May 20, 8:00 PM:
Tickets $15; $10 for students
Towne Meeting: The musicians in Towne Meeting are well grounded in and nostalgic about the 1960s folk revival and the music it inspired. Various members of the band have been casually singing together in different combinations for years, but the enthusiasm and positive feedback following “jamming” at several Towne family reunions (Gary and Rich are in the Towne family tree) inspired the group to start gigging in public. The name references the annual Towne family reunions and the concept of an old fashioned get-together to have fun. Musicians are Dennis Hulbert on 12-string guitar and vocals; Gary VanCour on guitar, ukulele and vocals; Miles Moody on guitar and vocals; Rich Sutphen on lead guitar, mandolin and vocals; and John Kains on bass guitar and vocals.
May 27, 8:00 PM:
Tickets $10; $5 for students
UU World Music: Woven gives new life to old soul. Inspired by Hindustani musical philosophy, Ethiopian jazz, and the lush psychedelic tunes of the 60's, Woven's dynamic, uplifting sound leaves listeners with a mysterious, yet familiar feeling. Like a basket composed of a simple interlocking pattern of unique individual strands or a blanket which warms you in the dark of night, Woven transcends the sum of its parts to nourish life.
Krista Speroni is a modern nomad who grew up in rural Kauai and later went on to study brain and cognitive science at MIT. While she majored in the brain, Ms. Speroni's real passion in life is music. Her eclectic musical background has brought her everywhere from funk bands to Balinese Gamelan; a constant challenge and great source of inspiration has been learning and teaching Senegalese Drumming (Sabar). She employs this vocation to inspire holistic living in order to nurture healthy communities. Her songs are catchy, lyrically driven and ethereal.
Alex Kelly is a multi-instrumentalist and visual artist born in New Ulm, Minnesota. He received his BA in Music from the University of Hawaii, while simultaneously delving into an extracurricular study of Hindustani music, focusing on the Sitar. In 2013 he traveled to India to conduct a research project concerning the Indian Slide Guitar under the tutelage of virtuoso Pandit Debashish Bhattarya. Eastern music philosophy, David Axelrod, Ethiopian and Nigerian jazz, and the lush psychedelic sounds of the 60's influence his stylings.
Chris Southiere, born in New Jersey, is a drummer, composer and teacher. A recent graduate of Berklee College of Music, he has crafted his own individual sound. Not one to be constrained by genre or style, he makes use of techniques learned by playing Funk, Rock, Jazz, World and Free Improvisational music. This versatility and unique approach has made him an active member of the Boston music scene with a number of different groups.
June 10, 8:00 PM:
Tickets $15; $10 for students
Three Quarter North: The group borrowed its moniker from a Leo Kottke song “because it sounded vaguely somewhere between folk and bluegrass,” says band member Jim Atkins in a 2011 interview with Schenectady’s Daily Gazette.
That’s exactly where this upstate New York group of veteran musicians’ music sits on their 11-song sophomore release, “Back Home.” Recorded in hometown-area Delmar, New York and produced by members Dave Rhodes and Mark E. Smith, this acoustic collection features originals by Rhodes, Smith and Atkins plus one Irish traditional.
Group members are: Bob Altschuler, banjo and dobro, has headed the Banjo Camp North beginner track since 2003; Mark Bagdon, fiddle, played with various traditional groups including Small Potatoes, Apocalypso String Band and Clef Hangars; Nelson Gage, mandolin and guitar, came of musical age while growing up in the San Francisco Bay area in the 60’s and early 70’s; Joe Pasko, percussion and bass, invents percussion instruments; Dave Rhodes, bass, guitar and vocals, is a songwriter who has placed songs with Pump Audio, Jingle Punks, and Pacifica Music Libraries among others; and Mark Smith, guitar and vocals, plays a mix of folk, blues, bluegrass and rock and roll.
