A Musical Year (and 3 months) in Review

As a music promoter, part of my job is to continually remind you of what’s coming up next, rather than recap what’s already happened. But as a music presenter, my desire is to share with you the reason we come together over music in the first place — as not only passing fans in the moment but as active music supporters in it for the long haul. As people who love the intimacy of concerts in church coffeehouses, small theaters or even private homes, where we can meet and get to know the artists we’ve just heard.
With that in mind, allow me to reintroduce you to all the artists who have played a Common Ground show in Hastings or Irvington over the last 15 months or so, and give you an update on what they have been up to. Learn more by clicking the links to the websites so you can find where they’re playing next, buy their latest CDs, and support them in any any way you can by spreading the word.

In gratitude,
Carter Smith, Common Ground Concerts

October 2017

Since ending their two-year hiatus from touring in the fall of 2017, Laurie MacAllister, Abbie Gardner, and Molly Venter of RED MOLLY have been busier than ever. 2018 saw the release of a new EP, All For One And One For All, as well as full-length solo discs from each band member. After a summer of festivals and workshops, followed by a band-record 19 shows in September, the Mollys are looking forward to playing the Cayamo Cruise in February.

Following the 2017 release of her first full-length solo album, A Message in the Mess, HEATHER AUBREY LLOYD was selected a No Depression Magazine/Freshgrass Festival songwriter award finalist, and among other honors, showcased as a National Women’s Music Festival Emerging Artist and as a Most Wanted Artist at the Falcon Ridge Folk Fest.

MATT NAKOA continues to wow new fans, both through his two acclaimed releases, Light In The Dark (2012) and A Dozen Other Loves (2014), and with his dynamic live shows, both as a headliner and in support of folk music icon Tom Rush.

November 2017

In addition to a busy touring schedule in his Pacific Northwest home turf, ROBT SARAZIN BLAKE invaded Germany in March and NYC, the Hudson Valley and Massachusetts in May, in support of his 2017 record, Recitative.

Following a fall 2017 run at Edmonton’s Citadel Theatre, ANAIS MITCHELL’s epic folk-opera Hadestown moved to London’s National Theatre in November 2018 for a three-month run ahead of its transfer to The Walter Kerr Theater on Broadway in 2019. Previews begin on March 22.

December 2017

Since the release of their record Extralife in early 2018, DARLINGSIDE spent much of the year touring the US, UK and Germany, playing famed venues like Levon Helm Studios in Woodstock NY and sharing the stage with the likes of Brandi Carlile, Grace Potter, Birds of Chicago, and Jose Gonzalez. They also embark on the Cayamo Cruise in February.

January 2018

Since 2003, when singer-songwriter Philip Price scrawled the name “WINTERPILLS” on the wall of a now-dead music venue, the group has released a deep catalog of elegant, dark chamber pop, most recently with Love Songs (2016). Currently on a semi-hiatus from Winterpills duties, Price issued a huge amount of back-catalog material in 2018, including a 2-CD ‘best of’ collection of the unreleased solo work. Price will release his first solo all-acoustic album since 2004 in the summer of 2019.

THE SEA THE SEA spent 2018 playing nearly 100 gigs coast-to-coast in support of their acclaimed new release From The Light (2018).

February 2018

Allison Russell and JT Nero of BIRDS OF CHICAGO criss-crossed the US and Europe behind their record Life During Wartime, including a November tour of California in support of victims of the devastating wildfires. The new year will take them to Mexico, back to the UK, and throughout the US. In addition, look for Songs of Our Native Daughters, Alli’s collaboration with Rhiannon Giddens, Amythyst Kiah, and Leyla McCalla, to be released February 22, 2019 on Smithsonian Folkways.

After winning a Grammy in 2017 for his work on Bob Dylan’s “The Cutting Edge”, an 18 CD box set, one of the highlights of STEVE ADDABBO’s 2018 was joining Richard Barone, as well as John Sebastian, Jesse Colin Young (of The Youngbloods), Melanie, José Feliciano, Maria Muldaur, Jenni Muldaur, Marshall Crenshaw, Jeffrey Gaines, Nellie McKay, David Amram, Happy Traum, The Kennedys and others at Central Park Soundstage last summer for a performance of Music + Revolution: Greenwich Village in the 1960s.

