Labyrinth Cafe 2013-14 Season
Saturday, August 10, 2013 - 7:30 p.m. $5
Help us kick off our 2013-2014 season with this fun, lively and interactive event! Local performers will host, emcee and lead the evening's festivities, refreshments are available for sale and plenty of free parking is provided. “There is no pressure to sing out really loudly, or to sing incredibly well. The only common bond is that everyone in the group loves to sing. That's it. Sharing songs and creating magical sound is really way too much fun.”
We will be singing from the “Rise Up Singing” songbook (a wonderful guide compiled by SingOut Magazine with lyrics to over 1200 classic songs) as well as from our own memory – selections will include a great mix of folk, gospel, bluegrass, jazz, contemporary, rounds, old-time. If you have a copy of “Rise Up Singing", please bring it. We will also have copies for sale for at the event.
Everyone is welcome. Without you, there is no sound!
Saturday, September 14, 2013 - 7:30 p.m.
Grant Livingston/Mindy Simmons
Grant Livingston has been a favorite at acoustic music venues throughout Florida since the mid-eighties. An offbeat sense of humor comes through the stories told in Livingston's songs. You'll meet Einstein and Gypsy Rose on a road trip, a guy who is way serious about eating pie, a French-speaking cat in a graveyard, armadillos, barnacles, an unleashed dog and more. Many of Grant's songs reflect his love for his South Florida home. History, environment, social commentary, bringing Florida's past to light and making light of its present, Grant has earned the title of Miami's Historian-in-Song. As a guitarist Livingston employs a style which is a unique mix of ragtime, country blues, and early swing. Comfortably at home with the musical style of the 1920s, he sometimes adds his interpretation of classic songs from the period to his performance of originals. "Magical - his words really lighten the soul!" - Miami Herald
A dose of singer/songwriter Mindy Simmons is just what the laugh doctor ordered. She is truly a genuine performer who guides her audience down the bumpy road of life, smiling all the way. She combines quick wit and charm with a voice that moves flawlessly from satin smooth to gutsy, creating a memorable performance that feels like an evening with your best friend. A seasoned professional, Mindy has toured nationwide since 1980, and her repertoire is a soulful combination of originals and standards. Mindy energizes her audiences with her delightful interaction and broad emotional performances. She is especially adept at engaging an audience with her witty banter between songs as well as her songs themselves, which show a finely crafted detail mixed with some pathos and healthy doses of humor. “Think Carol Burnett meets Peggy Lee and you’ve got Mindy Simmons.”
Saturday, October 12, 2013 - 7:30 p.m.
Billy Jonas Trio
For more than two decades, Billy Jonas’ creative and interactive performances have enchanted and inspired folks from all walks of life, young and old alike — touching hearts, souls, and minds worldwide. It's a "neo-tribal hootenanny" -- original "voice and percussion"-based songs with a generous dose of audience participation. The music mixes conventional instruments (guitar, bass, marimba) with homemade creations (using buckets and barrels, keys and cans, bells and body percussion). The big-tent festival quality of Billy's music facilitates connection and community while fostering inspiration and... most importantly... FUN.
Led by guitarist / vocalist / industrial re-percussionist Billy Jonas, the Billy Jonas Trio also features the supreme talents of:
•Ashley Farmer (vocals, percussion) – In turns soulful, sensual and humorous, Ashley adds an exciting vocal dimension to the Billy Jonas Trio.
•Sherman Hoover (vocals, bass, re-percussion) – With a varied background in classical, jazz and progressive rock, Sherman holds down the funky bottom for the band while adding innovative harmonies to the mix.
•The audience (vocals, percussion) – because everybody's in the band!
Saturday, November 9, 2013 - 7:30 p.m.
