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Saturday, September 21, 7:30 PM: Reggie Harris and Pat Wictor

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Join us for the opening night of our 2019-20 season with Reggie Harris and Pat Wictor together in concert. Reggie Harris is a singer-songwriter, storyteller, and cultural ambassador on a mission to educate, entertain, and inspire. For over 40 years, he has captivated audiences to standing ovations in the US, Canada, and across Europe. A songwriter of great depth and insight, Reggie writes from a personal but accessible place that reveals his deep sense of humanity and a uniquely positive worldview. He is a trailblazer who performs for audiences of all ages. His effervescently humorous and hopeful presence has led fans to label him the “Ambassador of Joy, Hope, and Freedom.”An educator who entertains, Reggie’s songs reveal the subtle truths of issues that touch our lives regardless of color, background, age, or nationality. It’s about the laughter and the tears… the challenges and the joy… the global and the personal. It’s about history and the present day… the sacred and the laugh out loud funny moments that define us. Reggie received a life-saving liver transplant in 2008. He uses the inspiration and triumph of that gift of life to spread light and hope. Averaging over 250 dates per year, this versatile performer is in high demand at arts centers, schools, universities, and festivals. Reggie is an intuitive presenter in workshops on history, songwriting, and performance. Reggie is a teaching artist for the John F Kennedy Center’s CETA program, a Woodrow Wilson Scholar, and the Director of Music Education for the UU Living Legacy Project. He is a master song leader who deeply values the power of song and the dignity of every human being. Previously known as one-half of the acclaimed folk acoustic duo Kim and Reggie Harris, this natural collaborator, also invigorates his solo touring with occasional partnerships, most notably with Greg Greenway (Deeper Than the Skin) Scott Ainslie (Long Time Coming), and Pat Wictor. Reggie leads workshops and seminars on songwriting, race relations, and performance at colleges and universities, retreat centers, and festivals.  A partial list includes the Kennedy Center Summer Education Institute, The Swannanoa Gathering, Boston’s Summer Acoustic Music Week (SAMW), the People’s Music Network, and the Southeastern Unitarian Universalist Summer Institute (SUUSI).

Pat Wictor first burst on the folk and acoustic scene as an innovative slide guitarist known for fresh and memorable interpretations of traditional and contemporary songs. He has since made his mark as a singer-songwriter penning lean and poetic songs that honor – and subvert – rural blues and gospel traditions. For seven years he toured as one third of Brother Sun, the powerful harmonizing trio with Joe Jencks and Greg Greenway, garnering critical acclaim, two #1 CDs on the Folk DJ charts, and a continent-spanning tour schedule. His latest solo release, This is Absolutely Real: Visions and Versions of Phil Ochs, was nominated for an Independent Music Award in their Best Tribute Album category. An American by birth, Pat’s early years were spent in Venezuela, the Netherlands, Norway, England, and East Texas. His time abroad gave him the perspective of a world citizen, and set him on a journey to understanding America – and his own American-ness – through music. Through these early experiences, he gained an appreciation for taking different paths to arrive at the same destination. Indeed, Pat took a convoluted path to folk music, winding his way through rock, heavy metal, jazz, and free improvisation. He started with guitar, shifted to bass, moved to saxophone, and then quit music entirely before returning to guitar, and teaching himself lap slide guitar. He organized and ran a songwriters circle in New York City for 13 years, mentoring and influencing dozens of songwriters. An adept improviser and accompanist, he is sought after as a collaborator, sideman and session musician, with over 60 recording credits to date, including recent releases by Sloan Wainwright, Jon Vezner, Joe Crookston, and David LaMotte. His monthly e-mail column, “A Few Choice Words,” is read by thousands of subscribers. He is a music educator of note, teaching workshops, songwriting, interpreting, and rearranging songs, on slide guitar and other guitar techniques, vocal and instrumental improvisation, and various topics of music history. Recognition and honors have followed Pat for years: he won the Falcon Ridge Emerging Artist Showcase, was nominated for Emerging Artist of the Year by the Folk Alliance, was nominated for Gospel Song of the Year by the Independent Music Awards, and was a finalist in the Kerrville New Folk songwriting contest. His CDs “This Is Absolutely Real” and ”Sunset Waltz” both reached #2 on the Folk-DJ charts, and “Heaven is so High” and “Waiting for the Water” both reached #4.

Tickets:
Front row – $25 (in advance), $30 (at the door)  
General admission – $20 (in advance), $25 (at the door)

Saturday, October 26, 7:30 PM: Her Crooked Heart and Rachael Kilgour

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Rachael Kilgour is a Minnesotan songwriter and performing artist whose sincere, lyric-driven work has been called both brave and humane. The 2015 grand prize winner of the esteemed international NewSong Music Performance & Songwriting Competition and winner of the 2017 Kerrville New Folk Contest, Kilgour has been featured at NYC’s Lincoln Center, at The Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. and by the ASCAP Music Cafe at the Sundance Film Festival. 

