The Minstrel Acoustic Concert Series

Location: Morristown Unitarian Fellowship, 21 Normandy Heights Road, Morristown, NJ, a smoke & alcohol free environment

Time: 8 PM Almost every Friday. 2nd Friday usually Open Stage/audition night

Admission: $9 on your way in plus the balance of what you think the show was really worth on your way out. All tickets are at the door. There are no advance sales or reservations.

For More Information: Email email icon or call 973-335-9489.

Christine Lavin
Apr 26, 2013

Friday, November 28: Mike Agranoff with The Rolstons & Nerenberg

Mike Agranoff

Would You Like To Play the Guitar?As the Minstrel's Program Chairman, Mike Agranoff has been its public face for decades. But he's also a regularly touring seasoned performer, and will be taking this opportunity to celebrate the release of his 4th CD, Straight Lines. His prodigious skills on guitar and concertina, and piano accompany to a wide variety of music. Expect anything from irreverent parodies to traditional ballads; from blazing dance tunes to contemplative songs; from rousing chorus songs to his signature spoken-word recitations. He will be featuring the tunes on his new release along with some of the musicians who sang and played on the album.

The Rolstons & Nerenberg

Ken & Pat Rolston & Hen3ry Nerenberg (the "3" is silent) were performing locally as a folk trio when dinosaurs ruled the earth. Their voices and instruments blend with the easy familiarity of folks who have been performing together most of their lives. Their repertoire ranges from swing vocals to unaccompanied traditional songs, and lots of other stuff. Expect to be reintroduced to old favorites and... 'cause they just can't help themselves... some new pieces as well.

Friday, December 5: Chorus Song Night

Chorus Song Night

The first Friday of December is our Chorus Song Night. This is an evening for you, the audience to sing. We invite a panel of 4 singers with a repertoire of participatory songs to go round-robin in leading songs with choruses, familiar songs, or otherwise suitable for audience participation for an evening of group singing. This year's panel will be:
Jean Rohe: Who has been singing with the Folk Project since she was 8 years old.
Zoe Mulford: Purveyor of songs from both sides of the Atlantic
FiL Wisneski: The Ukulele World's ambassador to the Folk Project
Mike Agranoff: The Minstrel's Program Chair with a thousand songs.

Friday, December 12: Open Stage

Open Stage

This is an opportunity for all acoustic musicians to perform a 15-minute set on our stage, and for the audience to be treated to a diverse collection of acoustic musicians. We�ve often seen previews of our regular scheduled acts for the first time at Open Stage. For information on how to secure a performance slot, call 973-335-9489, or visit www.OpenStage.FolkProject.org.

Friday, December 19: Benefit Concert for the Morristown Unitarian Fellowship

Benefit Concert for the Morristown Unitarian Fellowship

The Folk Project is presenting a Winter Holiday Benefit Concert to raise money for the Morristown Unitarian Fellowship’s Building Fund. The Fellowship (also known as MUF) has been the long-time host for our Minstrel concert series and numerous other Folk Project events. They are raising money for an expansion and upgrade of their facilities and we're holding this concert to help them out.

The festivities will have something for everyone, from soulful holiday ballads, traditional seasonal classics, to original tunes. Sing along with Jeff (Big Jeff) DeSmedt, Liz Pagan (of Yankee Caravan), Bill Hall, Kathy Haynie, Jefferson Berry (of Urban Acoustic Coalition) and Christine DeLeon, hosted by Master Elf MC, Bob McNally. Admission for this show only is $10.00

Friday, December 26: Split Bill
Christine Lavin and Don White   Note: Open Stage is next week. Not the usual 2nd Friday.

Christine Lavin

Comedy and CocktailsChristine Lavin is the Folk World's long-reigning Queen of the Intelligently Absurd. The title of one of her earlier albums, "I Don't Make This Stuff Up, I Just Make It Rhyme" says it all. She has an eye for the ironic and the absurd in the news and everyday life, and puts it into song. And dresses it all up in skillful guitar work, electronic loops, and wonderful gimmicks like baton twirling. She's irrepressible, and ya gotta love her.

