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VIDEOS: Unique Michigan-based stringband visit Mansfield on Saturday

2015 March 19
by Steve Ide, with press material

When I first heard of Lindsay Lou & the Flatbellys, my first reaction was: who? I’ve heard of a lot of stringbands over time, and a roots ensemble from Michigan was not on my radar. But as a volunteer at Mansfield’s Rose Garden Coffeehouse for some 25 years, I’ve come to expect the unexpected. It was only a few years ago that the coffeehouse’s artistic director, Mac McLanahan, introduced me to the music of the Steel Wheels — another stringband I had never heard of. I gave them a chance and now have come to love that band, and I’ve seen them perform multiple times. With that in mind, I started listening to Lindsay Lou and the Flatbellys — and I’ve not been disappointed.

Lindsay Lou and her band will perform this Saturday at 8 p.m. in the Rose Garden, now in its 26th season and one of the premier coffeehouses in the state. This remarkably fun, young roots ensemble has a snappy sound, tight harmonies as the perform folk, pop, Americana, bluegrass and original songs. Lindsay Lou’s sweet, powerful vocals, tinged with blues and jazzy undertones, leave a lasting impression. You just have to hear this band to appreciate that they will be going places. read more…


Acoustic band Driftwood to perform March 6 at me & thee coffeehouse, with opener Laney Jones

2015 February 23
by Kathy Sands-Boehmer

MARBLEHEAD, Mass. — On Friday, March 6th, the me & thee coffeehouse is happy to open the doors for a concert with Americana and roots band, Driftwood. The opening act is Laney Jones, a Berklee College of Music student who is turning heads all over the country with her original homespun music.  Doors open at 7:30 PM for this 8:00 PM show at the me&thee coffeehouse which is located at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Marblehead at 28 Mugford Street.

From the Binghamton, New York music scene comes Driftwood, a band with a rock n’ roll soul and a folk art mind. Carving out a name for themselves with electrifying live performances, they bring one of the most unique, raw sounds to today’s music scene. Incorporating upright bass, banjo, acoustic guitar and violin, the ghost of traditional American folk music lives in their palette. But the melodies, the harmonies and the lyrics are something else entirely. read more…


VIDEOS: Les Sampou, with opener Random Chants on Saturday, Feb. 28 in East Weymouth, Mass.

2015 February 16
by Victor DeRubeis
Music at Sanctuary Hall, Weymouth

Chase away those winter blues with, well, some blues when singer-songwriter Les Sampou appears at East Weymouth’s Music at Sanctuary Hall on Saturday, Feb. 28.

Sampou, whose Americana music is full of twang and blues, has a musical career that has spanned five recordings and countless listening rooms, bars, and festivals as well as over several hundred thousand miles of road, is making her first appearance at the Jackson Square music venue, held in the sanctuary of East Weymouth Congregational Church, 1320 Commercial St. read more…


VIDEOS: Rhonda Vincent, Del, Seldom Scene top Joe Val Bluegrass Festival for 30th year

2015 February 5
2015 Joe Val Bluegrass Festival

Over the years, I have watched music festivals come and go. Organizers change or pass on, and music events that seem like they will live on forever vanish, leaving fans wondering what happened. The Boston area, however, has been treated to a bluegrass festival that has grown and flourished. When the Joe Val Bluegrass Festival runs from Feb. 13-15, 2015, it will be celebrating its 30th year.

This year featuring award-winning acts such as The Seldom Scene, Jim Lauderdale with Della Mae, the Grammy-award-winning Del McCoury Band and Grammy-nominated Rhonda Vincent and the Rage, the highly touted Joe Val Bluegrass Festival not only has endured, it’s become a launching pad for bands, many of whom will land gigs on bigger stages nationwide as the year progresses. read more…


VIDEOS: Singer-songwriters Cosy Sheridan with winner Zoe Mulford at Mansfield’s Rose Garden on Saturday

2015 February 2
by Steve Ide
Cosy Sheridan & Zoe Mulford

On Feb. 7, 2015 the Rose Garden welcomes two fine singer-songwriters, one a veteran performer who is renowned for her thoughtful and insightful music, the other a talented performer an clever songwriter who won the Performing Songwriter Competition last May.

