The Minstrel Acoustic Concert Series ™

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

Time: 7:45 PM Most Fridays. 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.

April Verch
Sep 28, 2012

Friday, September 30: Open Stage.   NOTE: Not the usual 2nd Friday, & early start time of 7:30

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 7: Closed for the Folk Project Fall Getaway

Friday, October 14: Open Stage   Note: Early start time of 7:30

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.

David & Sophie Buskin

David & Sophie introductionDavid 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   $10 admission (includes refreshments) and 7:30 show time for this show only

Folk Project Halloween Show

Come prepared to clap your hands, sing along, and laugh at the funky costume parade. Members of the Folk Project will be performing their favorite songs inspired by ghosts, spirits, or perhaps something influenced by the character they have chosen to represent in their costumes. Most of all come prepared to have fun!

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.

Mike Agranoff

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   Note: Early start time of 7:30

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   An Agranoff Imperative*

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.

* "Agranoff Imperative" This is a term I use to designate an act that may not be well known to our audience, but one that is notablyexceptional. I'll award this maybe once every year or two as an incentive for folks to take a chance on someone with whom they're not familiar. These guys are truly a cut above.
Mike Agranoff
Minstrel Program Chairman

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: Toby Walker with Orrin Star

 Toby Walker

I Know You RiderThe 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 point of pride for us, this internationally celebrated master of the acoustic guitar is a Morris county resident and a Folk Project member.

Orrin Star

Orrin Star in concertTo complete tonight's guitar extravaganza, we are opening with Orrin Star, an award-winning guitarist and mandolin player who combines hot picking, cool singing and good humor. Once described as 'Arlo Guthrie-meets-Doc Watson', he was the 1976 National Flatpicking Champion, has appeared on A Prairie Home Companion, and boasts a repertoire ranging from bluegrass standards to little-known folk gems, Irish fiddle tunes to fingerstyle blues. Orrin is worthy of a headline set, but he's in town for Thanksgiving, and an old buddy of Toby Walker's, so he was happy to be our special guest this evening. He will be doing a feature set at the Minstrel on March 3, 2017.

Friday, December 2: Chorus Song Night

Chorus Song Night

An evening of songs for you, the audience to sing. The singing will be led by:
Karyn Oliver: of the band, No Fuss And Feathers
Ken & Pat Rolston: Wonderful voices and fine harmonies
Dave Heistand: with a great collection of songs
Mike Agranoff: The Minstrel's Program Chairman and veteran songleader

Friday, December 9: Open Stage   Note: Early start time of 7:30

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 The Inspire Project

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.

The Inspire Project

The Inspire Project is the result of three powerhouse singer/songwriters joining forces to entertain, uplift, motivate, and come together in harmony. This collaboration is long-held dream of Tanya Leah, who, along with bandmates Ilene Angel, and Lorraine Ferro, comprise the group. Each is a #1 hit songwriter and powerful vocalist in her own right. Determined to put some musical goodness in the world, these three talented women provide a unique blend of songs, stories, humor, and obvious friendship that draws audiences in, and leaves them feeling uplifted from the experience.

Friday, January 6: Reeds, Rhythm, And All That Brass with Bill Brandon   Make-up date from when show was cancelled due to power outage last July

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.

Bill Brandon

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

The April Verch Band

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

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 and early start time of 7:30

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   Note: Early start time of 7:30

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.

Friday, March 3: Orrin Star with Opening Act T.B.D.

Orrin Star

Orrin Star in concertOrrin Star is an award-winning guitarist and mandolin player who combines hot picking, cool singing and good humor. Once described as 'Arlo Guthrie-meets-Doc Watson', he was the 1976 National Flatpicking Champion, has appeared on A Prairie Home Companion, and boasts a repertoire ranging from bluegrass standards to little-known folk gems, Irish fiddle tunes to fingerstyle blues. Those of you who saw Toby Walker's show last November will remember Orrin as Toby's opening act.

Friday, March 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 www.OpenStage.FolkProject.org.

Friday, March 17: Spuyten Duyvil with Moss Henry & the Bryophytes

Spuyten Duyvil

Hot TimeSpuyten Duyvil [SPITE-en DIVE-el] might be thought of as Big Band Folk Music. This 8-member group explodes off the stage with infectious energy. Their music is Americana roots, and some originals that sound like Americana roots. They "...roll like an old time tent show, but instead of selling worthless snake oil, they deliver a package of gems, well crafted tunes and stories that are pure fun to listen to." Ron Olesko

Moss Henry & the Bryophytes

Moss Henry & the Bryophytes is an old time country quartet playing music of the American Southwest from a time before "Country 'n Western" became a category unto itself with all the associated glitter and glam. The songs of Jimmie Rodgers, Bob Wills & His Texas Playboys, the Sons of the Pioneers, etc. are tastefully rendered with good guitar work and fine harmonies.

Friday, March 24: Folk Project Special Concert T.B.D.

Friday, March 31: T.B.D.

Friday, April 7: T.B.D.

Friday, April 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 www.OpenStage.FolkProject.org.

Friday, April 21: T.B.D.

Friday, April 28: Jeanne Burns & Andrew Hardin with Opening Act T.B.D.

Jeanne Burns & Andrew Hardin

Jeanne Burns & Andrew Hardin are a match made in heaven. Long time Minstrel attendees will remember Jeanne as one of the Burns Sisters, whose powerful vocal harmonies thrilled us a decade ago. Her voice is reminiscent of that of the early Emmylou Harris. And Andrew, who for years was Tom Russell's lead guitarist, plays with a power and authority that is truly impressive, and has a voice to match. Their music has blues overtones, but is much broader than the blues. A great combination of two individually great musicians.

Friday, May 5: T.B.D.

Friday, May 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, May 19: The Loose Canons with The Lords of Liechtenstein

The Loose Canons

The Verge of ViolencePerhaps the very name of The Loose Canons 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.

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, mandola, and ukulele. They create an innovative blend of folk influenced by by Americana and Celtic music, presented with charming inter-song schtick, and bedecked in the latest in millennial sartorial hipness: sweater-vests.

Friday, May 26: Closed for Folk Project Spring Getaway

Friday, June 2: T.B.D.

Friday, June 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, June 16: Fendrick & Peck with Opening Act T.B.D.

Fendrick & Peck

The Lutefisk WaltzYou may remember Madeline Fendrick & Brian Peck from when they opened for Mollie O'Brien last November. They 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.