Spook Handy | Woodstock Wednesdays | Premieres Wednesday, January 27, 7pm/CST

The Woodstock Folk Festival is excited to bring high quality music and spoken word to our community. We know you will enjoy the show by Spook Handy. Since Jan. 27th is the date of the 7th anniversary of Pete Seeger’s passing and Spook performed frequently with Pete, we are so glad that he can share his repertoire of songs connected to Pete. You can support Spook during these times by going to Spook’s website to purchase his CDs or T-shirts. You can make a difference!

The video premieres HERE at 7pm/CST on January 27, the 7th Anniversary of the passing of Pete Seeger.

The video will remain in our Gallery after the show if you would like to see it again or share it with others. You can enjoy watching our past performers’ shows, such as John Flynn, by clicking on our Video Gallery or the red Woodstock Wednesdays button on the right side of any page.

To receive emails each Monday from the Woodstock Folk Festival, subscribe in the right column of every page of this site. Just above the subscription form is a donation button if you would like to make a donation in any amount to the Festival.

Featured Performer: Spook Handy

Spook Handy performed alongside Pete Seeger at festivals and concerts more than 50 times from 2003 – 2013 learning firsthand many of Pete’s songs and the stories behind them. Even more, he learned who Pete Seeger was and what he stood for. Spook has traveled throughout the U.S. and Canada with his “Remembering Pete Seeger” World Tour, keeping alive Pete’s tradition by sharing a few songs by Woody Guthrie (Pete’s most notable mentor), plenty of songs by Pete Seeger and a healthy handful of new songs Spook wrote under Pete’s tutelage.

Spook’s sixth studio album, “Pete, Woody & Me, Volume II – Dedicated to the Proposition” reached the No. 3 position on the International Folk Radio Charts in May, 2019. His fifth studio album, “Pete, Woody & Me, Volume I – Keep the Flame Alive,” held the No. 3 position on the same charts in June and July, 2016 with his original song, “Vote!” reaching No. 2. Recorded with his backup band “The Seed Planters,” the CD is more than just a tribute to Pete. It is a work that, as John Weingart of WPRB Radio says, “certainly rests on the shoulders of the past but is unmistakably steeped in the present.” 

Spook was named Best Folk Artist by Upstage Magazine, Gannett New Jersey, The Courier News, The Home News and About.com. His song “Whatcha Gonna Do?” was used in the BBC documentary film “Doomsday Code,” and four of his songs, including “Bring Back Abiyoyo” were used in a theatrical adaptation of Pete’s children’s story, “Abiyoyo.” Spook is a well known speaker and workshop facilitator at festivals, conferences and colleges around the country. 

A Personal Message from Spook Handy

In the midst of the Covid-19 Pandemic, I am more determined than ever to continue in my small way to use the gift of music to help support the efforts of those who understand that we are all in this together; that this is a time to double down on loving our neighbor and forgiving others; and that we need to help build the community of reasonably minded people who see a path forward in the coming elections to put into office people with good sense and good hearts.  These are very challenging times that are leading us to an unpredictable future.  

Here’s what I’m doing:  I am giving free Facebook Live concerts that are seen live or later by about 800 people each show.  Each concert has one theme or another, but all of them are based around the idea of building the positive energy needed to survive and thrive in these times.  I am also giving free guitar lessons on Facebook live on an irregular basis.  And I am giving private guitar, harmonica and LSAT lessons online.  

If you would like to be a part of these efforts:
* send me a “friend” request, or follow me at www.facebook.com/spookhandy.
* “follow” me at twitter.com/spookhandy  
* send an email to spook@spookhandy.com and ask to be put on the email list to receive my monthly newsletter.

If you would like to help support my work financially or leave a “tip” you can do so:
* at Venmo: @spookhandy
* at www.paypal.me/spookhandy 
* by sending me an email at spook@spookhandy.com to request my mailing address (this is the best way to avoid fees).
* purchase CDs and T shirts at www.spookhandy.com/wp/store  
* want Guitar Lessons?  Harmonica Lessons?  LSAT Lessons?  send me an email

“The passion, purpose and spirit of American Folk Music are alive and well with Spook Handy and his Remembering Pete Seeger World Tour and concert.”
… Gary Wien – Editor in Chief, New Jersey Stage

A Note from Spook Handy about Hobo’s Lullaby.  There is question about where the line “CAN’T YOU HEAR the steel rails humming” – as opposed to “LISTEN to the steel rails humming” – came from.  The copyright owner is Geobel Reeves.  As far as I know, there is only one recording of him singing the song and in his version of the song Geobel sings “Listen …”  Also, I have only ever been able to find one recording of Woody Guthrie singing the song.  In Woody’s version, he also sings “Listen …” However, at woodyguthrie.org, the official Woody Guthrie website, the song is attributed to having been written by Geobel Reeves with the words “Can’t you hear…” 

The song was also recorded by Guy Carawan in 1959 and Ramblin’ Jack Elliot in 1963.  Both of them sing “Listen…”  The first known recording of someone singing “Can’t you hear …” was by Pete Seeger in 1971.  Almost every one of the over twenty five other known recordings use the words “Can’t you hear…”

When I asked Pete why he “changed” the words, his long and informative answer included “it’s not polite to tell people what to do.”  However, Pete neither claimed nor denied that he originated the idea to sing the alternative words.  Knowing Pete, however, it was equally as genius of him to incorporate alternative lyrics he may have heard elsewhere as to have originated the words himself.  Then again, Pete was well known for giving credit where credit is due and I never heard him credit the words to somebody else.  So, the question of how this line changed from “listen” to “can’t you hear” remains, at least for me, one of the great unsolved mysteries of American folk music history.

