The Minstrel Acoustic Concert Series ™

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

Time: 7:30 PM unless otherwise noted. 2nd Friday usually Open Stage/audition night

Admission: $10 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.

Watch Minstrel concerts on the Web: Most concerts at the Minstrel are webcast live on Concert Window. Click on the CW logo at right to sign in. Check out our Instruction Page if you have not yet signed up for this service.

NEW - Hotel Discount: Red Roof Inn in Parsippany is offering a discount to Minstrel performers and audience members.

April Verch
Sep 28, 2012

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Friday, September 21: Bill Staines with The Asthmatics

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.

The Asthmatics

The Asthmatics features Folk Project members Mitch Radler, Carrie Cantor, and Todd Dennison, whose outstanding voices and tight harmonies are beautifully set off by acoustic guitars and bass. Their mix of slow, fast, swampy, bluesy, and pop tunes brings listeners along on a journey through a sometimes familiar, sometimes brand new musical landscape, lending every gem of a song choice a unique interpretation to delight the ear.

Friday, September 28: Beppe Gambetta with Peter Lister

Beppe Gambetta

Notes from the RoadBeppe Gambetta, the Italian bluegrass flatpicking champion. Sounds like an ethnic joke, but Beppe is no joke. Early in life he was captured by the music of such greats as Doc Watson and Tony Rice, and soon got to the point where he was sharing festival stages as an equal with his heroes. Equally adroit on mandolin, he can blaze through a hot bluegrass tune or croon a lovely Italian traditional ballad. And all with an elegant continental charm that is a joy to witness.

Peter Lister

AugustPete Lister is a multi-instrumentalist, songwriter and arranger from Newton, NJ. He's been pickin' guitar for 30 years and studied upright bass at the County College of Morris. His playing style is a practical blend of finger-picking and flat-picking with a solid rhythmic feel that is fortified by his bass playing. Pete likes to write in a variety of genres with lyrical content ranging from heart-felt to heart-broken to humorous.

Friday, October 5: Closed for the Folk Project Fall Getaway
Closed for the Folk Project Fall Getaway

Closed for the Folk Project Fall Getaway

A fantastic acoustic music retreat where 150 music lovers and music makers share three concerts, 40 workshops, and endless jamming with nationally and internationally recognized touring performers. $214 or less pays for all food, lodging, and activities. Full weekend and single day tickets still available. See folkproject.org/festival.

Friday, October 12: OpenStage   $5 admission Open Stage only

OpenStage

The Minstrel OpenStage is the place where a diverse collection of acoustic musicians perform for a welcoming, supportive, and attentive audience. We’re a listening room, not a noisy bar. We've often seen previews of our regularly scheduled opening acts for the first time at our Open Stage. Admission is $5.00 at the door, but is free for anyone under the age of twenty-five. (Free-will donations are encouraged.) For information on how to sign up to perform at our next Open Stage, visit www.OpenStage.FolkProject.org.

Friday, October 19: Abbie Gardner (of Red Molly) with He Bird, She Bird

Abbie Gardner (of Red Molly)

I'd Rather BeAbbie Gardner is best known to the Minstrel regulars as the dobro player with the infectious smile from the group Red Molly. As a solo artist she performs mostly her original songs of love and loss, both gritty and sweet, propelled by her clear and expressive vocals and impeccable slide guitar playing. There's a pure Country feel to her delivery, channeling Lucinda and Bonnie, but remaining pure Abbie.

He Bird, She Bird

Hell or High WaterTodd Evans (resonator guitar), Terri Hall (percussion), and Christine Kellar (guitar) comprise He Bird, She Bird. Their music is a mix of original, Americana, and bluesy songs with strong 3-part harmony and a real sense of joy to the music. You can tell they're having fun on stage, and the fun is contagious.

Friday, October 26: A Folk Project Member Concert
Folk Project Halloween Party   $12 admission this show only. Refreshments are included.

