MAGPIE (Terry Leonino and Greg Artzner) have been playing music together since 1973, and this concert marks their incredible 45th anniversary of playing in D.C. Since their last appearance at Carroll Café they have released a new CD–When We Stand Together: Songs of Joe Hill, the IWW and Fellow Workers.
A gifted singer of jazz and blues in the tradition of Connie Boswell and Billie Holiday Terry is equally comfortable with the subtle beauty of traditional folk and contemporary songs and has an uncanny ability to find the perfect harmony line. She is also an excellent player of the harmonica, mandolin, fretted dulcimer, and rhythm guitar.
Greg is an outstanding guitarist whose fingerpicking forms the solid basis of Magpie’s sound, providing whatever is called for, from slow Scots airs and plaintive ballads to rollicking ragtime blues and infectious swing. His high baritone voice has equal range, and his captivating interpretation gives power and beauty to the full spectrum, from growling blues, to a Chilean lament, to a sweet croon.
From the beginning Terry and Greg’s interests in various musical styles have led them to be eclectic in their repertoire. Internationally known for their musical work in the environmental movement, Magpie is also well known for their performances of hard-hitting topical songs and are regular performers on Phil Ochs Song Nights, organized by Phil’s sister, Sonny Ochs.
Magpie has been on hiatus since early June, so come help welcome them back to the stage!
Eleanor Ellis & Back Porch Blues is an all-star down-home acoustic trio consisting of the incredible guitar and vocal work of Eleanor Ellis, the blues harmonica virtuosity of Jay Summerour, and the percussion talents of Eric Selby. Together they deliver real-deal acoustic blues, from the Piedmont to the Hills to the Swamp, blues without compromise in a relaxed, fun musical atmosphere…just like sittin’ with friends having a jam session on the back porch. Back Porch Blues has performed at various venues throughout the country including the Greenwood Blues Cruise in South Carolina, the Music Center at Strathmore, and the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC.
ELEANOR ELLIS, a native of Louisiana, has performed at clubs, festivals and concerts in the United States, Canada and Europe and has and has developed a distinctive and personal approach to the music. According to one reviewer, “More than copying one artist or another, Ellis distills the elements of the originals and transmits them, intact, in her own expressive way.” She has a long involvement with the blues scene; has traveled and played with the late gospel street singer Flora Molton and bluesman Archie Edwards, and sometimes accompanied Delta Blues great Eugene Powell. She is a founding member of the DC Blues Society and the Archie Edwards Blues Heritage Foundation, has written about the blues for several publications, teaches guitar privately and at various blues camps, and is producer and editor of the video documentary Blues Houseparty, which features well-known Piedmont blues musicians such as John Jackson, John Cephas, and Archie Edwards. She also worked at the Archive of New Orleans Jazz at Tulane University in New Orleans, and at the New Orleans Jazz Museum. www.eleanorellis.com
ERIC SELBY is a much sought-after producer/drummer/percussionist for many genres of music with concentration on the blues. Eric has performed live and recorded with many talented artists, including: Billy Thompson (Little Milton, Albert King, Art Neville), Ron Holloway (Warren Haynes, Dizzy Gillespie, The Allman Brothers, Sonny Rollins, Tedeschi/Trucks), Daryl Johnson (The Neville Brothers, Daniel Lanois, Emmylou Harris, U2, Bob Dylan), James East (Elton John, Lionel Richie, Eric Clapton), Guy Davis, Warner Williams (Piedmont blues legend, 2012 NEA National Heritage Fellowship Winner), Drink Small (Piedmont blues legend, 2015 NEA National Heritage Fellowship Winner), Bill Payne (Little Feat, J.J. Cale, The Doobie Brothers), Lenny Castro (Adele, The Rolling Stones, Steely Dan, Maroon 5, Stevie Wonder) and Mike Finnigan (Jimi Hendrix, Joe Cocker) to name a few. Eric has been named Blue411‘s Drum Thumper “Jimi” Award winner, been nominated for multiple WAMMIE awards, inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame, #1 on Blues411‘s charts multiple times and was featured in Modern Drummer for his approach and perspective in their “Drummer Blogs.” For more information: www.ericselby.com
Hohner Harmonica endorser JAY SUMMEROUR has been involved with music for well over 40 years. Beginning his musical education on the trumpet at age 7, Summerour learned the harmonica from his grandfather Smack Martin, an accomplished blues harmonica player.
Largely self-taught, Summerour picked up bits and pieces from “folks he ran into”—like Sonny Terry, James Cotton, and Magic Dick. During the late 1960s and early 1970s, Summerour took the traditional harmonica into the popular arena, joining the Starland Vocal Band and playing with Nils Lofgren and his band Grin. Four of the Starland Vocal Band’s records went gold during Summerour’s tenure. He also plays with blues artist Warner Williams to perform at folk festivals, blues festivals, and Smithsonian concerts under the name Little Bit of Blues.
