Saturday, September 22, 7:30 pm: The Kennedys w/special guest Eric Lee

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Saturday, September 22, 7:30 PM: The Kennedys

At well over a million miles of roadwork, including two stints as members of Nanci Griffith’s Blue Moon Orchestra, Pete and Maura Kennedy show no signs of slowing down either on tour or in the creative realm.

Originally based in Austin, Texas, they spent a few years in the Washington DC area before moving to the East Village in New York City, where they have been based for most of the last two decades. The Kennedys are known nationwide as the hosts of the late lamented Dharma Café program on Sirius Satellite Radio, and on Broadway, they are regular cast members of Theatre Within’s annual tribute to John Lennon — working in that capacity with Patti Smith, Debbie Harry, Jackson Browne, Cyndi Lauper and a host of others.

Life on the road and time spent in the creative ecosystem of the Village have informed their songwriting over the course of 14 duo albums and half a dozen side projects, and Safe Until Tomorrow is true to that tradition. What sets the album apart is the inclusion of several anthemic, rocking songs of social consciousness that convey a strong message best summed up in one of the song titles: “Be Silent No More.” The Kennedys’ music has been described as uplifting, empowering and encouraging. In these turbulent times, they rise to the occasion with Safe Until Tomorrow.

Opening the evening is Eric Lee. Eric emerged in the folk community as the virtuosic fiddle player of Pete & Maura Kennedy’s fiery super-group, The Strangelings, after being plucked from the audience at the Falcon Ridge Folk Festival. He has since performed with such artists as Peter Rowan, John Gorka, and Dan Navarro, who, among others, have inspired his uniquely poetic and expressive songwriting.

FRONT ROW: $22 in advance, $25 at the door
GENERAL ADMISSION: $18 in advance, $20 at the door

Click Here To Reserve Tickets

Saturday, October 13, 7:30 pm: John Elliott

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Saturday, October 13, 7:30 PM: John Elliott

John Elliott has been  likened to artists from Paul Simon to Death Cab for Cutie’s Ben Gibbard, combining   well-crafted songwriting with euphoric melodies that quickly become addicting. He has an affection for the malleability of language, the clever twists of phrase, an appreciation for the liquid kinship between rhythm and sounds — how they collide in beautiful violence, how they stand as ideas and images — even if they ordinarily wouldn’t deign to dance together or be seen in the same room. Born and raised in Minnesota and now living in California, John  has been releasing albums and performing in every type of venue you can imagine since 2006. His songs have been prominently heard on “Grey’s Anatomy,” “One Tree Hill,” and “Californication.” He has been featured in PASTE Magazine, on NPR and on Neil Young’s “Living With War” website. His music has a cult-like international following and artists worldwide cover his songs.  John remains an independent, unsigned and unaffiliated artist and he is proud of that fact. He continues to make a living and build a dedicated following the old fashioned way: one new believer at a time.

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FRONT ROW: $22 in advance, $25 at the door
GENERAL ADMISSION: $18 in advance, $20 at the door

Saturday, October 27, 8 PM: The Grand Slambovian Halloween Ball

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Common Ground Concerts and The Slambovian Circus of Dreams present
@ Irvington Town Hall Theater

The Grand Slambovian Halloween Ball

Called everything from ‘hillbilly-Pink Floyd’ to ‘surreal Americana’, the Hudson Valley’s own Slambovian Circus of Dreams is bringing its legendary annual Halloween musical costume ball to Irvington!

Formed in Sleepy Hollow, NY over a decade ago, The Slambovian Circus of Dreams “is a riveting, mesmerizing, crazy, amazing machine of music.” (Chronogram Magazine). And this year’s Grand Slambovian Halloween Ball theme is “Legends of Sleepy Hollow”, so break out your finest Headless Horsemen, Rip van Winkles or other ‘skeletons in the style closet’ in honor of Washington Irving (or any of your other favorite literary icons, real or imagined).

With a rootsy psychedelica that MAVERICK MAGAZINE calls “mightily impressive and hugely original rock from the cool end of Americana,” The Slambovian Circus of Dreams’ melodic avant-folk conjures with an exotic instrumental arsenal and palette of styles ranging from dusty Americana ballads to huge Pink Floydesque cinematic anthems. The Slambovians have pioneered the alt-folk circuit, staying on the fringes of the music industry. Fans fueled their career from the ground up to an international status. Having headlined major music festivals and venues across the US, Canada, and UK, this band has a devoted cult following.”

Tickets: All seats: $27 in advance, exclusively through Irvington Town Hall Theater.

