Zachary Stevenson Tribute to Phil Ochs Premieres April 7, 7pm/CDT

“Zachary Stevenson doesn’t portray Phil Ochs. He is Phil Ochs. The complex, mercurial personality; the songs […]  Stevenson nails it all.” ~ Patrick Langston, Ottawa Citizen

With Zachary Stevenson on board for Woodstock Wednesdays, April 7, 7pm/CDT, we’re in for a special event! On April 7, the Woodstock Folk Festival commemorates the 45th Anniversary of Phil Ochs’ passing (April 9) AND celebrates Sonny Ochs’ birthday.

For Zach’s Woodstock Wednesdays concert, he will sing Phil Ochs’ Changes, There But For Fortune, Power and the Glory, I Ain’t Marching Any More, and When I’m Gone. You’ll hear which of Phil Ochs’ songs galvanized Zach’s admiration and adoration.

Want to explore more Phil Ochs’ music and learn more about his life and legacy? Then read on. We’ll point you to resources.

Performers greatly appreciate your support! Visit their websites, shop in their online stores, donate.

You’ll find Zachary Stevenson at https://zacharystevenson.com/ where you can buy tickets, book Zachary, or become a Patron. Check out his online store, https://zacharystevenson.com/store. Zachary has proudly raised over $10,000 for MSF (Doctors Without Borders) through CD sales. Want to take guitar lessons? Then go to Live Virtual Guitar Lessons with Zach to learn.

HERE’s your LINK to Zachary Stevensons show premiering April 7.

Zachary Stevenson: Featured Woodstock Wednesdays Performer

Sonny Ochs & Zachary Stevenson
Sonny Ochs & Zachary Stevenson

Originally from Vancouver Island, Canada, Zachary was coined a “dead ringer for dead singers” by the Victoria Times Colonist for his portrayals of Phil Ochs, Buddy Holly, Hank Williams and roles based on Elvis and Jerry Lee Lewis. Then in 2018, Zachary won the Jeff Award in Chicago for Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role (Musical) for the Buddy Holly Story. That’s a role he’s honed in more than a dozen productions across Canada and the United States. Other acting highlights include Hair, Urinetown, Assassins, and Company. Zach is currently writing a new one-man show based on the life of Phil Ochs entitled Louder Than the Guns

What Folks Say About Zachary Stevenson

“I’m so glad to hear that you’re having Zach. He does a remarkable tribute to Phil. Sounds so much like him that it freaked out Tom Paxton – whom I happened to be standing next to at the time. He turned to me and said, ‘That’s Phil!'” ~ Greg Greenway

“Zachary Stevenson… is the epitome of effortless cool with a gorgeous voice and a star-quality stage presence. ” ~ Mark Robbins, Vancouver Presents

How Zachary deepened his connection to Phil Ochs

Zach mostly played and sang Phil Ochs songs after college. One day someone advised him to get in touch with Sonny Ochs, Phil’s sister. After meeting with Sonny in her home, a lasting friendship began and blossomed. Sonny shared Phil’s recordings, writings, and his FBI file with Zach. Through Phil Ochs Song Nights, her radio show, and other activities, Sonny kept Phil’s music and legacy alive. Over the years, she nurtured many young performers and introduced them to songs about social justice.

Zachary said this about Sonny Ochs . . .

Sonny and Phil at Old Town School of Folk Music 2002
Sonny and Phil at Old Town School of Folk Music 2002

“Sonny is generous, honest, loyal and easy to be around. She is a champion of any musician who wants to use their voice for change, always making me feel welcome and supported. Like instant family. Through her, I’ve met many marvelous musicians that share the spirit of Phil Ochs: John Flynn, Pat Humphries, Greg Greenway, Sonia (Disappear Fear), Reggie Harris, and Carolyn Hester just to name a few. Sonny has had an impact on me that will last my lifetime. And I’m grateful to know her and call her a friend.” ~ Zachary Stevenson 

What Reggie Harris says about Sonny Ochs

“Sonny Ochs has been a deeply connective force for good in my life and in the folk music community with her passionate support of artists, her advocacy for the music of her brother Phil, and her selfless and generous spirit for music of social change. Her tireless efforts to host Phil Ochs Song Nights have spread the importance of topical songs around the world, and she has contributed volumes of information through her radio shows and through interviews. Sonny has also been at the forefront of encouraging young writers to focus their efforts on songs that address issues that our world needs to hear. I have been very fortunate to know her as collaborator, concert promoter and friend.

Phil Ochs during a 1967 Vietnam protest outside the United Nations in New York. (Photo by Michael Ochs)
Phil Ochs during a 1967 Vietnam protest outside the United Nations in New York. (Photo by Michael Ochs)

She is the reason that I came to know Phil’s music which has changed both my writing and incited my passion for songs of social  change. It’s clear that Phil was one of our most passionate and iconic writers of that. And it’s striking that many of the issues that he addressed are still part of our present world conflict. I am one among many who owe a great thank you to Sonny for bringing that music into my ears and my heart.” ~ Reggie Harris

What Greg Greenway says about Sonny Ochs

“When I first got to know Sonny, it was through Phil Ochs Song Nights. My managers hornswoggled her into including me. At that point, it was clear that Sonny would go far and wide to present a Phil night. She personalized each evening with a reading of a newspaper article, or simply things she remembered. Our gauge has been that if we do our job properly, Sonny will have tears in her eyes after “When I’m Gone.” Her loyalty and admiration for Phil the singer/song-writer is inexhaustible, but as I have come to know her, her love for a brother, both brilliant and troubled, is for me the deeper story. I try to never forget that for us, we are celebrating the work of a prolific and important artist, but for Sonny it is a family story, full of resplendent moments and times of heartbreak. She is giving us a gift with her generosity and openness. I have come to know that Sonny has helped so many in Folk music, me included, in so many different ways. That you are having Zach perform couldn’t be more perfect.

