Schedule - 2021/2022 Season
All shows begin at 7pm.
Proof of Vaccination for COVID-19 REQUIRED for all shows. Masks required at this time.
Call 630/941-7797 for all tickets.
<||Saturday, February 19, 2022 —
No one remembers when the neighbors started calling the McCutcheons to complain about the loud singing from young John's bedroom. It didn't seem to do much good, though. For, after a shaky, lopsided battle between piano lessons and baseball (he was a mediocre pianist and an all-star catcher), he had "found his voice" thanks to a cheap mail-order guitar and a used book of chords.
From such inauspicious beginnings, John McCutcheon has emerged as one of our most respected and loved folksingers. As an instrumentalist, he is a master of a dozen different traditional instruments, most notably the rare and beautiful hammered dulcimer. His songwriting has been hailed by critics and singers around the globe. His thirty recordings have garnered every imaginable honor including seven Grammy nominations. He has produced over twenty albums of other artists, from traditional fiddlers to contemporary singer-songwriters to educational and documentary works. His books and instructional materials have introduced budding players to the joys of their own musicality. And his commitment to grassroots political organizations has put him on the front lines of many of the issues important to communities and workers.
Even before graduating summa cum laude from Minnesota's St. John's University, this Wisconsin native literally "headed for the hills," forgoing a college lecture hall for the classroom of the eastern Kentucky coal camps, union halls, country churches, and square dance halls. His apprenticeship to many of the legendary figures of Appalachian music imbedded a love of not only home-made music, but a sense of community and rootedness. The result is music...whether traditional or from his huge catalog of original songs...with the profound mark of place, family, and strength. It also created a storytelling style that has been compared to Will Rogers and Garrison Keillor.
|Saturday, March 5, 2022 —
Ellis Paul is an American singer-songwriter and folk musician. Born in Presque Isle, Aroostook County, Maine, Paul is a key figure in what has become known as the Boston school of songwriting, a literate, provocative, and urbanely romantic folk-pop style that helped ignite the folk revival of the 1990s. His pop music songs have appeared in movies and on television, bridging the gap between the modern folk sound and the populist traditions of Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger.
Paul grew up in a small Maine town. He attended Boston College on a track scholarship, majoring in English. Injured during his junior year, Paul began playing guitar to help fill his free time and soon began writing songs. After graduating college Paul played at open mic nights in the Boston area while working with inner-city school children. He won a Boston Acoustic Underground songwriter competition and gained national exposure on a Windham Hill Records compilation which helped him choose music as a career.
Paul had released 21 albums and received 14 Boston Music Awards, considered the pinnacle of contemporary acoustic music success by some. He has published a book of original lyrics, poems, and drawings and released a DVD that includes a live performance, guitar instruction, and a road-trip documentary. In 2014, his children's CD "Hero in You" was published as a book by Albert Whitman & Company. Paul plays almost 200 live shows a year.
Paul released "The Storyteller's Suitcase" in 2019 to critical acclaim. And then he produced a superb new CD in 2020, "Traveling Medicine Show: Volume 1".
|Saturday, April 9, 2022 —
"Simultaneously beautiful and broken...Sam Baker is an artist worth waiting for" - NPR All Things Considered- Sam Baker makes people happy. The characters in his songs face many challenges-alcoholism, car wrecks, racism, drug addiction, a mother's abandonment-but they persevere. Much like Sam himself.
In 1986 Sam got in the middle of someone else's war. When a terrorist bomb exploded in his train compartment, he went from being a young, healthy, tourist enjoying Peru with friends to a broken man surrounded by death and dying. Given his injuries, he too should have died. But through a series of miracles and coincidences he survived.
There were lots of surgeries, and the requisite pain pills. His leg was saved by a successful femoral arterial graft. When the cranial bleed in his brain healed, he had to relearn nouns, and after his right eardrum was replaced, he regained some hearing. With the top of his left hand gone, it seemed that his formerly skillful hands had been transformed into blocks of wood, but eventually those hands learned how to play an upside-down guitar.