One final note:  I have heard it questioned whether Geobel Reeves actually wrote the song, or if he, as was quite common in 1927 simply copyrighted the words and music he heard from others.  This brings up the possibility that Pete did some research and found an earlier version of the lyrics with the words “Can’t you hear…” 

If anybody has further information on this, I’d be delighted to hear from you. 

– Keep the Flame Alive!

Enjoy Spook’s show!

Views expressed by performers and others who appear at Woodstock Folk Festival events or on the website are solely the views of these individuals and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Festival or its Board members.

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John Flynn | Woodstock Wednesdays | Premieres Wednesday, January 20, 7pm/CST

This year Woodstock Folk Festival continues to feature amazing artists.  For the January 20 Woodstock Wednesdays we are featuring John Flynn.

Woodstock Folk Festival is excited to bring high quality music and spoken word to our community. John Lynn is a terrific singer-songwriter but also an activist and humanitarian for social justice. Be sure to read about the foundation that he started.

The video premieres HERE at 7pm/CST, Wednesday, January 20.

It will remain in our Gallery after the show if you would like to see it again or share it with others. You can enjoy watching our past performers’ shows by clicking on our Video Gallery.

To receive emails each Monday from the Woodstock Folk Festival, subscribe in the right column of every page of this site. Just above the subscription form is a donation button if you would like to make a donation in any amount to the Woodstock Folk Festival.

Featured Performer: John Flynn

John Flynn is an American singer-songwriter and activist known for his powerful music and tireless efforts on behalf of the lost and the lonely, the shackled and scarred. His career has embodied an authentic troubadour odyssey that moved legendary folk DJ Gene Shay to call Flynn “the most quintessential folk singer in my life,” and Deana McCloud, Executive Director of the Woody Guthrie Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma to write, “John Flynn is the real deal. His work follows in the footsteps of Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger, Kris Kristofferson, and other social justice troubadours as he speaks the truth and gives a voice to society’s disenfranchised. His work fills your heart and opens your eyes as he continues to walk the walk of a true advocate for equality, justice, and peace.” 

Long-time friend and Flynn champion, Kris Kristofferson, has called John “an important artist whose work in prisons, rehabs, and half-way houses is distilled into the truth and the beauty of heartfelt and heartwarming slices of life.” In 2007 Kris cited Flynn to TV Guide Magazine as one of his favorite country artists, saying, “He’s got a great heart, and I like the way he thinks.”
 
John abruptly changed course and began writing songs in earnest. He put himself through Temple University playing folk and country rock covers in bar bands, slowly introducing his original songs into the mix. After graduation John’s plans to attend law school were abandoned when Billy Swan’s recording of John’s song “Rainbows and Butterflies” went top-forty on the country charts and John took a staff songwriting position at Combine Music in Nashville.

New Beginnings – Next Step

In 2017, Flynn founded New Beginnings – Next Step, Inc., a 501 C 3 non-profit dedicated to helping incarcerated and returning citizens successfully transition to freedom. He currently serves as the executive director of this organization, and that work has become the largest part of John’s multi activity work life. 

Over the years John’s work for social justice and as an ardent opponent of the death penalty has seen him perform in a series of MERCy Concerts (Musicians Encouraging the Repeal of Capital punishment). Flynn also currently serves on the Advisory Board for Camp Dreamcatcher, a therapeutic summer camp for children whose lives have been impacted by AIDS/HIV, where his annual concerts for the kids and holiday fundraisers have become a tradition. 

In 2005 Flynn began volunteering as lead inmate support group facilitator at Delaware’s maximum-security penitentiary, The Howard R. Young Correctional Institution. Due to the success of this work, Flynn eventually took on other prisons and in 2013 began running additional groups for those who had been released. These groups provided much needed community and transitional support for ex-offenders and have had a powerful impact in the fight against recidivism in northern Delaware. 

Check out this short documentary by filmmaker Peter Safran of John’s 2019 benefit concert for New Beginnings-Next Step.

Please support John and his work by purchasing CDs, leaving him a tip or liking and subscribing to his social media pages.

Follow this link to Purchase CDs.

His most recent release “Vintage” CD highlight features Arlo Guthrie, Kris Kristofferson, Kathy Mattea, Billy Swan and others… 

Follow this link to leave a tip.

Like his Facebook page to be updated on his latest news, posts and events.

