Featured Artists of the Hootenanny Cafe Radio Show

These are just some of the many fine artists featured on the Hootenanny Cafe Radio Show. Hear the show here.

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Abigail DowdAbigail Dowd — January 16, 2022

Abigail Dowd calls herself a “song catcher” rather than a songwriter. She’ll be playing her guitar and picking out riffs, and she’ll find songs and lyrics spilling out fully formed from some creative place she really can’t explain. But she knows it comes from some place deep, some place spiritual. That, she says, is so much a part of her. Those songs make up Abigail’s third album, “Beautiful Day.” The album’s 12 songs touch on her childhood in North Carolina and her five years working and living in Maine. But mostly, the songs mine her present life in North Carolina. She and her husband discovered firsthand the ferocity of Mother Nature, the warmth of neighbors and the resiliency of the human spirit. During a 13-month period, from September 2018 to October 2019, their home in Greensboro, North Carolina, was flooded six times. Two weeks before Christmas, city officials bought their house and demolished it because the floods, brought on by hurricanes and torrential rain, caused so much damage. “It was a series of shit storms,” Abigail says. In the beginning, after the first two floods, Abigail had to live with her in-laws for three months because the house made it hard for her to breathe. Jason moved back into their unheated house to repair and remodel it and take care for their cat, Scout, and their dog, Oscar. Meanwhile, Abigail saw specialists at Duke Medical Center because of the pain in her chest. The water damage had affected her lungs and caused so much pain that she worried she would have to quit singing. After Jason renovated the house, Abigail moved back in and stayed for seven months. But that summer, while touring through Georgia and Florida and attending a songwriter retreat in Colorado, the house flooded again –– worse than before.

When Abigail came home, she became a nomad. For five months, she bounced from friend’s house to friend’s house. She didn’t know where she would be or what would happen from one day to the next. It became the most uncertain time of her life –– and the most abundant. She found herself finger picking, memorizing lyrics, hitting record on her iPhone, and working on songs by herself in all sorts of places, at all times of the day. She found songs while staying in her mom’s home, playing on neighbors’ front porch, sitting at a stoplight in her car and parking herself on a boulder in the middle of a creek in Colorado, a rock skip away from where she pitched her tent. The songs came. Abigail’s “Beautiful Day” was born. Abigail recorded “Beautiful Day” during a five-day period in late February 2020 in Fidelitorium, the acclaimed recording studio in Kernersville, North Carolina. Run by Mitch Easter, the indie music legend who co-produced REM’s “Murmur” and fronted the North Carolina band, Let’s Active, Fidelitorium has been a go-to place for years for artists such as Wilco, Suzanne Vega and the Drive-By Truckers. It now became the go-to place for Abigail. Behind the board was Jason Richmond, the Grammy-nominated producer who had worked with everyone from The Avett Brothers to Branford Marsalis. Abigail connected with Richmond after she released her second album. The two talked over coffee about working together on her next project. That next project was “Beautiful Day Abigail’s husband, Jason Duff, her constant sideman, played bass. Richmond then brought in a stable of session musicians –– Joe MacPhail on keyboards, Austin McCall on percussion, Alex McKinney on dobro and pedal steel guitar and Scott Sawyer on electric guitar. “I wrote these songs fearlessly when I went through a period of not knowing where I would live,” she says. “All that reaffirmed my faith. It’s that idea that even when we go through the darkest places, we can be transformed. Then, those places become magical.

“And these songs that dropped in, they remind me of those magical places. I wanted to share that.”


John Roy ZatJohn Roy Zat — January 9, 2022

John Roy Zat has been performing in the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond since the 1970s. His songs have been recorded by Kate Wolf, by Banish Misfortune, Caroline Herring, and others. With Appalachian influences, Cajun, dust bowl, and a dash of rockabilly, JRZ comes from a long line of American singer-songwriters who occupy that space between country and folk music. Think Gram Parsons, John Prine and Jesse Winchester -- you get the idea.

"It was a pleasure hearing your set last night. I was sitting next to a friend of mine from New Orleans who spent time in Nashville as a songwriter, and several times he noted to me the expertise you exhibited in performing your set. Your proclivity for language is apparent in your songwriting, as is the heart you deliver in each song. I'm sure wherever your travels take you, the audiences respond to this warmth and wisdom." T. Martin, Armando's Singer/Songwriter Series

JRZ's latest CD, WHERE ZAT, was released in November 2021 and is just starting to get airplay. Produced and recorded with the legendary Ed Tree, it features a full band on ten new songs. There are story songs about small town life (American Dream Cafe) and the magic of new love (I Took Hold Of Your Hand). There is love I wish I’d never gotten into (Except For That One Thing), fishy love (I’m A Salmon In The River), whimsical love (Let’s Take The Long Way Home) and All About Love -- and a lot more. Hear it on Spotify, iTunes, Amazon and everywhere else.

JRZ's three previous CDs have all charted in the top ten on Roots Music Report. Who Zat? features his vocals, guitar and fiddle, with bass, duets, and drums on several of the tracks. Collaborations is a collection of mostly live recordings, made with musicians he performs with regularly. Solo, as the title suggests, is a studio recording of JRZ singing and playing on his own. These are also on Spotify and everywhere else.


Lynne HansonLynne Hanson — December 19, 2021

Too tough for folk and too blues influenced for country, Lynne Hanson's brand of "porch music with a little red dirt" can turn on a dime from a sunshine, blue sky ballad to a full-on thunderstorm of gritty Americana swamp from one song to the next. She's known for her high-energy, roots guitar driven live performances, whether playing solo or with her band the Good Intentions.

Lynne is a two-time Canadian Folk Music Award winner, a recipient of the Colleen Peterson Songwriting Award, winner of the Blues and Roots Radio International Song Contest, two-time Folk Music Ontario Blues Award winner, a two-time Indie Acoustic Project Alt-Country album of the year winner, and a two-time Kerrville New Folk finalist.

Over her fifteen-year solo career, Lynne has recorded seven studio albums, published a book of haiku in 2016, and released a book of poetry in February 2020 along with her latest release “Just Words.” Lynne is currently recording a new album slated for release in April 2022.

RECENT QUOTES: “Just Words is an impeccable artistic creation ... will sit alongside the finest country-Americana albums one will encounter in 2020” - Exclaim Magazine

"Canada's own Queen of Americana" - Jan Hall, Folk Roots Radio

"Canadian Americana artist Lynne Hanson turns heartbreak into poetry with a rock backbone ... a tour de force." Glide Magazine


Jim JonesJim Jones — December 12, 2021

Jim Jones is a Western/Folk Singer/Songwriter and a native Texan who lives in New Mexico. He was the International Western Music Association’s 2014 Male Performer of the Year and winner of that organization’s 2019 Song of the Year, along with the Academy of Western Artists 2016 Western Song of the Year and the Western Writers of America 2013, 2017 and 2021 Spur Awards for Best Western Song. His songs and books are about the West … cowboys, horses & cattle, cattle rustlers, the coming of the train … songs about people and land, rivers and mountains, the beauty of the Western sky. Jim has produced eleven Western/Folk albums as well as five Western novels, a novella and a Children’s Book in the Western genre. His Western novels include the Jared Delaney series, Rustler’s Moon, Colorado Moon and Waning Moon, and the spin-off series including The Big Empty (2016) and The Lights of Cimarron (2019), published by both Five Star Publishing and Speaking Volumes Press. In addition, his novella, “Scarecrows,” is part of a four piece anthology from Five Star called Perilous Frontier: A Quartet of Crime in the Old West, that was just released in 11/21. His children’s book, Bolo the Brave, illustrated by Kamee Young, was published in 11/20 and was a Western Writers of America Spur Finalist in the category of Illustrated Children’s Books. The second book in the Bolo the Brave series will be coming out shortly. Solo albums include “Race with the Wind,” 2015, “Headin’ Home,” 2018, compilation CD, “Favorites,” 2019, and the recently released CD, “Good Days Are Comin’” in 2021. • Western Writers of America: 2021 Spur Award- “Don’t Say Goodbye to the Cowboy Way,” (Jim Jones, Randy Huston) Western Song of the Year • Western Writers of America: 2021 Spur Finalist- “Bolo the Brave,” illustrated by Kamee Young • International Western Music Association: 2019 Song of the Year- “It’s a Cowboy I Will Be.” • International Western Music Association: The Cowboy Way- Group of the Year, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2021 • International Western Music Association: 2019 Traditional Album of the Year, “Go West” • Western Writers of America: 2017 Spur Award- “Halfway Down the Devil’s Road,” (Jim Jones, Allan Chapman) Western Song of the Year • Western Heritage Wrangler Award: 2017 Best Traditional Western Album, “The Cowboy Way”; 2019 New Horizons Award for Co-Producer of “I’ll Ride Thru It” by Deanna McCall • Academy of Western Artists: 2016 Western Song of the Year • Western Music Association: 2014 Male Performer of the Year • Western Writers of America: 2013 Spur for Best Western Song- “Texas is Burnin” • Academy of Western Artists: 2008 Male Vocalist of the Year • Western Music Association: 2011 Outstanding Western Book- Colorado Moon


