughout his over 50-year career. From Sweeney’s Men in the mid 60s, to the enormous success of Planxty in the 70s, his duo with Paul Brady in the later 70s and then from Patrick Street to Mozaik, LAPD and Usher’s Island, Andy has been a world music pioneer and an icon for traditional music and musicians.

As a soloist, Andy fills the role of the archetypal troubadour with a show and a travelling lifestyle that reflect his lifelong influence, Woody Guthrie. To quote The Irish Times, “Often copied, never equalled”, his repertoire consists of Irish traditional songs, dexterous Balkan dances and a compelling canon of his own self-penned songs.

www.andyirvine.com/index.html

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Martin Taylor

Tuesday, May 21, 2019 | 8:30PM

Martin Taylor
Advance $40.00 / Door $45.00 *

Award-winning guitarist, Martin Taylor, has established a unique musical career as an internationally acclaimed musician, and his inimitable style has seen him recognized as the world’s foremost exponent of solo jazz guitar playing. As well as being a true guitar innovator, he is also a master concert performer, dazzling audiences with his solo shows, which combine virtuosity, emotion, humour, with a strong stage presence. As well as his solo concerts and recordings, he has also collaborated with musicians from many different musical genre including, Stephane Grappelli, Jeff Beck, Gary Burton, Chet Atkins, Bill Wyman, George Harrison, Dionne Warwick, Diane Schuur and Jamie Cullum. He spends much of the year travelling the world, playing in concert halls in Europe, North America, Japan, Asia, and Australasia as well as presiding over the uniquely innovative Martin Taylor Guitar Academy online.

* Advertised pricing excludes taxes and ticketing fees.