Since 2004, Americana trio Red Molly has been bringing audiences to their feet with gorgeous three-part harmonies, crisp musicianship, and their warm, engaging stage presence. The band consists of Laurie MacAllister (bass, banjo), Abbie Gardner (dobro, banjo) and Molly Venter (guitar). This past year, the ladies were invited to open multiple shows for music legend Willie Nelson and they performed at the venerable RockyGrass festival in CO. Their new CD "Light in the Sky" spent 20 weeks on the Americana Music Association's Top 40 radio chart and charted as Folk DJ's #3 Top Album of 2012. In 2013, the band spent the month of March touring throughout Australia, and in August headed to Europe for the first time, for Denmark's Tonder Festival. They have also been invited to appear for the third time at NC's legendary music gathering, MerleFest. Also scheduled is a fourth appearance at the Bristol Rhythm and Roots Reunion, where in September 2012 the Bristol Herald Courier dubbed Red Molly "The Twin City's sweethearts", saying the band "lit up the stage, as a massive crowd of adoring fans sat mesmerized by their silky smooth harmonies and superb musicianship."
Saturday, December 21, 2013 - 7:30 p.m.
Sam Pacetti/John William Davis
Sam Pacetti is one who brings it all together. A fingerstyle guitar wizard. A deft songwriter, capable of haunting depth and wry humor in the space of one song. An impassioned and ecstatic vocalist, as well as a mesmerizing live performer, seamlessly melding head-spinning guitar pyrotechnics and raw emotion into one breathtaking package. Tradition and innovation neatly balance in Sam Pacetti's music, the whole infused by a relentless intelligence intent on musical and philosophical synthesis. Martin Simpson, Richard Thompson, Joni Mitchell and Merle Travis are touchstones to Pacetti, and while there are strong elements of the American primitive school of guitar wizardry throughout his work, there is a powerful raw emotionality evident as well - an earthy sensuality more reminiscent of a Greg Brown or a red-dirt blues master than of a musical academician.
It should come as no surprise that John William Davis grew up to be a singer/songwriter. This avocation, if it can be called such, is, like prostitution and tax preparation, a powerful magnet for frustrated drunks. Was this strange chain of circumstance initiated by a Chinese super bomb a curse or a blessing? Was the world cruelly cheated of an otherwise happy-go-lucky mountain guide for Western and Japanese thrill seekers? Or are we strangely blessed with the songs of this self-described ‘tortured caterwauler’? That I have to leave to you to decide. Davis, winner of several songwriting competitions, released his debut album, Dreams of the Lost Tribe, in 2003 to some much critical acclaim. Two years later, this was followed up by Revelation Land. His next offering, Dead Simple, Vol. 1: You Talk Funny, was released in the Fall of 2012.
Saturday, January 11, 2014 - 7:30 p.m.
Amy Carol Webb/Gretchen Peters
"Amy Carol Webb" defined, is "beloved song weaver." She is passionate, powerful, and poignant. She's the girl next door and no ordinary woman. Born and reared in Oklahoma, Amy traces her heritage back to Native Americans through her Great-Grandmothers who settled Oklahoma when it was still a Territory. Amy's music reflects the same pioneering spirit, tenacity, integrity and never-quit grit. She is "beauty and vulnerability, genuine, sympathetic and electrifying." (Gables Gazette) Her joy is infectious, her courage inspiring, her songs gifts of literate, humorous, often profound poems of one woman's remarkable journey from precious child, to woman to mother... to "Songweaver."
Gretchen Peters’ own voice and guitar playing have been at the core of her music since she started performing in the Boulder, Colorado folk circuit as a teenager. Inspired by Paul Simon, Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell and a new generation of songwriters rising out of Nashville that included Steve Earle, Nanci Griffith and Rodney Crowell, Peters relocated to Music City in the late 1980s. Initially she found Nashville inspiring. “Being in a place where you can hear so many good songwriters perform their work on just an acoustic guitar really made me understand the anatomy of songs in a way I didn’t until I moved here,” Peters relates. “Just listening closely to other people who were good at their craft shaped me as a writer.”