David KleinerDavid Kleiner — December 5, 2021

David Kleiner is an award-winning singer songwriter. His “Stand Up for Freedom” (co-written with Mick Choder) won the Philadelphia Songwriters’ Project’s Vote Festival award for best song. During David’s performance as winner of the Performing Songwriter Competition at the Avalon Folk Festival, the audience at that clothing optional event gave his song “That’s Why I Fight” a memorable standing ovation. David has recorded two studio CDs since his return to Philadelphia. Sing Out described his This Human Heart, as “all about intensity and passion.” Minor7th.com raved, “Words are magically transmuted into music.” France’s Cry of the Coyote named The News That’s Fit to Sing--his homage to the topical songwriters of the 1960s--among the year’s 5 best releases. David has headlined Philadelphia area venues including the Mermaid Inn and World Café Live Upstairs.


Terra SpencerTerra Spencer — November 28, 2021

Freshly nominated for Canadian Folk Music Contemporary Singer of the Year, Nova Scotian funeral director-turned-songwriter Terra Spencer discovered her passion for crafting songs while touring with country artist Ryan Cook, after being recruited as a backup singer in 2014 while scooping ice cream at a music festival. Since making her solo debut in 2018, she has charmed audiences in the Maritimes, Ontario, the UK, and Europe with deft fingerstyle guitar, gospel piano, butterscotch voice, and easy onstage conversation, making you feel knee-to-knee with her even in a room of 500. Her knack for telling intimate stories with heart and humour has caught the attention of Canadian musical mentors like David Francey and Ron Sexsmith, and she has become a sought-after studio vocalist and co-writer, leading a successful series of Words & Noise songwriting workshops in person and online. Terra's debut recording Other People's Lives was nominated for 2019 Music NS Americana Album of the Year, and she was selected by Dave Gunning to receive an Emerging Artist grant from the National Arts Centre in 2020. Her newly-released followup Chasing Rabbits, recorded at Sonic Temple in Halifax during quarantine, is a collection of very personal songs about family life and wildlife, leaving and longing, and the meaning of home. Set against the backdrop of the Canadian winter, the album features some of Nova Scotia's best players including The Bombadils and Bela Strings, with Terra in the producer's seat. Chasing Rabbits has received international airplay, quickly claimed spots on numerous lists from critics, DJs, and listeners of the Best Albums of 2020, and recently took home the 2021 Music NS Award for Folk Recording of the Year. Following a successful full-band summer tour celebrating the golden anniversary of the music of 1971, Terra is at work on her third album, produced by international artist Ben Caplan and set for release in spring 2022 with a cross-Canada tour.


Bill SibleyBill Sibley — November 21, 2021

Hey all ,"variety is the spice of life!" along with some of my original bluegrass influenced tunes we will be exploring other forms of roots & Americana music. This show will will be a melting pot of blues, rockabilly, folk and more. We will be on the trail of the masters in their respective genre's. The pillars that American music was built on including material by Bill Monroe, Robert Johnson, Big Bill Broonzy, The Carter Family, Leadbelly and Woody Guthrie along with other great 20th century trailblazers like Chuck Berry, Johnny Cash and Bob Dylan. Few musicians can cover this broad spectrum of music with authority and authenticity. I have gathered a great crew for this task. Doug Moody on fiddle, Roy Coates on the big bass and John "JP" Potter on guitar. This is all acoustic. You can expect some great fingerstyle guitar, flatpick guitar, harmonica, 5 string banjo & hot fiddling along with some stellar harmony singing. Whoo-hoo! check my web site for new releases


Cheryl CawoodCheryl Cawood — November 14, 2021

Cheryl’s family roots run deep in the mountains of Eastern Kentucky though she grew up in Covington, Kentucky near the banks of the Ohio River. Up until now her life has been anything but typical. She’s lived a musician's lifestyle since 25 yrs old while balancing a job and family. How did that work out? Well, to date she has survived several divorces and love relationships. I guess she could blame it on a strained relationship with her mother? Who knows. Then along comes the National Disaster known as The Opioid Epidemic which wreaked total havok! The turn of the century pretty much sucked the life blood out of any semblance of normalcy for Cheryl and her family. It was time for more soul searching! Not much beats a good ole session of songwriting for therapy. Cheryl is certainly no stranger to turning to music when life gets mean and knocks the dominoes down. “When the heart aches… pour it out into the universe via your very own vehicle. Write a song dammit!”

A 2nd studio release is arriving in early 2022. Want to know this girl's early beginnings? This is a collection of songs that reflect her Cawood roots that grow deep in the hollar’s of Harlan County, Kentucky. She is thrilled to have 2 co-writes with iconic songwriter Jack Saunders on this collection. The Ballad of Spade Cooley takes the listener on a journey through the story of an intriguing murder sage from the 1960’s! She also included a tune about a real-life feud that happened in her family in the late 1800's. She is the writer on many of the tracks on this project but felt compelled to include two regional favorites. This gal has let loose some serious Hillbilly on this CD!

Cawood expects to release an EP in mid 2022. It will focus on songs of hope and healing. A new music-driven program, HOPE LOVES HARMONY, has been created and is ready to launch! It is aimed at parents/caregivers of those with a substance abuse disorder. Cheryl is thrilled to have been accepted into the Texas Accelerator program with MUSIC TO LIFE (MtL) to create and develop this program to help create positive change in the community. MtL was founded in 2000 by Noel “Paul” Stookey (of the 1960’s folk trio Peter, Paul & Mary) and his daughter, Elizabeth Stookey Sunde. Click the links! https://www.musictolife.org/about/ https://www.noelpaulstookey.com/

Reviews from her 1st solo studio release Love ~Pearl: "Cawood’s effortless way in which she moves between musical genres, and her vocal stylings, which range from sometimes reedy, sometimes powerhouse, but always rich with warm resolve, evoke true emotion in every tune and give the listener a glimpse into the ability and psyche of a songwriter who easily rivals any singer-songwriter on the music scene today.: ~Houston Music Review

"Singer-songwriter Cheryl Cawood is a woman in motion. Blink, and you may miss her as she zips by, juggling her full-time job as a laboratory scientist at the University of Texas Health, her family, her band, and her own songwriting career, all while advocating for causes she believes in and taking the time to work on 3 albums simultaneously. For some, the very notion of wearing so many hats all at once would seem daunting, but for Cawood—whom I’ve never seen without a hat—this kind of stuff is all in a day’s work. She seems to thrive on staying busy, writing songs, and making music with her friends." ~Houston Music Review


Larry FolkLarry Folk — November 7, 2021

His award-winning voice has been described as "sheer perfection" (Lesley Mitchell-Clarke - WholeNote Magazine) Over 45 years Larry Folk has written and performed in a variety of styles. From simple folk ballads to the swinging standards of the American Songbook, Larry delivers the goods with style, ease and emotion. 

A great story teller, Larry's ability to write lyrics that create stunning visuals for his listeners is matched perfectly to his masterful guitar playing. When he began performing regularly in Toronto's coffeehouses in the 70's, Larry's early songs mused about love and the beauty of the vast Canadian wilderness, but didn’t shy away from more serious subjects such as the questionable treatment of North America's Indigenous Peoples. In the 80's he sang on Ottawa's Parliament Hill and at Toronto City Hall during rallies to end Apartheid in South Africa, performing his original song Amandla! Ngawethu! (Power to the People!)

Larry's songs continue to challenge the status quo, confronting our complex relationship with the planet (Take What You Want From the World) political divisions (Feeling Lost in America) the loss of innocence (Woodstock Nation) and his response to Covid 19 (A Hit of Love).

Larry began his recording career in the 80's releasing albums and singles that span a variety of genres including contemporary Christian, Pop, Rock, Country, Celtic/Roots, and Jazz.  His 6th studio album In The Moonlight sees Larry returning to his folk roots.  Upcoming plans include two follow-up folk CDs Embracing Folk and Thru a Dark Lens (both coming in 2022)

In The Moonlight includes a new version of Gathering of Friends, a song of good-bye that has been a listener favorite since its release on his 1997 album Caught In The Light. A  re-release of that album with new takes and alternate mixes is slated to coincide with the album's 25th anniversary in 2022.