Singing in a Phil Ochs Song Night will make it clear how Phil’s relevancy hasn’t waned. The words to so many of his songs could have been written today. (Phil was one of the first Folk singers to write about race.) He wanted to be in the vanguard, where the action was. And to this day, people all across the country show up, and celebrate every word with us. It is a powerful and fitting tribute.” ~ Greg Greenway

Thank you, Sonny!

The Woodstock Folk Festival wishes Sonny Ochs a Happy Birthday!

Learn more about Phil Ochs – here are some resources

While you’re on the Woodstock Folk Festival website . . .

Would you like to enjoy the show again or share it with others? Then visit our Video Gallery anytime. While there, check out past performers’ shows such as Hawktail with Brittany Haas or Mara Levine.

How about receiving email updates each Monday from us? Just Subscribe in the right column of any page of the Festival site (woodstockfolkfestival.org). 

Want to encourage our Annual Woodstock Folk Festival and music online? Great! Then press the Donate Button above the email subscription form.

Love folk music? The Woodstock Folk Festival brings you quality folk music and storytelling through the year. 

Enjoy the music of Phil Ochs admiringly performed by Zachary Stevenson!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Views expressed by performers and others who appear at Woodstock 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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Hawktail | Premieres March 31, 7pm/CDT | Woodstock Wednesdays

Hawktail with Brittany Haas premieres March 31, 7pm/CDT, for Woodstock Wednesdays. Check back here for a link when it's available.
Hawktail premieres March 31, 7pm/CDT, for Woodstock Wednesdays.

Hawktail spreads their wings on Woodstock Wednesday. 

Known collectively as Hawktail, each time they play, fiddler Brittany Haas, bassist Paul Kowert, guitarist Jordan Tice, and mandolinist Dominick Leslie combine their monstrous compositional and instrumental forces to the delight of their audiences.   

We’re very pleased to have this vibrant group join Woodstock Wednesdays.  Can’t wait right?   

Here’s your LINK to Hawktail’s show premiering on March 31.

All Performers donate their time and performance for our Wednesday enjoyment.  The performers would greatly appreciate your support!  Where to donate for Hawktail?  Here’s their DONATE URLhttps://www.paypal.com/donate?hosted_button_id=HM4G67XGWFAR8  

Hawktail: Our Featured Performers

What the WFF?  A riddle.   

We ask: What is 286 inches long? 

You say:  Don’t know – another hint please. 

We hint: Part of it is a Tiger. 

Then, you say: Don’t know – another hint please. 

We hint: it usually has 4 smiles. 

Now, you guess: (because this is a post about Hawktail) ‘oh, Hawktail, 4 members, average height 5’11½ ”, Brittany is a grad of Princeton (the Princeton Tigers) and 4 smiles?—besides delivering great folk music, that’s what they do.  Got it!’ 

Winning smiles and winning music!

Hawktail has responded to COVID in all sorts of creative ways.  Check out their website https://hawktail.bandcamp.com. Or checkout their visit to Woodstock Wednesday, premiering on March 31, 2021.   

Hey, where can we find Hawktail besides on Woodstock Wednesday? If you head to YouTube, you can subscribe to their YouTube channel for their recorded performances: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCSezL0crjvvNX58iwjx7lQg

What about CDs?  Currently, they have two albums: Unless (premiere album); Formations (sophomore album). 

Hawktail – “Annbjørg” For some, one might hear hints of Irish and jazz(?) 

While You’re On Our Site

Would you like to enjoy the show again or share it with others? Then be sure to visit our Video Gallery anytime. While you’re there, check out past performers’ shows such as Mara Levine or Trillium.

How about receiving email updates each Monday from us? Just Subscribe in the right column of any page of the Festival site (woodstockfolkfestival.org). 

Want to encourage our Annual Woodstock Folk Festival and music online? Great! Then press the Donate Button above the email subscription form.

Love folk music? The Woodstock Folk Festival brings you quality folk music and storytelling through the year. Watch for more from us!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Views expressed by performers and others who appear at Woodstock 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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Mara Levine | Woodstock Wednesdays | Premieres March 24, 7pm/CDT

Watch Mara Levine's premiere for Woodstock Wednesdays March 24, 7pm/CDT - with a bow to the themes of Passover, beginning the evening of March 27.
Watch Mara Levine’s premiere for Woodstock Wednesdays March 24, 7pm/CDT – with a bow to the themes of Spring, beginning March 20 and of Passover, beginning the evening of March 27.

Mara Levine appeared at the Woodstock Folk Festival in 2018 as a Special Guest with Gathering Time. She premieres for Woodstock Wednesdays March 24, 7pm/CDT.

With songs of social conscience and themes of taking a stand, making a difference, considering the treatment of others and becoming a better person, her performance connects thematically to Passover, beginning March 27.

Want to show your support and appreciation for this Woodstock Wednesdays performer? Then visit her website at https://maralevine.com/. You can purchase her albums or donate to her Tip Jar. Contact her at marablevine@gmail.com for a jewelry catalog.

Click HERE to watch Mara Levine’s show premiering March 24.

Mara Levine: Featured Performer March 24

Mara Levine & Pete Seeger

Some people, like the one described in Leonard Cohen’s classic song, are born with a Golden Voice. Mara Levine is one of those gifted few who fit that definition. Hearing her sing makes you stop whatever you are doing and LISTEN!