Subscribe to his YouTube channel

Enjoy John Flynn’s presentation!

Views expressed by performers and others who appear at Woodstock Folk Festival events or on the website are solely the views of these individuals and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Festival or its Board members.

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Bill Camplin | Woodstock Wednesdays | Premieres Wednesday, January 13, 7pm/CST

The Woodstock Folk Festival is excited to bring high quality music and spoken word to our community throughout the year.

Bill Camplin, co-owner with Kitty Welch of Café Carpe in Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin, contributes greatly to the music scene in Wisconsin and beyond.

Bill’s performance for Woodstock Wednesdays is especially relevant given the current state of our nation. His songs, “Village of Kindness” and “Inspiration” invite us to think and dream about kindness and follow the inspiration of people we admire.

Martin Luther King Jr. Day is Monday, January 18th.  Dr. King is best known for advancing civil rights through nonviolence and civil disobedience, inspired by his Christian beliefs and the nonviolent activism of Mahatma Gandhi. Bill’s third song, “I’ve Let My People Down”, reminds us that we need to walk our talk as did Martin Luther King Jr. and Nelson Mandella.

The Woodstock Folk Festival is excited to feature artists that have performed for us before such as Bill Camplin. To sign up for the Café Carpe events email list, go to cafecarpe.com. In-house events are cancelled, but you can check for live streamed events. Many fans are eagerly awaiting the day when we can go to concerts in the listening room, dine in the café and have a drink in the bar!

The video premieres HERE at 7pm/CST, Wednesday, January 13

Bill’s video will remain in our Gallery after the show if you would like to see it again or share it with others. You can enjoy watching our past performer’s shows by clicking on our Video Gallery.

To receive emails each Monday from the Woodstock Folk Festival, subscribe in the right column of every page of this site. Just above the subscription form is a donation button if you would like to make a donation in any amount to the Woodstock Folk Festival.

Featured Performer: Bill Camplin

“When I think of Bill, I experience his warm voice and gentle guitar that pierces the heart in the night.” ~ Corky Siegel

“Bill is one of THE nicest club owners on the planet, with a keep love of music, and a strong commitment to bringing the best music to Ft. Atkinson, WI. Warm-hearted, generous, and slightly surreal, he and Kitty provide the most simpatico and copasetic vibes possible at Café Carpe, along with great food. Not to mention his great singing voice that I wouldn’t mind hearing more of! Bill, my hat is off to you, even though it’s REALLY cold out there now!” ~ Howard Levy

Bill Camplin is one of my favorite songwriters and performers!  His percussive guitar and innovative interpretations of cover songs are second only to his original material. Musician, club owner, head cook or human being, Bill is one of the best! ~ Tricia Alexander

“What can I say about Bill Camplin that you haven’t already heard on your police scanner? Well, when he’s not running from the law, he is singing soulful renditions of his own songs, delivering inventive interpretations other others’ material (most notable Bob Dylan), and accompanying himself on his Martin guitars. He makes a mean jambalaya in the galley kitchen of the beloved Café Carpe in Ft. Atkinson, WI. He is a longtime dear friend and colleague, but if you happen to see him, please remind him he owes me forty bucks.” ~ Randy Sabien

“I have been a follower of Bill Camplin’s music for over a decade. I love to sit in the dimmed lights of the listening room at the Café Carpe and get lost in Bill’s performances. He is one of those rare performing artists who seems to become one with the song–whether his own or a cover arrangement–and, in becoming one with the music, he invites us into that experience as well. To be carried away by Bill’s music is not an escape so much as a journey of emotion and ideas. With Bill, it seems to me that it’s about the music, the art; his guitar playing and singing serve the songs, amplifying their power and beauty. As a singer myself, I have extra appreciation for Bill’s vocals. His strong, passionate voice, gorgeous and true, masterfully conveys all that each song has to say, fulfilling a promise to us as listeners and, also I believe to the Muse, to Art itself. I feel enormously grateful to have had the opportunity to enjoy his concerts, and even learn a thing or two from him over the years.” ~ Kaia Fowler

“Bill Camplin is well known as a singer/songwriter and acoustic guitarist. He was an integral part of the Milwaukee acoustic folk scene for many years and is also proprietor (along with Kitty Welch) of the World Famous Café Carpe in Fort Atkinson. The club attracts people on the singer-songwriter circuit, and has gained a national reputation among songwriters. ” ~ Wisconsin Public Radio

Bill is a singer-songwriter and acoustic guitarist, playing professionally in the Milwaukee area since the late 1960s. Bill writes and arranges his own material and has produced a considerable body of work. He has appeared regularly at various clubs including the Blue River Café, Numero Unos, The Crystal Palace, The Avante Garde and the 19th Street Coffee House. Live performances with the Bill Camplin Band can be seen on Facebook, Reverbnation and on YouTube. Call the Café Carpe at 920-563 -9391, email info@cafecarpe.com or go to cdbaby.com to order Bill’s CDs. You’ll also enjoy The Bill Camplin Band’s CD, “Reunion at Ebbott’s Barn.” Watch and listen to a fantastic show that Bill and other musicians performed in October, 2020 by clicking here: It’s… a lot concert (w/ SistaStrings, Willy Porter, Paul Cebar, & Bill Camplin).

