It all started with a question in 2009: "How are you getting to Chicago?"
And with that, folk musicians John Roberts and Debra Cowan decided to team up for a series of small concerts in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan and Illinois before arriving as separately booked artists at the Fox Valley Folklore Society’s annual festival. The combination of car–pool and mini–tour was successful enough that John and Debra continue to do more performing together both in the USA and in 2011, with a successful tour in the United Kingdom.
For over 45 years, British expatriate John Roberts has been singing and playing old songs, meaning that many of the songs and tunes in his extensive repertoire can be traced back at least one hundred years. He is also considered one of the foremost Anglo concertina players in the English-speaking world and uses the banjo for unique settings in many of the songs he sings. He can give the background of any song he performs, often telling the listener the circumstances from which it might have been written and from whom the song was collected. John and his long-time music partner, Tony Barrand (another British expatriate who appeared with John at the Brew in Nov. 1996) are often cited as influences and mentors to many listeners, singers and musicians when it comes to traditional folk music of the English speaking world.
Debra Cowan was once asked what kind of songs she writes. Her reply? “Bad ones. Besides, there are so many good songs out there written by others and they should be sung.” Her captivating warm alto carries each folk song she chooses with such emotion that you’ll forget that they were written by others. She performs a cappella and with guitar in the great tradition of folk singers like Joan Baez and Judy Collins, with a clear vocal that calls forth the ghosts of long past but can also offer a more modern urban landscape. In her newest release, a live recording entitled “Among Friends”, she demonstrates her ability to interact with her audience and have them enthusiastically sing along on choruses and refrains.
“…Debra Cowan and John Roberts reminded me of why I love folk music so much – it’s the ripping yarns, the sparse tunes, and the joy of singing along.” – Rob Weir, Off–Center Views
Hiroya is a one–of–a–kind composer, guitarist and singer–songwriter from Kyoto, Japan. He began playing the five–string banjo when he was thirteen, and took up the guitar shortly after.
In 2000, Hiroya received a scholarship to Berklee College of Music and came to the United States. He formed his own group in Boston INTEROCEANICO (inter-oceanic) which consists of unique musicians from different continents including Latin Grammy Colombian singer Marta Gomez. The group released three acclaimed records ("The Other Side of the World", "Confluencia" and "Where the River Shines"). Hiroya has released three solo albums ("Solo", "Heartland" and "Places").
Hiroya has been leading concerts internationally including several appearances at Blue Note in New York City with his group and Japanese National Television(NHK). In 2018, Hiroya won 2nd place in International Finger Style Guitar Championship.
“Hiroya immediately impressed the audience with his technical prowess on the guitar. Then as the concert progressed, he also revealed himself to be a skilled songwriter, a poetic spirit, and an engaging story teller. With a stage presence that is both humble and confident, Hiroya is a generous performer who won every heart in the house.” – Gordon Peery, Monadnock Center for History and Culture, Peterborough, NH
Award Winning songwriter Dan Weber has been described as "The Classic Mid-Life Overnight Sensation" after bursting onto the festival scene in 2010 to a standing ovation at the Sisters Folk Festival for his engaging set in the Dave Carter songwriting contest. Since then he’s toured extensively across the country becoming a rare 3 time finalist in the legendary Kerrville New Folk competition, had 2 top finishes in the Woody Guthrie songwriting contest and in 2015 won the prestigious Winfield, Kansas NewSong contest for "Oh Woody", his anthemic tribute to Woody Guthrie, that rose to #2 on the Folk charts in 2015.
Weber began performing later in life at age 40 but being a gifted storyteller, he quickly won over audiences with his natural charisma, upbeat performances, authentic songwriting, and off-the-cuff hilarious stories from the many roads he’s traveled. His songs have been described as "Guthrie-esque and reminiscent of early John Prine" and &auot;A rare combination of wit, emotion and Harry Chapin–esque imagery"
“Dan is one of those rare performers that make you feel like you are the person in the room he is telling the story to.” – Suzan Lundy, McLundy’s Green Room
This show will be one 75 minute set. For those of you who play an instrument, bring it along for an aftershow jam.
The DuoDuo Quartet presents an unforgettable night of music, song, and dance, spanning from the intimacy of each duo to a collaboration featuring all four of these innovators and masters of their respective traditions and instruments.
