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29th Season line up
Patty Larkin with Andrew Combs
Saturday, September 17th
Columbus Performing Arts Center (Shedd Theater)
$24 advance | $27 door | $15 Students | $5 Youth
8:00pm | Doors open at 7:30pm
Guitar wizardry with uncompromising vocals and lyrics
Patty Larkin redefines the boundaries of folk-urban pop music with her inventive guitar wizardry and uncompromising vocals and lyrics. Acoustic Guitar hails her "soundscape experiments" while Rolling Stone praises her "evocative and sonic shading." She has been described as "riveting", "hypnotic", and a "drop-dead brilliant" performer.

"Still Green," Patty Larkin's 13th album, plays out in Technicolor sound images, a kaleidoscope of sun and sea that travels from the fluorescent-lit hallways of grief to the warm pull of love, family and nature. This collection of new songs chronicles Patty's search for relief, respite and solace during a time when she lost both of her parents, and witnessed a sister suffer a serious health issue.

"Patty Larkin transmits eccentric magic." - THE BOSTON GLOBE

Official Websites: www.PattyLarkin.com
Song Samples: Wolf at the Door
Andrew Combs is a rising star of the Nashville singer-songwriter scene. Originally from Dallas, his style invokes the great tradition of Texas songwriting exemplified by Townes Van Zandt, Guy Clark, and Mickey Newbu5ry. Equal parts rough-and-ready Chicago blues, Planet Waves-era Dylan, and vintage Nashville folk, Combs' live show has often been described as Merle Haggard's stripped-down country rock meets the tightly wound garage punk of Detroit's The MC5.

Combs' sophomore album, All These Dreams, marks a huge step forward for the Nashville singer-songwriter. Using his gifts for lyricism and wry observation, Combs weaves tales of love, sin and redemption, in a style that brings together classic country and contemporary pop. On this album, Combs continues to carve out his own singular path as an artist, reaching the heights of his Texas songwriting heroes.

"The thinking man's country star" - Culturefly

Official Website: www.andrewcombsmusic.com
Song Samples: Nothing to Lose
Vance Gilbertwith Curtis McMurtry
Friday, October 7th
Peggy R. McConnell Arts Center of Worthington
$22 advance | $25 door | $15 Students | $5 Youth
8:00pm | Doors open at 7:30pm
The voice of an angel, the wit of a devil, and the guitar playing of a god
Vance Gilbert is an integral part of the national folk scene. His compositions, while frequently employing sophisticated melodies and harmonies that attest to his jazz roots, remain sublime attestations to the storyteller's craft. Whether with classic, original songwriting or ageless interpretations of covers, his is a presentation steeped in deep humanism and bravery, stunning artistry and soul, and contagious, unbridled joy.

Gilbert's true magic happens onstage where he combines humor, instrumental virtuosity and the unexpected. In fact he developed his reputation with his jaw- dropping, diverse, funny, devastating, and gorgeous live performances. Arlo Guthrie, Anita Baker, the late George Carlin have all requested Vance to be added to their bills.

"...among the quintessential musical poets." - Dirty Linen

Official Website: www.vancegilbert.com
Song Samples: Unfamiliar Moon
Curtis McMurtry writes lyrically-driven Americana music influenced as much by Dorothy Fields as Townes Van Zandt; painfully direct songs about guilt, spite, and intimacy.

Although he is still only in his mid-twenties, many of the characters in McMurtry's songs seem to have given up on life decades ago. His debut solo album Respectable Enemy chronicles the narrations of unapologetically bitter individuals still haunted by the ghosts of lovers and friends they have long since driven away. Like his father James and grandfather Larry, Curtis' novelist's eye offers striking attention to detail in his work. Few other songwriters inhabit such lonely, spiteful people with such conviction.