He has written and performed with country artist Rena Gaile, legendary soul-singer George Olliver, former Pat Metheny vocalist David Blamires and a host of others. He was a chorus member on the Rita MacNeil Show, (CBC TV) and an arranger/copyist on Sylvia Tyson's Country in my Soul (CBC TV) with music director, the late Ron Dann who also produced Larry's first recordings. 

Future plans include a new Holiday Jazz recording of originals and standards that promises to delight his listeners.


 T Buckley T Buckley — October 31, 2021

Acclaimed Calgary, Alberta-based Americana artist T. Buckley returns with his second solo album Frame By Frame. Backed up by his top-notch band of multi-instrumentalists, Buckley delivers another of the trademark smooth and soulful vocal performances that make him one of the most talked-about artists from western Canada.

Frame by Frame is inspired by the impact others have on our lives. On the song "Marilyn", Buckley remembers his father-in-law's sister, saying “We carry our loved ones with us even after they have passed. Their spirit remains with us, guiding our lives through the stories we tell about them.” On “Before I Get To Turn Around,” Buckley sings about a friend attempting to rebuild his life, and the album’s title track, was written in honour of his grandfather who always stressed the importance of savoring life’s special moments.

For his debut solo release, 2018’s Miles We Put Behind, Buckley pushed his creative boundaries by working with Grammy-nominated and multi-genre enthusiast, producer/engineer Howard Bilerman. The slick-yet-measured interpretation of Buckley’s tooth and bone songwriting style gave new life to his narratives, and earned a Canadian Folk Music Award nomination.

Buckley takes that approach a step further on Frame By Frame by working with producer/engineer Jeff Kynoch, whose past credits include albums by fellow Albertans Cayley Thomas, Jay Gilday and Altameda. Kynoch’s open-minded sonic approach makes for an excellent pairing with Buckley’s spirit of creatively pushing the envelope.

With songs taken from stories etched in the trappings of prairie grasses and campfire ashes, T. Buckley commemorates the Western arena while paying hushed homage to the greats of songwriting and storytelling. His dedication to his craft continue to make his name known across provinces and states, steadily establishing him as a truly prolific and celebrated songwriter.


Michael JohnathonMichael Johnathon — October 24, 2021

“Take the inventiveness of Bob Dylan, the melodic voice of John Denver, add the showmanship of Garrison Keillor … and that’s Michael Johnathon.” Bob Spear – Publisher, HEARTLAND REVIEW

“This popular songwriter has embraced the modern age in a very unique way.” Jonathan Widran – ALL MUSIC GUIDE

“Michael is one of the few performers who understands that music of the future must respect the music of the past. His strong understanding of the folk tradition is a breath of fresh air in this era of cookie cutter singer-songwriters.” Phil Shapiro – BOUND FOR GLORY

Michael grew up in upstate New York along the shores of the Hudson River. At 19, he moved to the Mexican border town of Laredo, TX and found a job working on at small radio station. One night, he played ‘Turn, Turn, Turn’ by The Byrds. As the song played, he recalled seeing his neighbor Pete Seeger, performing in his Dutchess County hometown. By the time the song had ended, he decided to pursue a career as a folksinger.

He bought a guitar and a banjo and settled into the isolated mountain hamlet of Mousie, KY, traveling the Appalachian mountains and learning the music of the mountain people. Michael experienced hundreds of front porch hootenannies where folks would sit on their front porches and play the old songs their grandparents taught them. He began performing at hundreds of colleges, schools and fairs, over two thousand Earth Concerts, plus benefits for the homeless, farm families, and more. In all, he sang to over two million people in one four-year stretch. Billboard Magazine headlined him as an “UnSung Hero” and he has been featured on CNN, TNN, CMT, AP, Headline News, NPR, Bravo and the BBC.

He also created one of the biggest roots music, live audience shows on radio and TV: the WoodSongs Old-Time Radio Hour. He organized the national WoodSongs Front Porch Association to celebrate rural and community music. Members are called “SongFarmers.”

His 16th studio album, Legacy, featuring the massive title track, a nine-minute epic about the history of songwriters from Bob Dylan to James Taylor, Harry Chapin to the Kingston Trio, hip-hop tp the collapse of the record industry as we knew it.

The most recent album, The Painter, is a song cycle about art, music, love and family. The album includes “Vincent” by Don McLean, “Cats in the Cradle” by Harry Chapin, and “Make You Feel My Love” by Bob Dylan.

He wrote the screenplay for the upcoming motion picture. “Caney Creek: The Legend of Alice Lloyd.” Pitched as the “Dances with Wolves” of the Appalachian mountains.

His latest release is the 176-page book, “WoodSongs 5: A Folksinger’s Compendium & Van Gogh Reader.”


Joy ZimmermanJoy Zimmerman — October 17, 2021

Joy Zimmerman’s soulful vocals and lyrical songwriting light up her new acoustic roots album, “The Canvas Before Us”, which reached #8 on Folk Alliance International’s Top Albums of August 2021. Listeners will hear echoes of their own journeys in Joy’s songs of hope, challenge and resilience. Her new album invites the question: What story will the canvas of our lives tell?   Joy’s reinvention as a dynamic singer/songwriter might seem surprising. She didn’t pick up a guitar, sing a solo or write her first song until her sons were in elementary school. But the elements were all waiting…a voice of honey, insights for days, and a deep love of music beginning with kindergarten violin lessons.   A touring musician based in Kansas City, Joy has recorded eight albums of original music. She has received an American Songwriter Lyric Contest Honorable Mention and ten Walnut Valley Festival NewSong Showcase wins.   “The Canvas Before Us” not only showcases Joy Zimmerman’s lovely voice but also an array of new songs speaking eloquently and emotionally to the human condition.”  ~Bob McWilliams, host, Trail Mix on Kansas Public Radio   “The title fits this project perfectly, and the palette of instruments and Joy’s crystal clear voice have added just the right colors in just the right places. This CD is a WORK OF ART!” ~Donna and Kelly Mulhollan, aka Still on the Hill


Arthur DavenportArthur Davenport — October 10, 2021

Arthur Davenport wrote his first published song "So Near, So Far" in 1974, featured on a compilation CD “Until You Come Home II”, in support of recovering veterans.

Arthur "went public", breaking out with much akimbo, buzz and flutter into the D.C. coffeehouse and brew-pub scene in the 1980's, playing in the shadow of people like Mary Chapin Carpenter and Emmy Lou Harris.

Arthur Davenport's musical career now spans over 45 years of songwriting and performance.

He has been featured on National Public Radio performing his song, "Lonesome Cowboy," specially written in 1994 for a KRWG Las Cruces NM cowboy music compilation album entitled "'Round-em Up!" published by David Brower, the program host.

This review for his 2002 "Reality Bends" album provides a fitting description of his solo style:

"Using only an acoustic guitar as backup, Arthur Davenport crafts sparse, haunting folk songs with a wry sense of the absurd. Deftly hopping from one vocal personality to another, sometimes within a line, this far-out mountain man keeps the listener guessing." Mike McGuire, Listen.com

Arthur’s second album, "Whispering to the Wind", was released in 2010 with ten original Americana ballads produced with a full band.

He released several single songs during 2017-18, including “Long Dark Highway”, “La Rosa Dulce”, “The Rich Man Always Gets His Pay”, “Jonathan Leviathan” and “Family Reunion”. “La Rosa Dulce” was a winner in the “A Still Small Voice 4U's” songwriting contest award in 2020 on the subject of “Monuments”.

“Jonathan Leviathan”, his third album published in 2020, includes the previous singles with new songs, presenting something old, new, borrowed and blue.

Arthur is currently working to publish his body of works of poetry, and beginning a new album of music. “Stay Tuned”.