Bill has performed in the past for both the Woodstock Folk Festival and Off Square Music, and we are grateful that he will join us virtually for our January 13 Woodstock Wednesdays.

Enjoy Bill’s show!

Views expressed by performers and others who appear at Woodstock Folk Festival or on the website are solely the views of these individuals and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Festival or its Board members.

 

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Connie Kaldor | Woodstock Wednesdays | Premieres January 6, 7pm/CST

We’re kicking off the year in style! This NEW Year we will begin to feature some performers who are NEW to the Festival.  Canadian singer-songwriter Connie Kaldor will kick off this NEW era for our January 6 Woodstock Wednesday.

Woodstock Folk Festival is excited to bring high quality music and spoken word to our community. We continue to support artists that have performed for us before. In addition, we look forward to adding variety and diversity in support of artists new to our audience.  We approached Connie for previous festivals, however due to her being from Canada, the logistics and timing never worked. Now in the world of virtual concerts, we are happy to present this Juno Award-winning, internationally acclaimed artist.

The video premieres HERE at 7pm/CST, Wednesday, January 6.

It will remain in our Gallery after the show if you would like to see it again or share it with others. You can enjoy watching our past performers’ shows by clicking on our Video Gallery.

To receive emails each Monday from the Woodstock Folk Festival, subscribe in the column on the right side. To make a donation in any amount to the Woodstock Folk Festival, use the donation button in the column on the right side.

Featured Performers: Connie Kaldor

Inspired by her new holiday album, Woodstock Folk Festival was inspired to ask Connie to participate in Woodstock Wednesdays. Because Connie and family are all quarantined together in Montreal, her husband and sons will join her; they’re all performers in their own right. Her son Gabriel has a rock band and son Aleksi is trained in jazz and plays violin in addition to his singer-songwriter skills. In fact, Aleksi has a new album due out fall of 2021. The family splits their time between Montreal and Saskatchewan.  You can purchase one of their latest releases on Bandcamp. If you are ever traveling through Saskatchewan Canada in July, consider attending their Willow Bunch Farm Fest Terre Ferme to experience prairie life first hand.

Connie has long been recognized on the international folk scene since the late 1970s as an outstanding artist, writer, song-writer and performer. Her songs “Bird on a Wing” and “Wood River” have become classics.  She is a member of the Order of Canada, an honor which recognizes exceptional talent and service as well as contributions to Canada and humanity. The family performed in Hinsdale in January 2020, one of the last in-person concerts before the pandemic began.  

CHECK OUT “BIG SKIES TO BRIDESMAID DRESSES”

With 12 albums and projects available from Connie, you are sure to find something that strikes a chord in you. You will find stories of prairie life, podcasts, books, children’s books, CDs, original lyrics, and recipes on her website as well as videos and recordings of her music.

Her multimedia presentation “Big Skies to Bridesmaid Dresses” incorporates all of Connie’s great songs about the prairies plus insights into prairie culture, dating rituals, midnight luncheon tables and jellied salads. It comes with a downloadable Big Skies cookbook, for audience members.  All you’ve never wanted to know about the prairies!

Connie adapted so quickly to the virtual world folk artists now face by offering three different livestream shows for presenters to offer in their lineup. Aside from her virtual concerts, her numerous albums and books for children, Connie has also written for musicals, films and web-series.  Be sure to check out her e-cookbook on her website with recipes from the prairie. 

Enjoy Connie Kaldor’s show!

Views expressed by performers and others who appear at Woodstock Folk Festival events or on the website are solely the views of these individuals and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Festival or its Board members.

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Ashley & Simpson | Woodstock Wednesdays | Premieres December 30, 7pm/CST

Jennifer Ashley & Joel Simpson are wrapping up the holiday season of 2020 for Woodstock Wednesdays with their traditional songs and instrumentation along with beautiful vocal harmonies!

Woodstock Folk Festival is excited to bring high quality music and spoken word to our community and to enjoy and support these artists who have or will work with us over the years, including Ashley & Simpson. You can show your support and appreciation by visiting their website at https://ashleyandsimpson.com/ and purchasing their CDs and other merchandise.

The video premieres HERE at 7pm/CST, Wednesday, December 30.

It will remain in our Gallery after the show if you would like to see it again or share it with others. You can enjoy watching our past performers’ shows by clicking on our Video Gallery.

To receive emails each Monday from the Woodstock Folk Festival, subscribe in the column on the right side. To make a donation in any amount to the Woodstock Folk Festival, use the donation button in the column on the right side.

Featured Performers: Ashley & Simpson

The duo appeared at the Fox Valley Folk Music and Storytelling Festival in September 2018 as part of the Two Way Street Coffee House stage. In October 2018, Ashley & Simpson were selected to perform in the DJ Showcase at Folk Alliance Region Midwest (FARM). They attended North East Region Folk Alliance (NERFA) In 2018, as well as Folk Alliance International 2019 in Montreal.