Michigan-born percussive dancer Nic Gareiss and Edinburgh harpist Maeve Gilchrist met while teaching at the Shasta Fiddle Summit in Northern California. They continued their musical relationship with spontaneous collaborations at festivals and chance meetings and later toured together as part of Darol Anger’s band, ‘The Furies’, finally making their duo debut at the Celtic Connections festival in Glasgow, Scotland. Sharing a deep respect for traditional music and culture while drawing on contemporary elements of music, movement, rhythm and improvisation, Nic and Maeve have emerged from the vibrant new acoustic scene as innovators in their fields. The percussion and drive of Nic’s footwork combined with Maeve’s melodic and improvisational sensibilities make for an explosive duet sure to delight both the ears and the eyes.
Natalie Haas is one of the most sought-after cellists in Celtic music today. She and Scottish fiddler Alasdair Fraser have toured as a duo for 18 years, wowing audiences at festivals and concerts worldwide with their unique sound. She has appeared on over 50 albums, including those of Cape Breton fiddler Natalie MacMaster, Irish greats Altan, Solas, and Liz Carroll, and Americana icon Dirk Powell. A graduate of the Juilliard School, Natalie is currently based in Boston, where she is an associate professor of cello at Berklee College of Music.
Montrealer Yann Falquet is one of the most creative acoustic guitarists in today’s Québécois music scene. Over the last fifteen years, he has recorded five albums and toured the world with French Canadian power trio Genticorum. Over the years, he has developed a unique personal guitar style for Québécois folk music, rhythmically powerful yet subtly complex. In the last few years, this husband and wife team have been performing together as a duo, performing a mix of Québécois traditional songs and new takes on folk music from throughout Western Europe.
“It’s an unusual blend of instruments; cello, harp, guitar and feet, but they’ve played together as friends for so long… the results [are] simply magic.” – CTNOW Hartford Courant
Karyn Oliver is part Joan Osborne, a touch of Janis Joplin and a bit of Emmylou Harris – effortlessly oscillating from bluesy to country and back. Her musical inspirations come primarily from the eclectic mix of music to which she was exposed while growing up in the musically diverse culture of Washington, D.C.
In 2009, Karyn moved to a town called Boring, MD with a broken heart and a cheap guitar. It was from this place that she created her first solo album, Red Dress, that earned her Kerrville New Folk Finalist and Falcon Ridge Emerging Artist in 2011, as well as 2010 Mid-Atlantic Song Contest winner. In 2011, Oliver moved to New York City, with a renewed heart and a better guitar. It is from this place that she created her latest solo album, Magdalene, and became a Kerrville New Folk Finalist for a second time in 2016.
2017 brought Oliver to North Carolina, where she is steeping herself in the great writers of the South, and recording a new album, “A List Of Names”.
“The soulful and seductive voice of Karyn Oliver mesmerizes the listener with an intimate assembly of songs that celebrate the touches of saints and sinners that exist in all of us and examine the rewards that come from taking risks.” – Ron Olesko, WFDU
Hank Cramer is one of the best-loved folksingers in the American West. He is widely known for his booming bass voice, smooth picking on a vintage flat-top guitar, and his wry sense of humor. He has a repertoire of over a thousand modern and traditional songs, spanning the genres of celtic, appalachian, maritime, cowboy, and plain old folk music. He is more than simply a performer, however. He is a historian and educator who weaves music and history into presentations which bring to life the rich story of America’s westward movement, and give his audiences insight into the “folk process” by which traditional songs evolve and change to describe new events.
“Cramer turns his multi-hued baritone to wonder-filled folk ballads, lilting Celtic airs, Canadian fishing songs, and brawling-voiced a capella sea chanteys. The seafaring tunes harken to a by-gone era. Cramer is one of the leading lights of the Northwest folk scene.” – Gene Armstrong, The Arizona Daily Star
From her tenure playing with The Claire Lynch Band, to her 7 International Bluegrass Music Association Bass Player of the Year awards, Missy Raines has proven herself without doubt as an iconic bluegrass instrumentalist. In 1998, Raines became the first woman to win IBMA’s Bass Player of the Year award and she went on to win the title more than any other bass player in the history of the organization, male or female. With nods to many of the varied and challenging chapters of her life, Raines songs speak volumes of her tenacity and musicianship, and her ability to rise to bluegrass fame despite the various confinements of the times. Her new CD, Royal Traveller was released in October of this year to wide acclaim.
