"There’s just something about Ellis. She is at once funny and wise, thoughtful and uninhibited, and her captivating voice is matched by her uplifting lyrics. If you looked up the definition of open-hearted in the dictionary, you just might find her photo there. Ellis’ performances are transformational; she leaves her audiences better than she finds them, with softened edges & opened hearts."
"Ellis walks on stage, flashes a bashful grin and does what she does best: singing her heart out every single time. She has a lovely voice, guitar chops and a graceful songwriting style; however, there is something about her live performance that is transformational. The sum is greater than the parts, and she is amazing."
— Dale Schiff, Just Out (Portland)
Danielle Howle and The Ruby Brunettes return to the UU Coffeehouse concert series in partnership with the The Palmetto Sessions, a pilot event where we will film two SC based artists in front of a live audience.
Music on the main stage starts 7:30 p.m. with The Ruby Brunettes followed by Danielle Howle.
This concert will be located at 2701 Heyward Street, the corner of Heyward and Woodrow Streets, in Shandon.
To reserve your tickets in advance by call 803-200-2824 with your name and number of guests or by reserving your tickets online.
Help us make a Pilot video event, where we film two musical artists in front of a live audience.
Doors Open at 6:30 PM and the main show starts at 7:30 PM.
All tickets are $15 and this show will be recorded and posted to the internet. You may purchase tickets for this show by going here.
Check out this link if you would be interested in supporting this crowd funded event.
Chuck Brodsky is a storyteller, a songwriter, a troubador, a modern day bard. His acoustic guitar and voice draw you in with genuine, down-to-earth warmth and quirky, rootsy, finely crafted songs. Chuck’s wit and irony, set to haunting melodies delivered over syncopated guitar strumming or sweet fingerpicking, tells stories of oddball and underdog characters.
His songs celebrate the goodness in people, the eccentric, the holy, the profound, the courageous, the inspiring, the beautiful. They poke fun at what needs poking, and sometimes challenge what needs to be challenged. They’re sworn to tell the truth.
Born and raised in Philadelphia, a very young Chuck fell in love with the piano and despite taking lessons, still managed to teach himself to play. Years later, on his first day at university orientation, gazing out the window he was inspired by two guys playing guitars. Chuck bought a guitar and enrolled in the school of life. Influenced by Bob Dylan, Woody Guthrie, Lowell George, John Hartford, Jackson Browne, Bruce Springsteen, Greg Brown, The Rolling Stones, and Nic Jones, Chuck began writing songs in a unique style of his own while paying homage to the traditions.
After hitch-hiking to San Francisco and performing weekly at the Tattoo Rose Café open mic, Chuck spent a few years singing for tips on the streets of Europe, and worked as a fruit picker back in the USA. He played in coffeehouses throughout the San Francisco Bay Area in the late 1980’s. Chuck won the "Emerging Songwriter Award" at the Napa Valley Folk Festival in 1992, and was warmly embraced at the Kerrville Folk Festival in Texas the following year.
Over the past 20 years Chuck has performed at festivals and in concert all across the USA, Canada, Ireland, Denmark, England, Israel, Lithuania, Latvia, Wales, and the Shetland Islands of Scotland. His ten albums have received world wide critical acclaim, including Chuck’s recent release “The Baseball Ballads 2” (2013). Early cds were produced in Atlanta by Sugarland’s Kristian Bush. His most recent four studio recordings were produced in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, by J.P. Cormier.
"Free Planet Radio is the freshest group out there right now. It is a perfect blend of all things good" - Micharl Lipsey-Professor of Percussion, Aaron Copland School of Music - CUNY
For music that is beautiful, complex, diverse and played by masters of their instruments, look no further than the trio of Chris Rosser, River Guerguerian and Eliot Wadopian. Collectively they're a world fusion trio called Free Planet Radio and the sum of the whole is pretty powerful, especially considering the strength of the parts. All three are skilled craftsmen who come together with some pretty powerful sounds that cross from East to West with jazzy and sometimes dizzying forays into odd times, syncopations and electronic sounds.
The coast is calling, and Shannon Whitworth is packed and ready.
