Bumper Jacksons 

January 8 2016
Bumper Jacksons

find Bumper Jacksons on the web at

Bumper JacksonsThe Bumper Jacksons are a big, fat party. Hot and sweet, their traditonal  jazz and pre-war country repertoire paints America’s story from New Orleans’ brothels to Appalachian hollers. Unafraid to scrape together new sounds from forgotten 78’s, the Bumper Jacksons boldly and elegantly balance paying homage to the traditions while fashioning their own unique, DIY style.  They headline at the Birchmere and tour nationally.   We loved hearing Jess and Chris last year with the Sligo Creek Stompers and we are delighted that they’re back this year at Carroll Cafe with the BJ’s!

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A Feast for the Ears

December 11, 2015

Our holiday gift for you–three world-class acts for the price of one!   This promises to be a a soulful and electrifying evening.

photo of Siobhan Quinn and Michael BowersSIOABHAN QUINN and MICHAEL BOWERS

 Gracious and gritty songs brimming with seamless harmonies. Excellent music finely crafted with precision, emotion and beauty. This is Siobhan Quinn and Michael Bowers. They never produce the same performance twice and there is a focus and continuity in their shows that leaves you with little doubt that these two are truly partners. Siobhan brings the audience directly to the emotional center of each song and entrances you with her vocals. Michael draws you in with his warmth, humor, and makes observations of life with a wry twist. Together Siobhan and Michael paint dynamic and colorful stories with rich original, contemporary and traditional music.

Siobhan Quinn and Michael Bowers make for a powerful combination. On “Dreamers, Lovers & Outlaws” they bring us the best in contemporary folk music, and through their arrangements and performances they will mesmerize you.  — Nicky Rossiter, Ireland   

In “Dreamers, Lovers and Outlaws,” Siobhan Quinn and Michael Bowers have crafted a wonderful musical experience. Whether they’re singing the inspirational, comforting “Let It Come” or the story of “Valentino’s Ghost,” their voices take the music and lyrics and shape them, bringing the songs to life.

The original material is outstanding, refreshing, innovative–where else can you hear the town of Port Jervis being used within a song? The CD also includes several cover tunes, carefully selected to fit in “naturally” with the rest of the collection. But Quinn and Bowers have a way of making these songs their own, arranging, cajoling a tone from the lyrics, immersing themselves into the meaning of the songs. This CD is indeed a treat–worth the wait! — Wanda Fischer  WAMC-FM Northeast Public Radio  Albany, NY

photo of Lea holding a guitarLEA

“A great voice singing great songs.” That is the simplest way to introduce you to LEA’s music. While she often draws comparisons to other female phenoms like Tracy Chapman, Joni Mitchell and Ani DiFranco, LEA’s sound seamlessly blends gospel, jazz, country and R&B into her own style. — SoulFolk

Having shared the stage with luminaries including Odetta, Mavis Staples, Dar Williams and Anthony Hamilton, LEA is consistently acknowledged by the Washington Area Music Association* as one of the region’s best vocalists, songwriters and recording artists. Lea is a graduate of the prestigious Artist-in-Residence program at The Music Center at Strathmore in Bethesda, MD. 

LEA’s latest recording, the crowd-funded and highly-anticipated “Let You In,” is a collection of songs the artists hopes will cultivate greater compassion for femininity. LEA’s stunning vocals and award winning songwriting are supported by rich instru mentation, featuring the wizardry of Howard Levy (of Bela Fleck and the Flecktones) on harmonica.

photo of Joy IkeJOY IKE

Born to Nigerian immigrants, Joy Ike’s music, voice, and writing has drawn comparisons to female musicians such as Corinne Bailey Rae, Regina Spektor, Norah Jones, and Fiona Apple, but her percussive piano-playing and soaring vocals give homage to her African upbringing. “Some of my earliest memories involve sitting in the living room with my family singing Nigerian choruses and finding ways to harmonize with my father’s booming voice and my mother’s soprano harmonies,” Ike says of her formative years.