Howard GladstoneHoward Gladstone — October 3, 2021

Howard Gladstone, Toronto-born-based singer/songwriter, releases his 7th album of original material in October 2021. “Concord Sessions” is a “hybrid folk” album that holds a mirror up to human nature, in the age of environmental and humanitarian crisis, and a future we have limited time to shape. Looking in the mirror reveals many sides of our human nature, our strengths, weaknesses, even foibles. There are themes such as activism and protest, the environmental crisis, human nature, history, forced migration and the plight of refugees. A constant theme in Howard’s music is finding strength and resolve in facing difficulty to help heal the broken world and ourselves. Howard’s previous album “The Promise” was recorded in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic shutdown and explores similar themes. Confined to his home, Howard recorded the guitar and vocal tracks of the album’s nine songs. Other musicians – including Kevin Laliberte, Bob Cohen, Russ Boswell, Marito Marques, Julie Gladstone, Laura Fernandez – collaborated remotely to add tracks, background vocals and finishing touches to the album. Taken together the two albums continue Howard’s musical explorations in a world where meaning and truth become ever more elusive and debased. The releases come at a time when the stakes could not be higher for those struggling personally, and for the world at a crossroads. The albums are a balancing act, juggling personal and global concerns. Howard has been playing guitar since teenage years and writing songs since university days in the 70’s. He returned to music in the early 2000’s and released his first album "Sunflowers Light the Room” in 2002. It was followed by “Candles On The River" (2005), "The Breath In The Wind (2007), “Roots and Rain (2010)” and “Hourglass” in 2017. “Hourglass” features songs created during the period when Howard was recovering from a spinal cord injury and focuses on the themes of healing and resiliency. Howard Gladstone’s songs, music, and lyrics are a multi-faced musical prism, and can be experienced differently depending on where you enter, where you sit, and how the light strikes it. There are diverse themes, musical styles, and multiple approaches. With a craftsman approach to lyric writing, Gladstone sometimes approaches his subject matter as a seasoned journalist would: with an eye for detail, and a sense of story. Other songs reflect a lyrical and romantic side. Howard’s vocal style has been variously called a “silky, “a blues-inspired voice”, “a singing poet!” and “a comfortable warm croon.” Howard was co- founder of the Toronto City Roots Festival, which ran from 2004 until 2010. Other interesting sidebar accomplishments include a 1970s article on William “Grit” Laskin on guitar making, and an interview with Robbie Robertson of The Band that was re-printed in Rolling Stone magazine. Howard established (and eventually sold) a successful engineering and manufacturing company business that gained a world-wide reputation supplying an essential component to the “high end” audio and musical instrument industry. Howard is still involved in his own company supplying a leading-edge power conditioning product for recording studios and high-end custom audio installations. Being grounded is essential to clean power and also Howard’s approach to song writing art and craft. Gladstone shapes ordinary words into beautiful visions… these are songs of strength and courage…. .…lyrics (that) bite into the social conscience of humanity and touch us right in the heart… …. arrangements that really make the songs interesting .. - Virginia McIsaac, Rambles.net "Howard Gladstone balances thoughtful and passionate lyrics with calming, soulful and diverse tunes that compel you to take a deep breath, and simply take the time to enjoy some good music" - CHRY RadioYork “If you heard this music in a crowded room, you'd suspect it was a lost gem from another time” – Greg Quill, Toronto Star


Buddy MondlockBuddy Mondlock — September 26, 2021

Buddy Mondlock writes songs. He does it so well that some great songwriters have recorded his songs on their own albums. Guy Clark, Nanci Griffith, and Janis Ian, to name just a few. You might’ve heard his song “The Kid” (recorded by David Wilcox, Peter, Paul and Mary and Cry, Cry, Cry) and maybe even sung it yourself around a campfire. He draws you into his world - where a single snowflake follows the trajectory of a relationship, where you get you pocket picked by a Roman cat, where you might swim over the edge of the world if you’re not careful and where dreams that don’t come true still count. When Buddy’s not on the road you can find him in Nashville but he grew up in Park Forest, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago. He didn’t have a troubled childhood. His parents were nice to him. They paid for guitar lessons when he was ten and they never said, “when are you going to get a real job?” He sang Crosby, Stills and Nash songs with his sisters and answered his little brother’s questions from the top bunk. A few years away at college puzzling over Homer and Plato and then he was back. Living in the big city this time and playing open mics at Chicago’s crucible for songwriters in those days, the famed Earl of Old town. He once opened for the amazing Steve Goodman there on New Year’s Eve. Buddy was 21. Says he could have walked out of there that night and gotten hit by a bus and he wouldn’t have felt like life cheated him at all. When Buddy made his first trip to Texas from his native Chicago, Guy Clark heard him singing one of his songs under a tree at the Kerrville Folk Festival and liked it. So Guy went back to Nashville, opened the door and said, “listen to this kid, he’s good!” A publishing deal and a U-Haul headed south soon followed. People were starting to pay attention. In 1987 he was a New Folk Award Winner at Kerrville and he released his first album called “On the Line”. Over the next few years David Wilcox recorded “The Kid” on his first record for A&M. Buddy did some writing with this other new kid in town named Garth Brooks. Janis Ian heard him singing at the Bluebird Cafe and asked him if he’d like to write with her. Their song “Amsterdam” got recorded by Joan Baez. Nanci Griffith asked Buddy to sing on a show she was taping for Irish television. She ended up liking that song so much that she recorded “Comin’ Down In the Rain” on her Grammy Award winning collection “Other Voices, Other Rooms.” Garth became a star and “Every Now and Then” ended up on his album “The Chase.” Buddy was touring all over the U.S. by this time playing coffeehouses and the occasional festival (he’d become a regular on the main stage at Kerrville). And there were trips to Europe too. Buddy’s second album, produced by Steve Addabbo in 1994, got picked up by Son Records, a small label in Ireland started by the band U2, and he was well received on the island of poets. He’s toured there consistently ever since. 1996 was a good year. Peter, Paul and Mary recorded “The Kid” and then asked the kid himself to sing with them on their “Great Performances” TV special. He won a Kerrville Music Award for Song of the Year that autumn for “The Kid” too.


Mike and Carleen McCornackMike and Carleen McCornack — September 19, 2021

Pacific Northwest folk musicians, Mike and Carleen McCornack have shared their musical artistry with grateful audiences since the sixties. From coffee houses to concert halls, Mike and Carleen's beautifully crafted songwriting comes to life in their music with superb vocal harmony and sparkling guitar accompaniment that touches the heart and never fails to tickle the funny bone!

With music firmly rooted in contemporary, evocative Folk music, Mike and Carleen are award winning songwriters and 2-time winners of the Florence Winter Folk Festival's People's Choice Award.

With performances filled with themes of love, humor and the natural world the McCornacks are equally at home performing for audiences who know them from their award-winning children’s recordings and for “grownups” who appreciate their musical depth and off-center humor.

In addition to their long-standing performing career, Mike and Carleen have released 9 recordings, including their latest release, Dream True. They received a Parent’s Choice Gold Award for their ever-popular children’s recording, Beasties, Bumbershoots and Lullabies and a Parent’s Guide Award for their very “adult-friendly” record, High Hopes.

Mike & Carleen perform as a duo and are frequently joined in concert and on their recordings by several outstanding musicians in their Garden Variety Band including; cellist and bass player, Dale Bradley, cousin, Kevin McCornack on concertina, bassoon and harmonica, son, Andy McCornack, percussionist and Eileen Sterns on accordion, Celtic harp and mandolin.

Oregon natives and Folk Alliance Far-Westers, Mike and Carleen have travelled and toured the West for years and continue to share their music every chance they get! They live in the beautiful Willamette Valley in Eugene, Oregon with their two Labradors and two cats and are so happy to live close to their children, grand-children and family.


“Beautiful melodies, great musicians. Pure heartfelt vocals all blended together into music that will leave you smiling in your heart.”