Official Website: www.curtismcmurtrymusic.com
Song Samples: Mt. Moriah
Dar Williamswith Harvey Wasserman
Saturday, November 12th
King Arts Complex
$30 advance | $33 door | $15 Students | $5 Youth
8:00pm | Doors open at 7:30pm
Return to MORTAL CITY The 20th Anniversary Tour. Full Album Being Played in its Entirety...plus other favorites
Dar Williams is major contributor the modern folk scene. The fact that twenty years after the release of her breakthrough album, the songs of Mortal City remain relevant is a testament to her skill as a songwriter.

Williams has been torn between her folkie instincts and the guilty pleasures of pop music for just as long as she's divided her songs between smart, witty character studies and explicitly activist political material.

Her love of folk stems from her admiration of its integrity toward honesty and real emotion, and a creative freedom not found in more popular music genres. An idiosyncratic songwriter with a unique, insightful perspective, Williams takes pains to avoid the coy and the quirky. Her songwriting and performing style has been compared to that of Joni Mitchell and Joan Baez, but with a few acidic and at times hilarious twists.

"Williams tells personal and political stories with wit and warmth, coming across as an old friend onstage. Dar aims for the brain and heart, and always scores a bullseye." - Elmore Magazine

Official Website: www.darwilliams.com
Song Samples: I Am the One Who Will Remember Everything
Dar Williams has handpicked notable authors, writers and poets to open each concert of her Return to MORTAL CITY tour.

"Authors and poets show the strengths of our democracy," Dar explains on her choice to include writers as support on this run. "These are people who have connected the mortal city through words and poetry and the sharing of beautifully expressed ideas. The people who are coming to speak represent that strength: the strength of our democracy through its culture. They all embrace democracy in different ways... the pen being mightier than the sword."


Lifelong activist Harvey Wasserman's 20 books include SOLARTOPIA! OUR GREEN-POWERED EARTH, the first fully-realized vision of a peaceful, socially-just humankind powered entirely by renewable energy and organic technologies. The vision inspired the song SOLARTOPIA written with Pete Seeger and David Bernz, sung with Dar Williams, appearing on the Grammy-winning TOMORROW'S CHILDREN from Appleseed Records.

Harvey has worked for peace, civil rights and ecological sanity since 1962, when, at age 17 (as a junior at Eastmoor High School) he marched to (successfully) desegregate a roller rink in central Ohio.

Since 2004 Harvey has taught history and cultural diversity at Columbus State Community College and Capital University. He edits www.nukefree.org and is senior editor of www.freeepress.org. His writings appear throughout the internet at Reader Supported News, EcoWatch and numerous other websites.
Jeff Blackwith Jared Mahone
Saturday, December 3rd
Columbus Performing Arts Center (Shedd Theater)
$22 advance | $25 door | $15 Students | $5 Youth
8:00pm | Doors open at 7:30pm
A master songwriter and performer in the tradition of the great storytellers
Jeff Black crafts raw emotions into lyrical stories. As a songwriter, he digs into tough topics with a gentle heart. Yet there's nothing predictable about a Jeff Black lyric other than it will be sung robustly, and it will head toward hope instead of dwell on despair.

His live shows are funny, moving and equally unpredictable. As one reviewer has written, "What makes a Jeff Black record or show exciting is that, as a listener, you know the singer is there not to perform for you, but to take you on a journey with him."

Black has garnered reviews that are nothing short of spectacular. Drawing comparisons to Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen and Jackson Browne, music writers have called him "a musical genius," a "tremendous vocalist and writer," and a "holy-roller piano player and a blazing guitarist." Boston's WUMB listeners voted Jeff Black as one of the top 100 most important Folk artists of the last 25 years.

"Nothing short of brilliant. Top to bottom, this stuff is special. Black is an artist of substance." - Billboard Magazine

Official Website: www.JeffBlack.com
Song Samples: Gold Heart Locket
As a forerunner of the Midwest "garage soul" movement, Columbus-based artist Jared Mahone typically fills out singer/ songwriter tunes with a band full of powerhouse, pocket players. His sound recalls artists such as Bill Withers, Marc Broussard, and Allen Stone.

