Fusing elements of folk, blues, honky-tonk country, straight ahead rock, and jazz, Bucky Halker has recorded a dozen albums since the 1980s, including his recent double-CD,The Ghost of Woody Guthrie (2012), an original music tribute to Guthrie, and Welcome to Labor Land (2007), Halker’s renditions of labor protest songs from Illinois. Bucky, a Ph.D. in labor history, is the author of For Democracy, Workers, and God: Labor Song-Poems and Labor Protest, 1865-1895 (University of Illinois Press) and the producer-scholar for the Folksongs of Illinois CD series.
Paul Kotheimer has been writing, recording, and releasing DIY acoustic music since the days of the cassette tape. He is quite possibly one of the finest songwriters you’ve never heard of, period. He got his start as an Urbana local music legend at the Red Herring Coffee House in the early 1990s, had a near-miss brush with major label attention later that decade, and has kept plugging away since then, in his home recording studio and at cozy little venues, putting out a total of twelve (yes, TWELVE – could be more, but we’ve lost count!) solo albums on his own label, which is actually literally called “The Hand-Made Record Label.” This fall, Paul celebrates 22 years of living and making music in Urbana, Illinois.
Singer-songwriters Karen Bridges and Clint Thomson, who comprise Stone and Snow, draw from their connection to the snow-capped landscape of the west to create profoundly lyrical folk songs. With an eclectic mix of upbeat anthems and somber folk ballads, Stone & Snow’s sound easily reflects the peaks and valleys to which their name makes reference.
The Bashful Youngens are Carrie Chandler-Harrison and Aaron Short. Both Central Illinois natives, they’ve been playing their blend of folk and alternative country in the C-U area since 2011. After meeting for the first time at a mutual friends party and realizing a musical chemistry existed, they decided to hit the stage as a duo performing covers. Quickly thereafter, they began writing songs for their upcoming debut album, due out this winter with SCP Records.
Kurt Bielema has been playing guitar and writing songs for thirty years. It wasn’t until a few years ago that he found his voice, and officially became a singer/songwriter. He’s played in metal bands, jam bands, prog-rock power trios, and toured Japan, New York, and all parts of Illinois in several original pop rock groups. What most influences his songwriting these days are the classic folk artists Donovan, Leonard Cohen, and Nick Drake, and contemporaries Andrew Bird, Iron & Wine, Gillian Welch, and Jose Gonzalez.
We are sorry to announce that David Francey has cancelled all November appearances due to vocal impairments. We wish him speedy recovery!
David Francey is a Scottish-born Canadian carpenter-turned-songwriter, who has become known as “one of Canada’s most revered folk poets and singers” (Toronto Star). A truly authentic folk singer, Francey is a documentarian of the working person who never imagined earning a living from his music. But when he was in his 40s, his wife, artist Beth Girdler, encouraged him to share his songs and sing in public. The reaction was instant. His first album Torn Screen Door came out in 1999 and was a hit in Canada. Since then, he has released ten albums, won three Juno Awards and has had his songs covered by such artists as The Del McCoury Band, The Rankin Family, James Keelaghan and Tracy Grammer.
Kevin Elliott has maintained an uninterrupted love affair with the contemporary folk sound he first heard as a child in the 1960’s. Over the past 30 years or so, Kevin has written numerous songs, written pieces for solo guitar, performed alone and with others, and has a solo CD, You Really Had To Be There.
Lynn O’Brien is wrapping the world in song. A masterful vocalist and dynamic songwriter, she engages any audience in musical experiences full of energy and depth. With several instruments and albums up her sleeve, plus a degree in music therapy, Lynn is a powerful performer dedicated to connecting to the human spirit with her voice.
From New Jersey, John Gorka is a world-renowned singer-songwriter whose songs have been recorded by Mary Chapin Carpenter, Nanci Griffith, Mary Black and Maura O’Connell. With 11+ critically acclaimed albums to his name, John has graced the stage of Austin City Limits, Mountain Stage, etown and has appeared on CNN. His new song “Where No Monuments Stand” is featured in the upcoming documentary Every War Has Two Losers, about activist and Oregon Poet Laureate William Stafford (1914-1993).