Click here to reserve your seats

Saturday November 17, 7:30 p.m: Radio Free Honduras

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Charlie Baran has lived a life of music. Before moving the the United States he was a founding member of the legendary Honduran musical group Banda Blanca, who’s song “Sopa de Caracol” became the #1 Billboard Top Latin Songs hit in 1992. Now a maintenance man at a Catholic grade school by day, Charlie has kept his musical flame glowing largely through acoustic solo performances around Chicago for the past ten years.
Charlie Baran is a true virtuoso. No one sees him perform without recognizing the presence of a true master – an heir to a rich tradition of Honduran music, as well as a guitar slinging showman and a gifted songwriter whose skill transcends all genres. But throughout most of his career he has existed in the shadows – until the formation of Radio Free Honduras.
Radio Free Honduras is a diverse collective of Chicago musicians, all united under one goal – supporting the artistry of Charlie Baran and bringing this tremendous talent into the spotlight where it belongs. Founded by Dan Abu-Absi, longtime guitarist for JT and the Clouds and Birds of Chicago, Radio Free Honduras plays mostly Baran originals, but their live shows often feature a wide variety of reimagined cover songs. This band provides Charlie with the wide musical pallet his talent (and songs) deserve. Abu-Absi has gathered a large, revolving collective of some of Chicago’s most talented musicians; lively percussion, eclectic instrumentation, and rich harmonies all provide the backdrop, allowing Charlie to do what he does best – stunning guitar work, tapping into what seems a limitless supply of energy and enthusiasm for music.
Charlie Baran has lived a long and storied musical life – but very few are familiar with his side of the story. Radio Free Honduras has made it their mission to change that.

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FRONT ROW: $27 in advance, $30 at the door
GENERAL ADMISSION: $22 in advance, $25 at the door

 

 

Saturday, December 1, 7:30 PM: Robinson & Rohe ~ The Longest Winter

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The Christmas story is a cultural inheritance that belongs to whomever claims it. If it is the Church, then the Church will tell the story. If it is the Corporate Advertisers, the Corporate Advertisers will sell the story. But if it is the Artists, the Bards, the Rabblerousers, then it is they who will create the story anew.

Liam Robinson and Jean Rohe bring their folk music roots and contemporary sensibilities to songs new and old.For the past ten years, Robinson & Rohe have been performing “The Longest Winter: A Christmas Concert and Singalong”. Annually hosted in venues and house concerts throughout the Northeast, this event has become an audience favorite, a staple of the season. This year, they bring their midwinter music to Common Ground Coffeehouse. Robinson & Rohe go deep into the Christmas repertoire: the mystical, the melancholic, the soulful, the sublime. Expect songs you may not know: haunting melodies of old Europe, joyful singalongs of the Southern US, and modern takes on the strange and ancient Christmas tale. Please join us for this special evening.

Ask Robinson & Rohe how the duo was formed and they’ll look at each other as if to say, Which beginning should we begin with? The two have known each other for over a decade, developing a friendship as they pursued their separate careers—spanning everything from playing Brazilian jazz gigs to composing orchestral scores.

Over those years, the two grew into powerhouse performers. Liam Robinson honed his wide-ranging skills as an original cast member of the Tony Award winning play “Warhorse,” as musical director of Anaïs Mitchell’s Off-Broadway folk opera “Hadestown,” as a composer in the Red Light New Music collective, and as a member of the Becca Stevens Band.

Meanwhile, Jean Rohe began touring and recording with her band, Jean Rohe & the End of the World Show, honing a honeyed, far-ranging voice and collecting accolades along the way (“a sure-footed young singer-songwriter,” says the New York Times.) Rohe also garnered attention for her unflinching alternative anthem for the United States, “National Anthem: Arise! Arise!” which continues to be performed and recorded by choirs and bands across the country, and was published in the Rise Up Singing songbook sequel.

Despite long days and separately flourishing careers, the two found themselves with a musical itch they hadn’t yet scratched. One afternoon, they sat at Robinson’s kitchen table, swapping harmonies as they sang some of the old folk songs both of them had grown up with. At the end of one song, says Rohe, “we both sat there in silence.” Stripped down to their two voices, they could hear the potential for something big: “It’s a magical thing to phrase with someone like that,” says Robinson, “to breathe together and land language in time, in tune, even pushing and pulling tempo together.”