Mahone has patiently turned hometown open mic night glory into a humble career as a nationally touring independent musician. His raw, acoustic story songs are inspired by an amalgamation of an upbringing on 90's soul, R&B, and Hip Hop and his passion for grinding out raw music with talented friends. These elements he absorbed while growing up in the Hilltop neighborhood where he lives still.

Earlier this year, Mahone was nominated in the Best Solo Artist category of 614 Magazine's ColumBest 2016 edition.

Official Website: http://www.jaredmahone.com
Song Samples: California
Mark Erelliwith John Craigie
Friday, January 20th
Columbus Performing Arts Center (Shedd Theater)
$22 advance | $25 door | $15 Students | $5 Youth
8:00pm | Doors open at 7:30pm
A skillful storyteller and virtuoso multi-instrumentalist
Mark Erelli has spent much of his career in other artist's shadows, playing as sideman for the likes of Lori McKenna, Paula Cole and Josh Ritter. But he shines on the solo stage when performing his own masterfully-written songs.

Even today, it's possible to write songs honestly and intelligently, arrange them with a sensitive ear and sing in a way that brings their stories to life. In his quiet way, the Boston-based singer/songwriter has gathered and grown a following that values these qualities.

Erelli has won several prestigious awards, including the Kerrville New Folk contest in 1999 and grand prize in the 2006 International Songwriting Contest, a song he co-wrote with Catie Curtis.

"Like the best of Paul Simon or Jackson Browne's work...you feel a bit clearer after listening, understanding what is really important and what is just noise." -Red Line Roots

Official Website: www.MarkErelli.com
Song Samples: For a Song
Jonathan Byrd & Pickup Cowboys
with Ben Bedford
Saturday, February 11th
Columbus Performing Arts Center (Shedd Theater)
$22 advance | $25 door | $15 Students | $5 Youth
8:00pm | Doors open at 7:30pm
A rootsy artist whose stark songs tell big, complex stories
Jonathan Byrd is a North Carolina flatpicker and a Texas songwriter, a Gulf War veteran and a preacher's son, and an award-winning songwriter whose songs you've probably heard, even if you haven't heard Byrd sing them. Covered by multiple artists, Byrd's music will seem familiar to any Americana fan.

Byrd quit the rock bands of his youth and hit the road solo in 2000, flatpicking and singing new songs in an old style. A tip from a friend led him down to the Kerrville Folk Festival, a dusty ranch where he discovered the rich Texas songwriting culture and made it his own.

Backed by his top-notch band the Pickup Cowboys, Byrd calls on the country, folk, and ballad traditions to craft songs packed with humor and raw emotion.

"So deeply rooted in tradition, but growing in his own way" - TOM PAXTON

Official Website: www.JonathanByrd.com
Song Samples:The Ballad of Larry
Ben Bedford delivers intriguing sketches of America, its individuals, their victories and their struggles.

Often drawing upon history, Bedford's songs have a strong sense of time and place. The songs are rich in sensory detail which allows the listener to hear, see and feel each narrative. Poignant, but never sentimental, Bedford's portrait-like songs capture the vitality of his characters and draw the listener deep into the narratives.

A true son of the heartland, Bedford dips into the deep inkwell of classic American literature and writes with the 'old soul' quality of his literary idols, such as John Steinbeck and Toni Morrison.

"A truly inspired and talented storyteller." - Maverick

Official Website: www.BenBedford.com
Song Samples: Twenty One
Chad Elliott and Ken Yates
Saturday, March 18th
Columbus Performing Arts Center (Shedd Theater)
$22 advance | $25 door | $15 Students | $5 Youth
8:00pm | Doors open at 7:30pm
A pair of soulful songwriters with engaging stage presence.
Chad Elliott combines soulful, well-crafted songs with laid-back storytelling and skillful fingerpicking to deliver a memorable experience. Averaging close to 200 shows per year, Elliott has been on the road for more nearly 20 years performing a blend of Americana, roots and country music.