Bill Staines, Singer/Songwriter

“The songs are wonderful and the recording is so meticulous, just exquisite.  I love their voices too, very sweet harmonies and beautifully expressive singing.  I'm very proud of what they’ve done with "Darcy Farrow."  It's one of the nicest versions we've had.  The original songs are very fine as well. Steve Gillette, Songwriter


EfratEfrat — September 12, 2021

Efrat believes in the power of music to transform and heal, which shines through in her powerful performances and in her poignantly personal songwriting. Her third release, We Just Need Love (September 2021), is the result of her own transformation as a mother, artist, & empathetic soul-searcher. She started recording in 2018 but life stepped in the way when it was discovered that her son had a rare heart disorder. The next 18 months was spent learning how to keep her son safe. She gained eyes to the silent suffering & hope that surrounds us as she met other heart families & learned that life seems to always get in the way. We hope there is a “later,” but it may never come. She learned that, “We Just Need Love,” to learn to “Let Go” of expectations, and to embrace what we are given. And, she understood we must live boldly with the precious time we have and be true to ourselves. This album will tear at your heart strings, make you think about those around you and leave you with a sense of hope of what we can achieve if we love one another and our planet and live boldly. Efrat’s journey to becoming a sought after session and tour musician as well as an esteemed singer-songwriter is one that many would envy. Before receiving a master’s in music and performing in orchestras around the world under top conductors, she was already seeking her place as a crossover musician performing with klezmer, bluegrass, rock, irish bands, and more. Her first foray into the folk genre landed her a coveted juried showcase at the North East Regional Folk Alliance Conference in 2015, with no standing room left in a hall for 250. Composer David Amram sat in with her band in two of her other showcases,  invited her to perform at his birthday show and he praised her composition “Serenade” saying, “Beautiful, just beautiful, keep writing!”. Efrat did just that! Previously named “the quintessential fiddler” Review of Fiddler On The Roof (Cumberland Co. Playhouse, Crossville, TN) by Rob Robbennolt from the Crossville Chronicle;  and “…the consummate musician… comfortable in multiple genres, from jazz to Americana…” by John Platt from WFUV in the Bronx she continued on.Efrat has worked with the top of the music industry and performed most roles while doing so. She was concertmaster for Olivia Newton John Orchestras, recorded strings for pop icon Ashanti, & was part of the Broadway touring company of Oliver. She later went on to join Spuyten Duyvil for their Temptation album & has performed onstage with top-charting folk musicians like Reggie Harris, Joe Jencks, Pat Wictor, Mara Levine, Gathering Time, and David Amram. She has shared the stage with some of the greatest jazz musicians including Joe Magnarelli (Harry Connick Jr.) & was in Harry Whitakers’ last band (Miles Davis, Roberta Flack) and has two songs with drummer Dennis Davis (David Bowie, Stevie Wonder). Two songs from her premier CD, No Strings Attached (2010), were featured in the movie  How To Seduce Difficult Women and the title song garnered over 10 million Youtube views as part of the official trailer. With her sophomore release, The Silver Lining (2015), which included folk, jazz, pop, klezmer, swing, and blues where she truly radiated. It debuted at #14 on the International  Folk DJ  Chart for October 2015 and was played on the radio in over 10 countries and across the USA.Today, Efrat often uses her looper to create a symphony behind her soaring violin melodies and improvisations or to complement her robust vocals. Efrat currently performs as a soloist with her looper and with her folk/pop/jazz band.  She also leads a jazz and blues combo, a jewish music group, an all female modern string quartet, as well as an eclectic acoustic pop trio and has three educational shows she performs regularly at pre-schools and primary schools.  Additionally, she works regularly as a tour and session musician, composer, arranger, performer, recording artist, videographer and editor, and teacher/lecturer.


Valerie SmithValerie Smith — September 6, 2021

"Renaissance" crosses through multiple musical genres while still staying true to the Valerie Smith sound that encompasses an acoustic flair with a touch of bluegrass. The songs cover subject areas of love, finding love, acceptance, and regret. The project signifies the journey Valerie has made in her life with optimism to which others can relate. She includes upbeat, happy songs that encourage the listener to move to the grove. The project also includes lush ballads with meaningful lyrics and melodies that grab soul. The album is called "Renaissance" because in looking at the world and herself, Valerie has been reborn. The line-up of songs is about self-worth and acceptance.

Valerie wrote two of the songs for "Renaissance," and the remaining selections were carefully chosen from the works of other seasoned writers. She chooses the songs which best express what she wants to say with her Music. The quality of the music has always come first when she produces a project, which is why it takes her so long to create an entire album.

Valerie has always been interested in all kinds of Music; bluegrass, acoustic, baroque, classical, neoclassical, Music from Asia, Middle-Eastern folk, rock, indie-rock, Kpop, pop….in other words, anything with sound! In addition, she loves to study melodies and chord progressions, by which she has always been fascinated.

For example, not many years ago, Valerie heard the arrangement and immediately drew to the haunting melody and lyrics of "I Found," which the indie rock group Amber Run had released. She found herself really enjoying singing the song's unique melody and lyrics. Valerie's final arrangement developed during band rehearsal with her touring band, Liberty Pike. Wally Hughes and Lisa Kay Howard Hughes added harmony to the chorus, and everyone fell in love with singing the song together. It became an "earworm" for the whole group.

Valerie Smith grew up in the midwest, near Kansas City, and was exposed to several musical genres from her childhood through her college days. She watched movie musicals with Judy Garland, listened to country music while her mother worked, sang on the radio, and sang gospel music on Sundays in church. And, of course, she and her sister listened to classic rock on the radio. Valerie studied Music in college, where she was exposed to blues, jazz, opera, and a wide array of other genres; Valerie also studied dance at the University of Missouri, Kansas City. On weekends Valerie would play old-time fiddle near her hometown and developed a love for traditional American string music. Later, she fell in love with bluegrass because of its incredible acoustic sounds, virtuosic musicians, and soulful melodies. The folk and bluegrass audiences fit her personality the best; they love music.


Anya HinkleAnya Hinkle — August 29, 2021

With vivid storytelling, vibrant musicianship and arresting honesty, Anya Hinkle explores the beauty of song craft through the lens of the Appalachian string band tradition. Originally from the mountains of Virginia, Anya’s music is steeped in the tones of folk and bluegrass and seasoned by travels across the world. A founding member of Asheville-based bands Dehlia Low (Rebel Records) and Tellico (Organic Records), Anya released the first full-length album under her own name, “Eden And Her Borderlands,” July 2021 on Organic Records, "...one of roots music's gems so far this year" writes No Depression.

Hinkle won the MerleFest Chris Austin Songwriting Competition in 2019 and was a finalist in the Hazel Dickens Song Contest for her song “Ballad of Zona Abston,” featured on Tellico’s 2018 release Woven Waters. The album, produced by Irish guitar legend John Doyle (Transatlantic Sessions, Joan Baez, Tim O’Brien), had a #1 single, #1 band and #2 album ranking on the Folk DJ charts in November 2018. Anya tours all over the US, Japan and Europe.


Richard Paul ThomasRichard Paul Thomas — August 22, 2021

Richard Paul Thomas (his friends call him RpT) is a free-thinking dreamer and Texas based singer songwriter with decades of love, life, and laughter to share. His songwriting spans a wide range of musical genres and emotional experiences ranging from lighthearted fun to challenging one's convictions about life and our place in the world. His writing and performance style encompasses elements of Folk, R&B, jazz, ballads and good old rock n' roll.  RpT's soulful voice ranges from thermal to edgy reflecting the musical influences of a lifetime. His thought-provoking lyrics speak to the heart and soul of the listener. 

RpT’s third CD entitled SALADO, was produced, engineered, and mixed by Chris Gage. Recorded at Gage’s Moonhouse Studio in Austin, the ten tracks are a refreshing presentation of life’s joys challenges and deeper meanings. The title song, SALADO, depicts the life of a stagecoach driver of old on his last trip home. SALADO was adopted by the Village of Salado, which stated, in an official proclamation, that this song “represents our community’s spirit, character and history.” SALADO is the next major step in RpT’s continuing musical development. The sheer focus of his lyrics along with the soulful intensity of his voice and melodies places the listener in a comfortable frame of mind and takes them on a musical journey thru the emotions and experiences of RpT’s life.


Emily BarkerEmily Barker — August 15, 2021

Emily Barker is an award-winning singer-songwriter, best known as the writer and performer of the theme to the BBC’s hugely successful crime drama Wallander starring Kenneth Branagh. She has released music as a solo artist as well as with various bands and collaborations including The Red Clay Halo, Vena Portae, Marry Waterson and Applewood Road (with whom she released a remarkable album of original songs recorded live around a single microphone, dubbed “flawless” by The Sunday Times) and has written for film, including composing the soundtrack for Jake Gavin’s lauded debut feature Hector starring Peter Mullan and Keith Allen.

Emily Barker’s new album A Dark Murmuration of Words was released on September 4th 2020. Produced by Greg Freeman and recorded at StudiOwz, a converted chapel in the Welsh countryside, A Dark Murmuration of Words takes Barker’s clear, expressive vocals and warm acoustic aesthetic and subtly shifts her sound in the direction of contemporaries such as Laura Marling and Phoebe Bridgers. Lyrically probing, by turns both dark and optimistic, Barker searches for meaning through the deafening clamour of fake news and algorithmically filtered conversation, delivering a timely exploration of the grand themes of our age through the lens of what it means to return “home.” Throughout the ten songs that make up the album, Barker draws connections between the familial, the local, and the global: a mother sings to her unborn child, asking for its forgiveness on ‘Strange Weather’; ‘When Stars Cannot Be Found’ explores the humbleness and comfort of the night sky when far away from home. Other highlights include the nostalgic ‘Return Me’, ‘The Woman Who Planted Trees’, the gloriously defiant ‘Machine’ and the effortless album closer ‘Sonogram’.