Click to Reserve Seats

FRONT ROW: $25 in advance, $30 at the door
GENERAL ADMISSION: $20 in advance, $25 at the door

Saturday, January 19, 7:30 PM: Amanda Anne Platt & The Honeycutters

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Common Ground Coffeehouse
@The First Unitarian Society of Westchester

Presents

Amanda Anne Platt & The Honeycutters

Saturday, January 19, 7:30 PM: Amanda Anne Platt & The Honeycutters

“We’re switching things up a little. After four albums I’ve decided to step out and start using my own name. It’s something that a lot of people have encouraged me to do over the years, and I guess that 2017 just felt right.” That name, Amanda Anne Platt & The Honeycutters, is also the title of the band’s latest album, released by Organic Records on June 9, 2017. “We’re keeping The Honeycutters too because we don’t want to confuse people…really, we’ve always been Amanda Anne Platt and the Honeycutters. I think I’ve just gotten to a place where I feel comfortable enough to be in the spotlight.”

Lyrically driven, the songs on Amanda Anne Platt & The Honeycutters blend the band’s old-school country roots attitude with their shared influences of rock and folk. Amanda says of the album, “I think it’s just about life and all that that entails. Including but not limited to death, strangers, birthdays, money, leaving, arriving, seasons, corruption, and love.”

Performing along with Platt, The Honeycutters are Matt Smith on pedal steel and Stratocaster, Rick Cooper on bass, Josh Milligan on drums and harmony vocals, and Evan Martin on keys and Telecaster.

Amanda Anne Platt & The Honeycutters is the group’s third release on Organic Records, and fifth album. Assembling the same the same team as 2016’s On The Ropes Balsam Range’s Tim Surrett steps in for the second time to co-produce this album along with Amanda. Its thirteen tracks were recorded, mixed, and mastered by Scott Barnett at Crossroads Studios in Arden, NC.

There is an empathetic and charming wit engrained in Amanda’s songwriting. She has a knack for accessing a deep well of emotion and applying it to her story-telling, whether she is writing from her own experiences or immersing herself into the melody of emotions in another person’s life.

In the lead off track, “Birthday Song,” Amanda writes with a gentle optimism, “Every time it gets colder I get another year older… I start looking for lines in the bathroom mirror… but when I lay down at night I swear I must have done something right… cause I’m still so damn glad to be here… I’ve been trying to love the questions, and keep on guessing.” Written just before her 30th birthday, Platt calls the song, “a summation of everything I learned in that decade.”

There is an easygoing warmth to the album, enhanced by the its refined arrangement and production; from the upbeat “Diamond in the Rough” to the poetic and observational “Eden” to the very personal, yet universal, “Brand New Start” to “Late Summer’s Child” (an ode to her favorite season) and “Rare Thing” (a song commissioned from Platt from a fan as a love song to his wife that ended up being included on the album. “Your mama said that it would never last… but these years go by so fast… and you’re the song I’m humming to myself as I’m counting the miles… you’re such a rare thing.”) One can feel it even in songs with a more solemn concept behind them like, like “Long Ride,” which speaks of living in the moment in the face of mortality.

Platt wrote “Learning How To Love Him” after hearing an acquaintance of hers talk about learning that her husband of 40+ years was terminally ill. She says, “What really struck me was how she described the tenderness that the news brought back to their relationship.” Amanda sings, “’I woke last night and I felt so afraid, I turned on the light and shook him awake and we stared at the ceiling, listening to the sink drip… I spent my whole life learning how to love him and I never loved him more than I do today.”

The successes of On The Ropes [2016] and Me Oh My [2015] have propelled Amanda Anne Platt and The Honeycutters onto the national scene. They have been featured on NPR’s World Cafe’s Sense of Place, NPR’s Mountain Stage, Nashville’s Music City Roots, and Folk Alley and have performed at AmericanaFest, MerleFest, and IBMA. On The Ropes debuted at #39 on iTunes Top 40 Country Chart on release day and landed on a plethora of year end lists including placing #35 on the Top 100 Albums played on Americana Radio in 2016 and landing at #1 on Western North Carolina’s WNCW Radio’s Year End Listeners Poll of Top Albums of 2016!

On The Ropes hit #11 on the EuroAmericana Chart and The UK’s Julian Piper with Acoustic Magazine says, “Amanda Platt has one of those gorgeous heartache-drenched voices that brings to mind Loretta Lynn or Sheryl Crow.”

FRONT ROW: $25 in advance, $30 at the door
GENERAL ADMISSION: $20 in advance, $25 at the door

 

Saturday, February 2, 8 PM: Larry Campbell & Teresa Williams

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Common Ground Concerts

Presents

At Irvington Town Hall Theater

Larry Campbell & Teresa Williams

Multi-instrumentalist, singer-songwriter Larry Campbell and singer-guitarist Teresa Williams’ acclaimed eponymous 2015 debut, released after seven years of playing in Levon Helm’s band – and frequent guesting with Phil Lesh, Little Feat, Jorma Kaukonen and Jack Casady, brought to the stage the crackling creative energy of a decades-long offstage union. A whirlwind of touring and promo followed, and when the dust cleared, the duo was ready to do it all again. Which brings us to Contraband Love, a riskier slice of Americana.

