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.

Notice: Starting in 2017 all shows will begin at 7:30 PM; basic admission to the Minstrel will increase to $10.00.

For More Information: Email email icon or call 973-335-9489.

Christine Lavin
Apr 26, 2013

Friday, February 24: Occidental Gypsy with Addie & Olin - Unleashed!

Occidental Gypsy

Occidental Stomp David Bromberg said of Occidental Gypsy, “Great singing, fantastic guitar and violin work, with high energy originals that leave the crowd crazy. An awesome band.” They play gypsy jazz in the style of Django Reinhardt, high energy, clean, and tight. They play the standards, some originals, and apply the style to unexpected covers.

Addie & Olin - Unleashed!

What do you get when you mix a conservatory trained woodwind player with a Borscht-Belt influenced string player? You get Addie & Olin — Unleashed!. Some great musicianship, and wacky humor. Clever parodies, familiar songs played extremely well in completely inappropriate styles, and sight-gags. These guys are enormous fun.

Friday, March 3: Tyler Hughes & Sam Gleaves with Blue Jersey Band   Note: Orrin Star, originally scheduled for this date has had to cancel due to health concerns.

Tyler Hughes & Sam Gleaves

I Washed My Face in the Morning DewTyler Hughes and Sam Gleaves are an old time country music duo, performing songs old and new with close harmony singing and accompaniment on clawhammer banjo, guitar, fiddle and autoharp. Their music features Appalachian fiddle tunes, close mountain harmonies, stories of all kinds, Carter Family-inspired autoharp and guitar, country gospel songs, lonesome ballads & flatfoot step-dancing.

Blue Jersey Band

My Little Georgia RoseBlue Jersey is a staple of the South Jersey bluegrass scene. Frank Ruck (mandolin and guitar), Ellen Ruck (guitar), and John Burton (bass) have been part of the area's musical community for years in this and other bands. In addition to bluegrass, the band also plays swing, gypsy jazz, and tunes from the contra dance repertoire.

Friday, March 10: Open Stage

Open Stage

This is an opportunity for all acoustic musicians to perform a 15-minute set on our stage, and for the audience to be treated to a diverse collection of acoustic musicians. We've often seen previews of our regular scheduled acts for the first time at Open Stage. For information on how to secure a performance slot, call 973-335-9489, or visit www.OpenStage.FolkProject.org.

Friday, March 17: Spuyten Duyvil with Moss Henry & the Bryophytes

Spuyten Duyvil

Hot TimeSpuyten Duyvil [SPITE-en DIVE-el] might be thought of as Big Band Folk Music. This 6-member group explodes off the stage with infectious energy. Their music is Americana roots, and some originals that sound like Americana roots. They "...roll like an old time tent show, but instead of selling worthless snake oil, they deliver a package of gems, well crafted tunes and stories that are pure fun to listen to." Ron Olesko

Moss Henry & the Bryophytes

Moss Henry & the Bryophytes is an old time country quartet playing music of the American Southwest from a time before "Country 'n Western" became a category unto itself with all the associated glitter and glam. The songs of Jimmie Rodgers, Bob Wills & His Texas Playboys, the Sons of the Pioneers, etc. are tastefully rendered with good guitar work and fine harmonies.

Friday, March 24: A Folk Project Special Concert
Soulful Old-Time Music Singer-Songwriter Kaia Kater   Tickets $15 advance/$20 door (This show only)

Soulful Old-Time Music Singer-Songwriter Kaia Kater

When Sorrows Encompass MeKaia Kater breathes new life into Appalachian music without forgetting its roots. The 22 year-old singer-songwriter with the deep soulful voice brings together tradition, innovation, and social conscience. Kaia plays the banjo, dances, and delivers a unique performance that will stay with you and leave you wanting to know where her unquestionable talent will take her next. Tickets available in advance for $15, or at the door for $20.

Friday, March 31: James Keelaghan with Lisa Bastoni

James Keelaghan

James Keelaghan ( the "g" is silent) follows the footsteps of fellow Canadians Joni Mitchell to the late Stan Rogers, with an emphasis on the latter. As with Stan, both the songs and the singing ring with emotion and power. They often tell stories of real people facing and rising to challenges. His "Cold Missouri Water" has become a minor anthem in the contemporary folk world.

Lisa Bastoni

Lisa Bastoni is a Massachusetts based singer-songwriter who has been likened to Jonatha Brooke. She presents her own well-crafted songs on love, family, and the world as she encounters it.