Known for her warmth, sincerity and impeccable natural musicality, she makes us all listen more intently, and celebrate the beauty that she brings to every song she sings and inspires us to do better ourselves, in whatever field we work. Thank you Mara for making us all remember the poetry of lyricism.” ~ David Amram, Composer, Conductor, Multi Instrumentalist

Called “one of the best singers of her generation” by Christine Lavin, folksinger and jewelry designer Mara Levine, like a skilled gem cutter, selects songs with inherent beauty, examines them carefully, then crafts and polishes them to a glittering brilliance.  According to folksinger and activist Si Kahn, “Layering harmony line on top of harmony line, Levine creates rich tapestries of sound and emotion.” 

Facets of Folk ~ Mara Levine’s Third Album

With her third album, FACETS OF FOLK, Mara Levine has found her true voice.
With her third album, FACETS OF FOLK, Mara Levine has found her true voice.

With her third album, FACETS OF FOLK, Levine has found her true voice. It rings clearly and powerfully like a bell or chime, reminiscent of her inspirations Judy Collins and Joan Baez, as she explores some of the different faces of the folk genre. Most songs on the project are filled with Levine’s lush harmony arrangements and invite the listener to sing along. 

“As I was selecting material for my third” CD said Levine, “I was inspired by the…political and social challenges facing us today, and thought a great deal about the importance of speaking out against injustice, both societal, and for people in our lives who are being wronged.” 

Mara encourages us to speak up!

“By My Silence” is a provocative warning about the perils of remaining passive in the face of injustice. Award-winning Florida singer-songwriters Ellen Bukstel and Nick Annis wrote this song. This powerful song reached #1 on the Folk DJ Chart when it was released as a single in September 2017. Mara relates this song to Passover which begins the evening of March 27 and ends the evening of April 4.

Jewelry Designed by Mara Levine To Support Her Folk Music Habit!

View Mara’s beautiful jewelry creations on her Woodstock Wednesdays video. Next, request her catalog, available at marablevine@gmail.com. Mara’s jewelry is not shown on her website.

Celebrate spring with Mara Levine!

One More Thing . . .

Mara recently performed in the “Any Sunday Songwriters Showcase” hosted by Jan Seides, in-the-round with Jan and Jim Bizer. That performance is still available on YouTube at www.youtube.com/janseides

While You’re On Our Site . . .

Would you like to enjoy the show again or share it with others? Then be sure to visit our Video Gallery anytime. While you’re there, check out past performers’ shows such as Trillium, Ordinary Elephant, or John Flynn.

How about receiving email updates each Monday from us? Just Subscribe in the right column of any page of the Festival site (woodstockfolkfestival.org). 

Want to encourage our Annual Woodstock Folk Festival and music online? Great! Then press the Donate Button above the email subscription form.

Love folk music? The Woodstock Folk Festival brings you quality folk music and storytelling through the year. 

~ ~ ~ ~

Views expressed by performers and others who appear at Woodstock 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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St. Patty’s Day Celebration with Trillium | Woodstock Folk Festival | March 17, 7pm/CDT

St. Patty’s Day Celebration with Trillium – Woodstock Wednesdays – March 17

St. Patty’s Day Celebration with Trillium — our next Woodstock Wednesdays performer — coming right up. Trillium, with current members Mim Eichmann and Doug Lofstrom, performed at the Woodstock Folk Festival in 2009.

Performers greatly appreciate your support!

Be sure to check out Trillium's CDs, The Rattlin' Bog, Crossing the Stream, The Moody Leprechaun, Over the Waterfall.
Check out Trillium’s CDs, The Rattlin’ Bog, Crossing the Stream, The Moody Leprechaun, Over the Waterfall.

You can find Trillium at their website: https://www.trilliumtheband.com (The most recent of the 4 CDs that Trillium offers is “The Rattlin’ Bog”.) 

Click HERE to watch the video for Trillium on March 17

While You’re On Our Site . . .

Would you like to enjoy the show again or share it with others? Then be sure to visit our Video Gallery anytime. While you’re there, check out past performers’ shows such as Ordinary Elephant or Katherine Rondeau.

Love folk music? The Woodstock Folk Festival brings you quality folk music and storytelling through the year. 

How about receiving email updates each Monday from us? Just Subscribe in the right column of any page of the Festival site (woodstockfolkfestival.org). 

Want to encourage our Annual Woodstock Folk Festival and music online? Great! Then press the Donate Button above the email subscription form.

Trillium: Our Featured Performers for this St. Patrick’s Day

Trillium

On their site Trillium explains: “Why the name Trillium? If you’ve ever seen a Grandiflora trillium, which is a Midwest wildflower or herb, I’m sure that you’ll agree that it’s a very unique wildflower – quite different from the rest of the wildflowers dotting the woodlands — and it has always seemed to be an excellent fit for us!” 

Trillium: Mim Eichmann • Doug Lofstrom • Jon Ball • Celebrating St. Patty's Day
Mim Eichmann • Doug Lofstrom • Jon Ball • Celebrating St. Patty’s Day

Mim Eichmann 

Turning from a past focus on dance, Mim Eichmann’s intensely involved as a musician and singer/songwriter.   

Besides Trillium, with bandmate Doug Lofstrom, she’s written and released two original children’s CDs: Wander Down Beyond the Rainbow and Why Do Ducks Ducks Have Webby Toes? She’s also created a live children’s show called “Miss Mim & Friends – Music & Movement.” Performed throughout the Chicago area, the show includes many songs from her CDs.