On its release, A Dark Murmuration of Words hit number 1 on the Official Americana Album chart in the UK and has garnered widespread acclaim.

“an album of spare, striking beauty” Mojo ★★★★ “…a kind of Australian equivalent of PJ Harvey’s Let England Shake” UNCUT 8/10 “bold, direct, uncompromising” CLASH “a high-class piece of songwriting and beautifully expressed musicianship” Americana UK 9/10 “irresistibly catchy…an album replete with nooks and crannies, light and shade” The Australian ★★★★★ “an album full of grace and danger” RnR ★★★★★ “One of the most literate and probing folk albums of the year. I really love it.” AnnPowers, NPR Music


Barry James PayneBarry James Payne — August 8, 2021

String Bone is the artistic vehicle for the solo and collaborative songwriting of Canada's Barry James Payne. As a songwriter, Payne walks in the shoes of downtrodden vagabonds, wrestles with the aftermath of broken dreams and heals the wounds of collapsed love with cinematic, heartfelt songs that move from bleak darkness into hopeful illumination. The bone and string point to the unbreakable bone nut that creates the essential contact point between a guitar’s strings and wooden body; String Bone draws inspiration from life’s chaotic vibrations. Payne’s recent tidal wave of creativity has been sparked by collaborations with other songwriters and producers melding together a hybrid of imaginative musical ideas. In particular his latest project with award winning Las Vegas-based producer/ composer George Leger III and their B>A>G Music Productions partnership and music library, has landed them an exclusive multi-song deal with Vo Williams' fledgling sync agency Sound Dose Music Group out of LA. While Payne & Leger continue to create for sync, some of their best songs are still sitting in the hopper ready to be signed. Payne's String Bone has released 5 singles and 14 videos on digital platforms throughout 2020 and 2021; “Two Stars Collide” (with accompanying video), a collaboration with drum and bass producer Nathan McKay, “A Lot More Better” a co-write with Jay Reihl, “Waitin’ For My Dyin’ Day” (with video) with George Leger III, a cover of Ferron’s “Ain’t Life A Brook” (with video) and several other singles. These singles lead up to two full-length waterfall releases planned for early 2022 - “Coping Mechanisms”, a collection of original songs, and “Cover-Up Conspiracy Theory” an album dedicated to Payne’s early songwriting influences. In the last 12 months, String Bone has attained over 200,000 streams and views across all platforms globally essentially from zero when he became interested in the online world, reaching a 100,000 streams milestone on Spotify alone just a couple of months ago. That's pretty good for a folk artist in Canada with no team, no manager, no publicist, no label, no booking agent and no Spotify editorial playlists. String Bone is on over 1200 user playlists and growing with songs being saved over 5000 times. Payne has been writing music and performing live for four decades and has coproduced and released two full length String Bone albums, ‘nadir’ (2009), ‘Love & Highways’ (2016), an EP ‘Killing Town EP’ (2008), several singles in the last year and has performed internationally in the US, Europe and across Canada throughout his career. He has collaborated with high-profile Canadian artists such as Bob Egan (ex-Wilco, ex-Blue Rodeo), Aaron Allen, Bill Bourne, Mae Moore, Ginger St. James, Sarah Jane Scouten, Trent Severn and Shannon Lyon. Payne is a core member of Canadian Celtic-Roots band ‘Rant Maggie Rant’, who has performed with several orchestras and in many theatres across Canada. His songs have been featured on three of their recording projects. He also produced their last two albums.


Arielle SilverArielle Silver — August 1, 2021

East Coast-born / West-Coast-based singer-songwriter 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. With the heart of Laurel Canyon and the soul of the Chelsea Hotel, songs from her latest album, A Thousand Tiny Torches, have been recognized in numerous songwriting contests, including International Songwriting Competition (ISC), Great American Song Contest, Music City Song Star, and American Songwriter, and featured on NPR’s Up Close And Acoustic, Americana Highways (Favorite Album of 2020), and American Songwriter. In 2020, Music Connection named Arielle a Top Prospect / Hot 100 Unsigned Artist.


“Lovely songwriting” Boston Globe “Silver is a born communicator, an artist whose... songwriting exudes intelligence and humanity." Music Connection “...an urgent commanding vocal that melds KT Tunstall with Florence and the Machine” American Songwriter "Beautiful storytelling... emotional lyrics, reassuring tones, and intricate melodies" Guitar Girl Magazine “Silver stuns with new Americana album... a journey of self and re-discovery of her dreams through nostalgia and beautiful storytelling.” Divine Magazine


Amy SpeaceAmy Speace — July 25, 2021

Heralded by Rolling Stone and Billboard Magazine, Amy Speace’s newest release “There Used To Be Horses Here” has received widespread critical acclaim. Performing Songwriter gave it 5 out of 5 stars and Americana UK writes “a remarkable display of songcraft.” Beautifully uplifting and deeply personal, the album sets Speace’s majestic voice to symphonic arrangements, yet her songwriting remains intimate and emotional. She began her career in the iconic folk venues of New York City where she was discovered by Judy Collins and signed to her Wildflower Records label. Relocating to Nashville in 2009, she has become one of Contemporary Folk’s leading voices. In 2020, “Me and the Ghost of Charlemagne” was named International Song of the Year by the Americana Music Association UK. Her songs have been recorded by Judy Collins, Red Molly, Memphis Blues Hall of Famer Sid Selvidge and others. She is also a published prose writer, with essays appearing in The New York Times, American Songwriter, The Blue Rock Review. She has played festivals from Glastonbury and Cambridge Folk Festival in England to the Philadelphia Folk Festival and Rocky Mountain Folks Festival.


John ShipeJohn Shipe — July 18, 2021

“The album of my life,” says John Shipe of his aptly titled The Beast Is Back, “brought me to places of brutal honesty.” Like his previous work, it’s a diverse collection, hitting all Americana sub-genres through 18 songs on a double CD. But this goes deeper, making up for a decade-long dry spell that involved addiction recovery. One way to put it comes from Dori & Doug Donoho of KECH & Star 107.5 (Idaho): “In tune with the age, swells up the chest, and threatens to escape in a blood curdling scream.” Over 30 years, a dozen releases, and thousands of shows, John has eased through multiple genres of music with ruthless empathy and literate flair. In both solo and ensemble incarnations, he’s been on bills with Taj Mahal, Keb Mo’, Derek Trucks, Los Lobos, Bob Dylan, Jimmy Cliff, Roger Clyne, and believe or not Hootie & The Blowfish. The Beast Is Back is the third in a trilogy of acoustic-leaning albums since Shipe parted ways with the rowdier, but limiting confines of Rock. The first two, Yellow House and Villain, charted in 6 countries on 3 continents. Beast previews to the same promising reception, densely packed with love songs for grown-ups, triumphant anthems, slow-burn reckonings, rollicking stompers, and swampy blues-hauntings. Vividly drawn characters are treated with empathy, humor, passion, and swagger “If you’re a fan of Jason Isbell or John Prine, add this to your together-forever playlist.” (Global Texan Chronicles) On Shipe albums, you’ll hear an acoustic & semi-electric palette of pedal steel, piano & organ, strings, horns, mandolin, fiddle, banjo, and Shipe’s fine slide guitar, honed on years of touring as an electric front man. On the heels of Beast, Shipe launched a poignant socio-political single, "A Song About This" (proceeds going to NAACP) of which Glide Magazine writes: “…delivers a fervent punch with scalding alt-country flair.” 40 Shipe tunes have rotated on over a 100 independent and commercial radio stations. Nominated for Best Original Song at the Los Angeles International Indie Short Film Festival, Shipe music can be cinematic. Two songs appear in the AOF award-winning Vicktory to the Underdog, nominated for Best Soundtrack. (“Pit Bull Blues” has received million YouTube hits.)


Sofia TalvikSofia Talvik — July 11, 2021

With her wistfully gilded new album Paws of a Bear, Swedish artist Sofia Talvik gazes upon her life’s journey, carefully weighing each chapter. Lead single “Take Me Home” recently debuted in the top ten on the U.S. Folk Radio Charts, offering a hint of what’s to come for this artist on the rise. Beneath timeless layers of lush string work and a voice as angelic as it is heart-rending, Talvik explores dualities of stagnation and freedom, sacrifice and dream-chasing, work and family, along the way experiencing personal revelations that forever shift her perspectives on time, life and love.

