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Connecticut songstress Kala Farnham wins Rose Garden contest

2019 May 22
by Steve Ide
Kala Farnham. Photo by Stephen Ide

MANSFIELD, Mass. – Connecticut singer-songwriter Kala Farnham won the 27th performing songwriter competition at the Rose Garden Coffeehouse on Saturday, May 18.

Farnham, who lives in Pomfret Center, Connecticut, commented that she was looking forward to seeing the “triple-threat” from fiddler, singer and step dancer April Verch, the featured act of the evening. It was hard to tell whether Farnham, a multi-instrumentalist herself, was joking when she commented early on that she was working on her step dancing. read more…

Bill Staines, legendary folk balladeer, returns to Mansfield | Videos

2018 November 16
Bill Staines at the Rose Garden Coffeehouse in 2008 ~ Photo by John Cotter

Bill Staines, whose songs have been sung by many contemporary musicians and are known by parents and children alike, will return to Mansfield’s Rose Garden Coffeehouse on Saturday, Nov. 17.


Staines, who is based in New Hampshire, has played several times at the Rose Garden, the last time only a couple of years ago.

“Bill Staines is one of the most enduring musical voices in folk music today,” says Stephen Ide, the Rose Garden’s artistic director. “We are thrilled to have Bill back to help us celebrate our 30th season.” read more…

Grace Morrison & Lisa Bastoni in Mansfield on Saturday, Oct. 20 | Video

2018 October 17

Two of the region’s top singer-songwriters, Grace Morrison and Lisa Bastoni, will debut at the Rose Garden Coffeehouse in Mansfield, Mass., on Saturday, Oct. 20, 2018.

Tickets are now on sale for this show.

“This is a chance to hear stellar singing and songwriting from a couple of the best the Boston folk scene has to offer, in an intimate setting,” said Stephen Ide, the Rose Garden’s artistic director. “What better way to celebrate our 30th season than to bring in a pair of rising stars?” read more…

Greg Greenway comes back to Mansfield on Saturday

2018 September 11

Greg Greenway, a singer-songwriter and folk-rocker whose songs take on a social conscious, returns as a soloist to Mansfield’s Rose Garden Coffeehouse at 8 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 15, 2018, kicking off its 30th season. Greg, known recently for being one part of the super trio Brother Sun, has relaunched his solo career, and now is taking on some new musical adventures.

I caught up on the phone with Greg recently, since he was one of the Rose Garden’s earliest solo acts, to get a feel for what it will be like to have him return. He was last at the Rose Garden with Brother Sun (with Pat Wictor and Joe Jencks) in 2013, and prior to that all the way back to 2003. That’s near where our online archive begins, but I remember Greg playing at the Rose Garden before then.

More info and tickets

What I remember most about Greg’s playing is the power of his message and the strength of his delivery. His songs are memorable. His guitar, piano and ukulele playing are always melodic, percussive and meaningful. Greg brings the audience into the song and keeps you there.

I sent Greg a few questions to answer as he prepares his return. His responses are below. Come to Saturday’s show. He’ll give you even better answers. You don’t want to miss this one. read more…

Heather Pierson Acoustic Trio in Mansfield Saturday

2018 March 21
by Steve Ide

It’s difficult to pin down the music of Heather Pierson. At one moment, she is singing a heartfelt ballad on guitar, the next she could be singing soulfully from behind her piano, and then there’s the occasional banjo. The one thing you can say about Pierson is that you don’t know exactly what to expect. And that will be half the fun when she performs at 8 p.m. this  Saturday, March 24, at Mansfield’s Rose Garden Coffeehouse.

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Susan Cattaneo & Abbye West Pates this Saturday in Mansfield

2018 February 8
Susan Cattaneo & Abbye West Pates

Though North will meet South when Susan Cattaneo and Abbye West Pates perform at 8 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 10, for a split bill at the Rose Garden Coffeehouse in Mansfield, the singer-songwriters are not a world apart. They share an equal passion for good songs and putting on a great show.

Cattaneo, a Boston-based performer who teaches songwriting at the Berklee College of Music, brings mix of Americana, rock, county and folk to the stage. Pates, based in Memphis, has developed as both a rocker and a writer, and is the winner of the Rose Garden’s Performing Songwriter Competition last May. Part of her prize is a gig at the Rose Garden.


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Abbie Gardner, award winning singer-songwriter, dobroist, in Mansfield on Saturday

2018 January 23
Abbie Gardner, photo by Al Pereira

The last time Abbie Gardner performed at Mansfield’s Rose Garden Coffeehouse in 2009, she was a twinkling star in the all-female trio Red Molly. The group dazzled the Rose Garden crowd with a mix of folk, bluegrass, country, Americana styles and more. Gardner returns to Mansfield at 8 p.m. Saturday, having just released her second solo CD, “Wishes on a Neon Sign,” described as “a soulful examination of love and heartbreak, pain and strength, and the transformative power of hope.”