Sally Rogers performs traditional, contemporary and original ballads and songs, interwoven with stories taken from her life as a performer, a wife and a mother. She accompanies herself on guitar and Appalachian dulcimer, or performs without accompaniment in a voice that needs no further enhancment. Reviewers have described her voice in superlatives ranging from “remarkable” to “mesmerizing.” As one critic summarized, “…it’s really next to impossible to do justice to a voice of that quality.” Much of the material performed by Sally includes her own compositions, many of which are considered classics of the folk and popular genre.
Like a jester, Claudia Schmidt weaves anecdotes throughout a concert that bring people to expect a relationship between themselves and memories driven deep. Her endless display of self-0realization through humor and longing leaves audience members yearning to become an integral part of her world.
To say that Schmidt is simply a performer with a talent to entertain would be a miscarriage of understatement. Schmidt takes her audiences into her world as easily as the child who discovers the endless universes that exist in a cardboard box.
Performing a unique mix of Brazilian music from different regions and eras, the DC Choro Quartet specializes in choro or chorinho, instrumental music with intricate melodies and counterpoint, swinging rhythms, and rich harmonies rooted in early-1900’s Rio de Janeiro. The band brings keen musicianship and great energy to Brazilian popular musical genres including samba, bossa nova, and forro, a style from Brazil’s northeast featuring call-and-response vocal lines over a rousing dance rhythm. The quartet is Andy Connell, clarinet and saxophone, Gigi McLaughlin, rebolo and vocals, Richard Miller, 7-string guitar, and David Sacks, trombone.
Guy Davis once said, “I like antiques and old things, old places, that still have the dust of those who’ve gone before us lying upon them.” Blowing that dust off just enough to see its beauty is something Guy has excelled at for over twenty years of songwriting and performing. It’s no wonder his reverence for the music of the Blues Masters who’ve gone before him has been evident in every album he’s ever recorded or concert he’s given.
Guy has had his musical storytelling influenced by artists like Blind Willie McTell and Big Bill Broonzy, and his musicality from artists as diverse as Lightnin’ Hopkins and Babatunde Olatunji. However, there’s one man that Guy most credits for his harmonica techniques, by stealing and crediting from him everything that he could, and that man is the legendary Sonny Terry.
“Truth be told, there just aren’t many who can deliver Americana in as interesting and entertaining a manner – or give acoustic traditional blues such a contemporary sound – as Davis. . . .”
—The Blues PowRBlog
Guy Davis has spent his musical life carrying his message of the blues around the world, from the Equator to the Arctic Circle, earning him the title “An Ambassador of the Blues.” His work as an actor, author, and music teacher reveal him as a renaissance man of the blues. What music and acting have in common, he explains, “is that I don’t like people to see the hard work and the sweat that goes into what I do. I want them to hear me and be uplifted.”
When Guy plays the blues, he doesn’t want you to notice how much art is involved. “It takes work making a song that’s simple, and playful, and easy to do,” he says. “And I don’t want people to see that. I want some little eight-year-old kid in the front row to have big eyes and say, ‘Hey, I want to do that!'”
Sparky and Rhonda Rucker perform throughout the U.S. as well as overseas, singing songs and telling stories from the American folk tradition. Sparky Rucker has been performing over forty years and is internationally recognized as a leading folklorist, musician, historian, storyteller, and author. He accompanies himself with fingerstyle picking and bottleneck blues guitar, banjo, and spoons. Rhonda Rucker is a musician, children’s author, storyteller, and songwriter. Her blues-style harmonica, piano, old-time banjo, and bones add musical versatility to their performances.
Sparky and Rhonda are sure to deliver an uplifting presentation of toe-tapping music spiced with humor, history, and tall tales. They take their audience on an educational and emotional journey that ranges from poignant stories of slavery and war to an amusing rendition of a Brer Rabbit tale or their witty commentaries on current events. Their music includes a variety of old-time blues, slave songs, Appalachian music, spirituals, ballads, work songs, Civil War music, railroad songs, and a few of their own original compositions.
Danny Whitecotton is a driven, passionate and charismatic artist based in Wilmington, Delaware. His music is a stunning combination of country, pop, rock and Americana, with tunes sung with a lot of heart and dedication.
Often performing solo, but at times accompanied with a band, Danny hits the stage with his trusted acoustic guitar, echoing the work of some of the most influential storytellers in the folk, country and blues tradition, yet exploring melody with a fresh, modern ear.
To many people, music is nothing but entertainment, but to others, it is a very personal experience – almost a form of self-therapy. This is certainly the case for Danny, who set out to use his songs to portray his hopes, dreams and feelings, sharing them with his audience in a deep and earnest way. This talented artist had the opportunity to tour throughout the US, and soak up influences from artists as diverse as Ryan Adams, Willie Nelson, Wilco or Jason Isbell, just to mention but a few.
A new and international project, Trifilio Tango Trio presents virtuosic performances of original tango music. Led by Argentinian Emmanuel Trifilio (composition, bandoneon) and Devree Lewis (arrangements, cello), TTT celebrates the tango classics while creating new repertoire for today’s audiences. The refined group has performed in different environments around the world; from their weekly appearances in D.C.’s small venues to their formal concerts in Buenos Aires, they present an intimate experience from any stage.