If her first two albums were cross-country treks (and they were, taking her across the U.S. and Canada in support of Chris Isaak and the Tedeschi-Trucks Band), High Tide is a trans-Atlantic voyage. Leaving all preconceptions of the banjo-wielding songstress behind, Whitworth’s new adventure steers into waters both familiar and refreshingly new.
Since her days as the anchor voice and songwriter of lauded N.C. ensemble The Biscuit Burners, Shannon Whitworth has attracted international attention with her passionate presence and a talent that’s evident within moments of taking the stage.
Whitworth’s swoon-inducing style found its first showcase in her Asheville-produced solo debut, 2007’s No Expectations. Followed by 2009’s critically-acclaimed Water Bound (an album that drew comparisons to Emmylou Harris’ Wrecking Ball), Whitworth garnered praise in outlets ranging from People magazine to Garden & Gun. Her honest reinterpretation of ‘Americana,’ a la Mark Knopfler meets Norah Jones and the ghost of Julie London, has garnered Whitworth prime appearances from Philledelphia Folk Festival to Yosemite’s Strawberry Music Festival to Nashville’s own Ryman Auditorium.
Back home last year after endless months traveling coast-to-coast, Whitworth took time to relax on her Brevard, N.C. farm, painting in her barn-cum-studio and letting songs come naturally to her. Organic and pure in its origins and execution, High Tide is poised to outfit Whitworth’s vessel for a figurative ocean crossing.From the first rolling rhythms, it’s evident that this album charts new waters. A Gibson SG joins Whitworth’s quiver of acoustic guitar, banjo and ukelele, and for the first time, the band is her own. Whereas her first two efforts utilized seasoned Nashville studio pros, High Tide calls upon the people who know her music best, from producer Seth Kauffman (Floating Action) to bassist Bill Reynolds (Band of Horses).
Read more at Shannon Whitworth's website.
Dayna Kurtz is one of the richest voices to grace the stage at the UU Coffeehouse. If you haven't heard her, you won't want to miss her concert here Saturday, Nov. 15, 2014. If you have heard her, we expect you'll be back. She's working on a new album that should be out in early 2015. For information on how to support that project, go to this PledgeMusic website. Below is a 2012 bio from Dayna's website.
"Listening to Dayna's voice was like a drug. It wasn't just her tone or her range or her power, which, if I knew anything about vocal technique, I could praise at length. No, it was something emotional. Her voice sounded like desperation hurled into the world with exquisite control." Steve Almond, from the essay, “Dayna Kurtz sings the World a Lullabye” in Rock and Roll Will Save Your Life
"I know they may seem different on the surface,” Dayna Kurtz says of American Standard and Secret Canon, Vol. 1, the two disparate yet complementary albums that she's releasing simultaneously. "But they're both branches coming off the same root, to me."
Over the past decade, the Brooklyn-based vocalist/writer/musician/producer has built a formidable body of recordings, won an international reputation as a riveting live performer, amassed an extensive file of rapturous critical raves, (3rd Coast Music in Austin, TX writes, “Kurtz is the kind of artist who teaches us ink- stained wretches to be miserly with superlatives, so we’ll still have a stock of them when she comes around.”) and earned an equally devoted audience of fans around the world. She's achieved these distinctions on her own terms, releasing five albums and a live DVD on her own Kismet label, touring around the world on her own dime, and building a remarkably loyal fan base one person at a time.
Armed with an uncanny ability to stun audiences into submission, this musical free spirit has consistently refused to be pinned down by a single style or genre, building an inspired body of work that draws strength from a bottomless wellspring of American jazz, pop, blues, folk and country. The cinematic poetry of her songwriting is matched by the power of her voice, a rich, distinctly resonant instrument that's capable of immense emotional depth.
Kurtz's iconoclastic approach is underlined by her decision to simultaneously release American Standard and Secret Canon, Vol. 1. Individually, each disc offers ample evidence of Kurtz's abundant talent. Together, they make a deeply compelling case for her status as a deeply adventurous, one-of-a-kind artist.