Shortly after her February show at Common Ground, ANA EGGE released her 10th record, White Tiger, a powerful new batch of originals with contributions from producer and multi-instrumentalist Alec Spiegelman (Cuddle Magic), singer Anaïs Mitchell, guitarist Buck Meek, drummer Robin MacMillan, bassist Jacob Silver, and violist Adam Moss.

March 2018

Since being named grand prize winner of NewSong Music and Performance Competition at Lincoln Center in November 2017, CRYS MATTHEWS opened 2018 by performing at Sundance Film Festival’s ASCAP Music Cafe in Park City, UT and as an official showcase artist at Folk Alliance International 2018. She recently closed the year sharing the stage with Christine Lavin, Chris Pureka, and Dom Flemons.

The peripatetic PETER MULVEY continued his wandering ways across America throughout 2018 in support of 2017’s Are You Listening? On December 14, he released “The Fox,” the hypnotic first single from his upcoming album, There Is Another World (out February 15th on Righteous Babe Records).

April 2018

RACHELLE GARNIEZ received the 2018 Bistro Award for Outstanding Singer-Instrumentalist. The Bistro Awards are the oldest awards of their kind in cabaret, jazz, and comedy.

During the planet’s most recent trip around the sun, ROBYN HITCHCOCK made his way around the Earth, with stops in the UK, the Netherlands, Australia, Vietnam, and Irvington Town Hall Theater.

MARY GAUTHIER’s Rifles and Rosary Beads, a collection of songs co-written with military veterans, has garnered widespread praise since its release in early 2018. Mary has been nominated for International Artist of the Year by The Americana Music Association UK, and the record has been nominated for Album of the Year by The Americana Music Association, named one of best country and Americana albums of 2018 by Rolling Stone, one of the top 25 albums of 2018 by American Songwriter, and one of the top 50 by NPR. Last but not least, the record has also been nominated for a GRAMMY for Best Folk Album.

May 2018

In 2018, KAT QUINN had the opportunity to open for Loudon Wainwright, and was named a finalist in the 17th Annual Great American Song Contest, among other honors.

In addition to once again hosting The Lounge Stage at the Falcon Ridge Folk Festival in August, later in the year, PESKY J. NIXON performed at the 46th Annual The Official Adirondack Balloon Festival.

September 2018

In addition to once again serving in the Falcon Ridge Folk Festival house band, ERIC LEE released a new CD, Heartache Town (2018), which has garnered raves, with WRSI 93.9 The River listing the song “Help my Neighbor On” among its the top 93 songs of the year.

Now, in their 22nd year as recording artists, THE KENNEDYS were busier than ever in 2018, continually touring the US and UK. In May, Pete and Maura released Safe Until Tomorrow, the first new Kennedys CD in 3 years. Pete has also just published his autobiography, Tone, Twang & Taste: A Guitar Memoir.

October 2018

Last December, JOHN ELLIOTT released “The End of the Year”, the first single from his new full length album, North Star, which came out on vinyl and compact disc only in early 2018. Starting in the fall of 2018, John began releasing further tracks from the record online, one week at a time. By December 2018, North Star was streaming everywhere on the internet. Listen HERE. You will be glad you did.

THE SLAMBOVIAN CIRCUS OF DREAMS capped off 2018 with a brand new Christmas EP, featuring five Christmas originals, including “Snow” and “When Christmas Comes” (aka the Pirate Christmas Song.)

November 2018

During 2018, word continued to spread about virtuoso guitarist and songwriter Charlie Baran and his band RADIO FREE HONDURAS, thanks in part to features on NPR and PBS. In just over a week, the band heads to Mexico to take part major festival that also features Joan Osborne, Birds of Chicago, and others.

December 2018

Following the 2017 release of Hunger, ROBINSON & ROHE’s first full length CD as a duo, Jean Rohe released her brilliant new second solo CD, Sisterly in November 2018. Meanwhile Liam Robinson continues as musical director of Anaïs Mitchell’s headed-to-Broadway folk opera Hadestown, as a composer in the Red Light New Music collective, and as a member of the Becca Stevens Band.