Singer/Songwriter Joel Simpson plays guitar, mandolin, dobro, banjo, and bass.  As a member of Lee Murdock’s Blue Horizon band, he performed on Rich Warren’s Folkstage, was a 2016 Folk Alliance Official Showcase artist, and appeared on Mr. Murdock’s last two albums.  He is currently a member of The Chancey Brothers, Chicago’s favorite Irish band, and released his first solo album “Irish Boy’s Dream” in February 2018.  Joel lives in Darien, Illinois with his wife and three children.

Singer/Songwriter Jennifer Ashley’s first instrument is piano, but also plays guitar and banjo. Although a lifelong musician, Jennifer is newer to the folk scene. She also may occasionally be seen moonlighting as a rocker in a local 80s cover band, Turbo Shot. Jennifer lives in Hinsdale, Illinois with her husband and three children.

With their sophomore release “Off To Here Land,” they have pushed the art of folk to a new sound with an all traditional track list that will delight fans new and old. Both bringing a classical perspective to their duo, Jennifer Ashley & Joel Simpson have reached a new level with incorporating elements of jazz, popular music and other modern styles in their arrangements.

On February 1, 2019, “Off To Here Land” was released and Jennifer and Joel had the honor to have their release show at the legendary Two Way Street Coffee House in Downers Grove, Illinois. In its debut month, “Off To Here Land” was #7 TOP ALBUM on the Folk Radio Charts, and Ashley & Simpson earned the distinction of #9 TOP ARTIST for the month.

They announced their arrival to the folk scene in October 2017 with the release of their debut album, “Winnie,” an epic love story unfolding song by song, chronicling the journey of two kids in love from Smalltown, USA. 

Since forming in 2016, Ashley & Simpson have opened for 5 time Grammy nominated blue-grass artists “Dailey & Vincent,” Grammy nominated artist Dave Rudolph, and for gold-record artist Michael Gurley (dada, Butterfly Jones, and Kiefer Sutherland Band). They have appeared on Lilli Kuzma’s Folk Festival on Chicago’s WDCB, as well as Chicago’s Windy City Irish Radio WCIR.

Preproduction has begun on their third album, “Hello, Mrs. Sun,” which features all original songs. In addition to Ashley & Simpson, the partners operate an independent record label called Randomosity Records located in Downers Grove, IL. The pair also enjoy volunteering at local folk venues and festivals.

Enjoy Ashley & Simpson’s show!

Views expressed by performers and others who appear at Woodstock Folk Festival events or on the website are solely the views of these individuals and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Festival or its Board members.

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Small Potatoes | Woodstock Wednesdays | Premieres December 23, 7pm CST

It is such a gift to have Small Potatoes continuing this season as the Woodstock Wednesdays artist this week!

Woodstock Folk Festival is excited to bring high quality music and spoken word to our community and to enjoy and support these artists who have worked with us over the years, including Small Potatoes. You can show your support and appreciation by visiting their Patreon page at https://www.patreon.com/smallpotatoes and becoming a subscriber. The duo offers new and exclusive content to those subscriptions. You can also make a secure donation using PayPal using the Donate button in the top right corner of their website, http://smallpotatoesmusic.com.

If you would like to donate to the Woodstock Folk Festival, you can use the Donate button in the right column on any page of this site. Right under that button, you can subscribe to our weekly emails and get news of the current week’s performer sent directly to your email box.

The video premieres HERE at 7pm/CST, Wednesday, December 23.

It will remain in our Gallery after the show if you would like to see it again or share it with others. You can enjoy watching our past performers’ shows by clicking on our Video Gallery.

Featured Performers: Small Potatoes

Jacquie Manning and Rich Prezioso of Small Potatoes have such a long history with Woodstock Folk Festival. Their performances along with finely tuned songwriting raise their music to the level of fine art. For many years Small Potatoes have been part of Lilli Kuzma’s “Holiday Hoot.” It has become traditional to hear this duo on Folk Festival/WDCB Public Radio or at one of their many holiday concerts. We are grateful to feature them on Woodstock Wednesdays!

Twenty-two years ago, Jacquie Manning and Rich Prezioso, the Chicago-area duo known as Small Potatoes, decided to hit the road. “In one year, we quit our jobs, bought a house, bought a car, and became full-time folk singers–not exactly the greatest combination, financially speaking, or what most people would call a sound business model. We didn’t throw darts at a map, but we might as well have.”

They might not have had the best plan, but what they did have were great songs and musicianship, and the ability to put on a show. Twenty-two years, more than a million miles, 3000 shows, and five Dodge Caravans later, they are listed as a “favorite act” by many coffeehouses, clubs and house concerts across the U.S. They have made repeat appearances at major folk festivals, including the Kerrville Folk Festival, the Walnut Valley Festival, and the Philadelphia Folk Festival.

They have 7 releases to date that capture their work together as international touring artists. You can purchase their CDs and digital releases here.

