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. Children 12 and under free. All tickets are at the door. There are no advance sales or reservations.

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

Friday, June 3: An evening with:
Jay Ungar & Molly Mason

Jay Ungar & Molly  Mason

Ashokan FarewellSince joining forces in the late 1970s, fiddler and mandolinist Jay Ungar and guitarist and bassist Molly Mason have become one of the most celebrated duos on the American acoustic music scene. They have won countless awards and provided music for movies and television, including Ken Burns' classic Civil War PBS documentary. Their music runs the gamut from hard-driving Appalachian, Cajun and Celtic fiddle tunes, stirring Civil War classics, sassy songs from the golden age of swing and country, stunning waltzes, and deeply moving original compositions.

Friday, June 10: 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 the Open Stage page.

Friday, June 17: Joe Crookston with Carrie Cantor

Joe Crookston

Georgia, I'm HereWhat 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.

Carrie Cantor

Urge for GoingA Folk Project member performer with a lovely soprano voice, Carrie Cantor sings contemporary folk and pop songs. She is one of the stars of our local musical community, and deserves her place on our stage.

Friday, June 24: The Dirdy Birdies Jug Band with Russ Rentler

The Dirdy Birdies Jug Band

My Gal/Masculine WomenTHE DIRDY BIRDIES first played the Minstrel in 1987, after they'd been together for over a decade. This is a band that's conceptually tight and musically loose. They resurrect the old jug band standards of the '20's and '30's with faithful adherence to the style: lots of cheap tricks, bad jokes, double entendres, and great fun. Guitar, fiddle, washboard, washtub bass, jug, kazoo, and big harmonies.

Russ Rentler

Planxty FluhartyRuss Rentler is a talented multi-instrumentalist performing original and traditional songs on hammer and Appalachian dulcimers, guitar, banjo, mandolin, bouzouki, autoharp and dobro. His songs have a humorous streak to complement the instrumental virtuosity.

Friday, July 1: Shun Ng with The Eclectic Consort

Shun Ng

Bohemian RhapsodyGuitar fans who saw Beppe Gambetta back in January will certainly remember Shun Ng (pronounced, "Ing"), who opened for him. He is an exciting and innovative young guitarist making a splash in the guitar world today. With great virtuosity on his radically designed guitar, he performs his own music as well as some unexpected covers of unlikely, and yet familiar songs. His style is part jazz, part blues, maybe even a little disco, and 100% joy. He is exciting to watch and brilliant to hear.

Eclectic Consort on "Horses Sing None of It"The Eclectic Consort consists of Folk Project members John and Kris Lamb and Andy Koenig (and special guest for this performance, keyboardist Kathy Haynie). With backgrounds in early music, and tastes as wide as their name implies, they come on stage armed with dozens of strange instruments ranging from Rrenaissance shawms and krumhorns to 21st Century synthesizers. And it's anybody's guess what will come out of these implements. Whatever, it's bound to be interesting and fun.

Friday, July 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 the Open Stage page.

Friday, July 15: Reeds, Rhythm, And All That Brass with Bill Brandon

Reeds, Rhythm, And All That Brass

Jumpin' At The WoodsideLaunched in 1973, Reeds, Rhythm, and All That Brass is an 18-piece band playing the classic American Songbook repertoire of the Big Band era and beyond. Comprised of professional and semi-professional players, they perform the music made famous by Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Glen Miller, Frank Sinatra, and the like. The band includes Folk Project members Jeff Rantzer and Hen3ry Nerenberg on trombone, Darrell Courtley on sax, and Jay Wilensky on vocals.

Opener Bill Brandon manages to pack a big band of his own into a single hollow-body electric guitar. He specializes in solo guitar arrangements of jazz and swing standards.

Friday, July 22: John Gorka with Nancy Beaudette

John Gorka

I Saw a StrangerJohn Gorka is perhaps the quintessential iconic singer-songwriter of the 80's folk scene. Hailing from New Jersey, but forged in the Geenwich Village Fast Folk scene, he honed his craft and persona into an unmistakable image. The shy, wry, insightful, and yes, sensitive singer-songwriter has been copied, mocked, and parodied. But the old coat he wove still fits, and still suits him well. The old songs ring as true as they ever did, and the new ones are just as good.

Nancy Beaudette

Can’t Hold BackNancy Beaudette's first exposure to music was the Scots, Irish, and French-based fiddle music of her native rural Cornwall, Ontario, to which she played guitar accompaniment. She went on to write her own songs, which have been winning contests and awards for almost 20 years. The songs tell stories and paint portraits of characters, all with a palpable warmth and a smile in the voice.