Although hammered dulcimer playing styles are quite unique to every individual, Mim’s HD style is influenced by Bill Robinson, Dona Benkert, Kendra Ward and Tony Elman. Her primary vocal inspirations include Alison Krause, Mairead Ni Mhaonaigh, Loreena McKennitt, Eva Cassidy, Julie Andrews and Enya. 

Mim has recently published two historical fiction novels:  A Sparrow Alone and Muskrat Ramble. For more information, visit her author site at: www.mimeichmann.com

Doug Lofstrom 

Doug Lofstrom has played bass forever in just about every possible genre imaginable!  He’s an experienced composer and arranger, helping the group conjure new material for the band’s eclectic repertoire.  

Doug’s been musical director for Chicago’s Free Street Theatre and composer-in-residence for the Evanston’s Symphony of the Shores. He teaches bass, music composition and music theory at Columbia College Chicago. His group, Doug Lofstrom and The New Quartet perform extensively in the Chicago area. They recently released their newest CD entitled “One Voice”. Visit his web site at: www.DougLofstrom.com 

Jon Ball 

Jon Ball brings his many talents to Trillium with spirited guitar and vocal stylings. 

A multi-instrumentalist, Jon comes at music from all angles. He started playing guitar at the age of nine and formally trained as a trombonist and brass specialist. Retiring after 35 years as a school band director and award-winning teacher, Jon’s now a full-time singer and guitar/bass/banjo/ukulele player. Yes, and more!  

In addition to his playing and singing with various folk groups, he’s also on staff as the contemporary worship leader at his church. 

Last But Not Least . . . 

Finally, a tip of the hat and a big thank you to Tobias Music where Trillium taped their video.  https://www.tobiasmusic.com/

Enjoy Trillium’s St. Patty’s Day Celebration!

~ ~ ~ ~

Views expressed by performers and others who appear at Woodstock 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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Ordinary Elephant | Woodstock Wednesdays | Premieres March 10, 7pm/CST

2017 Artist of the Year, International Folk Music Awards.The Associated Press says of Ordinary Elephant, "...one of the best Americana albums of the year."
2017 Artist of the Year, International Folk Music Awards. The Associated Press says of Ordinary Elephant, “…one of the best Americana albums of the year.”

Ordinary Elephant, International Folk Music Awards 2017 Artist of the Year, delights with music and poetry.

Want to show your support and appreciation for these Woodstock Wednesdays performers? Then visit their online store at www.ordinaryelephant.net/store. There you can purchase CDs, poetry books, shirts, bags and handwritten lyrics/poetry. 

In addition, you can subscribe on their Patreon platform at www.patreon.com/ordinaryelephant. 

Click HERE to watch the video for Ordinary Elephant.

Would you like to enjoy the show again or share it with others? Then be sure to visit our Video Gallery anytime. While you’re there, check out past performers’ shows such as Katherine Rondeau or Rev. Robert Jones and Matt Watroba.

Love folk music? The Woodstock Folk Festival brings you quality folk music and storytelling through the year. 

Want to receive email updates each Monday from us? Then Subscribe in the right column of every page of the Festival site (woodstockfolkfestival.org). 

Want to encourage our Annual Woodstock Folk Festival and music online? Great! Then press the Donate Button just above the subscription form.

Featured Performers: Ordinary Elephant

The collaboration of husband and wife Pete and Crystal Damore, their connection, and their influences (such as Gillian Welch, Guy Clark, Anais Mitchell) all meet on stage. ~ Photo by Bobby Villarreal
The collaboration of husband and wife Pete and Crystal Damore, their connection, and their influences (such as Gillian Welch, Guy Clark, Anais Mitchell) all meet on stage.

International Folk Music Awards 2017 Artist of the Year Ordinary Elephant captivates audiences with their emotionally powerful and vulnerable songs. Their music lets the listener know that they are not alone in this world.

The collaboration of husband and wife Pete and Crystal Damore, their connection, and their influences (Gillian Welch, Guy Clark, Anais Mitchell) all meet on stage. “Two become one, in song. Hand-in-glove harmonies surprise the listener with focused intensity and musical mastery,” says Mary Gauthier. The Associated Press calls their latest album, Honest, “one of the best Americana albums of the year.”

What others are saying

“There is nothing at all ordinary with this elephant. They are smack dab in the tradition that I have always loved but have both (all four?) feet in the 21st Century. This is rich ground. Listen!” ~ Tom Paxton

“I’m a big fan…intimate songs, weaving harmonies, and stories that draw you in as if you were gathered around an enchanted campfire.” ~ Eliza Gilkyson

Sign up for Ordinary Elephant’s newsletter to receive monthly-ish musings, updates, and poetry.

Upcoming Events

These events are listed in the Folk Music Calendar on the Woodstock Folk Festival site:

Readers enjoyed the poetry in the newsletters so much and requested a physical collection!
Readers enjoyed the poetry in the newsletters so much and requested a physical collection!

A full concert livestream for Bugle Boy – Saturday, March 20 at 7:00pm/CDT. Watch the show here: https://thebugleboy.org/event/ordinary-elephant/

A Songwriting Workshop (on Zoom) – Sunday, March 21st at 1:00pm/CDT. For more information and to register: https://www.ownyourownuniverse.org/oyou-online-workshops#cc-m-10816139271.

Full concert & interview livestream for Me & Thee Coffeehouse – Friday, March 12 at 7:00pm CENTRAL  https://meandthee.org/concerts/ordinary-elephant/

Ordinary Elephant performed at the 2018 Woodstock Folk Festival. We look forward to a day in the future when we can see and hear them in person again. In the meantime, enjoy watching their videos on https://www.ordinaryelephant.net/videos.