The CD is her first, though, since taking a hiatus from Red Molly. It is an exploration of musical styles and collaborations, as well as a celebration of New York City, which she calls home. While Boston sports fans have their attitudes about New York sports teams, most can appreciate the lure of the city. read more…

Traditional folk, Celtic music in Mansfield on Saturday

2017 November 17
by Steve Ide

Rhode Island’s Atwater-Donnelly Trio performs percussive folk and Celtic music, stellar harmonies and songs, with a wide range of instruments. They’ll be returning to Mansfield’s Rose Garden Coffeehouse on Saturday, Nov. 18.

At the core of the group are Aubrey Atwater and her husband Elwood Donnelly. For decades they have performed traditional music in New England. Rounding out the trio is fiddler and cellist Cathy Clasper-Torch, who adds just the right flourishes and harmonies to fill out the group’s sound. read more…

Bluegrass in Mansfield Saturday night

2017 October 19
by Steve Ide
Jim Muller of Southern Rail. Photo by Stephen Ide

Southern Rail, an award-winning New England bluegrass band known for its tightly woven harmonies, original and traditional songs, and high-energy performances, returns to the Rose Garden Coffeehouse in Mansfield, Mass., at 8 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 21.


Wherever they go, audiences are enthusiastic about this endearing group, which features at its core the husband and wife team of guitarist Jim Muller and bassist Sharon Horovitch, highly sought-after banjo player and teacher Rich Stillman and songwriter and mandolin player John Tibert. read more…

Bill Harley kicks off Rose Garden’s 29th season

2017 September 12
by Steve Ide

Two-time Grammy-award-winning songwriter, storyteller, author and humorist Bill Harley will kick off the 29th season of the Rose Garden Coffeehouse in Mansfield, Massachusetts, at 8 p.m. this Saturday, Sept. 16.

Harley, who lives in Massachusetts, uses story and song and humor to paint a picture of growing up and family life. Known by many for his astute and thoroughly entertaining children’s recordings, Harley’s music crosses generations and his show in Mansfield will be geared toward adults. He is expected to be joined on Saturday by fiddler Rachel Panitch (fiddler) and bass player Marty Ballou.
read more…

3 finalists to compete in Mansfield in 25th annual songwriter contest

2017 May 18
Rose Garden Coffeehouse

After reviewing more than two dozen entries sent in from all over the country,  the Rose Garden Coffeehouse organizers have chosen three singer-songwriters who will appear at the Mansfield, Mass., venue to perform their songs live on May 20. The three will take the stage just before the featured performance by Cliff Eberhart. The three finalists are:

  • Ric Allendorf, Middleboro, Mass.
  • Rob Flax, Jamaica Plain (Boston), Mass.
  • Abbye West Pates, Memphis, Tenn.

Stephen Ide, the Rose Garden’s artistic director, says the entries were of tremendous quality this year. “It was difficult to narrow our choices down to just three,” he says. “but I think we have picked three outstanding finalists. This is a special year for us, since it’s our 25th competition, and we are really looking forward to hearing was Ric, Rob and Abbye will be bringing to our audience.”

read more…

Legendary singer-songwriter Cliff Eberhardt, contest in Mansfield on Saturday

2017 May 15

MANSFIELD, Mass. — Cliff Eberhardt is one of those hard-scrabble singer-songwriters who taught himself how to play guitar and developed his own personal style of songwriting that over more than three decades has brought him national acclaim. He will be the featured act during the season finale of the Rose Garden Coffeehouse at 8 p.m. Saturday, May 20, 2017.

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It seems fitting that Eberhardt takes center stage the night of the Rose Garden’s 25th annual Performing Songwriter Competition. This year’s contestants, Ric Allendorf, of Middleboro, Mass.; Rob Flax, of Boston, Mass., and Abbye West Pates, of Memphis, will square off by performing two songs each for a panel of three music-industry judges. read more…

Troubadour Peter Mulvey to perform in Franklin on Jan. 28

2017 January 24

Peter Mulvey will perform at Circle of Friends Coffeehouse in Franklin on Saturday, January 28.

For his 17th album ‘Are You Listening?’ (Righteous Babe Records / March 23), Mulvey traveled to New Orleans to record with producer and friend Ani DiFranco and her band. read more…

Duos night in Mansfield on Saturday, with Genna & Jesse, Neptune’s Car

2017 January 11
by Steve Ide

In the heart of winter, the bitter cold cries out for a warm complement. At 8 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 14, the Rose Garden Coffeehouse in Mansfield offers a respite on a cold winter’s night, featuring Duos Night, an intimate evening with Genna & Jesse and New England’s Neptune’s Car. read more…

Bill Staines in Mansfield on Saturday, with dynamic opener Kirsten Maxwell + videos

2016 November 16
by Steve Ide

Legendary singer-songwriter Bill Staines will return to the Rose Garden Coffeehouse in Mansfield on Saturday. I don’t say that lightly. Bill Staines, the folksinger with a warm, inviting baritone voice and songs known far and wide, like “All God’s Critters” and “Roseville Fair,” comes back to an intimate stage that is perfect for his style of music. You don’t want to miss this.