Friday, April 7: Silk City with Dan Pelletier

Silk City

You're Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You GoSilk City is the high powered combination of three of the most accomplished musicians in the East. Danny Weiss' blazing guitar and soaring tenor voice have led bluegrass-oriented bands from Bottle Hill to Skyline. Barry Mitterhoff is currently also playing his mandolin on tour with Hot Tuna. And Larry Cohen's bass playing is sought after by musicians and recording studios around the country.

Dan Pelletier

Would You Like To Marry Me?Dan Pelletier's soulful voice can at turns be powerful and gritty, or tender and emotive. He never fails to delight audiences with his wit and tenderness and his shows feature just the right touch of sarcasm tempered by warmth, realistic idealism and a passion for life, love and the pursuit of happiness. If Tom Lehrer, Shel Silverstein, Sting, Joe Cocker and James Taylor all had a kid together, it would be Dan.

Friday, April 14: Open Stage

This is an opportunity for all acoustic musicians to perform a 15-minute set on our stage, and for the audience to be treated to a diverse collection of acoustic musicians. We've often seen previews of our regular scheduled acts for the first time at Open Stage. For information on how to secure a performance slot, call 973-335-9489, or visit www.OpenStage.FolkProject.org.

Friday, April 21: Split Bill
Andrew Dunn and Jay Mankita

Andrew Dunn

Tonight we feature one of our own Folk Project singer-songwriters, Andrew Dunn. Andrew's thoughtful and measured view of life is translated into beautiful and powerful song, simply and effectively delivered. His songs are filled with fully fleshed-out characters that may or may not be Andy himself. He presents a sympathetic and endearing stage persona that is more than a persona. It is Andy himself, out there for the world to enjoy and love.

Jay Mankita

Jay Mankita is a wonderfully clever songwriter with a great feel for the power and the beauty of the English language. But his songs aren't necessarily clever just for the cleverness of them. He uses his wit to make a point, to examine ourselves, or to tell a story. But sometimes it is just to be clever for its own sake, and that's delightfully entertaining, too.

Friday, April 28: Jeanne Burns & Andrew Hardin with The Levins

Jeanne Burns & Andrew Hardin

Earthquake, Hurricane, FloodJeanne Burns & Andrew Hardin are a match made in heaven. Long time Minstrel attendees will remember Jeanne as one of the Burns Sisters, whose powerful vocal harmonies thrilled us a decade ago. Her voice is reminiscent of that of the early Emmylou Harris. And Andrew, who for years was Tom Russell's lead guitarist, plays with a power and authority that is truly impressive, and has a voice to match. Their music has blues overtones, but is much broader than the blues. A great combination of two individually great musicians.

The Levins

The Levins (pronounced The L'Vins), Ira and Julia Levin, combine harmony-driven acoustic folk rock with wistful overtones of the 1930s. Their original songs sound like The Mamas and The Papas having coffee with Cole Porter. They were the 2011 Winners of the Connecticut Folk Festival Songwriting Competition.

Friday, May 5: Jack Williams with Ron Renninger

Jack Williams

You're the OneJack Williams comes to us from a rock background. It shows in the drive of his guitar work, which is clean, exciting, and endlessly full of beautiful and appropriate licks. His songwriting has an unprepossessing understated poetry to it, kind of like a South Carolina version of an acoustic Bruce Springsteen with Jerry Garcia on acoustic lead guitar. And if he holds true to form, catch his astonishing finale of a 15-minute free-association medley of every song from every genre ever written, and never the same as previously.

Ron Renninger

If Time Were a HighwaySuperb picking; Distinctive vocals; both woven seamlessly around well-crafted and powerful songs. With an easy going rapport and an obvious joy in performing, Ron Renninger leaps across a wide range of musical genres lightly touching down in some rather surprising places. Ron is a longtime Folk Project member.

Friday, May 12: Open Stage

This is an opportunity for all acoustic musicians to perform a 15-minute set on our stage, and for the audience to be treated to a diverse collection of acoustic musicians. We've often seen previews of our regular scheduled acts for the first time at Open Stage. For information on how to secure a performance slot, call 973-335-9489, or visit www.OpenStage.FolkProject.org.

Friday, May 19: The Loose Canons with The Lords of Liechtenstein

The Loose Canons

The Verge of ViolencePerhaps the very name of The Loose Canons will give you some insight to their approach to music. This 11-member choral group sings intricate vocal arrangements of folk songs, do wop, classical favorites as well as participatory pieces. But they specialize in parodies, satire, novelty songs, and other bits of musical humor.