"These two records, " she explains, "cover the two dominant strands of blues-based DNA that wind through my musical body. One of those strands is American roots music from the traditions of rock 'n' roll and country, and the other is my lifelong love of smoky mid-century chanteuse records from the R&B and jazz bins."
American Standard is a typically expansive Kurtz set, from the plaintive intimacy of "Invocation" to the rockabilly-inflected swing of "Good in '62" to the languid Mississippi grind of "Billboards for Jesus." She recorded half of the album with her longtime drummer/co-producer Randy Crafton and her live band at Crafton's analog studio Kaleidoscope Sound in New Jersey, before she and Crafton traveled to Memphis' fabled Ardent Studios. At Ardent, they cut several tracks with Sun Records rockabilly legend Sonny Burgess and his band, the Legendary Pacers, whose members are all in their 70s and 80s and whose last personnel change occurred in 1961. From there, they moved to New Orleans, where they recorded the ebullient "Election Day" with local brass band the Nightcrawlers (recently featured in HBO's Treme).
Along with several bracing Kurtz originals, American Standard spotlights the artist's uncanny skill as an interpreter of other songwriters' compositions. She turns Elliott Smith's "Don't Go Down" into a howling, desperate blues plea, while bringing a haunting warmth to Paul Westerberg's "Here Comes a Regular," on which Kurtz plays lap steel and French/Israeli chanteuse Keren Ann provides backing vocals. She also breathes new fire into the '50s rockabilly nugget "Lou Lou Knows," and tackles Sonny Burgess' "Hangin' Round My Baby" with an organic passion that's reciprocated by Burgess and the Pacers.
"I've always been a bit of a genre outlaw. which I guess makes it a little rough to market me," Kurtz states. "But I'm in love with music, not with genres. If it's a great song, it's a great song. The songs I wrote for American Standard, and the songs that I covered for it, were deeply influenced by my recent obsession with collecting 'lost' songs by forgotten singers on regional labels."
Secret Canon, Vol. 1, recorded live to tape in New Jersey and New Orleans, spotlights Kurtz's sublime interpretive abilities, with the artist putting her stamp on such obscure gems as "Do I Love You," a startlingly intimate ballad by seminal Texas/L.A. blues-jazz figure Floyd Dixon; "Sweet Lotus Blossom," a 1930s-vintage ode to addiction; "If Yesterday Could Only Be Tomorrow" and "Come In Out of the Rain," both originally recorded by a pre-pop stardom Nat "King" Cole with his jazz-blues combo the King Cole Trio; and the memorably titled "Don't Fuck Around with Love," originally a tongue-in-cheek doo wop novelty in 1962 by Boston vocal group the Blenders.
"I love finding Great Lost Songs and Great Lost Singers, and I'm drawn to artists and songs that fall through the cracks," Kurtz notes. "My favorite period for that is the mid-late '50s and early '60s, because the lines between genres hadn't really been drawn yet. There were so many wonderful storefront record labels during that period, and so many regional artists and writers released so many brilliant songs that were only heard by a handful of people. And they're still out there, for those who are willing to dig."
Most of Secret Canon, Vol. 1 was recorded with Kurtz's longstanding live band, i.e. co-producer Crafton on drums, Dave Richards on upright bass and Peter Vitalone on piano and organ. Kurtz recorded the album's lone original, the Brill Building-inspired "Not the Only Fool In Town," in New Orleans with George Porter Jr., legendary bassist of the seminal funk combo The Meters, and Crescent City piano master David Torkanowsky.
"When I was putting together Secret Canon, I was listening to Sam Cooke's Nightbeat an awful lot, and in many ways that was my model for this album," she continues. "We started by recording nine songs in one marathon session, from about four in the afternoon until three in the morning. We'd talk through the changes, the endings, the feel. Then we'd roll tape, do one or two takes of each song, and then move on to the next one. When I listened to them the next day, they were all keepers. We did two more sessions like that, then one in New Orleans and then another one back in New Jersey. But six of the songs on the record were from that first marathon session."