Leaving her career as a publicist in 2008, Ike has since played hundreds of shows across the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, and Midwest. She has had the opportunity to share the stage and open for Jeffrey Gaines, Cody Chestnutt, Tyrone Wells, Najee, Allen Toussaint, and Ken Whitely & The Levy Sisters to name a few.  A write-up on NPR’s All Things Considered says “The depth of subjects she tackles in her poetic lyrics are perfectly complemented by a unique blend of neo-soul, with just the right dash of pop…a truly compelling act to watch in person, with the ability to create an intimate setting in locations big and small.” A segment on NPR’s World Cafe (December 2013) featured Ike as one of Pennsylvania’s up-and-coming artists

Bob Franke/Claudia Schmidt


This will be a rare and amazing double-bill with two fabulous songwriters!  Both Bob and Claudia are master performers–seamlessly interweaving stories and songs that mesmerize, touching your soul and your funnybone.

photo of Bob Franke smiling and playing guitarBOB FRANKE
Click here to find him on Facebook

Bob Franke is one of our finest songwriters.   His songs like “Hard Love”, “For Real”, “Beggars To God” and “The Great Storm Is Over” have been covered by a wide variety of performers:  from Peter, Paul and Mary, Kathy Mattea, and June Tabor, to Kim and Reggie Harris,  John McCutcheon, David Wilcox and Tony Rice.   Bob combines a courageous artistic vision with a great sense of humor,  a probing intellect with a deep and informed spirituality.  

photo of Claudia SchmidtCLAUDIA SCHMIDT

Claudia is a Carroll Café favorite, returning for her third visit.  The San Francisco Bay Guardian said: “Schmidt’s shows are a lot like falling in love. You never know what’s going to happen next, chances are it’s going to be wonderful, every moment is burned into your memory and you know you’ll never be the same again.” More succinctly, Garrison Keilor said “when Claudia sings a song, it stays sung”

FIRST Friday November 6, 2015 • 7:30 p.m. 

Reservations are highly recommended, as many shows sell out.

to make a reservation, click here

Soulful Divas: Shirleta Settles and Laura Baron

Thank you to Shirleta and Laura for closing out our 2014-2015 season. And thank you to all our supporters for making Carroll Cafe a success for yet another year. Come back in October for more great music!

June 12, 2015 • 7:30 p.m.

Reservations are highly recommended, as many shows sell out.

Shirleta Settles has the innate ability to connect with and include her audiences of all ages, whether through singing, storytelling, drama, spoken word, staff development, or on recordings.  Her 15-year experience as a bandleader and lead vocalist for a 10-piece variety band, Marquise, has honed her ability to share her talent in a variety of venues and genres—R&B, jazz, blues, pop, and gospel. Joining Shirleta will be Skip Fennel on piano and Wes “Sugar” Biles on bass.

Shirleta has traveled nationally and internationally, sharing her gift of music and storytelling at festivals, schools, and political arenas as well as in private engagements. She has been featured on FOX 5 News as an outstanding vocalist/entertainer.

“Shirleta is a dynamic performer, who knows what it means to entertain an audience!” —Esther Williams – Co-founder and manager of the Washington Jazz Arts Institute

Laura Baron is known for her passionate delivery, her beautifully crafted songs, and her expressive, sultry jazz and blues vocals. She fills a venue with the emotion of her lyrics and the beauty of her voice. Joining Laura will be Dave Ylvisaker on piano and  Pat Quinn on bass.

Laura has received over 20 awards from the Mid-Atlantic Song Contest, including 3 GOLD awards, for Peace Someday , Kindness Don’t Rest Easy, and Winter Don’t Own Me.

She is the recipient of three 2014 Wammie Awards: Contemporary Folk Vocalist and Recording & Song of the Year. Laura was a 2014 Finalist in the UK Songwriting Contest for A Little Note, a song about a woman who breaks away from an abusive relationship. All she leaves is “a little note” telling him goodbye.