New Hampshire’s Cosy Sheridan first performed at the Rose Garden in the early 90s, about when she was catching the attention of national folk music audiences. She has been called “one of the era’s finest and most thoughtful singer-songwriters,” and she has won prestigious awards from the Kerrville Folk Festival and the Telluride Bluegrass Festival’s Troubadour Contest. read more…


VIDEOS: Acoustic blues of Rishell & Raines in Mansfield, Mass. on Saturday

2014 November 6
Annie Raines ~ Photo by Stephen Ide

In the more than 20 years since Paul Rishell and Annie Raines met in a Boston bar, they have sung and played the blues. It’s been a magical mix of acoustic blues guitar, harmonica and vocals that have propelled the duo to national acclaim. They return on Saturday, Nov. 8, 2014 to the Rose Garden Coffeehouse in Mansfield, Mass.

Paul Rishell is widely regarded as one of the best country-style acoustic guitar players around. Annie Raines’ harp playing (harmonica) has been compared to some of the greats such as Charlie Musselwhite and James Cotton. They’ve been working together for about 21 years, and they’ve got the country, old-timey blues thing down cold. They met in 1993 during the recording of Paul Rishell’s album “Swear to Tell the Truth,” and have released several albums as a duo including, “I Want You To Know,” “Moving To The Country,” “Goin’ Home,” and “A Night in Woodstock.”

read more…


AUDIO: Garnet Rogers to perform in Mansfield; talks about his latest CD

2014 October 10
Garnet Rogers performs at the Rose Garden Coffeehouse in Mansfield, Mass., in 2008. Photo by Stephen Ide

Canadian folk singer Garnet Rogers returns to the Rose Garden Coffeehouse in Mansfield on Saturday, Oct. 18, 2014. The performer recently released a new CD, “Summer’s End,” his first since 2007’s “Get a Witness.” The CD came after the passing of his parents, Valerie and Al Rogers, in 2012 and 2013, respectively, and the loss of a close friend, which made the folk singer look through a notebook of songs about his life that had not seen the light of day.

I emailed Garnet with a several questions about the new CD and his take on his music. As usual, he was candid and quite forthcoming. I’m looking forward to the Mansfield show.

read more…


NC group Balsam Range named bluegrass Entertainers of the Year

2014 October 3
by Steve Ide

North Carolina’s Balsam Range were named on Thursday night as bluegrass music’s top entertainers of the year and vocal group of the year during the 2014 awards ceremony held Thursday night, Oct. 2, 2014 in Raleigh, N.C.

I first saw Balsam Range a few years ago at the IBMA’s World of Bluegrass. They were dynamic then, and have since just grown in musicianship and popularity.

read more…


Videos: New season, friendly faces at Rose Garden

2014 September 17

Antje Duvekot - Photo by Stephen IdeAn old friend rejoins the Rose Garden Coffeehouse to start the 2014-2015 season. Antje Duvekot, who has played at the venue four previous times, will bring her talents to the Mansfield acoustic listening room on Saturday, Sept. 20, 2014.

Antje Duvekot (AN-tyuh DOO-va-kot) is a lovely match for the Rose Garden, which enters its 26th season. The German-born folk singer’s intimate, soul-searching music and vocals are the embodiment of the singer-songwriter spirit that the venue has always fostered. The Rose Garden has always featured and nurtured acts that are up-and-coming. Antje seems to have bridged that gap and become better known, but it wasn’t long ago that she was a newcomer to the region’s folk scene. read more…


GITLIN: Bill Keith deserving of award for distinguished achievement

2014 August 14
by Ira Gitlin, guest columnist

Bill Keith really needs no introduction within the bluegrass world, but just for completeness’ sake, here’s a brief outline of his musical life.