July 1, 8:00 PM:
Tickets $15; $10 for students
Rod MacDonald: A "big part of the 1980s folk revival in Greenwich Village clubs", performing at the Speakeasy, Bottom Line, Folk City, and the Songwriter's Exchange at the Cornelia Street Cafe for many years. He co-founded the Greenwich Village Folk Festival. He is perhaps best known for his songs "American Jerusalem", about the "contrast between the rich and the poor in Manhattan" (Sing Out!), "A Sailor's Prayer", "Coming of the Snow", "Every Living Thing", and "My Neighbors in Delray", a description of the September 11 hijackers' last days in Delray Beach, Florida, where MacDonald has lived since 1995. His songs have been covered by Dave Van Ronk, Shawn Colvin, Four Bitchin' Babes, Jonathan Edwards, Garnet Rogers, and others. His 1985 recording "White Buffalo" is dedicated to Lakota Sioux ceremonial chief and healer Frank Fools Crow, whom he visited in 1981 and 1985, and who appears with MacDonald in the cover photograph. His first novel, The Open Mike, about a young man in the open mike scene of Greenwich Village, was published on December 5, 2014, by Archway Publishing.
Previous Concerts from the series:
Sally Rogers and Claudia Schmidt: Sally performs traditional, contemporary and original ballads and song, interwoven with stories taken from her life as a performer, a wife and a mother. She accompanies herself on guitar and Appalachian dulcimer, or performs without accompaniment. Rogers began her career as a full-time touring musician in 1979, after encouragement from Stan Rogers, the legendary Canadian singer-songwriter. That was followed by an invitation from Garrison Keillor to appear on A Prairie Home Companion. She appeared more than a dozen times on that show, which launched her performing career. Her travels have since taken her to Europe, China, Hungary and Poland, England and Scotland and across the United States. Sally has released thirteen albums, not including several collaborative projects with other artists. Her 1987 album, Closing the Distance, recorded with Claudia was voted by many public radio stations throughout the country as among the ten most popular albums of the year. Claudia has been exploring the nuances of acoustic music with her voice, 12 string guitar and mountain dulcimer for more than 40 years. She performs an exciting collection of original, traditional, and contemporary writing. She has performed in small clubs and on large concert stages. She has been featured on PRI's A Prairie Home Companion, Mountain Stage, a television documentary on KTCA-TV in St. Paul called "I Sing Because I Can't Fly", and has written music for and acted in the musical "Bag Lady Tendencies" with Friends Mime Theater in Milwaukee and Frank Galati's production of "Good Person of Szechuan" at the Goodman Theater in Chicago, for which she won a Jefferson Award. She has produced more than a dozen CDs.
February 22, 2015
Kerry Ryer-Parke: Singer, conductor, and teacher Kerry Ryer-Parke returns to the Meetinghouse Café on Sunday, Feb. 22. She will be joined by Greg Clarke, John Kirk and Peter King for a varied folk program.
Kerry includes traditional ballads, folk-rock, bluegrass, and some jazz standards, and blues in her program. Kerry is a member of the music faculty at Bennington College, where one is as likely to hear an Irish flute as classical violin.
Kerry will be joined by Peter King, who is well known to Bennington audiences as the founder of bands MidLife Crisis and now the Prescription. John Kirk, also a member of the Bennington College faculty, is known for his lyric voice, good sense of humor and versatile skills on the fiddle, mandolin, guitar, banjo, keyboard and ukulele. John has performed with Pete Seeger, Tom Chapin, Kate Wolfe, John Sebastian, Jay Ungar, Walt Michael & Company, the Vanaver Caravan, the Woodshed Allstars and The Burns Sisters. The veteran multi-instrumentalist and singer Greg Clarke will also be part of the show.
April 17, 2015
Pete’s Posse is composed of Pete Sutherland (fiddle, piano, banjo and vocals), Oliver Scanlon (fiddle, mandolin, dobro, foot percussion and vocals) and Tristan Henderson (guitars, mandolin, jaw harp, bodhran, foot percussion and vocals).
The sound of twin fiddles in tight, wild harmony over hi-powered guitar and pounding footwork with mandolin, clawhammer banjo, jawharp and rocking keyboards adding their voices to the mix offer a flavor of Pete's Posse. The group offers old songs and tunes, lyrical and driving, alongside brand new ones. That’s the multi-generational heart and mind of Pete’s Possee.