Enjoy Ordinary Elephant on Woodstock Wednesdays!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Views expressed by performers and others who appear at Woodstock 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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Folk Unlocked | The 2021 Folk Alliance International Annual Conference (Virtual) – An Overview

By FAI Member and WFF President Carol Obertubbesing

Folk Unlocked: Connection, Discovery, Exploration -- a five-day virtual event for the entire international folk community --  -- gathered virtually from February 22-26, 2021
Folk Unlocked: Connection, Discovery, Exploration — a five-day virtual event for the entire international folk community — gathered virtually from February 22-26, 2021

“Music is the most powerful force in the world . . . we can accomplish amazing things through music . . . music can bring something of value to people . . . ” ~ Bill Staines

At Folk Unlocked: Connection, Discovery, Inspiration | The Folk Alliance International Annual Conference, Bill Staines captured the power of music with his words when he spoke during the “Wisdom of the Elders” panel. The Folk Alliance International Annual Conference brings all types of musicians from all over the world. This year’s virtual event was February 22-26, 2021.

Bill received the Woodstock Folk Festival’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2016. His career began with playing in the many folk clubs in Boston and Cambridge in the 1960s. During the “Wisdom of the Elders” session, he reflected on those experiences. He remembered how social the clubs were at that time. People came to be together, welcoming unknown performers to stages. From there, they became opening acts at larger venues. Then they began to play and tour on their own. Eventually they became mentors and role models for the next generation. 

“Wisdom of the Elders” Paving the Way

At a Folk Unlocked session, one member of that next generation, Vance Gilbert, spoke about the importance of those who paved the way: Bill Staines, Tom Rush and Utah Phillips. Vance’s was a generation that came up in the late 80s and early 90s and also included Ellis Paul, Martin Sexton and Dar Williams. Performers such as Tracy Chapman, Shawn Colvin and Tom Waits led the way as folk and pop dovetailed. 

Vance spoke about how he had to overcome expectations that as a black performer he would perform blues. Another panelist, Pura Fe, also commented on expectations. As a Native American artist, she and her group Ulali defied people’s expectations — their influences came from all over the world.  

Staying Healthy on the Road

When asked how performers can stay healthy on the road, Vance said, “Bring good running shoes and find time to run between gigs. Stay away from red meat, dairy and buffets, and eat healthy.” Next, Pura said, “Take juice and natural teas with you on the road.”  Then Bill said, “Think of every day as an opportunity to have something come into your life. Thinking something good might happen tomorrow keeps you going.”

One Piece of Advice from Folk Unlocked Speakers

Asked for one piece of advice, Vance Gilbert said, “Listen up. Tell your story and tell it with less.” Pure Fe said, “Don’t be afraid to say what you feel or to think. It’s important to say something.” Finally, Bill Staines advised, “Never think more of yourself than you do of your music. Stage fright comes from thinking about yourself. Instead focus on the music. It’s the music and what you have to say that’s important.”    

Influence and Staying Power

Vance Gilbert mentioned the influence Bill Staines had on him. He specifically pointed to Bill’s  song “Bridges.”  Take a listen: https://youtu.be/tY3aHSmnMyl

As Bill astutely said in his remarks, “A folk song is larger than the person who writes it.” He encouraged songwriters to write songs about the things we all know. At the same time, songwriters should write beyond themselves so the songs will stay around. “Write songs that celebrate the human spirit,” he urges. Bill’s songs such as “Bridges,” “All God’s Critters,” and “River” do exactly that.

International Folk Awards 2021

On the final day of the conference, the International Folk Awards were presented. Folk Alliance gave Lifetime Achievement Awards to Putamayo (award to an organization), Celia Cruz (legacy award to a deceased artist), and Gordon Lightfoot (award to a living artist).  The Clearwater Award for Environmental Activities was given to the Woodford Folk Festival in Queensland, Australia.

Reggie Harris received the Woodstock Folk Festival’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2015.
Reggie Harris received the Woodstock Folk Festival’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2015.

One of the Spirit of Folk Awards was given to Reggie Harris, who received the Woodstock Folk Festival’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2015. Singer-songwriter Raye Zaragoza received the inaugural Rising Tide Award for someone under 30 who inspires others. Raye’s mother is an immigrant from Japan, and her father is of Mexican and indigenous heritage. She draws from all of these and more. Many of her songs speak of social justice.  

The Alliance voted Long Time Passing by the Kronos Quartet and Friends, a tribute to Pete Seeger, as Album of the Year. The War and Treaty won Artist of the Year. And Eliza Gilkyson’s “Peace in Our Hearts” was named Song of the Year.  

Here’s a link to Song of the Year:  https://youtu.be/MPTtwiRUTdQ – But don’t stop there! Check out all of these artists and their music online. 

Peer Sessions

The Annual Conference also includes Peer Sessions, such as “Women,” “Festivals,” and “55+” as well as Panel Discussions such as “What Fans Want Now: Data-Driven Decisions.” 

Did you know that . . .

  • folk fans are 53% more likely than other music fans to want CDs and vinyl? 
  • audio and video streaming services are the # 1 source of music discovery for folk fans,
  • but there’s still a lot of appreciation for folk radio programs? 
  • folk listeners are 23% more likely to pay for music streaming?

Meeting the People Behind the Music

One of the joys of attending Folk Alliance is networking and socializing with other members of the folk community. This year we met virtually through Bramble Sessions, an effort to recreate meeting in a lobby or on an elevator.  

