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.
Driving rhythms, poignant and lyrical songs, and a contagious energy define Skylark Celtic Band’s live performance. Featuring fiddle, flute, guitar, bouzouki, pennywhistle, and vocals, they present an electrifying combination of jigs and reels, and the best in traditional and contemporary Celtic songs. Based in the Washington, D.C., area, they’ve played everywhere from the Kennedy Center to the Birchmere, from New York to Paris. Skylark is Seán Heely on fiddle and vocals; Elise Kress on flute, vocals, and pennywhistle; and Zan McLeod on guitar and bouzouki.
Reggie Harris, a consummate musician and storyteller, combines a strong folk and gospel leg- acy with a solid background in classical, rock, and pop music. Creative curiosity, years of road and stage experience, and interactions with performers such as Pete Seeger, Ysaye Barnwell, Jay Leno, Harry Belafonte and others all contribute to music that entertains and inspires.
A well-traveled performer, lecturer and cultural ambassador, Reggie has earned wide acclaimed and respect from peers and audiences alike throughout the U.S., Canada, Europe and around the world. He combines spirituals and roots music, historic inspiration, and moving original songs, often in the themes of unity and social justice. Knowing this, audiences have bestowed upon him a fitting slogan: “Songs of Joy, Hope, and Freedom.”
Ken Whiteley, one of Canada’s most respected “roots” musicians, has played at virtually ev- ery major folk festival in Canada and performed and recorded with legends Pete Seeger, John Hammond Jr., Tom Paxton, Blind John Davis, and many others. A prolific songwriter, a gifted and versatile instrumentalist, and a powerful singer, Whiteley’s music communicates themes of freedom, love, spiritual aspiration, and social comment.
Ken is a busy musician who is always involved in a number of projects. He is an active record producer, having worked on more than 135 albums. His productions have resulted in 11 Gold or Platinum albums, 22 Juno nominations, 2 Juno winners and 2 Grammy nominations, with total sales in excess of 8 million copies. He has written the music for a number of films and television programs. Whatever he does, it reflects his “briliant musicianship and high test passion”. In the words of Sing Out! magazine, “Ken Whiteley is one of the best.”
We want to thank everyone who came out for our fabulous concerts in the October 2016-June 2017 seventh season! Carroll Café has offered, and will continue to offer an unparalleled experience of community and gifted musicians to make Carroll Café something so much larger than we could have ever imagined. We continue to marvel at the the unique feeling of joy and deep camaraderie which permeated the air whenever we came together to celebrate live performance.
We want to offer our thanks to the volunteers whose unstinted devotion makes Carroll Café a welcoming and lyrical venue, and our guests for coming out and supporting live music!
Called “one of the best singers of her generation” by Christine Lavin, folksinger and jewelry designer Mara Levine has been creating beautiful interpretations of fine traditional and contemporary folk songs for many years. She has an ear for both new songs and for classics that can be reshaped to sound fresh and new.
Layering one harmony line on top of another, she creates rich tapestries of sound and emotion. Levine’s version of Bob Franke’s “Straw Against the Chill” with Joe Jencks and her arrangement of Paul Simon’s “Leaves That Are Green” with Gathering Time both reached #1 as singles on the Folk Chart and appear on Jewels and Harmony.
Voted best band runner-up (and top folk band) in the 2011 Long Island Press readers’ poll, Gathering Time is like a high-energy Peter, Paul & Mary or a co-ed Crosby, Stills & Nash, with various parts of The Byrds, Joni Mitchell, the Eagles and America mixed in; a head-turning folk-rock harmony trio described recently as “getting a whole beehive-full of buzz” on the northeast regional folk scene.
“[Mara Levine’s] Jewels and Harmony is an incredible album. It’s beautiful and something to be proud of. I enjoyed ‘Blackberry Time’ very much.”
We invite you to enjoy delicious refreshments from the Café
at Carroll Café available before the show and at the intermission.
A changing choice of savories enough for a light meal, topped off with fabulous desserts and beverages, will add to the happiness of the concert experience! Always vegetarian, with some vegan and gluten-free options most months, all lovingly provided by Sandra.