Married in her early twenties, Kilgour devoted her young adulthood to parenting her stepchild and building family and community. Her work from that time (Self-Titled 2008, Will You Marry Me?  2011, Whistleblower’s Manifesto 2013) chronicled her life as a young parent in a same-sex partnership and addressed sociopolitical issues from government corruption to income inequality and religious hypocrisy. Kilgour’s music career took a backseat during those years as she lived a slow, home-focused life. 

In 2014, divorce brought an unwanted end to her role as a member of the family she had helped to grow. In the aftermath, Kilgour found solace in songwriting. Her third full-length album, Rabbit in the Road (2017), was born out of that time. 

In February of 2019, Kilgour follows up with the release of her new EP, Game Changer. The aptly titled work examines the artist’s tentative first steps into a new world, post-heartbreak. With a clear head, Kilgour touches on the complicated nature of romance and relationship, sets up a stunning defense of queer love, and reassesses her priorities as a citizen of a changing wider world.

Rachel Ries, the writer, multi-instrumentalist and producer behind Her Crooked Heart, demonstrates immense vulnerability and multifaceted musical craftsmanship in delivering personal and profound musical soliloquies on love, leaving and the life that follows after burning it all down. With To Love To Leave To Live (May 2019), Her Crooked Heart presents a debut record unique in form, made up of cyclical narratives and intertwining histories, each informing the next. The result is a transformative song cycle, led by a charismatic personality, wholly indifferent to expectations of genre and instrumentation. 

In 2013, after two and a half years of marriage, Ries found herself touring a record around the world, accompanied by a stack of divorce papers in a pocket of her suitcase. She had left her marriage and a good man in New York City and leapt into the untethered unknown. What transpired was in turns euphoria and despondence; old lessons learned in new ways. The songs on To Love To Leave To Live are a compassionate and at times wry catalogue of those tumultuous years.

Tickets:
Front Row-$25 in advance, $30 at the door  
General admission-$20 in advance, $25 at the door

Saturday, November 16, 7:30 PM: Jonathan Byrd and The Pickup Cowboys

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“…one of the top 50 songwriters of the past 50 years.” — Chicago Tribune

“…a folk singer with the heart of a rock ‘n’ roll band.” — K. Oliver, Free Times

Jonathan Byrd and The Pickup Cowboys are musical gunslingers, vaudevillian hucksters, and old-fashioned tent revivalists.   Between heartbreaking ballads and heart-lifting sing-alongs, the Cowboys entertain and get audiences involved in the show. Byrd is a preacher’s son, a Gulf War veteran, and an award-winning songwriter from Chapel Hill, NC, known for literary, outsider songs that have become campfire favorites. Called “one of the top 50 songwriters of the past 50 years” by The Chicago Tribune, Byrd shares the often-missed, always poignant tales of the small people that make the world such a big place. He is joined on drums by Austin McCall (Kaira Ba, Violet Bell), and musical renaissance man Johnny Waken on guitar, saw, and mandolin. Johnny Waken cut his teeth on electric guitar in Pittsburgh with rock legend Norm Nardini, opening for The Blues Brothers Band on their Red, Hot & Blue tour in 1992. After taking a few years away from music, Johnny is back at it with the Pickup Cowboys. Austin McCall is a drummer of all trades, having played with such diverse acts as Senegalese griot Diali Cissokho, new Indie duo Violet Bell, and international theater troupe Paper Hand Puppet Intervention. Austin uses all his modes to support Jonathan Byrd’s diverse catalog of songs and Johnny Waken’s instrumental antics.

Tickets:
Front row: $25 in advance, $30 at the door
General admission: $20 in advance, $25 at the door

Saturday, December 7, 7:30 PM: The Heather Pierson Jazz Trio performs “A Charlie Brown Christmas”

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Based in New Hampshire’s Mount Washington Valley, Heather Pierson is a pianist, singer/songwriter, and performer, known for her bell tone vocals, equal parts New Orleans-Oscar-Brubeck jazz piano leanings. In addition to her touring schedule with the Heather Pierson Acoustic Trio, Heather also leads her own jazz trio, with Shawn Nadeau on bass and Craig Bryan on drums, performing for audiences all over the Northeast. The jazz trio performs a rich variety of Heather’s originals, jazz and blues standards, and unique reworkings of familiar American music. The three are best known for their annual Charlie Brown Christmas tour, wherein they present their interpretations of the work of the late great jazz pianist and composer Vince Guaraldi.

The Jazz Trio performs the entirety of the Charlie Brown Christmas album as recorded by the Vince Guaraldi Trio. A Charlie Brown Christmas was originally telecast in December 1965 and was an instant hit with audiences who connected with Peanuts creator Charles M. Schultz’s cast of characters – especially with its rounded-headed hero Charlie Brown, his woefully scrawny Christmas tree, and his typewriter-wielding dog Snoopy. Nearly given the ax by CBS studios at the time of its release, this beloved holiday classic resonates with both children and adults of every generation. Fifty years on, it still holds up as one of the most endearing Christmas tales ever told, and the story of commercialism run rampant echoes clearly to this day. The musical score for A Charlie Brown Christmas, composed by the late Vince Guaraldi, is just as poignant and touching as the story and includes the hugely popular hit “Linus and Lucy”. His gentle jazz riffs established musical trademarks that, to this day, still prompt smiles of recognition.