Vermont's legendary multi-instrumentalist and troubadour Pete Sutherland has decades of concert touring, teaching and studio production behind him. His all-Vermont “Posse” includes his talented young fiddle protégé and fellow Clayfoot Strutter, Oliver Scanlon, and the dynamic accompanist Tristan Henderson, also of Atlantic Crossing and Pipers Den. Featuring Pete’s footsy songs, the band’s original and traditional fiddle music, and a few unique covers, this band provides a fine opportunity for an intimate listen to an ever-evolving musical friendship that spans generations!
Pete is a warm voiced singer, songsmith and accomplished multi-instrumentalist, known equally for his potent originals and his intense recreations of age old ballads and fiery fiddle tunes. Tristan Henderson has quickly becoming a sought after accompanist, session musician and performer in Vermont. Tristan grew up playing a variety of music genres before jumping into traditional music. Oliver had early training in viola and is now a fiddler, mandolinist and tunesmith
Bill Staines: After 41 years of touring some would think that musician and songwriter Bill Staines might think about slowing down, but that’s just not the case. Bill continues to perform more than 175 shows a year and drives close to 70,000 miles getting to them. He is one of the most durable and beloved singers on the folk music scene today.
Staines has twenty-six recordings to his credit and has written over three hundred songs, many of which have been recorded by the likes of Peter, Paul, and Mary, Makem and Clancy, Nanci Griffith, Glen Yarborough, and Jerry Jeff Walker. On stage, Staines is an intimate, compelling performer, out of the folk scene of the 60’s, encouraging his audience to sing with him on his chorus songs. He will mix in traditional tunes with his own contemporary folk ballads. His humorous tales of life on the road and observations of everyday people provide an entertaining blend of story and song.
Bill has done numerous radio and television appearances and, during its early years, was a frequent performer on Garrison Keillor’s “A Prairie Home Companion Show.”
Nanci Griffith once wrote, “Bill Staines has been my hero since 1977. He carries on where Woody left off- carrying on the tradition of stories and characters you wish you knew.”
“When do you think it will be time to retire?” someone once asked Bill. He answered, “In the words of my old friend, Tommy Makem…about ten o’clock tonight.”
Spiff Wiegand: Spiff Wiegand is, in a word, eclectic. He plays over 20 instruments and composes in genres as diverse as Hard Rock, Classic Country, Jug Band, and Pop. He has been compared to artists like Hank Williams, The Mountain Goats, Buddy Holly, Hot Hot Heat, Devo, and Josh Ritter. While Spiff often performs with a backing band, he is perhaps best known for his one-man-band concerts. Juggling up to seven instruments simultaneously without loops or technological trickery, he creates complete textures that are as unexpectedly musical as they are visually impressive.
August 29, 2015:
Tickets $15; students $10*
Maple Jam: Maple Jam sings a range of 4-8 part, a cappella jazz music, in close harmony. They perform arrangements by Gene Puerling, the Singers Unlimited, the Swingle Singers, the Real Group, the King's Singers, Manhattan Transfer and Take 6, to name a few. The arrangements are an assortment of songs by all of the above, plus the Beatles, jazz standards, pop tunes, and original works.
Cindy Mangsen & Steve Gillette: Steve Gillette and Cindy Mangsen will be do a hometown concert between concert tours at 8 p.m., Oct. 16, at the Meetinghouse Café in Bennington.
The duo's most recent CD is Berrymania, their friends and talented musicians Lou & Peter Berryman. According to the Sing Out Magazine review of Steve and Cindy's recent album, Being There, "Steve and Cindy have hit on a combination that consistently produces high quality recordings and entertaining stage shows. Their voices and styles meld seamlessly with a gentleness and a maturity that is unmatched in the world of folk duos."
Steve is best known as a songwriter, with songs recorded by artists from Ian & Sylvia to Garth Brooks, from Jiminy Cricket to John Denver. His song Darcy Farrow alone has been recorded by more than one hundred artists since 1966, most recently by Jimmy Dale Gilmore and Nanci Griffith. Quite literally, he wrote the book on songwriting: Songwriting and the Creative Process (Sing Out Press) is a standard text in songwriting classes across the country. Steve sings in a rich baritone and is a virtuoso on guitar, using a unique fingerpicking style with a flat-pick and two fingers. His most recent solo recording is The Man (2010, Compass Rose Music), a CD featuring music from (or reminiscent of) 1920s and '30s jazz and roots music, accompanied by a narrative Steve created, blending fact and fiction from that vibrant era. Featured prominently on the album is George Gillette, Steve's dad, playing stride piano in the style he grew up with.