The downside was a music business culture that typically perceived “singer” and “songwriter” as different jobs. “The either/or attitude was baffling, since all my favorite artists also wrote their own material,” Peters says. “My decision to pursue a publishing deal was based on wanting to be understood for who I am. I was afraid that if I got signed to a record deal as an artist, I’d never get to sing my own songs. I never had any aspirations of being a hit songwriter for other artists.” Nonetheless, Martina McBride’s 1995 recording of Peters’ “Independence Day,” the gritty story of an abused woman’s revenge, made her a songwriting sensation. The performance received a “Best Country Song” Grammy nomination and won the Country Music Association’s “Song of the Year” title. After that a string of great vocalists – Pam Tillis, Trisha Yearwood, Patty Loveless, Neil Diamond, George Strait, Etta James – began to record Peters’ songs. Peters also signed her own record deal, yielding her 1996 debut album The Secret of Life. The title track was cut by Faith Hill in 1999 and hit number five on the country charts.
“Since I was a child I’ve had a creative urge knocking inside me and I’ve acted on it, ” Peters offers. “Early on it was poetry, sometimes art, and sometimes, as a kid, dance. Until I found the guitar I was interested in anything expressive. By then words were a friend, but music was a tall dark stranger that I’ve been in love with, or maybe stalking, ever since.”
Saturday, February 8, 2014 - 7:30 p.m.
Danny Schmidt and Carrie Elkin
If the chemistry between Danny Schmidt and Carrie Elkin seems especially sparkful, they come by it honestly, as they are a rare breed: a romantic partnership in real life, not just musical life. And the two together on stage makes for a classic case of the whole being greater than the sum of its parts.
Named to the Chicago Tribune's 50 Most Significant Songwriters in the Last 50 Years, Austin, TX-based singer/songwriter Danny Schmidt has been rapidly ascending from underground cult hero status to being broadly recognized as an artist of generational significance. Danny is considered a preeminent writer, an artist whose earthy poetry manages to somehow conjure magic from the mundane, leading Sing Out Magazine to tag him: "Perhaps the best new songwriter we've heard in the last 15 years."
With her Red House Records Release, Call it my Garden, Carrie Elkin has emerged as one of the defining new voices in the world of Texas singer-songwriters, being celebrated by Texas Music Magazine as one of their artists of the year. The voice, the stories, the images, the grace, it's the complete package. But it's the power of her live performances that really have been creating an incredible buzz around this young artist. Maverick Magazine said it best, after a recent festival performance: "I have never seen a performer so in love with the act of singing. That's the gospel truth. Onstage, Elkin was simply a force of nature."
Don't miss these two great artists, sharing songs back and forth, lending their voices to each other's tunes, in harmony… and lending commentary to each other's tunes, in the form of smart-ass between-song banter.
Saturday, March 8, 2014 - 7:30 p.m.
Jennings & Keller/The Kennedys
Jennings & Keller is Laurie Jennings Oudin and Dana Keller, an acoustic duo based out of Miami, Florida. They bring a wealth of experience to their collaboration, from the Broadway musicals of New York to the honky tonks of West Texas. Their music is called "Fusion Folk Americana' - a blend of many different elements that comes from their vast and wide-ranging musical backgrounds Laurie Jennings Oudin is well-known as the former proprietress of The Main Street Cafe, which was viewed across the country as the premier acoustic music venue in Florida. A former Shakespearean actress, Laurie has been a singer and songwriter for many years. Since the cafe's close in June 2006, she has been devoting her time to her musical career with Dana Keller, a veteran pedal steel, dobro, and guitar player who has spent years performing on stage or in the studio with such luminaries as Vince Gill, Ricky Skaggs, Stevie Wonder, Larry Graham, Marvin Gaye, Dave Mason, Johnny Rodriguez and The Allen Brothers, to name a few. The synergy created from these two diverse talents is not easy to define, but will leave a lasting impression on all who listen.