Keith was born in Boston, Massachusetts, in 1939. He took piano lessons as a child, then learned to play the tenor banjo and plectrum banjo. As a student at Amherst College he taught himself to play the five-string banjo. After college, he played locally in New England, then moved to Washington, DC, to play with Red Allen and Frank Wakefield. In 1963 Bill Monroe hired him to play banjo with the Blue Grass Boys. (He beat out Del McCoury for the job, but that’s another story.) After eight months with Monroe, he played and recorded with various artists, most notably the short-lived supergroup Muleskinner. At present Bill Keith lives near Woodstock, New York. Although he doesn’t perform regularly, he remains active in bluegrass music.

Among the many highlights in Keith’s long and varied career, two achievements in particular stand out. One has expanded our music’s expressive range, while the other has extended its reach throughout America and around the world.

Bill Keith at Grey Fox 2013, Photo © Copyright 2013 Fred Robbins

Bill Keith at Grey Fox 2013, Photo © Copyright 2013 Fred Robbins

The first of these achievements is the development of “melodic style” banjo playing, the most important and widely used extension of Earl Scruggs’ three-finger technique. Melodic banjo playing uses ingeniously coordinated right- and left-hand fingerings to allow the player to execute fast scales and scale-based passages smoothly and efficiently. Keith initially developed this approach in the early 1960s while trying to figure out a note-for-note banjo arrangement of the fiddle tune “Devil’s Dream.” He quickly recognized that it could be used to play any fiddle tune, and much else besides. It was this new approach to the banjo that earned Keith his job in the Blue Grass Boys in 1963.

read more…


Veteran songwriter, singer Jonathan Edwards in Mansfield on Saturday

2014 May 14
by Steve Ide
Jonathan Edwards thumb

In the 1970s, tucked between the sounds of Jethro Tull, Pink Floyd and a host of rock bands, Jonathan Edwards was a voice of folk-country-pop clarity. His pulsating rhythm guitar, riveting harmonica playing and crisp and tender vocals, was an escape for a country post-Vietnam, and he offered a dose of originality and simplicity few have brought to the airwaves since.

Edwards, who plays the Rose Garden Coffeehouse in Mansfield, Mass., on Saturday, has not rested on the laurels of his 1971, self-titled gold-record debut. Sure, the songs from that LP remain in high demand, songs like “Sunshine,” the pot-loving “Shanty” or the tender “Sometimes.” He has since been a part of more than 20 projects, from CDs to DVDs, and thankfully, has continued writing. read more…


Jesse Winchester, American songwriting icon, dies at 69

2014 April 11
by Steve Ide

Jesse Winchester, a folk icon and singer-songwriter beloved for many songs from the heart, died at his home in Virginia after a battle with esophageal cancer. He was 69. It was confirmed today on his Facebook page.

Condolences poured in across the Internet today and on Facebook. Joan Baez wrote “Thank you Jesse Winchester. You will be missed.” Jerry Douglas: “Godspeed to gentle soul and precious friend, Jesse Winchester.”

American Songwriter Magazine: “You can’t talk about the best songwriters and not include him,”Bob Dylan once said of Jesse Winchester.

read more…


David Mallett returning to Mansfield’s Rose Garden Coffeehouse on April 19

2014 April 11

David Mallett, one of America’a most revered songwriters, has a song called “Greenin’ Up Real Good” that shows how spring is finally born in New England each year. This will no doubt be a favorite (and a welcome one at that) when he plays the Rose Garden Coffeehouse in Mansfield on Saturday, April 19. read more…


VIDEOS: Buskin & Batteau calling it quits again

2014 April 9
Buskin & Batteau logo

David Buskin, co-writer for the folk/pop group Buskin & Batteau has announced that his partner, Robin Batteau, will no longer be performing in the band. Buskin, meanwhile, will return to performing with the folk-comedy trio Modern Man. The change seemingly marks an end to a musical collaboration that has existed, on and off, for about 35 years. read more…