Folk Project Halloween Party

This special Folk Project family show is all about the ghoulish and the garish, whimsical and wizardly. Its about music, fun, scares and devilish delights. Come sing along, clap your claws, tap your toenails and laugh at the funky costumes. Come dressed up yourself and most of all be prepared to have a howling good time. Sit a spell, cast a dance, whirl the evening away and depart in a fog of hazy musical merriment. Join us! Questions? Contact Halloween@FolkProject.org

Friday, November 2: Magpie with Hal Guitarist   NOTE: This is Magpie's rain date after their scheduled March appearance was cancelled due to the Nor'Easter

Magpie

I Stand Before the Morning SunGreg Artzner and Terry Leonino have been married and performing together as Magpie for over 25 years. It only follows that their music as a duo is instinctively tight. Their vocal harmonies blend perfectly. Their instrumental work on guitar, mandolin, and harmonica is top notch. And their music ranges from '30's swing to environmentally and socially active folk music.

Hal Guitarist is a young singer who channels the songwriters who, at his age, formed the backbone of the socially conscious Folk movement of the early 60's. From Woody Guthrie to Bob Dylan to Phil Ochs, he convincingly delivers the classic songs with the freshness and fervor of those early pioneers of the movement, along with a few of his own compositions as well.

Friday, November 9: OpenStage   $5 admission Open Stage only.

The Minstrel OpenStage is the place where a diverse collection of acoustic musicians perform for a welcoming, supportive, and attentive audience. We’re a listening room, not a noisy bar. We've often seen previews of our regularly scheduled opening acts for the first time at our Open Stage. Admission is $5.00 at the door, but is free for anyone under the age of twenty-five. (Free-will donations are encouraged.) For information on how to sign up to perform at our next Open Stage, visit www.OpenStage.FolkProject.org.

Friday, November 16: The Shockenaw Mountain Boys with Russ Rentler

The Shockenaw Mountain Boys

The Shockenaw Mountain Boys are an acoustic subset of the great New Jersey jam band, Railroad Earth. They feature R.E. staples Tim Carbone on fiddle, Andy Goessling on guitar and banjo, John Skehan on mandolin, and Johnny Grubb (of Emmitt & Nershi) on bass. They do great high-energy versions of Irish tunes, traditional folk standards, bluegrass, and a few originals.

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, November 23: Windborne with Maia McCormick

Windborne

I Can HewThis is Windborne's return for a headline set, which was awarded them by audience acclaim after their stellar opening act for Frank Vignola in June.
Conjuring up echos of the Canadian group "Finest Kind", Windborne is a harmony-driven quartet of 20-somethings who revel in the vocal traditions of the British Isles and early American folk song. To this they add vocal harmony traditions around the world from the Balkans to South Africa. They sing either acapella, or with spare accompaniment on banjo, fiddle, and percussion.

Maia McCormick

Maia McCormick came to folk music by way of the folk dance scene, through the unaccompanied song tradition. Her wide repertoire, gleaned from years of pub sings and song swaps, encompasses both the classic and contemporary; she performs touching ballads, rousing shanties, and some songs more ridiculous than sublime. (And the occasional dirty ditty). Maia with her warm, resonant voice offers her listeners choruses in abundance to sing with.

Friday, November 30: Reeds, Rhythm, And All That Brass with Frank & Hank

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, Glenn 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.

Tonight's opening act is comprised of two members of our headline act. An eclectic mix of music from bluegrass to jazz to standards comes from the agile musical minds of Folk Project members Frank Sole and Hank (Hen3ry) Nerenberg. Frank is a skilled guitarist both in lead flatpicking styles and in Django-inspired jazz. Hen3ry (the 3 is silent) has one of the widest ranging musical minds in the Project, and is a genius at innovative and appropriate arrangement.

Friday, December 7: Chorus Song Night

If you like to sing, this is the show for you. Four experienced song-leaders will take turns leading the audience in songs for all to sing. Songs with choruses, familiar favorites, choruses easily learned on the fly. Lots of chances to add harmonies if that's your style. The songleaders will be

  • Ken Schatz Renowned singer of traditional songs
  • Carrie Cantor:: Familiar folk and pop standards
  • Jerry Krantman: American Songbook, classic folk, & gospel
  • Mike Agranoff Purveyor of singable songs of all genres, and Program Chairman of the Minstrel

Friday, December 14: OpenStage   $5 admission Open Stage only.