In a career that now spans two decades, New York duo Pete and Maura Kennedy have traversed a broad musical landscape, surveying power pop, acoustic songwriting, organic rock and a Byrds-inspired jangle. The couple met at a guitar pull in Austin when Pete was playing guitar in Nanci Griffith's Blue Moon Orchestra. After an informal evening together (during which they wrote their first song), Pete went to Colorado for a festival but called Maura. The pair scheduled their first date: a visit to Buddy Holly's grave, a rendezvous that required them both to drive 500 miles. Maura soon replaced Iris DeMent as harmony singer on Griffith's tour, and Pete and Maura took Iris' place as the opening act for the European leg of the tour. During this tour, they wrote songs frantically, some of which found their way onto the couple's first disc. As writers and producers, the Kennedys continue to mature, from their early style-conscious pop to today’s burnished sheen. Always tuned to their own muse, Pete and Maura continue to showcase a unique sound that is as uplifting as it is unclassifiable.
Saturday, April 12, 2014 - 7:30 p.m.
Rod MacDonald/Richard Julian
A pivotal force in the 80’s Greenwich Village folk revival, New York’s Village Voice wrote of Rod MacDonald, “politics, passion and a sense of humor”, which accurately describes Rod’s passion for music, and his personal commitment to communicating events that have affected and shaped our world’s societies. Rod seamlessly weaves romantic ballads in between his trademark tongue-in-cheek socio-political commentaries. With lyrics and music that are infectious and inspiring, often humorous, sometimes reckless, frequently evocative, usually thought provoking – and – always compelling, Rod’s songs will stay in your heart and mind long after the music has ended. “an extraordinarily gifted songwriter who does the topical, humorous and touching folk songs equally well – think Phil Ochs, Loudon Wainwright and Bob Dylan all wrapped in one.” (Dans Distractions)
Richard Julian is cleverly disguised as a sensitive singer-songwriter: He's a white guy with an acoustic guitar. In fact, he's a stealth soul singer and an astonishing storyteller in the vein of Randy Newman or Paul Simon. Each song is like a snapshot — often wry, rarely snarky, always finding the deeper truth of the tale. His own story strains credulity. Julian grew up in Delaware and headed west to find fame and fortune, landing in Las Vegas and finding work playing piano in some lounge. Eventually, he made it back east and settled in New York. He drinks deeply from the city's sights and sounds so that they all ooze from his records. Julian's guitar playing is athletic but subtle, and his secret weapon is his voice — not a croon so much as a plaintive wail that serves his songs well. Currently, Richard debates the merits of living in The Bywater vs. Brooklyn, plays Santa Cruz guitars, and loves good tequila.
Saturday, May 10, 2014 - 7:30 p.m.
Nick Annis/Ralston Bowles
Drilling for oil in the Midwest. Selling ice cream from a truck. Running a bakery. Starting points for just a few stories Nick Annis deftly weaves between and through song and performance banter. One man medicine show? Itinerant philosopher? Nick Annis is an award-winning songwriter, but he is also admired by folk fans for the storytelling talent that makes his performances so memorable. Audiences return to hear him deliver spoken word pieces in the style of brilliant songwriter/storytellers like Gamble Rogers, John McCutcheon and Dave Carter. Drawing on his diverse background and Greek roots, Nick crafts “true” stories and timeless accounts of humanity.
Ralston Bowles, a musician and songwriter who often is called the Ambassador of West Michigan's acoustic music scene, has been making music since he was a child growing up in Gary, Indiana. "The stories are out there," he says. "It's about finding the stories and telling them. That's what Woody Guthrie did. That's what Bob Dylan does." Ralston's first professional job was at the age of 16 when he was asked to make up one of his story songs for a neighborhood party. After graduation he found himself playing in clubs and coffeehouses throughout the Midwest, making up songs about the people and places he visited. His songs have been performed and recorded by Caroline Aiken, Peter Mulvey, Amy Speace, Betty Soo and Rachael Davis. He has received awards from American Songwriter Magazine, NSAI/CMT, Unisong and the International Song Competition, among many others. As a Kerrville New Folk finalist, he found himself opening for such artists as Shawn Colvin, T-Bone Burnett and Arlo Guthrie. He has become a bi-annual favorite at Boston's Club Passim.