Cindy, who married Steve in 1989, is also a songwriter, but her focus has been on songkeeping. Cindy is a master interpreter of traditional ballads, rich in myth and legend. She plays guitar, concertina, and banjo, and is renowned for her compelling voice, described by one critic as a voice that can warm a New England winter. Her newest solo CD is Cat Tales: Songs of the Feline Persuasion (2005, Compass Rose Music), an album of songs about cats and their people. As Steve comments, "Cindy has brought me back to my roots, and I think I've influenced her in terms of ensemble playing, rhythmic development, arrangement and performing. We're very fortunate to play for people who really listen and who come to a concert with a certain sense of history. There's a strong feeling of community about this music."
Steve and Cindy have been featured on National Public Radio's All Things Considered and Mountain Stage, and have delighted audiences across North America and Europe with their music, warmth, and humor.
Tret Fure: Tret Fure began her career at the age of 16, singing in coffeehouses and campuses in the Midwest. At 19, she moved to LA in hopes of obtaining a record deal. Within a year she was performing as guitarist and vocalist for Spencer Davis, touring with him and penning the single for his album “Mousetrap”. She went on to record her own album in 1973 on MCA/UNI Records, with the late Lowell George of Little Feat as her producer. With the success of that release, she opened for such bands as Yes, Poco, and the J Geils Band.
One of the most prolific artists in the contemporary singer-songwriter arena, Tret Fure has released 15 albums and CDs over the course of her 45 year career. Her latest CD, "Rembrandt Afternoons" is her best yet and is garnering raves in the radio/folk world. Tret will be featuring this album in this latest tour.
One of the most prolific artists in the contemporary singer-songwriter arena, Tret Fure has released 15 albums and CDs over the course of her 45 year career. In addition to being a gifted songwriter, Fure has engineered and produced countless recordings by a variety of artists, including her own work.
Woods Tea Company: Woods Tea Company, the Vermont-based folk trio, performs fiery Celtic tunes, bluegrass, sea shanties, and American folk songs with ease and skill. The trio includes Howard Wooden on bass and guitar, Patti Casey on guitar and flutes and Pete Sutherland on fiddle and guitar. The group only performs on special occasions and they consider coming to Bennington a special occasion. After building a solid reputation in New England, Woods Tea Company started touring on the concert circuit nationwide, eventually playing in all the lower 48 states. Notable performances include New York's Lincoln Center (twice), the Chautauqua Institute (three times), appearances on PBS and National Public Radio, who labeled them "Vermont's hardest working folk group."
Mardi Gras with Matt Edwards, Jay Sager and Mike Lawrence: New Orleans' Mardi Gras will inspire a February 7 Meetinghouse Café performance. The 3 p.m. concert will feature New Orleans-style Rhythm and Blues and Mardi Gras songs. Those attending may wear masks and other Mardi Gras themed attire.
Matt Edwards is well known in the Capital Region as a pianist and teacher. He has joined the Bennington College faculty and teaches at Mount Anthony Union Middle School. He also serves as minister of music at the UU Society of Albany. Matt, who is also a talented singer and interpreter of New Orleans music performs as Woodcock Johnson with percussionist Jay Sager, also an area educator. They will be joined by bassist Mike Lawrence.
l’Esprit Creole: Fingers and bow flying, Dennis Stroughmatt takes listeners on a musical odyssey not so different from his own musical journeys into Upper Louisiana Creole Culture. Taught to play fiddle by local Creole fiddlers Roy Boyer and Charlie Pashia in the tradition of their fathers, Dennis gradually became an adopted son of the French Midwest Creoles living along the Mississippi River near St Louis.
A vibrant blend of Celtic, Canadian and Old Time sounds, this music bridges the gap between contemporary Canadian and Louisiana Cajun styles. Preserved by families in the Ozark foothills, the music remains largely intact and true to the traditions that have been passed down for over three centuries.