Dayna Kurtz's propensity for musical rule-breaking was forged early in life, and she was still in her teens when she began performing her compositions in public. After releasing the low-key live disc Otherwise Luscious Life, she won considerable acclaim for her impressively accomplished studio efforts Postcards from Downtown and Beautiful Yesterday. The former put Kurtz on the map in Europe and was particularly successful in Holland, where it became a Top 20 seller, culminating in sold-out headlining shows at Amsterdam's fabled Paradiso (one of which became Kurtz's first DVD, Postcards from Amsterdam).
Along the way, Kurtz was named Female Songwriter of the Year by the National Academy of Songwriters. Norah Jones and Bonnie Raitt have raved about her in interviews, and she's performed on such high-profile radio shows as World Cafe, Mountain Stage and NPR's Morning Edition. She's toured with and/or opened for the likes of Elvis Costello, Antony and the Johnsons, Richard Thompson, Rufus Wainwright, B.B. King, Dr. John, Richie Havens, Keren Ann, Joe Henry, Olu Dara, Chris Whitley, Richard Buckner, Ladysmith Black Mambazo and the Blind Boys of Alabama. And best-selling author Steve Almond spends an entire chapter singing her praises in his book about music obsession, Rock and Roll Will Save Your Life. ("Listening to Dayna's voice was like a drug. It wasn't just her tone or her range or her power, which, if I knew anything about vocal technique, I could praise at length. No, it was something emotional. Her voice sounded like desperation hurled into the world with exquisite control.")
Perhaps the strongest evidence of the enduring rapport between Kurtz and her audience is the fact that American Standard and Secret Canon, Vol. 1 were financed almost entirely through the donations of fans who contributed via the artist's website (www.daynakurtz.com) in order to facilitate the creation and dissemination of her new music.
Although it's been three years since her last release, Kurtz has hardly been idle. She spent much of 2011 touring through North America, South America, Europe and Australia. She and longtime collaborator Randy Crafton produced a Top Five record for the Dutch band Room Eleven. She also produced a 10-inch vinyl tribute to the great folk singer Hazel Dickens in collaboration fellow Brooklynite Mamie Minch, as well as a pair of 7" vinyl singles with Keren Ann and My Brightest Diamond. She also took some Masters-level poetry classes at the New School in New York, and took her first-ever guitar lessons in order to beef up her rockabilly chops.
"I'd rather risk being called a dilettante than be stuck just using just two crayons out of the big box," Kurtz states, adding, "The lyrics sing themselves to me and tell me what they want. Some of them want a brass band. Some of them want a rockabilly combo. Some of them want a Cajun waltz. Some of them want a searing lap steel guitar. And some of them, like most of Secret Canon, Vol. 1, want long late-night sessions with great jazz and blues players, played live to tape. I'm always just trying to do the best I can to serve the song."
Nearly a decade after folk-rock duo Sarah Lee Guthrie and Johnny Irion put out their first album together, the husband-and-wife pair feel like they’ve finally hit their stride on Wassaic Way, a collection of 11 new songs to be released in 2013 on Rte 8 Records.
Produced by Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy and Patrick Sansone at the Loft in Chicago, Wassaic Way finds Guthrie and Irion pushing further beyond the folky sound they established on 2005’s Exploration, their first studio LP. After Irion’s solo album Ex Tempore in 2007, the live album Folksong in 2009 and the children’s collection Go Waggaloo in 2009, the pair began expanding their sonic horizons on 2011’s Bright Examples, an album that drew praise from American Songwriter magazine for its “lush, dreamy sound.”
“This record is a departure from a folk duo,” Irion says. “I think this is the best example we’ve been able to present that shows the many facets of what we can do. There’s loud guitars, there’s soundscapes, there’s a lushness to it, there’s a popness, an edge. But that can be difficult sometimes to bring it all together and present it.”
Sarah Lee Guthrie and Johnny Irion go on the air with Live & Direct, a program of public radio station WYEP in Pittsburgh in November 2013. They perform "Hurricane Window" and "Not Feeling It" from their 2013 album "Wassaic Way."
Sarah Lee and Johnny video for "Chairman Meow," a song on the new album "Wassaic Way."