The Minstrel OpenStage is the place where a diverse collection of acoustic musicians perform for a welcoming, supportive, and attentive audience. We’re a listening room, not a noisy bar. We've often seen previews of our regularly scheduled opening acts for the first time at our Open Stage. Admission is $5.00 at the door, but is free for anyone under the age of twenty-five. (Free-will donations are encouraged.) For information on how to sign up to perform at our next Open Stage, visit www.OpenStage.FolkProject.org.

Friday, December 21: A Folk Project Event
Folk Project Holiday Show

A concert to benefit the Morristown Unitarian Fellowship. Details to follow.

Friday, December 28: Karyn Oliver with Pepper & Sassafras

Karyn Oliver

Drag Your Angel UpKaryn Oliver has one of the finest voices in the Contemporary Folk / Americana field. Part Joan Osborne, a touch of Janis Joplin and a bit of Emmylou Harris, she effortlessly oscillates between bluesy and country. Minstrel audiences will recognize her as one quarter of the band "No Fuss and Feathers". 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.

Pepper & Sassafras

FlyPepper & Sassafras is the duo of Jeffrey Pepper Rogers and Wendy Ramsay. What the Kennedys do for folk rock, P&S do for straight folk. Well written songs with agile guitar accompaniment and really sweet harmonies and an old-timey feel.

Friday, January 4: Susan Werner with Zoe Mulford

Susan Werner

Did Trouble MeIt is rare performer who covers all the bases the way Susan Werner does. She scores off the chart in intelligence, heart, instrumental and vocal chops, and enough charisma to make Radio City Music Hall feel like your local coffeehouse. She writes with the stylish craft of a Cole Porter and the spirituality of a Bob Franke. She plays sophisticated, effortless and perfectlly tasteful accompaniment on piano and guitar. And she makes you feel a better person for having spent the evening in her presence.

Zoe Mulford

The President Sang Amazing GraceSinger-songwriter Zoe Mulford plants one foot on either shore of the Atlantic, with homes in Pennsylvania and Manchester England. She tackles the big eternal themes - love, death, food, laundry, etc. - with wit and honesty. Backing her clear vocals with guitar or clawhammer banjo, she serves up well-told stories seasoned with everything from old-time picking to Irish ballad, plus a dash of the blues. Her song, "The President Sang Amazing Grace" has been recently recorded by Joan Baez.

Friday, January 11: OpenStage   $5 admission Open Stage only.

The Minstrel OpenStage is the place where a diverse collection of acoustic musicians perform for a welcoming, supportive, and attentive audience. We’re a listening room, not a noisy bar. We've often seen previews of our regularly scheduled opening acts for the first time at our Open Stage. Admission is $5.00 at the door, but is free for Folk Project members and anyone under the age of twenty-five. (Free-will donations are encouraged.) For information on how to sign up to perform at our next Open Stage, visit www.OpenStage.FolkProject.org.

Friday, January 18: T.B.D.

Friday, January 25: T.B.D.

Friday, February 1: Folk Project Valentines Day Extravaganza

More details forthcoming.

Friday, February 8: OpenStage   $5 admission Open Stage only.

The Minstrel OpenStage is the place where a diverse collection of acoustic musicians perform for a welcoming, supportive, and attentive audience. We’re a listening room, not a noisy bar. We've often seen previews of our regularly scheduled opening acts for the first time at our Open Stage. Admission is $5.00 at the door, but is free for Folk Project members and anyone under the age of twenty-five. (Free-will donations are encouraged.) For information on how to sign up to perform at our next Open Stage, visit www.OpenStage.FolkProject.org.

Friday, February 15: T.B.D.

Friday, February 22: T.B.D.

Friday, March 1: Mike & Ruthy (of The Mammals) with Opening Act T.B.D.