Along the way, he has released 20 full-length albums and received accolades and awards including the 2009 Woody Guthrie Festival song contest. More recently, Elliott was a Mountain Stage NewSong Regional Finalist in 2014 and Leaf Newsong Finalist in 2015.

"A timeless and genuine musical poet with supple-strong roots" - No Depression

Official Website: www.chadelliott.net/
Song Samples:Same Old Way
Born and Raised in London, Ontario, Ken Yates moved to Boston to study songwriting at Berklee College of Music.

It was there that he developed his skills as a songwriter, releasing his first CD, "The Backseat EP", and received the opportunity to play a song for one of his biggest influences, John Mayer. Mayer even posted a full-page blog about Yates' ability as a writer stating, "Ken Yates wrote a song called "I Don't Wanna Fall In Love"...this song moved me when I first heard it and still does today".

Yates' EP received high critical acclaim, leading to a slew of online covers from fans. He has toured with many notable names including veteran singer/songwriter and mentor, Livingston Taylor, Sister Hazel, Peter Katz, and Liz Longley and has songs in heavy rotation on Sirius XM's The Coffee House where he was nominated for The Coffee House Songwriter Discovery of the Year.

"Ken Yates' music is solid as stone and clear as mountain air." - Livingston Taylor

Official Website: www.KenYates.com
Song Samples: Once More to the Lake
Big Little Lionswith Shawna Caspi
Friday, April 7th
Columbus Performing Arts Center (Shedd Theater)
$22 advance | $25 door | $15 Students | $5 Youth
8:00pm | Doors open at 7:30pm
A dynamic fusion of feel-good and deep emotion
Big Little Lions is the ferocious songwriting duo of Helen Austin and Paul Otten. Both successful singer/songwriters in their own right, they met while both on a conference songwriting member success panel and then a couple of years later started the band from afar, with Helen based on Vancouver Island, BC, Canada and Paul in Cincinnati, OH.

It was while Paul was producing for Helen's JUNO Award winning album that they became Big Little Lions and together they have won many awards including 1st place in the International Songwriting Competition, the top prize of Song of the Year in the John Lennon Songwriting Competition and they won a Canadian Folk Music Award for Ensemble of the Year.

Their songs are a dynamic fusion of feel-good and deep emotion that leave the listener with a strong emotional reaction.

"A blissful marriage of new folk and sophisticated pop." - Mariposa Folk Festival

Official Website: www.biglittlelions.com
Song Samples: Just Keep Moving
Shawna Caspi sings of love, travel, home, and heart, distilling each experience into a series of vibrant snapshots, colored with humor and grace and arranged with care and craft. Her latest release, Apartments for Lovers, is a solo guitar and voice album that showcases her rich voice and remarkable fingerstyle guitar technique.

"The power of one person and one instrument - engaging and exciting in itself. I believe that's the root of folk music", Caspi says.

On Apartments For Lovers, Shawna creates delicate, quiet moments that are vulnerable and accessible even when she's writing about someone else. Her songs are snapshots - moments that may appear small, but which subtly carry weight and offer greater depth thanks to her well-crafted lyrics.

"Caspi’s compositions stand out as beautiful, complex and intricate.” – NOW Magazine

Official Website: www.shawnacaspi.com
Song Samples: Not So Silent
Big Little Lions Special Family Show
Saturday, April 8th
Columbus Performing Arts Center (Van Fleet Theater)
$5 advance
10:00am | Doors open at 9:30am
A dynamic fusion of feel-good and deep emotion
Lindsay Lou & Flatbellyswith Ken Stead
Saturday, April 22nd
Peggy R. McConnell Arts Center of Worthington
$22 advance | $25 door | $15 Students | $5 Youth
8:00pm | Doors open at 7:30pm
Eclectic Americana from the heart of America's third coast
Lindsay Lou & The Flatbellys is a blazing hot roots ensemble.