Tickets: Front row–$22 in advance, $25 at the door; General admission–$18 in advance, $20 at the door.

Saturday, January 18, 7:30 PM: KJ Denhert Trio, w/ special guests US!

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KJ Denhert’s performances will move you to laugh, to dance and even to cry. Her special blend of urban folk & jazz has earned her four Independent Music Award nominations and in ’09, she was named as one of Jazz.com’s top female vocalists. She’s appeared at scores of festivals and has residencies at the ’55 Bar’, Smoke in NYC, at the Baz Bar in St. Barth’s, and the prestigious Umbria Jazz Festival in Italy. Consistently praised for her pathos, originality and impeccable musicianship, KJ is a one of a kind songwriter, guitarist, and performer, not to be missed.

Opening the evening will be US!, featuring Glen Roethel, Judy Kass, and Amy Soucy. The trio combines their voices to lift up causes of social justice, unity, and the connectedness of all things. California born Glen Roethel is one-of-a-kind artist, gifted vocalist, dazzlingly musical acoustic guitarist. New York-based Judy Kass, quickly draws in her audience with soulful vocals, no-nonsense lyrical storytelling and genre-bending exploration of guitar and piano. Amy Soucy is a Beacon, NY-based contemporary folk chanteuse who writes evocative songs exploring the kaleidoscope of human experience (dreams, longing, forgiveness, and healing) and sings them in a voice that’s been called “powerful,” “comforting,” and “angelic.”

Tickets: Front row–$25 in advance, $30 at the door; General admission–$20 in advance, $25 at the door.

Friday January 31-Saturday, February 1: The Irvington Folk Festival

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ABOUT THE FESTIVAL

Common Ground and Irvington Theater are proud to announce the first annual Irvington Folk Festival, to be held on January 31-February 1, 2020, featuring Dar Williams, Joe Crookston, Antje Duvekot, Norah Brown, Divining Rod, and more!

Join us at the crossroads of creativity and community for two evenings and one afternoon of live music, special VIP workshops and Q&A sessions at Irvington Theater and elsewhere in Irvington, NY.

The Irvington folk Festival offers performances by internationally-touring and emerging “on-the-rise” artists alike. The festivities begin with a special Q&A and reception with — and then a performance by — Friday night’s headliner, Dar Williams, whom Henrik Hertzberg of the New Yorker described as “one of America’s very best singer-songwriters.”  One of the highlights on Saturday will be a very special afternoon workshop led by the award-winning singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, painter, and storyteller Joe Crookston. Joe will also perform at the theater on Saturday night,

More information about the Irvington Folk Festival, please click links below

TICKETS

ABOUT THE ARTISTS

(in alphabetical order)

Nora Brown

Joe Crookston

Antje Duvekot

Divining Rod

Saturday, February 29, 7:30 PM: VickiKristinaBarcelona Plays the Music of Tom Waits

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“My advice is to delay your heartbreak and see them now ” — Penny Arcade

VickiKristinaBarcelona is Rachelle Garniez, Amanda Homi and Terry Radigan, a power trio of seasoned music veterans dedicated to re-imagining the songs of Tom Waits via inventive three-part harmonies and a treasure trove of instruments including banjos, bottles, squeezebox, and zills. They create a world of sound at once powerful, playful and poignant.

Seasoned singers and songwriters, each a hybrid story-teller and multi-instrumentalist in her own right, join forces to salute the tragicomic lyrical genius of the Waits songbook. Picture the Triplets of Belleville disguised as Depression Era hobos riding the rails across America stopping to play dance parties and funerals along the road to nowhere.

Three distinct styles form a captivating original mix, greater than the sum of its’ parts, never failing to amaze and delight audiences of all stripes. Collectively, they have worked with artists including Jack White, Jackson Browne, Jane Siberry, Patty Loveless, Dan Penn, Ray La Montaigne, Thomas Dolby, and Taylor Mac.

Genre-fluid native New Yorker Rachelle Garniez is known as a certified free spirit. She is at home in many worlds, from busking to theater stages all over the world. Rachelle has released 6 albums; her influences ranging from Tin Pan Alley to klezmer and Latinesque Soul. Her story songs have been described as “romantic, rhapsodic and casually hilarious.” (The New York Times)

Globe trotting adventuress Amanda Homi was born in London. Her colorful songs reflect the music of her travels from Carnival in Rio to the rhythms of Bollywood and raucous Gypsy weddings. She was the 2015 Independent Music Awards best story song recipient. “Amanda Homi covers a lot of musical territory in a masterful, yet adventurous way…an enchanting journey” ( Roots Music Report )

Grammy-nominated songwriter Terry Radigan mixes her gritty Brooklyn girl sensibility with a deep respect for classic American roots, country, and soul. She has had her songs covered by a wide variety of artists including Ashley MacIsaac, Trisha Yearwood, and Anúna. “Radigan gets inside the pathos of love like no one else. A jazz noir sound with pop sensibilities. A stunning collection of songs.” (Mademoiselle)

Tickets: Front row–$25 in advance, $30 at the door; General admission–$20 in advance, $25 at the door.