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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.”

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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.

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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.

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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…


Joe Val Fest a musical oasis that kicks off bluegrass season

2014 January 27

If you walk into Sheraton Framingham Hotel on Valentine’s Day, don’t be surprised if you are serenaded by fiddles and banjos.

Welcome to the world of the Joe Val Bluegrass Festival, a three-day musical oasis where the hottest bluegrass music offers an annual escape from the polar vortex.

The festival, being held Feb. 14-16, has been a mecca for bluegrass fans for 29 years.  read more…


Celtic bluegrass coming to Blue Moon in Rockland on Saturday

2014 January 23
by Steve Ide
Ricky Mier

This Saturday, Jan. 25, Rick Mier and Kathleen Parks will bring Celtic bluegrass to the Blue Moon Coffeehouse in Rockland.

Mier is a San Franciscan banjoist who takes inspiration not only from the tradition of bluegrass, but also from the free improvisation and technical prowess of jazz and classical music.

While attending Berklee College of Music on scholarship he won the prestigious Lowell Banjo and Fiddle Contest in 2012.

read more…


Fiddle frenzy to overtake Rose Garden Coffeehouse on Jan. 11

2013 December 29
by Samuel McLanahan, guest columnist
April Verch - Jake Armerding

As a co-founder and artistic director of Mansfield’s Rose Garden Coffeehouse, I started planing more than two years ago for our 25th anniversary season, now in full swing. I wanted each act during the season to hold a special meaning to the Rose Garden, and they all do in one way or another.

So, about 18 months ago, I literally had a dream about what show would be the one I would most like to see in our anniversary season. I dreamed that The April Verch Band and The Jake Armerding Band would play together on the same stage, even though they had never even met. When I woke up and thought more about it, I got more excited about the idea and worked hard to bring it to fruition. Now, after all that time, the date of Saturday, January 11 is almost upon us. read more…


‘Thanksgivukkah’? Let’s ask Alice, remember Alice?

2013 November 25

The nonsensical made-up word, “Thanksgivukkah,” has been floating around the Internet, and it’s been making me a little crazy, but got me thinking. Mostly the combination of “Thanksgiving” and “Hanukkah” is an example of what a former slot editor of mine used to call “creeping logoism.” He was referring to commercial branding that often found its way into print. But you get the point.

We like packaging.

Maybe it makes sense to combine the two holidays. Hear me out. (And don’t hate on me: I actually do love all of these holidays!)

Christmas and Hanukkah have been combined for years because they are usually in close proximity, at least on our current calendar, and involve gift-giving. We won’t dwell on the obvious disparity of Jesus’s birth 2,013 years ago and the Jewish Temple re-dedication that was a mere 165 years earlier. Our commercial world has pretty much ignored those facts and wrapped Hanukkah under the Christmas umbrella.

Arlo Guthrie never minded combining topics in his oft-played, anti-war song “Alice’s Restaurant.” “Remember, Alice? this is a song about Alice.”

In our American culture which likes nice, neat packaging, it makes sense that someone would coin “Thanksgivukkah” or “Thanksgivimukkah.”  The rare confluence of Hanukkah and Thanksgiving this season probably spurred a creative nerd to make up this word in order to spam Facebook or Google+ or countless as-yet-to-be popular social networks.

Despite the word-mangling, the two holidays are largely about giving thanks. So Hanukkah and Thanksgiving actually probably are a better match.

We know the Pilgrim story: The coming together of cultures in the New World and giving of thanks for their bounty. They killed lots of birds and ate corn and hung out together for days.  In true America fashion, we cram our giving of thanks into one day, eating turkey, eating more than is humanly possible and watching football. Maybe the Pilgrims also played games. I don’t know. I’ll bet they didn’t worry too much about getting to work the next day, so food comas weren’t an issue.

Hanukkah, meanwhile, with its celebration of the re-dedication of the Jewish Temple eons ago, is also a giving of thanks. That religious context combined with the story of oil in the temple burning for eight days instead of one, is a nice neat package, for which Jews give thanks. Of course, kids also are laden with gifts during this eight-day holiday. So there are lots of thanks to be given all around.

Maybe gift-giving could become a tradition on the Hanukkah and Thanksgiving holidays. I’m sure retailers would love that. Stretch out “Thanksgivikkah” over a couple of days, add a dash of Black Friday, light the menorahs to keep warm in line at Best Buy, and voila, commercial nirvana before the Big One hits a month later

So maybe it makes sense to combine these two holidays.

It’s practically gift-wrapped, and it can be the new way of giving thanks.



VIDEOS – Buskin & Batteau: Heartbeats and heartaches in about two hours

2013 November 4
by Guest blogger Mac McLanahan
Rose Garden Logo

David Buskin and Robin Batteau used to make their living as jingle writers in New York. If you are of a certain age you’ll remember “The Heartbeat of America” for Chevrolet, NBC’s “Just Watch Us Now,” and familiar ditties for McDonald’s, KFC, the US Army, and tons more. But that was then.

After a shot of folk superstardom in the 70’s and 80’s, the two went separate ways only to reunite in 2008. But just before that, longtime Rose Gardeners who ever saw David Buskin with his three-man comedy/music troupe “Modern Man” saw a show they will likely never forget. I certainly won’t. read more…

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