Leading the group, Michigan-born Lindsay Lou has the kind of voice you can get lost in. One part jazz singer, effortlessly transitioning octaves, one part blues shouter, soaring over the band like a clarion call, and one part folk singer, rousing them all together in song.

The instruments and the bedrock of the band may come from bluegrass, but the music the band presents can best be described as Americana - a genre that's caught between the pull of the past and the push of the beckoning future, ready to leap forward bursting with new ideas and youthful energy.

"Unique harmonies elevate amazing songs to unexpected heights." - Greensky Bluegrass

Official Website: www.lindsayloumusic.com
Song Samples: Old Song
Ken Stead has always been a performer. At nine, he appeared in a Broadway version of "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat" alongside Donny Osmond. The money he earned from his appearances was used to purchase a piano and he was soon playing tunes by ear.

Born and raised in Edmonton, Stead excelled at track and field and started to show an interest in music when it was cool to listen and appreciate rap and metal in the locker room. But an unexpected trip the famed Edmonton Folk Festival prompted him to write his own songs.

After spending five years in Michigan and Minnesota, Stead returned to his home city of Edmonton with a few thousand miles of road behind him, and a few hundred songs to be written on the road ahead. He has played numerous folk festivals in Western Canada, including that same Edmonton Folk Festival which changed his life.

"With a voice of velvet, his fresh and relevant lyrics will wrap around your heart and penetrate your soul" - CKUA-Radio

Official Website: www.kenstead.net
Song Samples: Oh Carolina
Joshua Daviswith Callaghan
Saturday, May 20th
Columbus Performing Arts Center (Shedd Theater)
$22 advance | $25 door | $15 Students | $5 Youth
8:00pm | Doors open at 7:30pm
The perfect blend of American roots, gritty rock n' roll and vintage soul
Joshua Davis was raised in the folk tradition: the music, the social movements, the land. He writes songs that blend the roots of American music with gritty rock n' roll and vintage soul. Performing Songwriter Magazine called the result, "Some of the liveliest and most rocking roots music around.

For over 15 years Joshua has made his living sharing his songs, stories and knowledge across the US and Canada at festivals, concert halls, coffeehouses and dives - as a solo act, front man for roots ensemble "Steppin' In It", classic swing band "Shout Sister Shout", songwriter showcase band "The Starlight Six" and frequently as a workshop facilitator, presenter or instructor.

Davis rose to national attention in 2015 as a finalist on NBC's The Voice.

"Some of the liveliest and most rocking roots music around." - Performing Songwriter

Official Website: www.joshuadavismusic.com
Song Samples: The Voice Blind Audition "I Shall Be Released"
Performing on piano and guitar, British singer-songwriter Callaghan combines sounds from Americana, folk and pop and a vocal that earns frequent comparisons with artists like Sarah McLachlan and Norah Jones. Her songs chronicle stories and moments from her own life and from others she knows or imagines.

In the Summer of 2010 Callaghan packed up her life in London and moved to Atlanta to work with one of her musical heroes - Grammy Nominee Shawn Mullins - who had heard her music through MySpace.

It was her very first house show tour - which stretched from coast-to-coast in 2013, a year after the release of her widely-acclaimed debut album, Life in Full Colour - that earned Callaghan a four-page spread in Billboard Magazine. The magazine credited her with "helping reshape the business of touring, if not music consumption entirely," and praised Callaghan for her strong vocals and do-it-yourself work ethic. The Huffington Post agreed, adding, "She's one of those performers whose genuine sweetness is transparent in her voice, and it shines through her writing."

"Her extraordinary voice truly sets the music apart...nothing short of stunning" - No Depression

Official Website: www.callaghansongs.com
Song Samples: When You Loved Me