In particular check out their “Christmas in the Cabin” CD.

As hometown favorites, it is possible that they may hold the record for most performances with the Woodstock Folk Festival.  In addition to receiving our Lifetime Achievement Award in 2017, Rich participated in the All-Sing Finale this year and also edited both our spring concert and summer Festival when we turned them into virtual events.  

Rich performed as a member of The LeftOvers in 2019. Rich and Jacquie did their own set and led the All-Sing Finale as well as performing with Bill Staines in 2016. They also performed in 2012, 2005, and 2001. Rich led a Guitar Workshop in 2001.  The duo has performed at so many of concerts over the years.  In other words, Small Potatoes are such an important part of the Festival’s history – and its future.  

Enjoy the Small Potatoes’ show!

Views expressed by performers and others who appear at Woodstock Folk Festival events or on the website are solely the views of these individuals and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Festival or its Board members.

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Trishmas Concert | Tricia Alexander, Alpha Stewart, Jr., and Diana Laffey | Woodstock Wednesdays | December 16, 7pm/CST

35th Trishmas Concert: Kicking off the holiday season once again with a little blues ~ a little jazz ~ and of course ~ a few Trishmas Carols!

The Trishmas Concert video premieres HERE at 7pm/CST, Wednesday, December 16.

It will remain in our Gallery after the show if you would like to see it again or share it with others. You can enjoy watching our past performers’ shows by clicking on our Video Gallery. If you would like to join the Festival email list, please subscribe in the right column to receive our weekly email on Mondays. If you are able to make a contribution to the Woodstock Folk Festival in any amount, please use the donate button on the right column.

Tricia, like all of our artists, lost most of her gigs this year. Please go to Tricia’s website triciaalexander.org to buy her CDs and books and join her Patreon page. You will also learn about Tricia’s Reiki & BodyTalk Sessions, 1st, 2nd, 3rd Degree Reiki Training / Attunements and Reiki Master Teacher Training.

Get a sneak preview of what’s to come . . .

Want a hint of what’s to come? Click HERE or on the CD cover for “We are the People” right now! Hear and see Tricia Alexander’s reflection in song and pictures on the people and events of this year and beyond.

Then please join us for a holiday treat – a Woodstock Wednesday like no other!

“We Are the People” is just a preview. Be sure to join us this week, December 16, 7pm for this all-new full-length virtual concert Tricia, Alpha, and Diana recorded for Woodstock Wednesdays.

Tricia, Alpha, and Diana are decking the halls with songs and laughter in this family-appropriate concert that features some seasonal favorites, some singing along and of course, Tricia’s fabulously funny Trishmas Carols (a continually growing collection of unique and humorous arrangements that celebrate the season). Joy-filled, uplifting and inspiring are just some of the words used to describe Tricia’s music and performance. Alpha Stewart Jr. (percussionist of wonder and light) is accompanying Tricia, and Diana Laffey, long time music pal, is featured with her incredible vocal harmonies.

More about these artists

Tricia Alexander was the recipient of the 2013 Woodstock Folk Festival’s Lifetime Achievement Award. She is a powerful vocalist, guitarist, percussionist, harmonica player and performance poet who moves between jazz, blues and folk, spoken word and music, original compositions and re-interpreted cover tunes – and she does it all with seamless grace. The Chicago Sun Times says she is “one of Chicago’s finest folk performers,” and Humanities Iowa calls her, “a modern day Aesop.”

Alpha Stewart, Jr. is the consummate percussionist, a shining star in the Chicago music scene for more than 30 years. Brimming with pure percussive joy, he is a master of rhythms, but even more amazing is his command of textures and synamics. Alpha’s sensitivity and ability to support and color the music without overshadowing it, is second to none.

Together, Tricia and Alpha move and flow like veteran dance partners, creating concerts that are vibrant, nourishing and entertaining.

Chicago’s beloved Diana Laffey adds her exquisite vocal harmonies and comedic gifts to the concert. Diana joyfully touches people of all ages!

She is a teacher in the Wiggleworms Program at the Old Town School of Folk Music specializing in classes for children 12 to 24 months, mixed age, and preschoolers.

Wiggleworms classes are now running online for you to experience the joy of family music making from the safety and comfort of your home. For more information go to https://www.oldtownschool.org/classes/kids/wiggleworms/.

Enjoy the special music!

News from WNUR, 89.3FM ~ Radio Partner

On Sunday, December 20, Radio Partner WNUR will be doing a holiday show that includes interviews with Tricia Alexander and Small Potatoes.  Tune in to the show at 89.3FM or wnur.org from 10 a.m. to Noon/Central Time.   Shows are later archived at folk.wnur.org.  The December 13 show included interviews with Lee Murdock and Robinlee Garber.  All of these artists have appeared or will be appearing on Woodstock Wednesdays.  

Views expressed by performers and others who appear at Woodstock Folk Festival events or on the website are solely the views of those individuals and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Festival or its Board members.

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Robinlee Garber | Woodstock Wednesdays | Premieres December 9, 7 pm/CST

Robinlee Garber continuing this month as Woodstock Wednesdays celebrates the holidays!