Don White

The Accordion Door StoryDon White is a blue collar intellectual and a true old-school troubadour. He is a comedian-author-singer-songwriter-raconteur, whose introductions to his songs are wonderfully crafted tales that are as hilarious as the songs themselves. He is such a beloved character in his hometown of Lynn, MA that last year the mayor proclaimed an official Don White Day and gave him the key to the city. A perfect match for his co-bill, Christine.

Friday, January 2: Open Stage   Note: Not the usual 2nd Friday

Open Stage

This is an opportunity for all acoustic musicians to perform a 15-minute set on our stage, and for the audience to be treated to a diverse collection of acoustic musicians. We�ve often seen previews of our regular scheduled acts for the first time at Open Stage. For information on how to secure a performance slot, call 973-335-9489, or visit www.OpenStage.FolkProject.org.

Friday, January 9: The April Verch Band with Ted Yoder

The April Verch Band

Live From the Evening MuseApril Verch is one of those natural musicians that has it all. Immersed in the local dance music of her native Ottawa Valley in Canada, she showed head-turning talent on the fiddle since she was very young. Ever expanding, she voraciously absorbed other Canadian fiddle styles as well as those of the US, Scotland, Ireland, and anything else she heard. On the way she picked up step dancing, singing, and a great talent in showmanship. We saw her first at the Minstrel as a teenager in 2000 as Mad Pudding's fiddler. And now she fronts her own world-touring band, drawing raves wherever she goes.

Ted Yoder

Introducing Ted YoderTo open for a fiddle virtuoso, we have a master of another stringed instrument. Ted Yoder won the National Hammered Dulcimer Championship at Winfield in 2010. He uses this uncommon instrument for uncommonly fine renditions of traditional tunes, familiar songs, and his own songs and instrumentals.

Friday, January 16: Julie Gold with Opening Act T.B.D.

Julie Gold

From a DistanceJulie Gold is best known for the Grammy-winning song "From a Distance", recorded by Nanci Griffith, Bette Midler, and countless more. But she is no one-hit wonder. Her canon is chock full of songs of equal quality, which she delivers with passion, wit, and humor, interspersed with fascinating anecdotes about the songs and their inspiration. Her musical chops, both vocal and piano, are more than worthy of the songs themselves. And the warmth of her delivery makes you feel you've known her all your life. This will be a very special night.

Friday, January 23: Vance Gilbert with Water Street

Vance Gilbert

It's been 3 years since Vance Gilbert has visited us. Vance's jazz roots are showing in his intricate guitar style and sophisticated vocal technique. But his stage charisma and wicked wit sing "folk" at the top of those powerful lungs. Vance is a great showman, an amazing singer, and a real swell guy.

Water Street

SamplerWater Street is a 2-family band consisting of 3 teenagers, Dave & Milly Paulson and Claire McNulty, plus Claire's dad Dave McNulty. Together they present high-energy pop-oriented originals and covers with 3-part vocal harmony and guitar, mandolin, fiddle, and bass accompaniment.

Friday, January 30: Bill Staines with Gerry & Olga

Bill Staines

For just about as long as anyone currently involved in folk music can remember, BILL STAINES is the archetypical contemporary folk singer. People have been singing his songs on stage, in recording studios, and around campfires for over 30 years. He is responsible for such classics as "Roseville Fair", "All God's Critters Got a Place in the Choir", and "River", all with choruses that beg to be sung with. Come and see a true living legend.

Gerry Hazel & Olga Alvarez are a married couple and recent Folk Project members. They attended our Spring 2013 Acoustic Getaway and immediately caught our attention with their spirited performance. They sing original and cover songs in English and Spanish with beautifully blending voices and a charming stage presence.

Friday, February 6: Valentines Day Extravaganza   Note: A week earlier than in past years

Friday, February 13: Open Stage

This is an opportunity for all acoustic musicians to perform a 15-minute set on our stage, and for the audience to be treated to a diverse collection of acoustic musicians. We�ve often seen previews of our regular scheduled acts for the first time at Open Stage. For information on how to secure a performance slot, call 973-335-9489, or visit www.OpenStage.FolkProject.org.

