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Saturday, April 27, 7:30 PM: Amber Rubarth

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Common Ground Coffeehouse
At the First Unitarian Society of Westchester, Hastings

 presents

Amber Rubarth

 

Amber Rubarth has performed her music far and wide, touring solo across South Africa, Europe, Japan, and all throughout America with her “unique gift of knocking down walls with songs so strong they sound like classics from another era.” -Acoustic Guitar Magazine. She was recently cast alongside Joe Purdy to star in the feature film ‘American Folk’ which won numerous festival awards and was released in theaters January 2018 (Good Deed Entertainment). The film received high praise with the Hollywood Reporter calling it “Superb… A heartfelt homage to American folk music,” and Rolling Stone premiering the first single as “Enchanting… beautifully recalls several of the duets that John Prine has sung so effectively with frequent partner Iris DeMent, yet it offers the added bonus of discovering two wondrous new voices.”

Rubarth left home at 17 years old to become a chainsaw sculptor in Nevada. At 21, she quit and decided to begin writing songs and teaching herself guitar. One of her early originals was awarded Grand Prize in NPR’s Mountain Stage New Song contest and led to her recording an album produced by Jacquire King (Tom Waits, Norah Jones). She has performed hundreds of stages around the world, from the early days opening for a flea circus at a Texas theme park, to performing an original duet with Jason Mraz at Carnegie Hall, to full orchestral arrangements of her songs with the Ithaca Chamber Orchestra woven into classical works. She moves fluidly between genres, creating a unique palette of instrumentation for what best serves the song. This fluidity and curiosity has led to her being hand-picked to open for many diverse artists including Emmylou Harris, Kenny Loggins, Richie Havens, Dr. Ralph Stanley, and Loudon Wainwright III. She continues to reinvent herself, most recently with her 2017 release ‘Wildflowers in the Graveyard,’ a cycle of songs exploring nature’s graceful relationship between life, death, and rebirth. The album is self-penned by Rubarth and recorded in analog to 2” tape with co-producer Matt Andrews (Gillian Welch, Dave Rawlings, Dawes) in her hometown of Nashville. “I’m standing at the edge of where the river meets the sky / Holding my head up and closing my eyes / And all the answers I’ve been hoping to find are written in the water.”

After many years of solo touring, Rubarth lights up these days with collaborations in both film and music. She has written original songs and score for numerous films including Sundance festival winner ‘Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work’ and the super-marathon documentary ‘Desert Runners.’ She co-founded ‘The Paper Raincoat,’ a Brooklyn-based iTunes Indie Artist Spotlight band featured in Disney’s ‘The Last Song,’ the CW’s ‘One Tree Hill,’ and Paste Magazine who said: “We think the world might be a little better if everyone heard this record.” In 2016 she recorded a live-to-tape single microphone album with her folk trio ‘Applewood Road’ which the London Sunday Times gave 5 stars, calling it “a flawless set that has to be the most haunting release of the past year” which led to performances at Glastonbury Music Festival, Cambridge Folk Festival, a UK tour supporting Mary Chapin Carpenter, and her original arrangement and performance featured in the ‘BBC Sisters in Country’ documentary with Dolly Parton, Linda Ronstadt and Emmylou Harris.

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

Click here to reserve seats

Saturday, May 18, 7:30 PM: Oliver Esposito

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Common Ground Coffeehouse presents

Oliver Esposito

with special guest, Joshua Garcia

Introducing Oliver Esposito: Songwriter. Singer. Multi-instrumentalist. 18 years old. It should be no surprise that in 2018, folk music at its finest is being made by a teenager. Esposito’s music is an acoustic mixture of folk, classical, bluegrass, an unsurprising blend considering the company this young artist has been keeping. In 2012, Amos Lee, in his headlining set at the Rocky Mountain Folks Festival, introduced 12-year old Oliver to the stage to join his band. “In that instant, the lives of everyone in attendance changed for the better,” wrote The Huffington Post about that appearance. Since childhood, Esposito has shared the stage with a veritable who’s who of the folk/bluegrass community, including David Grisman, Tim O’Brien, Chris Thile. “I’ve had the great privilege to play with some incredible musicians in my life. Rarely have I come across one who is both virtuosic and profoundly raw and soulful at the same time. I don’t think many people are given either, let alone both. Oliver’s got it.” says Langhorne Slim. “It’s mind blowing to watch, spiritually elevating to play along with, and damn exciting to see what this incredible human has in store for us all.”
 
Esposito’s latest EP, “Ghosts Underneath My Skin” was recorded and produced by Neilson Hubbard (Mary Gauthier, Kim Richey, Amy Speace) in Nashville, TN, with contributions by Will Kimbrough (Emmylou Harris) on guitars, Kira Small (Garth Brooks, Martina McBride) on keyboards and vocals, Eamon McLoughlin (The Grand Ole Opry band) on fiddle. Recorded mostly live in a few days, these 6 songs touch on issues ranging from gun violence to the refugee situation to growing up queer in America. Yet, this is no pedantic collection of political folk songs. The record grooves, excites, rocks and fills with memorable melodic hooks.
 
Brave. Bold. Simple. By Track 3, we know we are listening to someone deeply committed to truth-telling. “Breathe” begins as a poem, a tumble of words over mandolin, guitar and piano, until they break into melody “and when I finally spoke those words…it felt like coming up for air. For the first time in 16 years, I can breathe.” It is one of the most direct statements of self from any songwriter, any artist, at any age, and it is exhilarating.
 
A Colorado native currently living in Boulder, Esposito’s unique approach to schooling has allowed them to pursue what they love from an early age. Homeschooled until high school, they began piano, voice and guitar at age five and mandolin at age eight. Esposito currently attends Berklee College of Music in Boston.

In Oliver’s own words:

I believe in a future where every unique person and experience is valued, where no one is treated as less than, where those with more privilege use [their voices] to lift up those with less privilege, to give those who don’t have a voice the space to have a voice, a future of less boxes and labels, less kids growing up thinking they don’t deserve to live because of who they are, less kids getting bullied, less people trying to be something they’re not because they believe it’s the only way to be ok.

Sharing the bill is Joshua Garcia , a Folksinger-Songwriter whose music and writing style draw from the influences of his musical heroes Woody Guthrie, Bob Dylan, and Johnny Cash. Born and raised in Los Angeles, Joshua now resides in Astoria, Queens. He has performed in numerous New York City area music venues including Rockwood Music Hall, the People’s Voice Café, and Sidewalk NYC, as well as the American Folk Art Museum. Joshua was recently honored to open for the legendary Don McLean at Tarrytown Music Hall, and is scheduled to do so again at the South Orange Performing Arts Center (SOPAC).

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

Click here to reserve seats

Saturday, June 29, 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

With special guest Monica Rizzio

amandaanneplatt-rev - made with postermywall(1)
Saturday, June 29, 7:30 PM: Amanda Anne Platt & The Honeycutters, with Monica Rizzio

“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.”

Opening the evening will be Monica Rizzio, who has also shared the stage with Chris Botti, Boz Scaggs, Diana Krall, Joan Osborne, and Slaid Cleaves, among others. She has played the Main Stage at Strawberry Park Bluegrass festival, and is a frequent collaborator with the Cape Cod Symphony Orchestra. In December of 2014, she performed as part of Tom Rush’s band at his annual show at Symphony Hall in Boston. She played fiddle, guitar, ukulele and sang backups, as well as performing her originals “Luckier Than You” & “Willie Nelson” with Red Molly backing her up.

 

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

For more info/tickets, click here