Physically, Sam was recovering, but his life was filled with pills, booze, and rage. Then came the voices and messengers that helped him see that the greatest gift is life itself. He learned about forgiveness. He needed to tell his story. Songs started to come from that upside-down guitar. Before he knew it, there were CDs, tours around the world, an interview with Terry Gross, and awards in Rolling Stone.
Sam feels compelled to tell his story-through his music, art, or any means possible-to one person at a time, or to thousands from a festival stage.
|Saturday, May 21, 2022 —
John Gorka with special guest Heather Styka
"Listening to John Gorka sing, one can get goose bumps all over. There are many reasons: fresh lyrics, a stunning emotional baritone, and his twisted humor."
John Gorka is perhaps the quintessential iconic singer-songwriter of the 80's folk scene. Hailing from New Jersey, but forged in the Greenwich 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 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."
- The New York Times
Music as Refuge: the Life of John Gorka
by Brian DAmbrosio on Huffington Post (01/04/14):
John Gorka's technique breaks free from the rules of modern music.
... With a tangle of songs that emotionally connect us all and leave a tender trace, John Gorka stimulates the cerebrum, keeps our smiles agile and fit and reconnects us with what really matters most in music: honesty. His atmosphere allows for the listener to feel his individualized attention, his lyrical tenderness, his care for the guitar and his true presence."
Gorka formed the Razzy Dazzy Spasm Band with Doug Anderson and Russ Rentler, which would also include guitarist Richard Shindell. After graduating from Moravian, he began performing solo at Godfrey Daniels coffee house in South Bethlehem as the opening act for various musicians including Nanci Griffith, Bill Morrissey, Claudia Schmidt and Jack Hardy. In 1984, Gorka was one of six winners chosen from the finalists in the New Folk competition at the Kerrville Folk Festival. Since then he has regularly toured Europe and North America.
In 1987, Gorka recorded his first album, I Know. It was released by Red House-beginning a long association with that label. Although his next five albums were distributed by Windham Hill and High Street, he returned to Red House with 1998's After Yesterday and produced eight albums with them over the next twenty years-most recently True in Time (2018).
He has appeared with artists such as Suzanne Vega, Shawn Colvin, Antje Duvekot, Meg Hutchinson, and Lucy Kaplansky. He joined with Kaplansky and Eliza Gilkyson to form the folk supergroup Red Horse in 2010, touring together and releasing a self-titled album on which they performed each other's compositions. Red Horse toured through July 2014.
Chicago songwriter Heather Styka cuts to the truth with gutsy vulnerability. With a heartfelt croon that brings to mind Billie Holiday or Patsy Cline, Styka combines the lyrical intricacy of folk with a catchy melodic pop sensibility and the grit of classic country in songs that are smart and disarming.
After growing up in the Chicago suburbs, Styka moved to the city to studying creative writing, meanwhile honing her song craft among Chicago's long-standing folk community. "Chicago has such a rich musical history, especially with places like the Old Town School of Folk Music," Styka explains. "I was definitely steeped in that tradition." Her 2011 release Lifeboats for Atlantis brought her to national attention, hitting #3 on the FOLK-DJ charts. Styka's honest, image-heavy songs have garnered her a number of awards, including being a New Folk Finalist at the Kerrville Folk Festival (2015, 2017) and official showcases at Folk Alliance International, NERFA, SWRFA, and FARM.
Live, Heather Styka comes off as something like Leonard Cohen crossed with Patsy Cline. Armed with a guileless, unvarnished delivery, she's equal parts wordsmith and entertainer. Styka's energetic shows feel as intimate and candid as late night conversation, peppered with a quirky sense of humor and confessional storytelling.
2021 2022 Season at a Glance: (All shows $20 per ticket)
September 11 2021:
October 23 2021:
Katie Dahl with special guest Jane Godfrey
November 06 2021:
Ordinary Elephant with special guest Wes Collins
January 08 2022:
Sons of the Never Wrong
February 19 2022:
March 05 2022:
April 09 2022:
May 21 2022:
John Gorka with special guest Heather Styka
Details on these shows are all below:
Season tickets at $140