Larry, who produced Contraband Love, says, “I wanted this record to be a progression, bigger than the first one. That’s all I knew. I wanted the songwriting to be deeper, the arrangements more interesting, the performances more dynamic. Specifically how to get there, I didn’t know. I did know the songs were different. The subject matter was darker than anything else I’ve written.”

“More painful!” Teresa says, and laughs.

“Yeah,” Larry says with a smile. “I’m proud of our debut, but I felt like the songs were lighter than what I’m capable of doing. As a songwriter, I aspire to a sense of uniqueness: this is a great song and it could only have been written by me. I want to get there. It’s a journey, a goal, a pursuit. The mechanics of that pursuit are figuring out what you need to do to surpass your last body of work.”

Although it was not his conscious intent, three of the eight tunes Campbell penned for Contraband Love deal either obliquely or directly with various emotions surrounding addiction. For the blues rocking “Three Days in A Row,” he authoritatively delves into the crucial first seventy-two hours directly following an addict going cold turkey in an effort to get clean. “I was thinking about the things I’ve quit in my life,” he says. “The last time was cigarettes. I remembered the dreams I had in withdrawal.” Vintage-sounding country nugget “Save Me from Myself” (featuring Little Feat’s Bill Payne on piano) explores a troubled soul’s heartrending knowledge that they are hard to love. “I’ve certainly felt both sides of that situation,” Larry says, “and observed it many times.” Delicate waltz “Contraband Love,” a captivating vocal showcase for Teresa, takes on the other side of the story, when a parent (or spouse, or friend, etc.) realizes their only recourse for dealing with an addict is merely to stand “with arms wide open.” Of this remarkable piece, Larry says, “That melody would not leave me alone. It’s one of the more unique songs I’ve ever written.”

“Larry’s writing this stuff,” Teresa says, “and we’re naming off all the people in our lives who are currently going through this (addiction and loss) with a loved one, not to mention the family members and friends we’ve lost in the past from this affliction. That may have driven him. One of my oldest, most intimate friends – a functioning substance abuser since he was a teenager – died on the street in New York while we were in the studio. We dedicated the album to him.”

“The stuff of loss resonates,” Larry says.

Musically, Contraband Love revisits the Americana textures of the duo’s debut, deftly channeling Memphis, Chicago, the Delta, and Appalachia with equal assurance. Larry’s world-famous guitar work – scorching here, funky there, stellar always – punctuates the proceedings with riveting emotion, often like a third voice weighing in on a myriad of emotional states.

The barnburner leadoff single, “Hit and Run Driver,” is a harrowing-but-rocking survivor’s tale, showcasing longtime drummer and engineer/mixer Justin Guip.

To leaven out the darker tunes, Larry and Teresa added a recording of the reassuring Carl Perkins country classic “Turn Around,” with old friend and mentor Levon Helm, captured on drums shortly before his passing. Jaunty folk blues “My Sweetie Went Away,” features new bass player Jesse Murphy doubling on tuba for a distinctly New Orleans feel; traditional gutbucket country blues “Delta Slide,” is spiced with irresistible, harmonized yodeling.

“Stylistically, there’s a lot of different things going on,” Larry says. “So the sequencing was difficult. But I think I got it right.”

Indeed. Contraband Love stands as a new, bolder chapter in a story that arose triumphantly joyous from loss. “When Levon died,” Teresa says, “that put Larry into high gear. He’d already had his head set about making a record, but then it felt like a train took off! We just said, ‘life is short.’”

Another motivator for creating Contraband Love was the experience of taking the Larry Campbell and Teresa Williams show out on the road, as a duo, with a band, and opening for Jackson Browne (who loaned them his band). “It felt fabulous and fantastic,” Larry says. “After I met Teresa (in the mid 80s), I’d be out with Bob Dylan [Larry toured with the Nobel laureate for eight years] and something was missing. I gotta gig, and it’s what I always wanted, but it’s not my stuff, and it’s not with the person I want to be with. And then, when we got a taste of being a performing duo at the Rambles with Levon, the idea that we could expand on that was completely alluring.

“So virtually everything we’ve done musically since I left Dylan’s band, we’ve been asked to do together: Levon, Phil and Friends, Jorma and Jack, Little Feat; we’ve done it all as a unit, a duo, and it’s great. It’s rewarding on a lot of levels. The way I see it, when Teresa and I are together, doing our material for people who come to see us, then everything I ever wanted out of life is pretty well complete.”

Tickets: $25-$35 in advance, exclusively through Irvington  Town Hall Theater.

Click here to reserve your seats