Internationally and nationally acclaimed Toby Walker has been hailed as a roots music fingerstyle guitar virtuoso who has toured the US, England, Wales, France, Germany, Belgium and Holland. Walker blends the styles of blues, ragtime, country, bluegrass, rock and old time jazz into his own unique style. Jorma Kaukonen of Hot Tuna and the Jefferson Airplane says “Flat out… you have to hear this great musician… I’m blown away” and has employed Walker to teach at his famous Fur Peace Ranch Guitar Camp for 6 years. In 2010 Walker won the NY Music Award for ‘Best Instrumental CD,’ sharing the honors with Mariah Carey, Rufus Wainwright and Judy Collins among many others. Walker has recently released three instructional guitar DVD’s for the world famous musicians. Carnegie Hall acknowledged his rare talents and hired him to augment and teach in their “American Roots” program aimed at honor level middle school students. www.littletobywalker.com
Bombastic yet brilliant, these boys from New England exude a genuine musical authenticity and mirth on stages up and down the East Coast. Drawing influences from contemporary urban balladeers, rowdy southern bluegrass, and the sardonic yet wry wit of New England’s localized folk scenes, Pesky J. Nixon (PJN) creates an atmosphere both inviting and challenging for audiences.
Compelling harmonies and narratives rein in disparate instrumentation including- zydeco style accordion, virtuosic mandolin, and a myriad of string instrumentation. Jay Moberg of Boston’s WUMB says of the group, “These guys represent what I love about music…great playing, thoughtful lyrics, and musicians who actually enjoy playing together!”
Similar praise for the band comes from Steve Morse, longtime Boston Globe correspondent and contributor to Billboard and Rolling Stone. “The name Pesky J. Nixon suggests a punk novelty act or the younger brother of Kinky Friedman. Fortunately for us, these guys are neither. They are a sublime group with an inspiring, eclectic approach to music topped by a folkish, living-room feel on their latest album, ‘Red Ducks.’ The album is rich in percussive acoustic guitar and a beautiful interweave of mandolin and accordion, abetted by multiple singers and songs with a spiritually uplifting focus. There are melodic covers of tracks by Bob Dylan and Tom Waits, but also gem-like treatments of tunes by Boston writers Tim Gearan and Jimmy Ryan. These songs aim for the soul and reach it.”
STEVE JAMES is a blues musician, a notable songwriter (Talco Girl, Farewell The Roses, Sonny Payne, Birmingham Steel to name a few), one of the best modern bottleneck slide players, a storyteller and a compendium of interesting facts. In the world of contemporary acoustic and roots music, he’s earned his reputation with decades of tireless international touring, a stack of solo recordings, a funny, kinetic stage presence and an unmistakable style of playing and singing.
His own recordings engage with other top notch musicians- Cindy Cashdollar, the Bad Livers, Alvin Youngblood Hart, Del Rey and a host of others. As a sideman, both on stage and on record, he’s played with Howard Armstrong, Bo Diddley, John Hammond, Maria Muldaur, Furry Lewis and James McMurtry…he often gets a shout-out to “get on up here” from the likes of Tommy Emmanuel, Hot Tuna or Chip Taylor. Hehas appeared on “A Prairie Home Companion”, “Austin City Limits Live”, “NPR Morning Edition” and many other syndicated broadcasts worldwide. www.stevejames.com
ELIZABETH KEMLER Singer/songwriter, educator, and activist Elizabeth Erin Kemler, is an intrepid storyteller, equally passionate about affecting social change as she is about crafting engaging songs. On her recently released album,The Weight of Mortal Skin, she traverses the rocky terrain of the human heart through a luscious blend of country, folk, and roots. With a rich, chocolaty voice, and unwavering emotional intensity, Elizabeth shares stories of anguish and aching, revelation and deliverance–the songs feeling at once deeply famiiar, and wholly new. elizabetherinkemler.com
DAVE AND EMMA HART Father/Daughter Americana duo Dave & Emma Hart released their debut record Hold On in late 2013. Reaching near the top 100 on the AMA (Americana Music Association) charts, the record received rave reviews from Bluegrass Unlimited, The Aquarian and others. Mike Greenblatt at The Aquarian wrote, “The six tracks of Hold On—the sweet self-released debut of Dave & Emma Hart—slide down like a summer salad and feels so good in doing so. I’m already looking forward to their full-length debut, as everyone I’ve played this thing for, from fans of pop to fans of folk, has loved it.” Hold On was produced by Emma’s fiddle idol Jim Van Cleve, and features a line-up of Nashville heavyweights including Bryan Sutton, Byron House, Kenny Malone and Jeff Taylor. During the sessions Byron House commented how much it reminded of him of tracking the Nickel Creek records, with was perfectly fine with Dave and Emma, whose blend of bluegrass and Americana is heavily influenced by artists like Nickel Creek, Sarah Jarosz and Crooked Still. Their sophomore record is on schedule to release in Spring 2018.Dave and Emma began their musical partnership early on, when Emma was 4. As an award-winning commercial composer and guitarist, Dave was naturally thrilled when his 3-year-old expressed an interest in the violin. Beginning her training with the classical Suzuki method, Emma soon discovered bluegrass, so it didn’t take long before dad and daughter were ripping fiddle tunes for enthusiastic audiences, and Emma was piling up fiddle competition ribbons. Bluegrass legend Tim O’Brien heard Emma when she was 11 and proclaimed, “she’s one of us”. Emma was awarded the Berklee Mark O’Connor Scholarship and the Grey Fox Bill Vernon Memorial Scholarship before she went on to study jazz performance at McGill University. Now 23, Emma resides in Asheville, NC. Dave continues to record and produce records at his Stamford, CT studio www.daveandemmahart.com
ROOTS/BLUES FINGERSTYLE GUITAR WORKSHOP with Steve James
This hands-on session will start with a demonstration of some basic, blues song arrangements that contain the elements of syncopated fingerpicking techniques and blues harmony – chords, phrases and turnarounds – useful for both solo and accompaniment playing. The second part of the workshop will include a Q & A session for guitarists; Steve will detail further elements of some blues guitar classics and arrangements from his own repertoire. Some tab/handouts will be supplied and the program will be useful to guitarists of various levels and types of playing experience.