A major focus of the Conference is the opportunity to hear all types of musicians from all over the world. Usually there are Official (juried) showcases followed into the wee hours of the night by private showcases in performers’ hotel rooms. This year’s virtual conference featured  themed and geographically based showcases with artists from Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Brazil, and other places. 

There were also individual showcases. Among the performers I enjoyed were

  • The Accidentals
  • Alisa Amador
  • Kirby Brown
  • Annie & Rod Capps
  • Shemekia Copeland
  • Durham County Poets
  • Dom Flemons
  • Eric Gales
  • Gali Galo
  • Inn Echo
  • Kyshona
  • Dan Navarro
  • Heather Newman
  • Nobody’s Girl
  • Amanda Pascali
  • Shane Pendergast
  • Rev. Peyton’s Big Damn Band
  • Texicana Mamas
  • Suzie Vinnick
  • The Wildmans

Check out these artists online and stay tuned to woodstockfolkfestival.org where you may see some of these artists at future Festivals, concerts, and Woodstock Wednesdays.

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National Women’s History Month | Woodstock Wednesdays Premieres Katherine Rondeau | March 3, 7pm/CST

Perfect for National Women’s History Month! Katherine Rondeau’s voice holds holds authenticity and soul in every note. Modern folk music in the finest tradition of the form. Justin Helmer, KVSC-FM

The Woodstock Folk Festival brings quality folk music to our community. Katherine kicks off National Women’s History Month, 7pm/CST this Wednesday, March 3!

Show your support and appreciation by going to katherinerondeau.com to purchase CDs.

Here’s your LINK to Katherine Rondeau’s show on March 3.

Visit our Video Gallery anytime after the show to enjoy it again or share with others. While you’re there, check out past performers’ shows such as Rev. Robert Jones and Matt Watroba or Pete Morton.

Folk music lovers: Want to receive email updates each Monday from the Woodstock Folk Festival? Then subscribe in the right column of every page of this site. Want more folk music online and real time? Then use the Donate button just above the subscription form.

Featured Performer: Katherine Rondeau

Katherine’s Woodstock Wednesdays video includes segments from the Folk Alliance International 2020 Conference and the 2018 Falcon Ridge Folk Festival. Chicago-area musician Eric Lambert accompanies her on guitar. 

Katherine Rondeau is a bold voice in the folk world and Unfortunate Point of View showcases her strengths as a dynamic songwriter and singer. Chris Kocher, WHRW-FM

Her January 2019 release, Unfortunate Point of View, self-produced with the assistance of award-winning engineer Glenn Barratt, is still shared with folk audiences by iconic folk DJs across the world. The album has enjoyed one full year on the Folk DJ charts! It is the #4 album for January with #1 original song. Appearing on the weekly NACC Top 30 Folk charts for nine weeks, Unfortunate Point of View establishes Katherine Rondeau as a major voice on the national folk scene.

The theme for this year’s National Women’s History Month is “Valiant Women of the Vote: Refusing To Be Silenced.” Katherine’s powerful protest song, “Raise Up Your Hand,” relates to this theme. We hope she’ll sing that at this year’s Festival!

See also: For more on the theme of “valiant women”:

Katherine is scheduled to perform at the Woodstock Folk Festival on July 18, 2021, in honor of National Women's History Month
Katherine is scheduled to perform at the Woodstock Folk Festival on July 18, 2021, in honor of National Women’s History Month

After bursting onto the Philly folk scene in 2015, Katherine was quickly recognized for her rich, bold voice and engaging performance style. How to describe Katherine’s music? Her voice – strong, soulful, warm – rings out like a bell on a clear summer’s night. Her original songs draw audiences in and take them on journeys both real and imagined. Whether sharing stories of love lost and found, calling out robust anthems of peace and justice, or reimagining classic songs from the Folk Revival, there is no mistaking that Katherine has earned her place at the table!

Listen to some of Katherine’s CDs — then look at videos on her website, katherinerondeau.com. Subscribe to the “Rondeau-View” to keep up to date on Katherine’s news!

Finally, plan to enjoy Katherine’s performance from New Jersey for our July 18, 2021 Woodstock Folk Festival.

Honor National Women’s History Month with Katherine’s Woodstock Wednesdays Performance!

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Just what you need! How to get official Woodstock Folk Festival masks …

Woodstock Folk Festival Masks - Get yours through Read Between the Lynes or Warp Corps.
Woodstock Folk Festival Masks – Get yours from Read Between the Lynes or Warp Corps.

Exciting news! We now have Woodstock Folk Festival masks for sale at WARP CORPS & READ BETWEEN THE LYNES on the historic Woodstock Square.

$15 for 3 layers of protection!

If you want to stay safe while you “shop local” and at the same time support the Festival, Warp Corps, and Read Between the Lynes, then call one of these vendors to get your mask.

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Views expressed by performers and others who appear at Woodstock 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.

Posted in Online Events, Woodstock Wednesdays | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on National Women’s History Month | Woodstock Wednesdays Premieres Katherine Rondeau | March 3, 7pm/CST

Rev. Robert Jones & Matt Watroba | Honoring Black History Month

Rev. Robert Jones and Matt Watroba have been musical partners for over 30 years presenting roots music that unites people! We are excited to have them perform for us in honor of Black History Month.
Rev. Robert Jones and Matt Watroba have been musical partners for over 30 years presenting roots music that unites people! We are excited to have them perform for us in honor of Black History Month.

The Woodstock Folk Festival brings quality folk music to our community. February 24 in honor of Black History Month Woodstock Wednesdays presents Rev. Robert Jones and Matt Watroba.

