Sparky and Rhonda Rucker

February 9, 2018

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

January 12, 2018—CANCELED

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.

Trifilio Tango Trio

December 8, 2017

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.


Skylark Celtic Band

Friday, November 10, 2017

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 and Ken Whiteley

October 13, 2017

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 albums22 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.”

Thank You (2016–2017)

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!

Our area is a rich music environment. Please support live roots music and the musicians who make it; Common Ground on the Hill in Westminster, MD.   has offered us all 23 years through the annual Roots Music & Arts Festival, July 8, (Guy Davis will be the headliner. Guy will also appear at Carroll Café in our eighth season!) and Traditions Weeks workshops June 25-30, and July 2-7, 2017; Institute of Musical Traditions and Folklore Society of Greater Washington concerts, some of which happen in Seekers Church space; and Focus Music.

Mara Levine with Gathering Time

Last show of the season!
June 9, 2017

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.

Gathering Time with Mara Levine

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.”

—Roger Sprung, bluegrass musician

Make a reservation now!

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.

Thank you for your support of Carroll Café.

OCEAN Celtic Quartet Benefit

Benefit Concert for Ocean Conservancy
MAY 12, 2017

Carroll Café this month celebrates the 25th wedding anniversary of Margreta and Jeffrey Silverstone. Margreta and Jeffrey met at a contra dance sponsored by the Folklore Society of Greater Washington at Takoma Park Middle School, so it is natural for them to celebrate their anniversary with the Takoma community. In true Takoma Park style, this is an invitation to a party! The Silverstones love Celtic folk rock and they knew they wanted the OCEAN Quartet to perform, especially as former members of the group were work colleagues of Jeffrey’s.

OCEAN Celtic Quartet (Jennifer Cutting on accordions & keyboard; Lisa Moscatiello on vocals, whistles & guitar; Andrew Dodds on fiddle, and Steve Winick on vocals and percussion) play music packed with pure pan-Celtic pizazz, putting their unique spin on traditional songs and Cutting’s original compositions, from soaring ballads and stirring sea chanteys to blazing fiddle and accordion tunes. As much at home in the concert hall as on the festival stage, OCEAN has played to sold-out and enthusiastic crowds at Maryland venues such as the Strathmore Mansion, Annapolis Maritime Museum, and Globe Theater in Berlin; and outdoor festivals and concert series such as Southern Maryland Celtic Festival and Riverside Concerts at Washington College in Chestertown. They have also performed at Musikfest in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, the Folk Project’s Minstrel Concert Series in New Jersey, the Birchmere in Virginia, Mystic Seaport’s Sea Music Festival in Connecticut, and elsewhere in the Mid- Atlantic and the Northeast.

OCEAN is known for getting audiences up on their feet to dance to their electrifying jigs and reels, as well as for raising goosebumps with their soaring vocals and otherworldly airs. They perform originals contemplating the seasons of nature and human life, right alongside the oldest songs from British and Celtic tradition. Add a penchant for deep scholarship and a great sense of humor, and you have a band that will captivate all ages.

“The most dazzling performance . . . was given by . . . Jennifer Cutting. Live, her music was nothing short of spellbinding.”

—Sean Daly, Washington Post

Reserve your seat now!

Jennifer Cutting, a protégée of A.L. Lloyd and a Library of Congress ethnomusicologist, is a pioneering bandleader who founded OCEAN, and before that, The New St. George (which also featured Lisa Moscatiello). At home in the studio as well as onstage, Cutting has written and produced songs for artists such as Maddy Prior and Annie Haslam. Lisa Moscatiello has a voice that Billboard described as “one of the most gorgeous vocal instruments in all of folk-tinged pop,” and sang earlier in her career with bands such as Ceoltoiri and Whirligig. Stephen Winick, a Library of Congress folklorist, studied folklore with Kenny Goldstein and singing with Frank Harte. He has a PhD in Folklore from the University of Pennsylvania, and teaches at George Washington and George Mason universities. Champion Scottish fiddler Andrew Dodds teaches Celtic music at George Mason University. Together, they combine soaring vocals, award-winning original songs, rollicking tunes, and innovative arrangements of rare traditional repertoire uncovered by original archival research . . . a signature blend they call “Celtic Music for Ancient Moderns.”

To extend the party spirit, proceeds from the concert (aka contributions and gifts) will be donated to the OCEAN Quartet’s preferred charity, the Ocean Conservancy. To save a space for yourself to this event, book now. We do expect a full house. Come and party on May 12, 2017!

Make a reservation now!

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.

Thank you for your support of Carroll Café.

The Second Fridays Coffeehouse