Friday, February 20: The Loose Canons with Opening Act T.B.D.

The Loose Canons

Musical comments on Financial Planning (401K) When The Loose Canons came to the Minstrel last year, they packed the joint to the point where we had to turn people away. Perhaps their very name will give you some insight to their approach to music. This 11-member choral group sings intricate vocal arrangements of folk songs, do wop, classical favorites as well as participatory pieces. But they specialize in parodies, satire, novelty songs, and other bits of musical humor.

Friday, February 27: Cricket Tell The Weather with Sam Edelston

Cricket Tell The Weather

Rocky Mountain SkiesCricket Tell The Weather is a young indie singer-songwriter band with deep bluegrass roots. Both the writing and the roots are very strong, with great songs, great instrumental chops (fiddle, guitar, banjo, & bass) and great bluegrass harmonies. This band is exploding on the folk and bluegrass scenes, with appearances at the Falcon Ridge and Joe Val Bluegrass Festivals, and numerous prestigious folk venues in the Northeast. Catch 'em now before they get too big for the Minstrel.

Sam Edelston

Whole Lotta Love"You can't do that on a dulcimer!" Well, maybe you can't but Sam Edelston can. Sam has taken the mountain dulcimer from its backwoods Appalachian origins to places most players never dreamed of. From Sousa to Sinatra to Led Zeppelin. Instruments ranging from the traditional 3-string diatonic fretting to fully chromatic electric with wah-wah pedal. Sam is a brilliant and innovative player, and no slouch on the guitar either.

Friday, March 6: Jean Rohe and the End Of The World Show with The Lords of Liechtenstein   Rescheduled early after their truncated show last year

Jean Rohe and the End Of The World Show

National Anthem: Arise! Arise!Jean Rohe, Folk Project alumna since the age of 8, is now out in the music world, mastering and owning it in a dizzying array of its many branches. She sings and plays traditional folk, jazz, multi-lingual music of the Americas, North and South, Her own brilliant songs, and the songs of the best young writers of the folk world. The End Of The World band adds mandolin, guitar, accordion, bass, percussion, and vocal harmony. But it's Jean’s remarkable and flexible voice that is the focus of this group. And the ensemble is tight and gets audiences moving and singing.

The Lords of Liechtenstein

SundaysDan and Noah Rauchwerk masquerade as The Lords of Liechtenstein. These irrepressible brothers play surprisingly sophisticated original songs accompanied on guitar , banjo, and ukulele. They create an innovative blend of folk, roots, reggae, and pop music, presented with charming inter-song schtick, bedecked in the latest in millennial sartorial hipness: sweater-vests.

Friday, March 13: Open Stage

This is an opportunity for all acoustic musicians to perform a 15-minute set on our stage, and for the audience to be treated to a diverse collection of acoustic musicians. We�ve often seen previews of our regular scheduled acts for the first time at Open Stage. For information on how to secure a performance slot, call 973-335-9489, or visit www.OpenStage.FolkProject.org.

Friday, March 20: Silk City with Opening Act T.B.D.

Silk City

You're Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You GoSilk City is the high powered combination of three of the most accomplished musicians in the East. Danny Weiss' blazing guitar and soaring tenor voice have led bluegrass-oriented bands from Bottle Hill to Skyline. Barry Mitterhoff is currently also playing his mandolin on tour with Hot Tuna. And Larry Cohen's bass playing is sought after by musicians and recording studios around the country.

Friday, March 27: Small Potatoes with Opening Act T.B.D.

Small Potatoes

Small Potatoes is the duo of Rich Prezioso and Jacquie Manning. They call themselves "Eclecto-Maniacs", which is pretty apt, as their musical tastes run from Celtic to cowboy with a large dose of their own writing. What helps them pull all this off is the fact that they are monster musicians; Rich can make the guitar talk, and Jacquie is a great whistle and percussion player. They both sing and their voices blend with the smoothness of years of singing together.