Show your support and appreciation by going to revrobertjones.com and mattwatroba.net to purchase CDs, make a donation or learn about virtual shows.

Here’s your link for the show on February 24.

Visit our Video Gallery anytime after the show to enjoy again or share with others. While you’re there, check out past performers’ shows such as Pete Morton or The Flyin’ A’s.

Folk music lovers: Want to receive email updates each Monday from the Woodstock Folk Festival? Then subscribe in the right column of every page of this site. Want more folk music online and real time? Then use the Donate button just above the subscription form.

Featured Performers for Black History Month: Rev. Robert Jones & Matt Watroba

Rev. Robert Jones, Sr. is a native Detroiter and an inspirational storyteller and musician.

TrueFire Online Guitar Lessons on Traditional Blues and Gospel
TrueFire Online Guitar Lessons on Traditional Blues and Gospel – check it out by clicking on the picture.

In live performances, he celebrates the history, humor and the power of American Roots music. As he interweaves timeless stories with original and traditional songs, Robert shares his deep love for traditional African-American and American traditional music.

Robert entertains and educates audiences of all ages in schools, colleges, libraries, union halls, prisons, churches and civil rights organizations. At the heart of his message is the belief that cultural diversity is a story to celebrate, not just tolerate.

Blues Chronicles videos feature music and stories of Blues history. If you want to enjoy songs by Blind Lemon Jefferson, Son House and many more, then use the link to check them out. Take advantage of this opportunity to explore the roots of African American music.

Known to many as the voice of folk music in Michigan, Matt Watroba was born in Detroit and raised in Plymouth, Michigan.

Matt looks forward to holding community sings in person in the future! For now, you can sing along with Matt’s CDs!
Matt looks forward to holding community sings in person in the future! For now, you can sing along with Matt’s CDs!

Matt holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Eastern Michigan University, where he majored in English Language & Literature with a minor in Theatre Arts and Communication.  Throughout his high school and college career, Matt performed in a variety of plays and productions. Eventually, these experiences inspired his love and enthusiasm for communicating to an audience from the stage. Matt gravitated, though, mainly toward music and education as his main vehicles of expression.

Many know Matt as the voice of folk music in Michigan thanks to his work with WDET–Detroit Public Radio.Watroba came in contact with many aspects of folk music and culture through his work. He produced and hosted the Folks Like Us program and the nationally syndicated Sing Out Radio Magazine and Folk Alley. These experiences then helped shape a repertoire and presentation unique on stages across the state and country. Now he wants to inspire the world to sing — one town at a time.

In 2019, Matt was inducted into the Folk DJ Hall of Fame at the Folk Alliance International conference in Montreal. Now you can hear “Folk With Matt Watroba” on Michigan State Public Media, WKAR in East Lansing, MI. The show runs from 6-8pm (Eastern) on Sunday nights. Want to listen in? Then you can stream it at wkar.org.

Common Chords: Creating Connections Through Music & the Arts – Just Right for Black History Month

Click on the picture to watch the Common Chords video.
Click on the picture to watch the Common Chords video.

In 2019, Matt Watroba and Robert Jones co-founded the Detroit Non-Profit, Common Chords. The purpose of Common Chords is to create connections through music and the arts in order to bring us into a common understanding of one another. Through Common Chords, Matt and Robert want to promote an idea of community that showcases qualities we have in common while celebrating the diversity that makes us different. To educate and build community, they use the tools of artistic expression. Using the spirit of the folk tradition, they teach through demonstration and encouraging imitation. That then leads to innovation.

COMMON CHORDS provides programs to augment and enhance the impact of education curricula. There are virtual programs for every grade level and for adults.

Enjoy Robert and Matt presenting music and songs from blues, bluegrass, jazz, folk, rock, Motown, to hip-hop. It is music that breaks down barriers and brings people together!

African American History Month This Web portal is a collaborative project of the Library of Congress and the National Endowment for the Humanities, National Gallery of Art, National Park Service, Smithsonian Institution, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and U.S. National Archives and Records Administration.

Other Dedicated Web Sites

African American History Month Resources

National Endowment for the Humanities – African American History and Culture in the United States

National Park Service – Black History Month

Smithsonian Institution – National Museum of African American History and Culture

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum – Black History Month

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Just what you need! How to get official Woodstock Folk Festival masks …

Woodstock Folk Festival Masks - Get yours through Read Between the Lynes or Warp Corps.
Woodstock Folk Festival Masks – Get yours from Read Between the Lynes or Warp Corps.

Exciting news! We now have Woodstock Folk Festival masks for sale at WARP CORPS & READ BETWEEN THE LYNES on the historic Woodstock Square.

$15 for 3 layers of protection!

If you want to stay safe while you “shop local” and at the same time support the Festival, Warp Corps, and Read Between the Lynes, then call one of these vendors to get your mask.

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Views expressed by performers and others who appear at Woodstock 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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Pete Morton Folk Singer | Woodstock Wednesdays | Feb. 17

Pete Morton virtually from the UK! Singer songwriter whose songs of social commentary are deeply embedded with music of the British Isles.
Pete Morton virtually from the UK! Singer songwriter whose songs of social commentary are deeply embedded with music of the British Isles.

The Woodstock Folk Festival brings quality folk music to our community. Next up: enjoy our February 17 artist, Pete Morton, singer, songwriter, “folk rapper.” Show your support and appreciation by going to petemorton.com to purchase CDs or music to download. Then on Friday, February 19, go to twowaystreet.org at 8pm/CST to hear a livestream concert by Pete. He is scheduled to perform at the Woodstock Folk Festival in July, 2021.

Your link for the Premiere on February 17.