A medley of music, language, stories, and culture secreted away in the Missouri Ozarks now has a voice in the tapestry of this world. With the blessing of the Creole people of the Midwest, Dennis Stroughmatt et l’Esprit Creole are its passionate ambassadors, expanding interest and excitement in a region that has been, in may ways, ignored by the history books. What many have considered to be long lost is alive and kicking.
It’ll make your soul jump, your head spin, and your heart glad to know that it is still here. As they say in the hills, “On est toujours icitte: We are still here!”
Annie and the Hedonists: Annie and the Hedonists perform at festivals, concerts, and swing dances throughout the Northeast. The band interprets the songs of the great female blues artists of the '20s, 30s & 40s: Bessie Smith, Sippie Wallace, Memphis Minnie, Billie Holiday, Rosetta Tharpe, Blue Lu Barker, Ella Fitzgerald and others. Other styles include western swing, bluesy country, and roots Americana. Annie and the Hedonists are Annie Rosen on lead vocals, Jonny Rosen on guitar and vocals, Peter Davis on guitar and vocals and Don Young on upright bass and vocals.
April 1, 2016
Saakumu Dance Troupe, a West African team of performers, is dedicated to introducing audiences to traditional and contemporary African music and dance. Saakumu means traditions, and as the name implies, the company bases their aesthetic on traditional styles combined with contemporary forms, creating a repertoire uniquely their own. They are an artist-founded association driven by a passion for bringing innovative dances and world music to their audiences. In addition to collaborating with artists and presenters of all kinds, they are committed to building new audiences via performances.
The award winning Saakumu Dance Troupe is one of the leading traditional/contemporary music and dance groups of Ghana, West Africa. Led by master musician, Bernard Woma, the group’s repertoire spans genres from spiritual, ceremonial and recreational to contemporary African dance forms. Their music and dance is joyful, expressive and highly participatory.
Based in Medie Accra, the Saakumu Dance Troupe has performed at important governmental functions and national and international music and dance festivals throughout Ghana and the United States. They were the designated official performing troupe at the 2007 National Festival of Arts and Culture (NAFAC), the largest cultural festival in Ghana. Saakumu Dance Troupe has a strong educational and community engagement component that flourishes both at home in Ghana and along their tours. The group has developed programs in schools and colleges that involve all levels of participants in dance and music workshops, residencies and interactive, highly-engaging performances. Their educational work strives to promote the value of hands-on, experiential involvement in the arts as a tool for global and cultural understanding as well as a way to deepen the understanding of West African music and dance among students of all ages.!
Cantrip: This Scottish/Vermont trio has been captivating audiences on both sides of the Atlantic for more than a decade with its driving blend of twin fiddles, bagpipes and guitar. The name is an Old Scots word meaning a charm, magic spell or piece of mischief. While firmly rooted in the Scottish tradition, Cantrip's music takes influences from, and excursions into, music from the Scandinavian, Balkan, Basque, Breton and Québécoise traditions. Founding members Dan Houghton (highland bagpipes, borderpipes and smallpipes, flute, whistles, voice) and Jon Bews (fiddle, mandolin, voice) along with Eric McDonald (guitar) create a sound that is energetic and inspiring in the reels and jigs, sensitive and contemplative in the slow airs and never without a touch of humor.
Cantrip formed itself rather organically from a Thursday-night session in a pub at the top of Edinburgh's Royal-Mile. By 2002, Jon Bews, Gavin Marwick, Dan Houghton and Cameron Robson had recorded their first album “Silver” and in 2005, the long awaited second album “Boneshaker” was released on the Mischief label, followed by “Piping The Fish” in 2008. Dan Houghton has played and taught pipes extensively throughout New England, Britain and Europe, and has toured as a soloist as well as in various ensembles, including the Scottish fusion band Salsa Celtica, and the New Zealand Irish band Blackthorn. In addition to performing with Cantrip and the acclaimed vocal-led Scottish band Malinky, Jon Bews has earned a reputation for himself as a dance fiddler, playing for Scottish Country Dance classes and balls all over Europe. Boston-based, Berklee College of Music graduate Eric McDonald performs with celtic, contradance band Matching Orange, and New England Scottish Fiddle Champion Katie McNally.