Talvik has performed at festivals ranging from Lollapalooza to SXSW, she’s opened for Maria McKee & David Duchovny, and has collaborated with former Suede guitarist Bernard Butler, as well as Tobias Fröberg (Peter Bjorn and John), who produced her 2008 LP Jonestown. Primarily a live artist, Talvik has taken her music across Europe and through 47 U.S. states, riding in her 1989 Winnebago Warrior with her husband and sound technician Jonas at the wheel, digging deep into the American sound and channeling it through her Nordic roots to create a singular brand of Americana.

Delving into folk melancholy akin to fellow Swedes First Aid Kit, Paws of a Bear delivers Talvik’s own neatly packaged stories across its 10 stunning tracks. Haunting pedal steel intertwines with warm upright bass, acoustic guitars and piano, creating an ideal foundation for the stark beauty of Talvik’s vocal work. Her carefully thought-out steps serve her airy productions well, meandering between reflections of her childhood on the island of Orust, on Sweden’s west coast (“Take Me Home”), the transformation of age (“Reflections”) and love’s sweet elixir as our greatest, most cherished gift (“Wrapped in Paper”).

“When you’re younger, I don’t think you appreciate things in the same way,” Talvik says. “Different subjects are important to you, and you take much of it for granted. You never stop to look at where you are. Then when you come back to this place a little further down the road, with more wisdom, you see things differently. You see nature in a different way and maybe you appreciate new things you didn’t appreciate before.”

Talvik releases all of her music on Makaki Music, a record label she started early in her career to maintain full control over her own recordings. While her Swedish roots serve as the basis for her songwriting, she often calls upon her many journeys and experiences for inspiration, especially the uniquely American archetype of roaming the endless highway. It’s no surprise that Paws of a Bear unspools threads of longing, uncertainty, adventure and hope.

“A lot of people stay in one place, raise a family and work the same job their whole lives,” Talvik says. “Others go on the road and have all these wild experiences. People always say to me, ‘You’re living the dream! You get to see the world!’ I mean, yes, it’s wonderful, but also it’s hard. I don’t get to do anything. I work really hard for it everyday. It’s a choice that I’ve made.”

Paws of a Bear plays like a picture book, flipping through some of life’s most earnest moments. Through her tattered indie-folk, Talvik’s tells her own tale, while giving listeners plenty of room to contemplate their own lives. As the album unfolds, she lures you into her world with stunning heft and grit, once again proving a master of her craft.


Julie GrowerJulie Grower — June 27, 2021

Originally from New York State, SERFA member Julie Grower lives in Nashville, TN. Her contemporary folk, country and rootsy pop songs have earned her two Billboard certificates of achievement. Her debut CD "In A New Light", co-produced by Jon Gordon, who has served as musical director and guitarist for Suzanne Vega and Madonna, receives regular airplay on independent U.S. and European radio. Julie has performed at The Bitter End, CBGB's Gallery, MacDougal Street Cafe (NYC), The Kendall Café (Boston), and throughout the northeast and UK. In Nashville, Julie appears at such venues as The Bluebird Café, Hotel Indigo, and The Commodore Lounge, and has had the opportunity to share the bill with songwriters Tia Sillers ("I Hope You Dance"); Lisa Carver ("Wake Up Older") and Chris Wallin ("Speed", "I'm Tryin' ) and Walt Aldridge ("Modern Day Bonnie and Clyde"). Julie is represented by Washington Street Music, an independent song plugging and publishing company.


Kenneth BrawnerKenneth Brawner — June 20, 2021

Kenny Brawner is a critically acclaimed keyboardist, vocalist, composer and actor, who as a musician, plays his own distinctive style of Jazz, Funk, R&B and Blues. Kenny was born in Augusta Georgia, a city and state rich in the traditions of music from the Black diaspora. As a teenager he met and got to witness performances by James Brown, an Augustan who was then a budding star. He also saw and was influenced by Ray Charles and Otis Redding, both Georgians. Growing up, Kenny developed an appreciation for many genres of music. He was classically trained as a pianist but also studied with jazz teachers. He attended Howard University where he often entertained fellow students with the music of one of his idols, Ray Charles. For nearly a decade Mr. Brawner led and composed for a jazz-funk recording band called “Raw Sugar.” During that period, his funk composition Whups it on Me was chosen ‘Showstopper of the Week’ on WBLS in New York and featured with the band on the television show, Soul Train. In recent years he lead a group, along with his brother, Everett, called the Brawner Brothers Band which was known for its old-school sweet soul music, blues, Latin, African and jazz modes and volcanic funk. With this band he recorded the album This Is Where You Wanna Be which is a compilation of Jazz and funk tunes. Kenny has been featured with BB King in a Wendy’s hamburger commercial and has dazzled, according to the New York Times in Blues Suite, a dance piece in which he performed a medley of Blues songs live on a Broadway stage with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. He has also recently played lead theatrical roles as a blues man in both Dan Dietz’s Clementine in the Lower 9 at Theatre Works in Mountain View, California and a blues based musical called The City Club, Off Broadway in New York. He played a leading role in Canadian Stage’s production of What Makes A Man, a show about the life and music of the legendary Charles Aznavour, one of the world’s best “showmen”. Most recently he played a soulful organist in Stew and Heidi Rodewald’s The Total Bent at New York’s Public Theater. He can be seen in the classic movie musical Hair as an army officer performing the song White Boys. Kenny is now leading and touring with a 12- piece band and 3 female vocalists doing a concert/ theater production called Ray On My Mind, in which he brings the music and the story of the great Ray Charles to life. His latest album Cross Water Blues is a collaboration with a versatile and highly regarded guitarist from Rome Italy. The album was recorded in Italy and New York with musicians from both sides of the Atlantic, hence the title Cross Water Blues. And check out www.rayonmymind.com All about Kenneth's Ray Charles show.


Julie GrowerJulie Grower — June 17, 2021

Originally from New York State, SERFA member Julie Grower lives in Nashville, TN. Her contemporary folk, country and rootsy pop songs have earned her two Billboard certificates of achievement. Her debut CD "In A New Light", co-produced by Jon Gordon, who has served as musical director and guitarist for Suzanne Vega and Madonna, receives regular airplay on independent U.S. and European radio. Julie has performed at The Bitter End, CBGB's Gallery, MacDougal Street Cafe (NYC), The Kendall Café (Boston), and throughout the northeast and UK. In Nashville, Julie appears at such venues as The Bluebird Café, Hotel Indigo, and The Commodore Lounge, and has had the opportunity to share the bill with songwriters Tia Sillers ("I Hope You Dance"); Lisa Carver ("Wake Up Older") and Chris Wallin ("Speed", "I'm Tryin' ) and Walt Aldridge ("Modern Day Bonnie and Clyde"). Julie is represented by Washington Street Music, an independent song plugging and publishing company.


Kalinec and KjKalinec and Kj — June 13, 2021

Texan Brian Kalinec and Pennsylvanian Kj Reimensnyder-Wagner met by chance during one of Brian's shows in East Texas in 2013 when Kj happened to be in nearby Shreveport, Louisiana where she was conducting a seminar in educational songwriting. Later that year, when she came down to Texas on a trip, they had a chance to play a few songs together. Their impressive, combined sound--songs, voices, and musicianship--convinced them that they should perform shows as a duo and began to do so the following year. As Kalinec & Kj, they have toured in the Northeast, in the west from New Mexico to Washington, and in Texas over the past few years.

Swedish reviewer Staffan Soldy of Rootsy calls Brian "a combination of Woody Guthrie, John Steinbeck, James Taylor, and Rodney Crowell in the stories he tells". He is considered "one of the most creative songwriters from the Texas music scene" by Robert Bartosh of Roots Music Report. In No Depression, Kathy Sands-Boehmer writes "Brian's heartfelt lyrics and impeccable playing and production are testament to the hard work that he has given to his craft...these are songs that stick to your soul and refuse to budge." Brian has been recognized in the US and Europe for both his songwriting and musicianship, winning the Songwriter Serenade in Texas, the Big Top Chautauqua in Wisconsin, placing second in the prestigious Woody Guthrie Songwriting Competition, and was named a finalist in the UK Songwriting Contest. He has performed at venerable festivals and venues including the Kerrville Folk Festival, the Bugle Boy, Gruene Hall, and Uncle Calvin's Coffeehouse in Texas, the Rose Garden Coffeehouse in Massachusetts, and tours regularly in the UK. He and his wife Pam own Berkalin Records, with a roster that features many well-respected singer-songwriters.