The Lords of Liechtenstein

SundaysDan and Noah Rauchwerk masquerade as The Lords of Liechtenstein. These irrepressible brothers play surprisingly sophisticated original songs accompanied on guitar, mandola, and ukulele. They create an innovative blend of folk influenced by by Americana and Celtic music, presented with charming inter-song schtick, and bedecked in the latest in millennial sartorial hipness: sweater-vests.

Friday, May 26: Closed for Folk Project Spring Getaway

Friday, June 2: Frank Vignola & Vinnie Raniolo with Frank & Hank

Frank Vignola & Vinnie Raniolo

Frank Vignola & Vinny Raniolo demo video.Frank Vignola is well recognized among the world's greatest gypsy jazz guitarists. Frank's playing is brilliant, innovative, tasty, and unbelievable in its virtuosity. His fellow-guitarist Vinny Raniolo gathers no dust either, and is in perfect synch with him. And for this show, they will be joined by bassist and vocalist, Nicki Parrott. Frank draws his influence from the likes of Django Reinhardt and Bucky Pizzarelli, to such non-jazz icons as Frank Zappa, Les Paul, and Eddie Van Halen. He's played with the likes of David Grisman Donald Fagan, Madonna, and Ringo Starr. And tonight he comes to the Minstrel. Don't miss him.

Frank & Hank

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, June 9: Open Stage

This is an opportunity for all acoustic musicians to perform a 15-minute set on our stage, and for the audience to be treated to a diverse collection of acoustic musicians. We've often seen previews of our regular scheduled acts for the first time at Open Stage. For information on how to secure a performance slot, call 973-335-9489, or visit www.OpenStage.FolkProject.org.

Friday, June 16: Fendrick & Peck with Shawna Caspi

Fendrick & Peck

The Lutefisk WaltzYou may remember Madeline Fendrick & Brian Peck from when they opened for Mollie O'Brien last November. They are a singer songwriter duo with bluegrass overtones. Those overtones spring from their close harmony singing, bright instrumental work on guitar and mandolin, and the classic single microphone setup they use on stage. Their songs, however, generally range over a broader spectrum than your typical bluegrass band. And perhaps the most delightful aspect of their performance is the charming interplay between the two onstage.

Shawna Caspi

Not So SilentToronto-based singer-songwriter and fingerstyle guitarist Shawna Caspi performs solo, but there’s a whole band under her fingertips. A mighty singer, a story sculptor, and a truth teller, Shawna has toured across Canada and the eastern US. She believes in poetry and the power of one person and one instrument to convey a message to each listener one on one.

Friday, June 23: Summersongs   A Folk Project Member Concert

Details to follow.

Friday, June 30: Happy Traum  

Happy Traum

Church Street BluesHappy Traum, together with his late brother Artie, raised and set the standard of finger-style guitar playing in the great heyday of the Folk Revival in the 60's and 70's. He has performed in virtually every major folk festival in the US and abroad, taught in every guitar camp from Swannanoa to Merlefest and beyond, played with virtually every legendary acoustic guitarist in the world over the past 40 years, and released many instructional books and videos on the subject.

In addition to performing, Happy will be presenting a multi-media presentation entitled Coming of Age in the Folk Revival. Interspersed with his music, he will regale us with tales of the artists, promoters, and clubs that made up the Greenwich Village folk scene in the 50s and 60s. Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, Gerde's Folk City, The Bitter End, The Bottom Line, and all the other people and places that formed the background to this legendary era.

Friday, July 7: Broadside Electric with Fiona Tyndall   Two approaches to Traditional Folk music from opposite ends of the spectrum.

Broadside Electric

It's been 5 years since Broadside Electric last graced our stage. For over 2 decades the band's mission has been to take traditional ballads, mostly English and Irish, clothe them in full-bore rock and roll settings, add 5-part harmony vocals, and blow us away. The members, Tom Rhoads (guitar, bouzouki, dulcimer), Amy Ksir (whistle, oboe) Jim Speer (Chapman Stick) Helene Zisook (electric violin) and Joe D'Andrea (drums) have become old friends and members of the Folk Project They combine a great knowledge of and respect for the old music with a great inventiveness and musicality in creating the new settings for it. And the result is flat out kick-ass music.

Fiona Tyndall

An Buachaillin BanOur opener Fiona Tyndall grew up in County Clare Ireland. She spent her childhood summers at a residential school run by her parents to steep its students in Irish music, language, and culture. She sings with beautiful simplicity the songs she learned through this experience, and those that her love of this music lead her to pick up later in life. She is accompanied on piano by Kathie Hayne. Both Fiona and Kathie are Folk Project members.