Staines has performed across America for more than four decades, from small coffeehouses like the Rose Garden, to living rooms, to huge concert venues. The Rose Garden show begins at 8 p.m., but doors open at 7:30, and it’s recommended you get there early for a good seat.

Opening for Staines will be Kirsten Maxwell, a New York performing songwriter whose voice will remind you of Joan Baez or Judy Collins. She’s that good. read more…

A quick Q&A with Jim Trick, opening for Monica Rizzio on Saturday in Mansfield

2016 October 19
by Steve Ide

Jim Trick was born to be on stage.  The Marbelhead artist has a special knack for singing songs and telling stories that connect to people’s hearts in a big way.  He makes every audience member forget their worries and brings them into an extraordinary place of caring, healing, and warmth.  It’s been a pleasure and a thrill to watch Jim mature as an artist, playing to new audiences and winning them over with his music, his words, and his smile.

Trick will open on Saturday for the Cape’s Monica Rizzio at the Rose Garden Coffeehouse, 17 West St., Mansfield, Mass. Tickets are $16 in advance, $20 at the door. read more…

Monica Rizzio brings a ‘geographical cocktail’ of songs to Mansfield on Saturday + videos

2016 October 18
by Steve Ide

Texas transplant Monica Rizzio makes her way from the Cape to Mansfield’s Rose Garden Coffeehouse on Saturday, bringing with her an intimate set of songs and contemporary folk that reflect a captivating sound and a new direction she’s found in her life. Opening for Rizzio will be Marblehead performing songwriter Jim Trick.

Rizzio, former frontwoman for the folk quartet Tripping Lily, took a new direction in her life after leaving the group. It has allowed her to explore songwriting in a new way. I asked Rizzio a few questions about her and her music as she makes her way to Mansfield on Saturday. read more…

Guitar wizard Jack Williams in Mansfield on Saturday

2016 September 13
Jack Williams. Photo by Frank Serio

Strap on your listening caps and enjoy the southern hospitality of one the country finest guitar players. South Carolina native Jack Williams comes to Mansfield, Massachusetts on Saturday, Sept. 17, to kick off the 28th season of the Rose Garden Coffeehouse. Opening for Williams will be Quincy, Massachusetts performer Chris Pahud. The show is at 8 p.m. (Tickets)

If you’ve never heard Jack Williams play the guitar, you’ve been missing one of the most unique guitar legends in the United States. He is a high-energy performer, whose 54 years of entertaining has seen him labeled as everything from a folk revivalist to a performer of rock, country or R&B, to so-called “beatnik trumpeter,” and an interpreter of songs from the 30s, 40s and 50s. read more…

Videos: A couple of new bluegrass releases, including legendary Doyle Lawson

2016 July 18
by Steve Ide

burden-bearer-coverBURDEN BEARER: Bluegrass Gospel and A Cappella Favorites
Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver
Bluegrass Hall of Fame member Doyle Lawson is well known for high standards in every aspect of his musical career. “Burden Bearer” is the latest example of the exquisite precision in vocals, harmony and musicianship of Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver. The album is reminiscent of a traditional “call to a camp meeting.” It is a special music event of bluegrass gospel and a cappella music celebrating the musical legacy of faith, hope, struggle and victory of the spirit. Old time renderings live alongside newly forged Gospel songs that pay tribute to the aged, but timeless gospel convention music tradition.


NewTown-Harlan-Road-cover NewTown
Take a trip down hard-traveled Kentucky backroads into the heart of Bluegrass country with the powerful new release from NewTown, Harlan Road. Songs of hard times, love lost but not forgotten, and weary blue tales of forlorn souls appear here but the fresh writing and clever choice of material puts NewTown on a new level.

Christine Lavin & Don White, plus contest, in Mansfield on Saturday

2016 May 16

Folk singers and humorists Don White and Christine Lavin help the Rose Garden Coffeehouse conclude its 27th season on Saturday, May 21. Like every recent finale at the longtime Mansfield venue, the show will be preceded by the annual Performing Songwriter Contest, featuring singer-songwriters from Connecticut, Rhode Island and one who is a native of Massachusetts. The show starts at 8 p.m.

“When Christine Lavin and Don White make us laugh, there is always a warm shimmer of community beneath the silliness,” says renowned folk music writer and author Scott Alarik. “Of all the gifts great entertainers can bring to the stage, I think this is perhaps the rarest and most valuable. Many can dazzle us; but only the very, very best can befriend us, and remind us that, in the end, we are all wary acrobats in the great human circus. And really, when have we ever needed laughs like that more?”

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