Kj is a full-time touring Singer-Songwriter. She has performed across the US and the UK as a solo artist and along with other artists including Steve Weisberg, Ted Vigil, and Dougie MacLean at noted venues and festivals including the Wheeler Opera House in Aspen Colorado, and in Scotland at the Killin Music Festival and the legendary Taybank's Real Music Bar in Dunkeld. Kj is also a recognized educator, trainer and multi-instrumentalist, providing keynotes, workshops, assemblies and residencies and has mentored hundreds of teachers and students through story, song, and songwriting. Her joy of teaching special-needs children has taken her across the Atlantic where she not only mentors and sings in traditional schools throughout Scotland but also for special-needs and gifted classes in the communities of Dalguise, Bannockburn, and Pitlochry, Scotland. Kj has been awarded several distinguished honors for educational songwriting from the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, National Agriculture in the Classroom (NAITC) and The Visionary Award from Danville's Child Development Center.

Produced by Kalinec and veteran producer/engineer Michael Mikulka at Mikulka's acclaimed Lucky Run Studios, Let’s Get Away features a fine cast of musicians-- Rankin Peters bassist, Jeff Duncan, fiddle, Tyson Sheth,--percussion.


Sean AltmanSean Altman — June 6, 2021

Ex-Rockapella star Sean Altman is "tuneful and sharply witty" (Los Angeles Times), "relentlessly clever" (Chicago Tribune) and "bawdy with a wicked modern streak" (Washington Post), with "hilarious pleasures" (The New Yorker) that combine "the tunefulness of the Beatles and the spot-on wit of Tom Lehrer" (Boston Globe) with a “silky tenor voice that produced chills” (New York Times). Altman, “a terrific singer and a songwriter with an ear equally attuned to comic satire and the power of pop music” (The New Yorker), "writes brilliant and irreverent acoustic rock songs about his awakening Jewish awareness" (Jerusalem Post) to make you "laugh your tuchis off" (Time Out) as "part of a new breed of Jewish hipster comedy that includes Jon Stewart, Sacha Baron Cohen and Sarah Silverman" (Philadelphia Daily News). He is a former, founding member of Rockapella and led that pioneering vocal group through its heyday years on the Emmy-winning PBS-TV series, Where In The World Is Carmen Sandiego?, for which Altman co-wrote the famous theme song. His classic Passover song "They Tried To Kill Us (We Survived, Let's Eat)" has been featured on NPR's Fresh Air with Terry Gross. Altman has twice performed at the White House Chanukah Party, he has shared concert stages with Billy Joel, Steve Miller, Whoopi Goldberg, Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert, Jay Leno, Joey Ramone and Moby, and he has recorded with artists as diverse as Steve Miller, XTC, John Cale, Richie Havens and They Might Be Giants. Altman currently records and performs acapella with The GrooveBarbers and Doowopera, original pop songs on guitar as a solo artist, original comedy songs as JEWMONGOUS, and in two touring tribute acts: The Everly Set and Forever Simon & Garfunkel.


Bryce ThomasBryce Thomas — May 23, 2021

Bryce Thomas describes his sound as “mariner folk-rock.” It’s partly because many of his songs reference bodies of water in some way, although on his new album Across The Neuro Seas, the title’s play on words speaks to a much deeper meaning.

The Toronto-based singer/songwriter wrote the 12 tracks for his fourth full-length album during the spring of 2020, just as pandemic restrictions were taking hold. He credits the creative surge not only to lockdown anxiety, but also to a five-year recording hiatus as his family expanded.

“I’d sneak away to record whenever the house was quiet,” Bryce reveals, “which was challenging when you’re part of a family of five, plus three dogs, all stuck at home. It’s also why all the songs on the album were written and recorded within two months.” Nonetheless, musically Bryce didn’t hold back. He performed all vocals, guitars and keyboard tracks along with a variety of other instruments, only making exceptions for drums, some bass, a horn section, and duet on his song Everything with his wife Lisanne.

From the outset, Bryce says he intentionally put the songwriting focus on creating a collection of songs that offered listeners a continuous journey from beginning to end. “Contrary to the current trend of artists producing ‘singles’, I knew I wanted this to be a true album in the sense of all the songs relating to each other in some way. For me, the storytelling arc is grounded in reflections on love blooming and love lost, and I took a lot of songwriting inspiration from early Elton John, Billy Joel, Bruce Springsteen and Cat Stevens albums.”

Proof to the point, songs such as “Young Lovers” and “Summer Nights In Summertime” exquisitely capture the push and pull of relationships both new and well-worn—in a gloriously ragged folk-rock manner on the former, and in a stunningly intimate way on the latter. Conversely, he injects the power of experience into “Widow’s Walk” and “Hope And Chance,” two songs that had sat on the shelf for 25 years until finding their moment on this album.

While there are sure to be many “what I did during my pandemic lockdown” records on the horizon, Bryce Thomas’s Across The Neuro Seas bears all the hallmarks of a true folk-pop auteur, with its timeless sound sure to remain relevant long after we’re allowed to once again get close to our loved ones.


Ciaran MacGowanCiaran MacGowan — May 16, 2021

Ciaran is from Belfast, born and raised; he has shared the stage with Bob Dylan, Van Morrison, Arlo Guthrie, Nancy Griffith and quite a few more. His band rocks through all the genres of Folk, Bossa, Jazz, Rock and Blues. He has a fabulous voice and an extraordinary talent for whistling!

But for years Ciaran lived in another world - leaving music twenty years ago to pursue he passion for photography. He lived in California shooting for Capitol, EMI, Sony and Polydor - in the thick of the Los Angeles record business with a camera, not a guitar!

But last year he came back home to music, his first love, and to Belfast Ireland, settled in and put together a new band. On bass is Nicky Scott (Mary Black), on drums Eamonn Ferris (Van Morrison), guitar Pat Gribben (The Adventures, a UK charting band) and out front is Ciaran, composer, writer and front-man of a set that is 100% original. They were just getting started when lockdown came!

He has a ‘back story’: Long before any of this, the ‘Ciaran Mac Gowan Band’ played weekly in The Errigle Inn; an eight piece band complete with horn section. Andy White on bass, Gerry McIlduff (Pretenders) on drums. He recorded live radio and television several times for BBC, UTV, RTE and Downtown. He supported the ‘big acts’ of the day, Janis Ian, John Martyn, Richard Thompson, and his first record ‘London Trip’ released on Good Vibrations was play-listed ‘Record of the Week’ on RTE. He was twenty-five. Then they blew up the Errigle Inn and gone was the band’s residency. These were dangerous times in the N. Ireland conflict. Six months later with the venue rebuilt, the band was back in residence. Three weeks after that they blew it up again! Ciarán later joked, ‘they definitely didn’t like that band!’

In frustration Ciarán jumped ship to California, made a success of a different career, headed up the Photography Department at San José City College, CA, worked in Hollywood, and photography on Ireland is archived in several international museums. But through those years Ciarán always came home and in Belfast he often was the support to some of the world’s leading musicians: Dylan, Morrison, Guthrie, Nancy Griffith, Christy Moore, appearing twice in the Belfast/Nashville annual Festival.

Now he’s back in permanence with a superb band.


Mandy RowdenMandy Rowden — May 9, 2021

Brought up in East Texas, Mandy Rowden has been a practicing musician since the tender age of six. That’s when she began learning classical piano and guitar, laying the foundation for an eventual career in music. It wasn’t until the Americana sound found its way into her soul that she embraced her true path: that of a real-deal, down-in-the-dirt singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist who’s weathered some storms and emerged with tales to tell. In fact, living up to being a multi-instrumentalist, Rowden took on the bulk of Parachute’s instrumentation. “Like most worthwhile things, it was both rewarding and challenging!” Mandy adds that her producer on the album, Matt Smith, held her to some very high standards. “That initially made me nervous,” admits Rowden, “but I was pleasantly surprised every time. It's my feeling that we can accomplish pretty much anything with an open mind and the right kind of support and this album is the perfect example.” Rowden’s sound is equal parts bourbon and honey, seeking answers while reveling in the wonder of it all. With all her projects, there is a common thread that


Pete SeegerPete Seeger — May 2, 2021

Join us again for a very special birthday show to honor the legendary Pete Seeger, who would have turned 102 on May 3. We'll be doing a special Pete Seeger Mini Concert with many of the songs selected by his daughter Tinya. Also the fantastic Singer Songwriter Showcase with songs submitted by artists throughout the country. The theme: Pete Seeger - presenting songs of and /or by Pete!


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