Friday, July 29: The Minstrel's 41st Birthday Show   $10 admission this night only. Includes refreshments.

The Minstrel's 41st Birthday Show

To celebrate the 41st anniversary of our very first concert, we will present a concert featuring 40 to 50 Folk Project member musicians matched up in randomly selected duos, trios, and quartets.

Friday, August 5: Upcoming Special Concert T.B.A.

Friday, August 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 the Open Stage page.

Friday, August 19: River Drivers with Opening Act T.B.D.

Botany Bay, Hot Asphalt, Billy O'SheaThe River Drivers is a multi-generational band focussing on the music of Ireland, Scotland, and Appalachia, with side trips to the realm of the Folk Revival and some contemporary and original tunes in that mode. With guitar, banjo, fiddle, whistle, bodhran, and multiple vocalists, they have a very big and rousing sound that inspires plenty of audience participation.

Friday, August 26: New Jersey Uke Fest   Note new location at the Ukrainian American Cultural Center of New Jersey in Whippany, NJ

Note new location for this year at the Ukrainian American Cultural Center of New Jersey in Whippany, NJ Friday and Saturday. More details to come. Advance tickets go on sale June 1.

Saturday, August 27: New Jersey Uke Fest

Note new location for this year at the Ukrainian American Cultural Center of New Jersey in Whippany, NJ Friday and Saturday. More details to come. Advance tickets go on sale June 1.

Friday, September 2: Tracy Grammer with Dixie Lee & Ed Rainey

Tracy Grammer

TRACY GRAMMER performs original songs and instrumentals, and pays homage to her late partner in life and song, Dave Carter, as well as other stellar contemporary songwriters. She has become one of the staples of the contemporary folk scene with her sweet voice, unassuming and yet commanding stage presence, and great collection of songs.

Dixie Lee & Ed Rainey

Flyin' ShoesDixie Lee & Ed Rainey are a charming young duo who play old time country and Appalachian music. Ed's father Rich Rainey is well known to local bluegrass enthusiasts. Their beautifully matched harmonies, and Ed's simple yet classy guitar accompaniment are a joy to listen to.

Friday, September 9: Brother Sun

Brother Sun

The House That Jack BuiltThe 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, solid guitar and piano arrangements, and a passion that is palpable into their already powerful songs.

Friday, September 16: Bill Staines with Hudson Valley Sally

Bill Staines

RiverFor 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.

Hudson Valley Sally

Deportees / DeportadosHudson Valley Sally is a group that hearkens back to the early days of the Folk Revival when acts like the Weavers were in their heyday. Guitar, banjo, bass, and four voices in full throat,singing uplifting songs with great choruses for all to sing. Their material includes some traditional songs, some songs written in that era. and some of their own in the same vein.

Friday, September 23: A Folk Project Special Concert
Calan   Tickets available July 1st ($17 in advance / $20 at the door)

Calan

Calan - Tale of Two DragonsCalan bring together the remarkable talents of 5 young musicians giving a fresh and vibrant sound to traditional Welsh music. With a contemporary and lively approach they breathe new life into the old traditions through their sparkling melodies, foot tapping tunes and spirited and energetic performances of Welsh step dancing.

Friday, September 30: Open Stage.   NOTE: Not the usual 2nd Friday

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, October 7: Closed for the Folk Project Fall Getaway

Friday, October 14: 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, October 21: Christine Lavin with David & Sophie Buskin

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.

NOTE: If you knit, crochet, quilt, or do other fabric craft, come at 7:00 to join Christine in a knitting circle. Click here for details.

David & Sophie Buskin

David Buskin is well known for his hilarious contributions to the late lamented Modern Man and for his great writing, playing and singing as half of super-duo Buskin & Batteau. In this new incarnation, he joins forces with his daughter Sophie, whose multiple talents reveal that this time the apple fell quite close indeed to the tree.

Friday, October 28: Folk Project Halloween Show

Details to follow.

Friday, November 4: John Forster with Mike Agranoff

John Forster

A Mismatch Made in HellJohn Forster obviously fell asleep one too many times as a child to the sound of his Tom Lehrer albums. This is evidenced by his twisted sense of humor, his delightfully skewed view of the human condition, and his prodigious skills as a pianist. His songs have a knack for taking the plausible but improbable, and leading that to its implausible but inevitable conclusion by way of unlikely rhymes, horrible puns, and ironic satire. John is a very funny man.