Steve James is a widely experienced teacher of guitar tecnniques and styles with decades of workshop experience and lessons in print (Acoustic Guitar),on video (Homespun) and on line.
This 2-hour workshop will be held at the New Fairfield Senior Center, 33 Route 37, New Fairfield, CT. Please send an email to register at email@example.com. $50 fee. Space is limited.
Steve will also be doing a show as part of Groovin’ in New Fairfield’s 2017 season on Saturday, November 11 starting at 7:30pm. Doors open at 6:45pm and tickets are $10. Please firstname.lastname@example.org for tickets.
Steve James is a blues musician, a notable songwriter (Talco Girl, Farewell The Roses, Sonny Payne, Birmingham Steel to name a few), one of the best modern bottleneck slide players, a storyteller and a compendium of interesting facts. In the world of contemporary acoustic and roots music, he’s earned his reputation with decades of tireless international touring, a stack of solo recordings, a funny, kinetic stage presence and an unmistakable style of playing and singing.
His own recordings engage with other top notch musicians- Cindy Cashdollar, the Bad Livers, Alvin Youngblood Hart, Del Rey and a host of others. As a sideman, both on stage and on record, he’s played with Howard Armstrong, Bo Diddley, John Hammond, Maria Muldaur, Furry Lewis and James McMurtry…he often gets a shout-out to “get on up here” from the likes of Tommy Emmanuel, Hot Tuna or Chip Taylor. Hehas appeared on “A Prairie Home Companion”, “Austin City Limits Live”, “NPR Morning Edition” and many other syndicated broadcasts worldwide.
Groovin’ in New Fairfield is thrilled to bring back to our stage, Joe Crookston. Joe is a master storyteller, songwriter, guitarist, painter, fiddler, slide player, eco-village member and believer in all things possible. He was named 2016 Folk Alliance International Artist-in- Residence and signed to Tamulevich Artist Management along with John Gorka and Peter Yarrow. His music swirls with themes of lightness, darkness, clocks ticking, weeping willows, cynicism, hope and the cycles of life and rebirth. If you love a moving song and musical madness, Joe delivers it all -the melodies, the lyrics, the energy and a deep passion for exceptionally well-written songs. You haven’t really experienced the magic of Joe Crookston until you have seen him perform live. www.joecrookston.com
Marianne Osiel began her career as an oboist with the Nashville Symphony and while there became immersed in the Nashville world of songwriting and pop music. Marianne is a consummate musician with her music rooted in blues, rock and jazz and with a keen harmonic sensibility. She has been a sought after “sideman” as a slide guitarist, oboist and singer, with such artists as Jackson Brown, John Hall (Orleans), Ashley Cleveland, Daryll Tookes and Joel Sinnier, as well as a member of several symphony orchestras. She also has numerous original recordings, including a live album recorded at the infamous Bluebird Cafe. https://www.facebook.com/marianneosiel
CATIE CURTIS’ list of accomplishments spans 14 albums, songs featured on TV shows “Grey’s Anatomy”, “Dawson’s Creek”, and “Felicity”; and movies like “Finding Graceland” and “A Slipping Down Life”. For over 25 years, she has been a perennially popular headliner, appearing at Lilith Fair, Carnegie Hall, performing arts centers, concert halls, folk clubs, music festivals and the White House! She was even dubbed a “folk rock goddess” by The New Yorker. Curtis grew up in Saco, Maine and played trombone and drums in the school band. When she saw Suzanne Vega while attending Brown University, she thought “This is it; this is what I want to do”. Rolling Stone wrote, “With her deceptively gentle voice, she can turn on a dime and thrill the listener with unforeseen power and emotion. Intricate acoustic picking sometimes recalling Joan Armatrading…but Curtis is very much an original.”
Catie looks forward to hitting the road with her new recording, “While We’re Here”. She has announced that this will be her last tour, dubbing it “The Final Outing”. She will take one last road trip across the USA and beyond in 2017. While the concert stage has sustained her long career, Catie is finally giving in to her nesting instinct, saying “The themes of ‘While We’re Here’ involve endings and beginnings, change and resilience. After 25 years on the road I am ready for my own new beginning.” www.catiecurtis.com
MIKE HERZ writes and performs in a style that is all his own. A man of words, Herz was fond of writing poetry and was drawn to lyrics. He picked up the guitar in his mid- 20s, a little after he was introduced to the music of Bob Dylan through a friend. “I just realized that I had a better chance of people listening if it was to a song, rather than just telling people to read a poem.” At the same time, the music on mainstream radio sounded inauthentic to him, and he discovered a body of independent artists who produced powerful, poignant songs that resonated with him. “I thought, this is what I want to do. His debut album “Overgrown” was released in 2013, duo album “Closer to Home” with Emily Barnes in 2015 and his follow up solo album “The Acrobat” was released in January 2017. www.mikeherzmusic.com