Woodstock Folk Festival is excited to bring high quality music and spoken word to our community and to enjoy and support these artists who have worked with us over the years, including Robinlee GarberYou can show your support and appreciation by visiting https://robinleegarber.bandcamp.com/album/somewhere-theres-music and purchasing Robin’s latest digital release. You can also support her with a tip here using PayPal.

The video premieres HERE at 7pm/CST, Wednesday, December 9.

It will remain in our Gallery after the show if you would like to see it again or share it with others. You can enjoy watching our past performers’ shows by clicking on our Video Gallery.

Featured Performer: Robinlee Garber

photo credit: Janet Mesic Mackie

Philly born and bred but a proud Chicagoan these days, Robinlee Garber brings a crystalline alto voice with gently burnished edges and an outsider’s point-of-view to the original and time-treasured songs she sings, focusing on a repertoire that harkens to the past without being a novelty act, and is relatable without pandering. Her love of music infuses all her performances, from sophisticated showcases to inclusive open mics, exposing everyone to a lovingly curated and wide-ranging songbook of folk, jazz standards, rock and contemporary music where the voice is front and center.

You can go to Robinlee’s YouTube channel and hear a live version of the title track for her 2018 release “Resilience.”

Featured on WDCB’s Folk Festival with Lilli Kuzma, Robinlee acted as the music director of Culture Cafe for the wildly popular Chicago VeganMania festival for eight years and has been running a well-attended open mic in Chicago. She has also performed across the US, Canada, Sweden and Finland.

Cover art from Robinlee’s current release titled “Somewhere There’s Music”

Her latest album, Somewhere There’s Music, features 9 songs from the Great American Songbook, and her Dad. Recorded with producer Dave Gordon in Evanston, IL and mixed by mixing engineer Scott Gerow in Nashville, TN

Robinlee Garber – Vocals
Dave Gordon – Piano
Chris Siebold – Guitars
Matt Ferguson – Bass
Gerald Dowd – Drums

Robinlee grew up idolizing singer-songwriters and performers of Laurel Canyon’s heyday, like Joni Mitchell, Jackson Browne and Carole King but was also deeply influenced by the music of her parents: Cole Porter, Frank Sinatra and Nat King Cole. Heart is at the center of the music she loves as she believes a great song has universal appeal no matter the language. From her earliest musical memory of sitting in her mother’s teal Chevy station wagon and noticing how perfectly Johnny Nash’s “I Can See Clearly Now” synched up to the windshield wipers to watching “The Sound of Music” on stage as a child and wanting so much to be on stage performing, the transformative power of song has been stitched through Robinlee’s whole life. As someone with chronic health issues that often left her feeling isolated, music was also an especially potent antidote to loneliness.

As a child Robinlee always felt different as she struggled with chronic health issues but found solace in creating art and music. She studied figure drawing and glass sculpture at Carnegie-Mellon University in Pittsburgh, PA, and she won a glass blowing scholarship at the Pilchuck School of Glass in Seattle after graduation. Not feeling entirely satisfied with creating her own art for art’s sake, Robinlee did what she calls artist activist work, and then she ultimately got another full scholarship to earn her Masters degree in Art Therapy at University of Illinois at Chicago.

Since then Robinlee has worked professionally as a creative arts therapist and clinical counselor using music and art to help others heal. Robinlee is looking forward to sharing her music and her message of hope and resilience with everyone.

Enjoy Robinlee’s show!

Views expressed by performers and others who appear at Woodstock Folk Festival events or on the website are solely the views of these individuals and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Festival or its Board members.

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Joel Mabus | Woodstock Wednesdays | Premieres December 2, 7pm/CST

Joel Mabus is kicking off this month as Woodstock Wednesdays celebrates the holidays!

Woodstock Folk Festival is excited to bring high quality music and spoken word to our community and to enjoy and support these artists who have worked with us over the years, including Joel Mabus. You can show your support and appreciation by visiting http://www.joelmabus.com/. Once there look for the virtual tip vessel. You can also purchase his CDs including Christmas CDs, and a CD titled Different Hymnals.

The video premieres HERE at 7pm/CST, Wednesday, December 2.

It will remain in our Gallery after the show if you would like to see it again or share it with others. You can enjoy watching our past performers’ shows by clicking on our Video Gallery.

Featured Performer: Joel Mabus

Joel Mabus may be called a singer-songwriter, but he doesn’t sound like one.  He’s the son of a 1930s old time fiddle champ and a banjo-pickin’ farm girl.  His performing career began in college during the Vietnam era, where he studied anthropology and literature by day and played coffeehouses by night.

You can go to Joel’s YouTube channel and be thoroughly entertained by his relevant, poignant and humorous songs.

One critic writes, “Joel Mabus knows his way around the English language and American culture just as well as he knows his way around a fretboard.” 