Friday, April 3: Open Stage

This is an opportunity for all acoustic musicians to perform a 15-minute set on our stage, and for the audience to be treated to a diverse collection of acoustic musicians. We�ve often seen previews of our regular scheduled acts for the first time at Open Stage. For information on how to secure a performance slot, call 973-335-9489, or visit www.OpenStage.FolkProject.org.

Friday, April 10: Joe Crookston & the Bluebird Jubilee with Peter Glanville with Owen Danoff   Note: Open Stage on April 3.

Joe Crookston & the Bluebird Jubilee with Peter Glanville

What strikes one first about Joe Crookston's performance is the intensity. There is a palpable force behind the music that makes you sit up and take notice. On top of that there is a sense of poetry and spirituality to his lyrics, and some pretty credible guitar chops and vocal power to lend support to his writing. Joe's bandmate, Peter Glanville, adds instrumental leads and harmony vocals to the act.

Owen Danoff

Hometown HeadstoneOwen Danoff is a young singer-songwriter from Washington DC with a talent that's increasingly rare these days. He writes good songs. Songs with some meat and message to them. Artfully crafted snapshots of situations and people with some depth and thought behind the emotion. He is a talent to keep an eye on for the future.

Friday, April 17: The Kennedys with Michael Braunfeld

The Kennedys

A Day In The LifeWhen not serving as Nanci Griffith's backup band, The Kennedys are joyfully rocking the folk world with their own unique brand of high-energy performance. It's more than the powerful close-harmony singing. It's more than the hot guitar work. It's more than the driving rhythms and power chords. It's the obvious chemistry between Pete and Maura Kennedy that is so charming and so contagious that the listener can't help but grin and join in their fun.

Michael Braunfeld

Over ThereListening to Michael Braunfeld, one is reminded somewhat of Bruce Springsteen: The same full-throated gutsy vocals, the same feel for the blue-collar common man, the same vivid depiction of characters and their stories in few words. He is a singer-songwriter worth watching.

Friday, April 24: Gathering Time with Opening Act T.B.D.

Gathering Time

Gathering Time is a vocal harmony-based trio from Long Island, NY that has started to make quite a stir in the Northeast. They put together an exciting program of songs from their own pens, those of their contemporaries in the acoustic singer-songwriter genre, and some classics from the 60's. Stuart Markus, Hillary Foxsong, and Gerry McKeveny have voices that blend exquisitely. They were voted "Most Wanted" at the Falcon Ridge Folk Festival in 2012.

Friday, May 1: Reserved for a Folk Project Special Concert

Friday, May 8: Open Stage

This is an opportunity for all acoustic musicians to perform a 15-minute set on our stage, and for the audience to be treated to a diverse collection of acoustic musicians. We�ve often seen previews of our regular scheduled acts for the first time at Open Stage. For information on how to secure a performance slot, call 973-335-9489, or visit www.OpenStage.FolkProject.org.

Friday, May 15: Máire Ní Chathasaigh & Chris Newman with Opening Act T.B.D.   World class Celtic harp and guitar

Máire Ní Chathasaigh & Chris Newman

Stroll OnTo say that Máire Ní Chathasaigh (Moira Nee-KA-ha-see) & Chris Newman play the Celtic Harp and guitar is like saying Earl Scruggs and Bill Monroe pick out tunes on the banjo and mandolin. These two are past masters of their craft, and their craft is virtuoso performance on their chosen instruments. "Awesome" is a word overused these days, but I was drop-dead awe-struck by their performance. Their forte is the Irish and Scots repertoire, but they take detours into old-time American tunes and swing (!!) This is a must-see show even for people who are not into harp music. They are jaw-dropping mind-bending out-freaking-standing.

Friday, May 22: CLOSED for the Folk Project Acoustic Getaway

Friday, May 29: Brother Sun with Diane Perry

Brother Sun

The whole of Brother Sun is greater than the sum of its already substantial parts. Greg Greenway, Pat Wictor, and Joe Jencks each all well known as strong and successful singers, songwriters, and performers. But together, they blossom and explode, putting terrific vocal harmonies and solid guitar and piano arrangements to their already powerful songs. Think of them as a male counterpart to Red Molly. This group merits the "Agranoff Imperative" rating. Not to be missed.