“…low key jazz-tinted musings…brisk and engaging.”
—Mike Joyce, Washington Post

Brother Sun

Thanks for a great show, Brother Sun
and thanks, Ellen Bukstel, for a great opening set

May 8, 2015 • 7:30 p.m.

National touring artists Greg GreenwayPat Wictor, and Joe Jencks have made their mark as veteran touring singer-songwriters, but Brother Sun is no songwriter’s round. The trio’s harmonies, as much as their lyrics, tell what they are about: warm as a campfire, stirring as a gospel church, rousing as a call to arms. Fusing folk, Americana, blues, pop, jazz, rock, and a cappella singing, Brother Sun is an explosion of musical diversity and harmony, in the finest of male singing traditions.

Brother Sun Mazlish #3C7FA1From three major points on the map–Boston, New York, and Chicago–Greg, Pat, and Joe have blended themselves into Brother Sun: a unique celebration of the amazing power of singing together. As they will tell you, the music of Brother Sun is not resident in any one of them, but rather it exists in the space between them. Audiences feel this sincerity immediately. Their combined musical skills make for an unforgettable experience, three rich voices blending on a well-crafted foundation of guitar, slide guitar, piano, ukulele, and bouzouki.

Ellen Bukstel, co-author of the award-winning song “By My Silence,” provided the opening set.

Thank you for your support of Carroll Café.

p.s. Look at our Upcoming page for information on the next season.


Thanks to Genticorum
and to cosponsor, Carpe Diem Arts

April 10, 2015 • 7:30 p.m.

From the U.S. to the U.K., from Canada to Australia, fans at folk festivals around the world have discovered Genticorum. Leaders of a new generation of Quebec traditional music groups, the three members of Genticorum bring an irrepressible joie de vivre to the hallmarks of the Quebec repertoire: non-stop dance rhythms, hearty call-and-response singing, traditional- style foot percussion, and intense and impassioned playing that leaves audiences in a frenzy. The band also performs original compositions so true to tradition that it’s difficult to tell the difference between the old and the new. The huge sound emanating from this trio features intricate fiddle and flute melodies, backed by guitar, electric bass and rich resonant vocals that blend in stirring three-part harmonies – and a humorous stage show that ties the music and the audience together.

The band was founded by musicians with an unparalleled passion for their musical heritage. Both Pascal Gemme and Alexandre de Grosbois-Garand were literally raised on traditional music. Alex grew up in the midst of living room jam sessions hosted by his father, traditional musician and Quebec culture promoter Gilles Garand. Pascal spent his childhood summers in Huntingdon, Quebec, where his grandfather was the village fiddler. Yann Falquet grew up playing guitar in rock bands but soon discovered traditional music and is now an in-demand rhythm player.

“Her beautiful voice carrying a message of peace could be mistaken for a visit from a member of an angelic choir. “

—Willie Nelson’s Peace Research Institute



Thank you for your support of Carroll Café.

Music Pilgrim Trio

Thank you, Music Pilgrim Trio!

March 14, 2015 • 7:30 p.m.
The Second Saturday

The members of Music Pilgrim Trio bring diverse musical perspectives to a collaboration that showcases their improvisational spirit and true virtuosity. The three musicians demonstrate their skill and passion for jazz, klezmer, Russian, classical and Latin-American music styles as they blend influences from around the world.

Vladimir Fridman was born and raised in Moscow, Russia, with music a major part of his life. In Moscow Vladimir received his education in music and engineering. Despite the promising career as a civil engineer, Vladimir decided to pursue his real passion – guitar.

Seth Kibel is the leader, clarinetist, and composer for The Alexandria Kleztet, a genre-bending klezmer band he founded in the Baltimore/Washington area.

Bob Abbott has been a freelance bass player, arranger, and composer. His performance experiences range from local community festivals to performing at national political and social events.

The Second Fridays Coffeehouse