VIDEO: Bill Staines and Sally Rogers tonight in Marblehead

2014 April 4
by Steve Ide

Folk music fans are in for a treat if they head up to Marblehead tonight. The show at the Me & Thee Coffeehouse features Bill Staines, a warm, lefty troubadour whose songs Peter, Paul, and Mary, Makem and Clancy, Nanci Griffith, among many others. Splitting the bill will be Sally Rogers, a performer of traditional, contemporary and original ballads. read more…


VIDEO: The sound of silence

2014 March 20
by Steve Ide

When The Steel Wheels, a Virginia-based Americana/roots band, played at Mansfield’s Rose Garden Coffeehouse on Saturday night, there was something special in the air. The band had performed in 2012 at the venue, located in the Congregational Church on the town’s South Common, to a small crowd of 80 people. Fast-forward two years and more than 200 people filled the church’s sanctuary on Saturday night. read more…


The Steel Wheels offer great music and a big heart

2014 March 5
by Guest column by Mac McLanahan
Rose Garden Logo

When The Steel Wheels played at the Rose Garden Coffeehouse in Mansfield two years ago, they participated in a charity bike ride to raise money for a Stage 4 cancer patient. We thought they were special then, but now we know it. They return to the Rose Garden Coffeehouse in Mansfield on Saturday, March 15, for an 8:00 pm show. read more…


Folk-rock ‘catastrophe’ comes to Marblehead coffeehouse

2014 March 1
by Kathy Sands-Boehmer, guest columnist

What does a folk-rock sister duo write about after 20 years in the music business; a career which produced 15 CDs, three books, a DVD, a thriving children’s music educational empire, four children and two husbands (one apiece)?

The full catastrophe of course.

Taken from the line from Zorba the Greek: “I’m a man, so I married. Wife, children, house, everything. The full catastrophe,” The Nields sisters have created a powerful, passionate, thoughtful, humorous work that explores the crazy ride that is this insane twenty-first century idea that in a post-feminist world it might somehow be possible for a woman to raise her children, maintain her relationship and career and contribution to her community while tending to her artistic soul at the same time. If it is possible, the Nields come damn close with “The Full Catastrophe,” their sixteenth album in two full decades of work. Since the heyday of their legendary band The Nields, they have reduced their touring to make time to see their kids’ piano recitals, soccer games and school pageants yet still maintaining a strong presence in the folk world, branching out to writing books and teaching workshops.

Singer-songwriter and fellow folk-rocker Dan Navarro, who has left his mark in music, films and commercials, will split the bill with the Nields at the Me & Thee Coffeehouse in Marblehead, Mass., on Friday, March 7.  read more…


A celebration of Pete Seeger’s life

2014 January 28

Pete Seeger died yesterday. But his legacy lives on.

Anyone who has ever picked up an instrument in song, protested loudly about injustice, taken up voice against oppression, dared to challenge authority, has lost his/her biggest advocate.

But the beauty is, we can do those things. Pete showed us the way.

He sang songs against injustice. He peacefully faced down government interrogators at personal loss (and gain). He showed us that music is universal. That the collective voice is stronger than those who would bring us down. And that life is worth living to the fullest.

Pete did that, right til the end of his 94 years. read more…


A folk singer’s view of the Grammy awards

2014 January 28
by Garnet Rogers, guest columnist
Garnet Rogers performs at the Rose Garden Coffeehouse in Mansfield, Mass., in 2008. Photo by Stephen Ide

Noted Canadian folk singer Garnet Rogers spent his early musical years touring with his brother, folk legend Stan Rogers, until Stan’s death in 1983. Since then, Garnet, a multi-instrumentalist, has forged his own musical path. His comments below were posted on Facebook, and he agreed to let me reprint them here. I’ve added videos and photos and some editor’s notes for clarity….Steve Ide

It was interesting last night [Jan. 26, 2014], on some level anyway… to watch folks on Facebook commenting about the Grammys and who was being wrongly celebrated or honoured, as the case may have been.

I never watch those shows for the same reason I don’t watch professional wrestling…It’s not real…none of it. read more…

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