Diane Perry

Someone to Watch Over MeDiane Perry is a natural. One of those performers who, from their very first note, you just know was born to her instrument. Diane's instruments are the violin and her voice. And she spans genres from swing standards to folk to her own compositions. She does not let her classical training at Julliard get in the way of improvisational brilliance. And her vocal interpretations are unique and perfect for the material.

This opening set will serve as a preview to Diane's upcoming headline appearance at the Minstrel on a date T.B.D. later this year.

Friday, June 5: The EastRiver Chinese Ensemble

The EastRiver Chinese Ensemble

The music of EastRiver Ensemble may be unfamiliar, but their virtuosity is unmistakable. These guys cook! These alumni of state-run orchestras of north China, resettled in NYC. They perform a mixed repertoire of classical, folk era-pop and quizzical fusion, interspersed with a narrative to lend history and drama to the music. The players are: Xiao Xiannian (the stone-faced lead) on yangqin (Chinese dulcimer),Julie Tay (the chatty group marshal) on percussion, Guo Zhaoshun (the earnest silent one) on pipa and ruan (lutes) Eddie Zhang (the cocky highbrow) on dizi and xun (flutes), Feifei Yang on banhu and erhu (fiddles), and Jiaju Shen on pipa.

Friday, June 12: Open Stage

This is an opportunity for all acoustic musicians to perform a 15-minute set on our stage, and for the audience to be treated to a diverse collection of acoustic musicians. We�ve often seen previews of our regular scheduled acts for the first time at Open Stage. For information on how to secure a performance slot, call 973-335-9489, or visit www.OpenStage.FolkProject.org.

Friday, June 19: Carla Ulbrich with Opening Act T.B.D.

Carla Ulbrich

The F-Word SongA fan favorite on the long-running, nationally syndicated Dr. Demento show, award-winning songwriter and general smarty-pants Carla Ulbrich has been compared to the likes of Ray Stevens, Christine Lavin, Jerry Seinfeld, Chet Atkins and Jewel. The guy who said "Jewel" had been drinking heavily.

Friday, June 26: Toby Walker and A Personal History of the Blues

Toby Walker

Can't Be SatisfiedThe Blues Revue summed it up neatly. Toby Walker is "...a brilliant remarkable guitarist. A pinch of Piedmont, a dash of Delta, a solid Chicago undercurrent minus the amplification, but not the electricity." At home with both wooden and steel guitars, Toby plays the classics as well as his own songs with an open style and a dash of humor. And as an extra bonus for us, this internationally celebrated master of the acoustic guitar is a Morris county resident and a Folk Project member.

A Personal History of the Blues

Toby Walker's passion for the music drove him to leave an apartment crammed full of recordings, books and instruments to wander around the Mississippi Delta, Virginia and the Carolinas tracking down some of the more obscure, but immensely talented music makers of an earlier era. In his travels, he spent time and swapped tunes with the likes of Eugene Powell, James Son Thomas, Jack Owens, Etta Baker. and many more. He has documented his journey with photos, audio and video recordings, and countless personal stories. He will deliver this personal history in a fascinating first-person account from a veteran storyteller and consummate musician, illustrated with those photos and videos, and his own renditions of the music he learned from those great players.

Friday, July 3: T.B.D.

Friday, July 10: Open Stage

This is an opportunity for all acoustic musicians to perform a 15-minute set on our stage, and for the audience to be treated to a diverse collection of acoustic musicians. We’ve often seen previews of our regular scheduled acts for the first time at Open Stage. For information on how to secure a performance slot, call 973-335-9489, or visit the Open Stage page.

Friday, July 17: T.B.D.

Friday, July 24: The Minstrel's 40th Birthday Show

The Minstrel's 40th Birthday Show

40 years of presenting a concert a week year round. That's a remarkable achievement rarely matched in folk music. And we will celebrate it, as has been our custom, with the music of our own members. About 3 weeks prior, we mixed and matched about 40 of our member-musicians into randomly assembled duos and trios. We've all had the intervening time to work up one song per group. And that's the show. Come celebrate this event with us.