Mike & Ruthy (of The Mammals)

Simple and SoberMike Merenda & Ruthy Ungar are the front couple for the great contemporary stringband, "The Mammals". Mike plays guitar and banjo, and Ruthy guitar and fiddle. Ruthy in particular is an apple that fell real close to the tree of her father, Jay Ungar, with fiddle chops right up there with her legendary dad's. They play mostly original music, but maintain their traditional roots with some spirited fiddle tunes of all genres. The duo features great instrumental virtuosity, wonderful songs and stories, and an over-the-top high-energy performance.

Friday, March 8: OpenStage   $5 admission Open Stage only.

The Minstrel OpenStage is the place where a diverse collection of acoustic musicians perform for a welcoming, supportive, and attentive audience. We’re a listening room, not a noisy bar. We've often seen previews of our regularly scheduled opening acts for the first time at our Open Stage. Admission is $5.00 at the door, but is free for Folk Project members and anyone under the age of twenty-five. (Free-will donations are encouraged.) For information on how to sign up to perform at our next Open Stage, visit www.OpenStage.FolkProject.org.

Friday, March 15: T.B.D.

Friday, March 22: T.B.D.

Friday, March 29: T.B.D.

Friday, April 5: Cheryl Wheeler

Cheryl Wheeler

ArrowThere are two Cheryl Wheelers, actually. There's the Good Cheryl Wheeler, who stops you in your tracks with the most beautiful poignant ballad that can bring you to tears. And there's the Evil Cheryl Wheeler whose biting wit and relentless probing of the foibles and foolishness of society reminds you of Jon Stewart or George Carlin and leaves you helplessly rolling on the floor with laughter. And watching those two Cheryl Wheelers vie with each other on stage is what has made her a top drawing talent in the Folk World for over 3 decades.

Friday, April 12: OpenStage   $5 admission Open Stage only.

The Minstrel OpenStage is the place where a diverse collection of acoustic musicians perform for a welcoming, supportive, and attentive audience. We’re a listening room, not a noisy bar. We've often seen previews of our regularly scheduled opening acts for the first time at our Open Stage. Admission is $5.00 at the door, but is free for Folk Project members and anyone under the age of twenty-five. (Free-will donations are encouraged.) For information on how to sign up to perform at our next Open Stage, visit www.OpenStage.FolkProject.org.

Friday, April 19: Del Rey with Opening Act T.B.D.

Del Rey

Livin' in a Great Big WayThose who attended our 2018 Spring Getaway will long remember the bravura performance they saw by Del Rey.She hits the stage like a miniature tornado with blues, ragtime, jug band, and novelty numbers played on steel guitar and ukulele. Her instrumental prowess approaches, but does not quite cross the borderline of being flashy. And it's all delivered with a twinkle in the eye, and a sense of humor that's a cross between Will Rogers and Monty Python. The woman is a pistol!

Friday, April 26: RPR with Opening Act T.B.D.

RPR

Temporary SongThose who mourn the demise of the great Canadian band Tanglefoot will rejoice at the emergence of RPR, which might justifiably be called "Tanglefoot II". Three of T'foot's members, Rob Ritchie (keyboard), Steve Ritchie (guitar), and Al Parrish (bass) form the core of the band, and are joined by Beaker Granger (percussion & guitar). The full-throated folk sound is still there, along with some of the old band's repertoire. But the focus is broader and the musical palette more varied. The vocal harmonies are powerfully evident as ever, as is the energy, the finely-honed songwriting, the penchant for humour and the twinkling eyes.

Friday, May 3: The Kennedys with Opening Act T.B.D.

The Kennedys

Midnight GhostWhen 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, September 20: Garnet Rogers with Opening Act T.B.D.

Garnet Rogers

Sailor's RestWith his smooth, dark baritone, his incredible range, and thoughtful, dramatic phrasing, Garnet Rogers is widely considered by fans and critics alike to be one of the finest singers anywhere. He became a touring musician right out of high school as a member of his brother Stan's band. His music is literate, passionate, highly sensitive, and deeply purposeful. As memorable as his songs, his over-the-top humor and lightning-quick wit moves his audience from tears to laughter and back again.