Would You Like To Play the Guitar?Minstrel Program Chairman Mike Agranoff is also a performer well known for his hilarious songs. He occasionally performs with John Forster under the band name Coffeehouse of the Absurd. Seems only natural for Mike to open for John. Mike will join John on his set for some of their joint comedic repertoire (No, not that kind of joint!), and will use his own set to focus on more serious songs, hot fingerstyle guitar work, and other material.

Friday, November 11: 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, November 18: Mollie O'Brien & Rich Moore with Fendrick & Peck

Mollie O'Brien & Rich Moore

Train HomeListening to Mollie O'Brien, one would not be at all surprised to learn that she is Tim O'Brien's sister. She's got the pipes and the musical sense to belt out a country blues song or croon a ballad. One sits up straight and takes notice from the first note. And her husband Rich Moore has the guitar chops to match and embellish her voice note for note. They play their own music, as well as some country standards, which come off a whole lot better than "standard" in the hands of this pair.

Fendrick & Peck

The Lutefisk WaltzMadeline Fendrick & Brian Peck are a singer songwriter duo with bluegrass overtones. Those overtones spring from their close harmony singing, bright instrumental work on guitar and mandolin, and the classic single microphone setup they use on stage. Their songs, however, generally range over a broader spectrum than your typical bluegrass band. And perhaps the most delightful aspect of their performance is the charming interplay between the two onstage.

Fendrick & Peck will be returning as headliners on June 16, 2017. Mark your calendars.

Friday, November 25: A Folk Project Special Concert

Details to follow.

Friday, December 2: Chorus Song Night

An evening of songs for you, the audience to sing. Details to follow.

Friday, December 9: 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 16: Folk Project Holiday Show

Folk Project Holiday Show

Details to follow

Friday, December 23: Closed

Friday, December 30: The Kennedys with Opening Act T.B.D.

The Kennedys

A Day In The LifeWhen not serving as Nanci Griffith's backup band, The Kennedys have been 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.

Friday, January 6: T.B.D.

Friday, January 13: The April Verch Band with Christine DeLeon   Note: Open Stage is next week this month.

Belle ElectionApril 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 any others she encountered. On the way she picked up step dancing, singing, and a great flair for 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.

Christine DeLeon is perfectly described in Sing Out! Magazine's review of her recent CD: "This New Jersey artist's rich soprano is eerily reminiscent of that of a young Judy Collins: Powerful, crystalline and assured. And, like a young Judy, she makes her voice the centerpiece of [her performance] by featuring sweeping legato ballads accompanied by simple strummed acoustic guitar (filled out by backing instruments). Christine's songs are uniformly upbeat in something of the Dar Williams style..."

Friday, January 20: Open Stage   Note: Not the usual 2nd Friday

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, January 27: Tim Grimm & the Family Band with The Heather Pierson Trio

Tim Grimm & the Family Band

King of the Folk SingersThere's a common characteristic to all of Tim Grimm's songs. They all feel important. Whether a portrait of a farmer about to lose his land, or a story of a chance encounter at the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam, or a paean to folk legend Ramblin' Jack Elliot, these songs have a gravitas about them that compels your attention. Tim performs with his wife Jan Lucas-Grimm, and his two sons, Jackson and Connor on guitar, bass, mandolin, banjo, and harmony vocals.

The Heather Pierson Trio

Still She Will FlyHeather Pierson is an award-winning pianist, multi-genre singer/songwriter, arranger, bandleader, and performer. She effortlessly shifts from New Orleans-style jazz and blues to rousing Americana and poignant folk narratives. In addition to singing and playing piano, she also plays tenor banjo, melodica and guitar. Her trio adds strings, cornet, bass, and harmony vocals.

Friday, February 3: Valentine's Day Extravaganza

Friday, February 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, February 17: T.B.D.

Friday, February 24: Occidental Gypsy with Addie & Olin - Unleashed!

Occidental Gypsy

David Bromberg said of Occidental Gypsy, “Great singing, fantastic guitar and violin work, with high energy originals that leave the crowd crazy. An awesome band.” They play gypsy jazz in the style of Django Reinhardt, high energy, clean, and tight. They play the standards, some originals, and apply the style to unexpected covers. They blew the socks off our Fall Getaway crowd, and they'll do the same at the Minstrel.

Addie & Olin - Unleashed!

What do you get when you mix a conservatory trained woodwind player with a Borscht-Belt influenced string player? You get Addie & Olin — Unleashed!. Some great musicianship, and wacky humor. Clever parodies, familiar songs played extremely well in completely inappropriate styles, and sight-gags. These guys are enormous fun.