Common Ground Coffeehouse
At the First Unitarian Society of Westchester, Hastings
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.
Front row: $25 in advance, $30 at the door
General admission: $20 in advance, $25 dollars at the door
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Common Ground Coffeehouse presents
Introducing B: Songwriter. Singer. Multi-instrumentalist. 17 years old. It should be no surprise that in 2018, folk music at its finest is beng made by a teenager. B’s music is an acoustic mixture of folk, classical, and 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 B 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, B has shared the stage with a veritable who’s who of the folk/bluegrass community, including David Grisman, Tim O’Brien, and 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. B’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.”
B’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. B begins with this call to arms:
“How much pain is it going to take until we see each other as we are? Down to the marrow of our bones, we are all the same, we are all the same.”
Brave. Bold. Simple. This first song ends with a list, spoken quietly: “Orlando, Colombine, New York…Paris…Sandy Hook…Sutherland Springs,” crescendoing in melody to a choir singing the title line — “We are all the same.” It is impossible to not feel the spine-tingling beauty of this song like an explosion, a release of ghosts, the end of a storm with a sun peeking out through the darkest clouds. 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 B breaks 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, B’s unique approach to schooling has allowed B to pursue what B loves from an early age. Homeschooled until high school, B began piano, voice and guitar at age five and mandolin at age eight. B will be attending Berklee College of Music in Boston starting this fall.
In B’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.
FRONT ROW: $20 in advance, $25 at the door
GENERAL ADMISSION: $18 in advance, $20 at the door