Friday, July 14: Open Stage

This is an opportunity for all acoustic musicians to perform a 15-minute set on our stage, and for the audience to be treated to a diverse collection of acoustic musicians. We've often seen previews of our regular scheduled acts for the first time at Open Stage. For information on how to secure a performance slot, call 973-335-9489, or visit www.OpenStage.FolkProject.org.

Friday, July 21: Tom Chapin with Butch Ross

Tom Chapin

City of New OrleansTom Chapin's music spans generations from the heady Greenwich Village days when he performed with his brothers Harry, and Steve, and dad Jim, through to today. He serves up a tasty mix of story songs, ballads, comedic and political songs, family music, sing-alongs, old-time folk classics and a favorite song or two of his late brother Harry’s. With an agile fingerstyle guitar, gentle humor, audience inclusiveness, and a concern for the Earth and its resources, Tom puts on a memorable show.

Butch Ross

Butch Ross somehow made the retrograde transition from singer-songwriter with guitar to one of the newest most exciting Appalachian dulcimer virtuosi in the country. He performs appropriate traditional songs and tunes. But he also plays his own and other contemporary songs that ought to be totally inappropriate to the dulcimer (Led Zeppelin, Beatles, Richard Thompson), but somehow manage to fit the instrument perfectly in his hands. And he presents it all with an irresistable intelligence, charm, and gentle humor.

Friday, July 28: The Minstrel's 42nd Birthday Show

Friday, August 4: T.B.D.

Friday, August 11: Open Stage

This is an opportunity for all acoustic musicians to perform a 15-minute set on our stage, and for the audience to be treated to a diverse collection of acoustic musicians. We've often seen previews of our regular scheduled acts for the first time at Open Stage. For information on how to secure a performance slot, call 973-335-9489, or visit www.OpenStage.FolkProject.org.

Friday, August 18: T.B.D.

Friday, August 25: 2017 New Jersey Uke Fest
More info coming soon!

Friday, September 1: T.B.D.

Friday, September 8: Open Stage

This is an opportunity for all acoustic musicians to perform a 15-minute set on our stage, and for the audience to be treated to a diverse collection of acoustic musicians. We've often seen previews of our regular scheduled acts for the first time at Open Stage. For information on how to secure a performance slot, call 973-335-9489, or visit www.OpenStage.FolkProject.org.

Friday, September 15: Reserved for a Folk Project Special Concert

Friday, September 22: Pete's Posse with Opening Act T.B.D.

Pete's Posse

Nothing but WisdomPete Sutherland is a fiddler. guitarist, pianist, songwriter, bandleader, and all-around revered elder of the New England folk community. He has gathered 'round him two brilliant young multi-instrumentalists, Oliver Scanlon and Tristan Henderson, to form Pete's Posse. Twin fiddles in tight, wild harmony over high-powered guitar and pounding footwork with mandolin, clawhammer banjo, jawharp and rocking keyboards adding their voices to the mix. Songs and tunes, old and new, lyrical and driving: that’s the multi-generational heart and mind of this brilliant new band.

Friday, September 29: T.B.D.

Friday, October 6: Closed for the Folk Project Fall Getaway

Friday, October 13: Rosie & the Riveters with Opening Act T.B.D.   Note: No Open Stage this month.

Rosie & the Riveters

Milk 'n HoneySo who would have expected the province of Saskatchewan, Canada to be a hotbed of 1940s swing? Well get a load of Rosie & the Riveters! These three sassy ladies from Saskatoon channel the Andrews Sisters, with songs from that era, and originals in the same mold, all with that distinctive harmony, and top it off with cabaret-style choreography. A real crowd-pleaser.

Friday, October 20: Cindy Mangsen & Steve Gillette with Paul Kaplan

Cindy Mangsen & Steve Gillette

Live from Caffe LenaLong time Minstrel favorites, Cindy Mangsen & Steve Gillette might be considered the bellwether of the type of act that graces our stage. Relaxed, informal, and folksy, they nonetheless present a performance with great professionalism and skill. Their material ranges from traditional ballads to original songs, to covers from anybody from the Beatles to the Berrymans. They are both great singers and guitarists, and also play banjo, dulcimer, concertina and fiddle.

Paul Kaplan

Paul Kaplan is an old fashioned songwriter who writes songs with choruses that invite singers to join without need for any verbal urging. Many are clever parodies of familiar songs. He plays guitar and quattro.