Visit our Video Gallery anytime after the show to enjoy again or share with others. While you’re there, check out past performers shows such as The Flyin’ A’s or Lia Nicine McCoo.

Folk music lovers: Want to receive email updates each Monday from the Woodstock Folk Festival? Then subscribe in the right column of every page of this site. Want more folk music online and real time? Then use the Donate button just above the subscription form.

Featured Performer: Pete Morton

For almost thirty years, Pete Morton has toured the folk scene throughout Europe, North America and beyond, performing self-penned songs. These songs of social commentary alongside original interpretations of traditional ballads are deeply embedded with music of the British Isles. Pete gets high marks as one of the best on the contemporary roots music scene.

Pete’s latest CD delivers his unruly mix of humor, politics, love and social comment wrapping their way around the tradition.

With a catalogue of studio albums recorded over the years, Pete regularly performs on guitar and writes. Still, he considers himself a singer first and foremost.

Often referred to as an old style troubadour, he has a compelling stage presence and approachable style. He delivers a unique unruly mix of humor, politics, love and social comment wrapping their way around the tradition. Songs like “Another Train” and “When We Sing Together” have become folk club standards.

If you want to hear what’s best in contemporary roots music, then be sure to listen in on Pete Morton’s Show!

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Woodstock Folk Festival Masks

Just what you need! How to get official Woodstock Folk Festival masks …

Exciting news! We now have Woodstock Folk Festival masks for sale at WARP CORPS & READ BETWEEN THE LYNES on the historic Woodstock Square.

$15 for 3 layers of protection!

If you want to stay safe while you “shop local,” and at the same time support the Festival, Warp Corps, and Read Between the Lynes, then call one of these vendors to get your mask.

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Views expressed by performers and others who appear at Woodstock 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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Valentine’s Day Special! | The Flyin’ A’s | Woodstock Wednesdays | Premieres Wednesday, February 10, 7pm/CST

See our upcoming Woodstock Wednesdays show from The Flyin’ A’s – Photo by Todd V. Wolfson

The Woodstock Folk Festival brings quality folk music to our community. Enjoy the performance by The Flyin’ A’s to celebrate Valentine’s Day. Show your appreciation by going to theflyinas.com and purchasing their CDs and other merchandise. Make a difference!

HERE is your link to the special video for Valentine’s Day

Visit our Video Gallery anytime after the show to enjoy again or share with others. While you’re there, check out past performers shows such as Lia Nicine McCoo or Spook Handy.

Folk music lovers: Want to receive email updates each Monday from the Woodstock Folk Festival? Just subscribe in the right column of every page of this site. Want more folk music online and real time? Then use the Donate button just above the subscription form.

Featured Performers: The Flyin’ A’s

The Flyin’ A’s latest album, “You Drive Me Crazy,” was selected to be on the 2017 first round Grammy Ballot.

The Flyin’ A’s perform Americana with a Texas Kick. They performed at the Woodstock Folk Festival in 2010. We are thrilled they are performing for Woodstock Wednesdays.

This husband and wife duo hails from Austin, Texas. You can hear their Texas roots in all they do.  This high energy duo is famous for their top notch songwriting, breathtaking harmonies and exceptional live performance. 

Their latest album, “You Drive Me Crazy,” was selected to be on the 2017 first round Grammy Ballot. It has taken them on tour around the US, UK, and EU. Check out some Flyin’ A’s videos of performances in the U.S. and Europe at The Flyin’ A’s Video.

From Stuart Adamson’s outstanding lead guitar work and gritty vocals to Hilary Claire Adamson’s powerhouse vocal gymnastics and lilting harmonies, it is no wonder this duo is quickly gaining momentum at home and abroad.  They combine the best of Texas country, southern blues, folk and gospel to create an original sound that is all their own. 

Online Shows from The Flyin’ A’s

The Flyin’ A’s now have a weekly online show and socially distanced safe live shows too! Check out Tuneful Tuesday, a weekly online show every Tuesday, 5:30pm Texas time, 11:30pm UK time or 10:30am NZ time – www.facebook.com/the flyinas. Two big announcements are on the way over the next two shows. If you want to know what’s up, then stop in to find out!

Enjoy The Flyin’ A’s performance!

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In other Festival news…

Bill Camplin Performs on Folkstage, WFMT 98.7 FM, Saturday, February 6, 8-9pm/CST!

Bill Camplin Feb. 6, 2021 on WFMT

Tune in to WFMT 98.7 FM or go to WFMT.com as Rich Warren, Folkstage producer, hosts Bill Camplin from 8-9pm/CST! Rich Warren has co-hosted the Woodstock Folk Festival and was the recipient of one of the Festival’s Inaugural “Woody” awards in 2018. WFMT is a Radio Partner of the Festival. Enjoy Bill Camplin‘s January 13 performance for Woodstock Wednesdays by clicking on the picture on the right.

Woodstock Folk Festival masks for sale at Warp Corps & Read Between the Lynes. $15 for 3 layers of protection!

Just what you need! How to get official Woodstock Folk Festival mask…

Exciting news! We now have Woodstock Folk Festival masks for sale at WARP CORPS & READ BETWEEN THE LYNES on the historic Woodstock Square.

$15 for 3 layers of protection!

Stay safe while you “shop local,” supporting the Festival, Warp Corps and Read Between the Lynes.

Views expressed by performers and others who appear at Woodstock 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.

Posted in Folk Music, Online Events, Woodstock Wednesdays | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on Valentine’s Day Special! | The Flyin’ A’s | Woodstock Wednesdays | Premieres Wednesday, February 10, 7pm/CST