Wassaic Way is also the latest entry in an ongoing creative relationship between the Guthrie family and Wilco. Sarah Lee is the daughter of Arlo Guthrie, and the granddaughter of the iconic folk singer Woody Guthrie, whose unfinished songs Wilco recorded with Billy Bragg on a pair of Mermaid Avenue albums in 1998 and 2000. Wilco also invited Sarah Lee and Johnny to perform at the band’s Solid Sound Festival in 2011, and the duo had toured with the Autumn Defense, Sansone’s project with Wilco bassist John Stirratt.
After recording most of Bright Examples live with a band, the duo credits Tweedy and Sansone in helping them put the new songs together in the studio. They had plenty of material to choose from: Before convening in Chicago last year, Guthrie and Irion sent along nearly 50 demos for Tweedy and Sansone to sort through. Once they got to the Loft, Tweedy pushed them to revise and tighten up the tunes they had decided on.
“We actually ended up rewriting a lot of these songs with Jeff in the studio,” Guthrie says. “We would powwow on a song before we got going on it, sometimes for two hours at the beginning of the day, just me and Johnny and Jeff, making sure it was lyrically sound and there were no musical loopholes.”
In a Stairwell in Guelph, Ontario, Sarah Lee and Johnny perform "9 outta 10 times" from their new album "Wassaic Way" in 2013.
You can hear it throughout Wassaic Way, in the buoyant pop of album opener “Chairman Meow,” the wistful melody threading through an enveloping beat on “Not Feeling It” and the moody atmospherics underpinning “Nine Out of Ten Times.” Guthrie and Irion also haven’t abandoned their folky roots, as demonstrated by the harmonica and Dobro on the lilting acoustic number “Hurricane Window.” Tweedy and Sansone played on the album, along with multi-instrumentalist Charlie Rose and drummer Otto Hauser, which they recorded in bursts over a period of a few months.
“It was the first time we’d ever taken our time with a record and really gotten it right,” Irion says. “When I listen to the album, there’s not much I would change, and that’s hard to say with other records we’ve made.”
Although Guthrie and Irion perform as a duo, they rarely write that way. With all the time they spend together on tour, and at home raising their two daughters, writing songs is more of a solitary pursuit for each of them. As studio dates approach, they share what they’ve come up with and offer suggestions and ideas.
“Writing is kind of an escape from the work that we do together as a family and on the road,” Irion says.
“It definitely echoes exactly who we are,” Guthrie chimes in. “Johnny’s full of melodies and really creative chord structures. He’s constantly working on a song that’s better than the last one. I tend to be a lot simpler, and sometimes songs tend to flow through me, rather than me crafting it as much. I’m a lot lazier than him.”
Irion adds, “I end up writing a bunch of songs, and Sarah Lee will write two, and one of them will be the single.”
Any of the songs on Wassaic Way could be a single, which speaks to the strength of the songwriting, and also to Guthrie and Irion’s underlying goal: they wanted an album that moves them one step closer to getting at the heart of who they are as writers and performers.
“Every record has been a huge learning curve, and you get pushed beyond your limits, and then your limits are way bigger,” Guthrie says. “I think we’re still at the beginning of what we can do as recording artists. I think we’re just starting to carve a path that we can walk on.”
Sara Lee Guthrie & Caitlin Stubbs - "Victor Jara"
Live at The Pavilion Theatre, Brighton, 2nd October, 2011, performing a song written by Caitlin's grandfather (Adrian Mitchell) and Sara Lee's father (Arlo Guthrie). This gentle collision of musical ancestry was a happy coincidence, and Caitlin and Sara Lee had only one brief rehearsal together in the dressing room before this performance.
Nineteen 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
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. Eighteen 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.
From the start, they’ve called themselves eclecto-maniacs and described their music as “Celtic to Cowboy."
They say it has taken them “years of careful indecision” to come up with a mix of music that ranges from
country, blues, and swing to Irish, with songwriting that touches on all of those styles and more. Their four
recordings, Alive!, Waltz of the Wa"flowers, Time Flies and Raw demonstrate that “indecision” can be
wonderfully entertaining . They both sing, they both play guitars and an array of other instruments. They