Friday, October 27: T.B.D.

Friday, November 3: T.B.D.

Friday, November 10: Open Stage

This is an opportunity for all acoustic musicians to perform a 15-minute set on our stage, and for the audience to be treated to a diverse collection of acoustic musicians. We've often seen previews of our regular scheduled acts for the first time at Open Stage. For information on how to secure a performance slot, call 973-335-9489, or visit www.OpenStage.FolkProject.org.

Friday, November 17: Joe Jencks with Opening Act T.B.D.

Joe Jencks

A Joe Jencks concert is an occasion for singing, a contagious rising up of voices, an act of joy and defiance. Joe's animating purpose runs deep, tapping into the latent, nearly mystical beauty that a roomful of people can unleash by singing together. His songs touch on social justice and community building. He has been favorably compared to songwriters such as John McCutcheon, Holly Near, Fred Small, Tracy Chapman, and James Keelaghan.

Friday, November 24: T.B.D.

Friday, December 1: Chorus Song Night

Friday, December 8: Open Stage

This is an opportunity for all acoustic musicians to perform a 15-minute set on our stage, and for the audience to be treated to a diverse collection of acoustic musicians. We’ve often seen previews of our regular scheduled acts for the first time at Open Stage. For information on how to secure a performance slot, call 973-335-9489, or visit the Open Stage page.

Friday, December 15: T.B.D.

Friday, December 22: Closed

Friday, December 29: T.B.D.

Friday, January 5: T.B.D.

Friday, January 12: Open Stage

This is an opportunity for all acoustic musicians to perform a 15-minute set on our stage, and for the audience to be treated to a diverse collection of acoustic musicians. We’ve often seen previews of our regular scheduled acts for the first time at Open Stage. For information on how to secure a performance slot, call 973-335-9489, or visit the Open Stage page.

Friday, January 19: The Mari Black World Fiddle Ensemble with Opening Act T.B.D.

The Mari Black World Fiddle Ensemble

Castlerock RoadMultistyle violinist and champion fiddler Mari Black is rapidly building a reputation as one of the most dynamic young artists of her generation. Her energetic playing and engaging stage presence have made her a favorite with audiences across the country and around the world. Equally at home in a wide variety of musical traditions, Mari holds multiple competition blue ribbons in fiddle styles as diverse as Scottish, Canadain Maritime, and Novelty. (Watch her play behind her back a la Jimi Hendrix!) And her repertoire includes the whole gamut from Celtic to classical to jazz. Her show is as entertaining as it is diverse.

Friday, January 26: T.B.D.

Friday, February 2: Valentines Day Extravaganza

Friday, February 9: Open Stage

This is an opportunity for all acoustic musicians to perform a 15-minute set on our stage, and for the audience to be treated to a diverse collection of acoustic musicians. We’ve often seen previews of our regular scheduled acts for the first time at Open Stage. For information on how to secure a performance slot, call 973-335-9489, or visit the Open Stage page.

Friday, February 16: T.B.D.

Friday, February 23: T.B.D.

Friday, March 2: T.B.D.

Friday, March 9: Open Stage

This is an opportunity for all acoustic musicians to perform a 15-minute set on our stage, and for the audience to be treated to a diverse collection of acoustic musicians. We’ve often seen previews of our regular scheduled acts for the first time at Open Stage. For information on how to secure a performance slot, call 973-335-9489, or visit the Open Stage page.

Friday, March 16: T.B.D.

Friday, March 23: T.B.D.

Friday, March 30: T.B.D.

Friday, April 6: T.B.D.

Friday, April 13: Open Stage

This is an opportunity for all acoustic musicians to perform a 15-minute set on our stage, and for the audience to be treated to a diverse collection of acoustic musicians. We’ve often seen previews of our regular scheduled acts for the first time at Open Stage. For information on how to secure a performance slot, call 973-335-9489, or visit the Open Stage page.

Friday, April 20: T.B.D.

Friday, April 27: T.B.D.

Friday, May 4: The Heather Pierson Trio with Opening Act T.B.D.

The Heather Pierson Trio

Still She Will FlyHeather Pierson is an award-winning pianist, multi-genre singer/songwriter, arranger, bandleader, and performer. She effortlessly shifts from New Orleans-style jazz and blues to rousing Americana and poignant folk narratives. In addition to singing and playing piano, she also plays tenor banjo, melodica and guitar. Her trio adds strings, cornet, bass, and harmony vocals.