"Missy Raines’ reputation as both a bassist and one of bluegrass’ most preferred partisans is well known of course, but such is her skill that her abilities as a singer and songwriter are sadly underrated. Royal Traveller offers opportunity to remedy that situation while providing Raines a chance to break out of the box and give full reign to her prowess and proficiency." – Bluegrass Today
From his unique background as an Italian musician in love with both American roots music as well as the music of his native country, Beppe has travelled the world and even crossed the “Iron Curtain” to dazzle and charm music enthusiasts everywhere. Gambetta is increasingly known as one of the true live master innovators of the acoustic guitar.
With America in his heart and his roots in the sun and the olive trees of the Mediterranean sea, he naturally and seamlessly bridges the shores of the two continents, creating in spite of the interposed ocean a musical "koiné " (fusion) where American root music and Ligurian tradition, emigration songs and folk ballads, steel string guitars and vintage harp guitars not only co-exist but interact, weaving a deep dialog unaware of any rigid classification.
“Beppe Gambetta is an Artist. He inhabits a vantage point and possesses a world view that sets him apart from the crowded phalanx of merely great pickers. But just as importantly, he has the skills with a flatpick to articulate and bring to us the thoughts and feelings of his soul” – Kevin Stevenson, Flatpicking Guitar Magazine
Family Concert 4:00 pm Free (Donation to the artist suggested) Center for Well Being
Mike Block is a pioneering cello player, singer, composer, and educator, hailed by Yo-Yo Ma as the "ideal musician of the 21st-Century." Passionate about cross-cultural collaboration through music, Mike is committed to inspiring individuals and connecting communities. At home in a wide range of musical styles, through a multi-genre approach to composition, performance and education, he seeks to inspire audiences and empower musicians to find joy in the full world of music.
Acclaimed by the NY Times for his "vital rich-hued solo playing," Block’s solo performances offer a rich mixture of core classical repertoire with original compositions. He has collaborated in performance and recordings with a variety of diverse musicians, including Will.i.am, Edgar Meyer, Stevie Wonder, The New York Philharmonic, Bon Iver, Zakir Hussain, Rachel Barton Pine, Allison Krauss, Mark O’Connor, Rhiannon Giddens, Bobby McFerrin, Darol Anger, Mike Marshall, and Julian Lage.
“Not only is he an enormously talented cellist and a great musician, but he writes music, he improvises, and he’s fearless. Mike is wide open to all kinds of influences, and he incorporates everything he learns into his sound, making it uniquely his own.” – Yo-Yo Ma
Pricing: $25 (+$3.50 Ticketing Fee)
Member Sale: Monday, June 4th at noon EST
Public Sale: Friday, June 8th at noon EST
This is a Reserved Seating show. To purchase a ticket, click the button above. NOTE: Red Molly tickets are not included in the Acoustic Brew’s season ticket package.
Red Molly first graced our stage in September 2006 opening for David Wilcox. We were so wowed we had them back for a full show the following Spring. We are excited to partner with the State Theatre to bring Red Molly back to State College again!
The Americana sweethearts who took a break in 2015 to work on their solo recordings are back for a limited number of shows in 2017-18. These very special shows feature picks from each of their 2017 solo projects, arranged in the signature Red Molly style as well as Red Molly favorites that span their 11-year career. A new lineup includes Eben Pariser (Roosevelt Dime) on electric guitar and drums and Craig Akin (Roosevelt Dime) on upright bass.
Known for their gorgeous harmonies, infectious songwriting, and captivating stage presence, Red Molly (Laurie MacAllister, Abbie Gardner and Molly Venter) weaves together the threads of American music—from folk roots to bluegrass, from heartbreaking ballads to barn-burning honky tonk—as effortlessly as they blend their caramel voices into their signature crystalline, three-part harmonies. Their brilliantly wrought a capella tunes are love letters to the art of the vocal blend, and their innovative instrumentation is perfectly suited for foot stomping bluegrass-tinged barnburners and heart-full ballads alike. Red Molly is simply a joy to listen to.
“From Day One, Red Molly conjured musical magic. A decade later, they’ve honed their songwriting, their covers, their playing and, above all, their harmonies into something joyful and sublime.” – John Platt, WFUV FM, Sunday Breakfast