Nationally known radio host, Rich Warren (Midnight Special, WFMT) named Different Hymnals as one of his favorite CDs of 2017. He wrote:  “Mabus selects a different framework and motif for each album he records. His knowledge of music runs exceptionally broad and deep. Different Hymnals covers shades of faith from near agnostic to devout. The album is highly spiritual, but not particularly religious. Although it includes a few Christian hymns, it is not a Christian album. The spiritual songs suit nearly any faith. He includes originals, rewrites of traditional hymns and even a lengthy Child ballad imbued with spiritual/moral overtones. An outstanding guitarist, Mabus also mixes instrumentals with songs. Mabus connects all of these fourteen songs with the message that shared faith of whatever religion can bring us closer together and that peace is the ultimate goal.”

“Joel is one of those quintessentially Midwestern American artists. He has a style we will always associate with Will Rogers or Mark Twain, and a great sense of humour which compliments, rather than contradicts, some very serious material. He has perfected the art of being entertaining without pandering, he teaches without lecturing, and does it all with great style.” ~ VANCOUVER FOLK FESTIVAL

Born in 1953 in the southern Illinois town of Belleville, Joel has recorded 27 solo albums of original and traditional music since his recording career started in 1978.  Joel’s latest CD is 2019s Time & Truth, a return to songwriting both topical and timeless. Among his awards: inducted into the Detroit Music Awards Hall of Fame in 2000, the inaugural Lantern Bearer Award presented by Folk Alliance Region Midwest (FAI) in 2006.  

A one-off in the folk world, Mabus defies any easy pigeon-hole.  His palette ranges from mountain banjo to jazz guitar — from sensitive introspection to wicked satire.  He’s both picker and poet, and from coast to coast over the past 40 years this Midwesterner has brought audiences to their feet, wanting more.

JOEL’S BOOK The only bound book of his, to date:  Parlor Guitar, was published by Hal Leonard — a world wide publishing firm — in 2006. This book has detailed note-for-note transcriptions (music & tab) of ten songs from the Parlor Guitar CD.  The book also has a CD included of those 10 cuts from the original album.

Enjoy Joel’s show!

Views expressed by performers and others who appear at Woodstock Folk Festival events or on the website are solely the views of these individuals and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Festival or its Board members.

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Claudia Schmidt | Woodstock Wednesdays | Premieres November 25, 7pm/CST

Join us for Woodstock Wednesdays with this special Thanksgiving week performance! Woodstock Folk Festival is excited to bring high quality music and spoken word to our community and to enjoy and support these artists who have worked with us over the years, including Claudia Schmidt.  You can show your support and appreciation by visiting https://www.claudiaschmidt.com/. Once there look for the virtual tip vessel.

To support the Woodstock Folk Festival, please use the donate button in the right column of this site. If you are not on our mailing list, you can subscribe just below the donate button.

The video premieres HERE at 7pm/CST, Wednesday, November 25. It will remain in our Gallery after the show if you would like to see it again or share it with others. You can enjoy watching our past performers’ shows by clicking on our Video Gallery.

Featured Performer: Claudia Schmidt

If it were the intention of the creator or creators of this universe to perfectly blend together the night sky with moon and stars, it might have been their intention as well to deliver Claudia Schmidt as their messenger of reminder.

To say that Schmidt is simply a performer with a talent to entertain would be an understatement. Schmidt takes her audiences into her world as easily as the child who discovers the endless universes that exist in a cardboard box. We are delighted that she is performing for Woodstock Wednesdays. The peace and gratitude that she conveys in her music is truly a gift we can be thankful for this week.

From lying on sandy beaches under an endless barrage of northern lights, to the expected anguish and frustration of spinning tires on cars stuck deep in snow, from the age-old struggle of change between adolescence and adulthood to the observation of sheer idiocy, she leaves it to the imagination of her audience to conjure their own images of her storytelling and song. No interpretation of a Claudia Schmidt song or story is wrong — she invites audiences to tie their associations to her style.

About Claudia and her connect to Woodstock Folk Festival

We have followed and supported her from the beginning and throughout her career. She performed at our festival as recently as 2011. She is recognized as an acclaimed artist and was recently on the “Wisdom of the Elders” panel at a recent FARM (Folk Alliance Region Midwest) conference.

Schmidt weaves her way through her concert in much the same manner as a jester. Interwoven anecdotes, revealing her past and present, bring people to expect a relationship between themselves and memories driven deep with the passage of time. The concert is an endless display of self-realization through humor and longing, leaving audience members yearning to become an integral part of her world. In addition to doing both folk and jazz, Claudia also does theater and poetry.  Aside from her own work, Claudia has worked with follow artists such as Michael P. Smith and Sally Rogers.  

Claudia Schmidt performing live

“Schmidt is a one-woman revitalization movement. Schmidt is the best at what she does.” ~ The Tribune (Oakland, Ca.)

“Claudia Schmidt is a true artist-she has talent AND the fire of genius.” ~ The Boston Globe

We know you will enjoy Claudia’s show.

Views expressed by performers and others who appear at Woodstock Folk Festival events or on the website are solely the views of these individuals and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Festival or its Board members.

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