Saturday March 1, 2014
An Evening with
$28 ($25 for members)

In 1972, Aztec Two-Step, whose name comes from a poem by beat poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti, burst upon the scene with their self-titled debut album on Elektra Records. Since then Rex Fowler and Neal Shulman have spent a lifetime making music together as the folk/rock duo Aztec Two-Step. Their first album, along with their subsequent albums for RCA Records were staples of progressive FM and college radio and helped to bring the folk/rock music of the 1960s into the 70s and beyond.

As their recording career continued, so did the critical acclaim. In 1987 Living in America, received the New York Music Award for Best Folk Album and was named in Billboard’s year-end critic’s poll. They have been praised in countless major US newspapers and magazines, including Rolling Stone, and have appeared on numerous TV and radio shows, such as the David Letterman Show, the King Biscuit Flour Hour, and World CafĂ© Live.

 In 2005 they released their career-defining “Days of Horses” CD to rave reviews. Of this release, the Boston Globe said, “Fans of the duo’s harmony-driven tunes and easygoing acoustic guitar riffs will recognize their James Taylor-meets-Simon & Garfunkel sound. What’s new is the mood. This album sits back on its haunches as Rex Fowler and Neal Shulman look back wistfully at American pop culture and their own ride through it.”

2007 saw several hallmark events for the duo. In June, Aztec Two-Step performed “The Persecution and Restoration of Dean Moriarty (On The Road)” at a very special Lowell Celebrates Kerouac Festival as the author’s hometown marked the 50th anniversary of the publication of On The Road. Also In June 2007, Real Simple, a popular national lifestyle magazine, named Aztec Two-Step’s debut recording one of the top five classic folk albums of all-time, along with works by Bob Dylan, Judy Collins, Tom Rush and Phil Ochs. The article cites the duo as “surpass[ing] Simon and Garfunkel for exquisite harmonies, musicianship and emotion.”

Rex and Neal were often reviewed as having the “east coast sensibility,” “intellectual lyricism,” and “ethereal harmonies” of Simon & Garfunkel with their debut album on Elektra Records in 1972. Possessing a rich musical legacy of their own, few groups, if any, were more qualified to interpret and perform the timeless songs and harmonies of their legendary predecessors. In 2008, the duo released “Time It Was -The Simon & Garfunkel Songbook” (Red Engine Records), a live tribute album of S&G’s music, featuring narration by legendary DJ and music historian Pete Fornatale, who provides commentary and insights based on his interviews with Simon & Garfunkel. Three plus years later and counting, Rex, Neal, Pete, and bassist Fred Holman, continue to impress audiences up and down the eastern seaboard with this entertaining and informative show.

To commemorate their 40th Anniversary year, early 2012 brings the official release of Fowler & Shulman’s studio CD “Cause & Effect” (Red Engine Records). A collection of songs of social significance, it is produced by Paul Guzzone and features long-time bassist Fred Holman. The album is a combination of re-worked previously recorded songs and newly mined material. From John Platt of WFUV in New York, “The secret of Aztec Two Step's longevity isn't just the harmony between Rex and Neal, it's also the quality of the songs. On "Cause and Effect" they revisit a lot of their repertoire with crisp acoustic arrangements. And while the songs were mostly inspired by a specific moment in time (Reaganomics, apartheid, John Lennon's assassination), they resonate anew today.”

Aztec Two-Step continues to impress audiences with intelligent songwriting, dazzling acoustic lead guitar, and inspiring harmonies, and remain one of acoustic music’s most popular and enduring acts.

“Aztec Two-Step comes with interesting and melodious arrangements
and pleasantly breezy tunes.”

New York Times

“Cult folk-rockers can still carry off their sweet, supple harmonies and bouncy
acoustic pop with aplomb. Recommended.”

“To begin with I think they’re both a little weird. Well, maybe eccentric is a better word. With Rex it’s obvious because he’s a poet, and poets are suppose to be like that. Neal is a little different because he’s so open. But his sense of humor is not exactly what you might expect. Of course, maybe I say that they’re weird because I like them, and I think everyone I like is a little weird. I’ve always believed that you need to have a touch of madness to create any art, and the music that Neal and Rex make together is beautiful. It has depth; and sometimes they get this spooky quality that really reaches me. That’s the crux of the matter, their music reaches me.”
David Bromberg

Saturday April 19, 2014

with special guest CONNOR GARVEY
$20 ($17 for members)

Click HERE to order tickets online

You’re sitting in a beautiful theatre with 160 other people waiting to hear Joe Crookston
perform….expecting to hear a guy with a guitar, fingerpick and play some great songs. It’s true, but you are about to experience something much more.
Pulled in by the magic and musical world that he creates, you’ll become part of the show. You’ll travel with him along mystical, historical, and humorous roads, and twist through personal, colorful stories along the way. At the end of the night, you’ll leave inspired, with a renewed sense of what is possible.
From the first strum of his 1948 Gibson, through stories of ruby red dresses, Tinian Island, Dylan Thomas, Taoist parables and drunken roosters you’ll be drawn in and deeply moved by his music. It happens every time. Watch a YouTube video. Check him out. It’s not the same.
His CD, “Able Baker Charlie & Dog” received the most airplay of any folk acoustic recording and was awarded: “Album of the Year” by the International Folk Alliance in Memphis, TN. He received a year-long songwriting grant from the Rockefeller Foundation to travel throughout New York State, collect stories, and write original songs.
Joe Crookston is a master storyteller. His music swirls with themes of lightness, darkness, clocks ticking, weeping willows, cynicism, hope, and the cycles of life and rebirth. If you love a moving song and musical madness, Joe Crookston delivers it all, the melodies, the lyrics, the energy, and a deep passion for exceptionally well-written songs.
Through his spirit and playfulness and his unwavering courage to be himself, you will be moved in ways you didn’t expect. He is literate, poignant and funny as hell, and there is no doubt that you’ll be glad you came to the show.
"With all the performers out there, an artist has to go beyond good…and Joe does.”
Sing Out Magazine
"Joe Crookston is decidedly one of today’s standout troubadours. On Darkling & the BlueBird Jubilee, he sings the heart pure, he sings the soul holy, he sings the mind unshackled, and he sings the world loud and true.”
Roots Music Examiner
* * *
Opening the evening will be singer-songwriter Connor Garvey. Connor's initiation as a modern troubadour came in 2008 by way of train; a 45 day, self booked tour by Amtrak across the country. Now, many years of traveling later, Garvey is finding his place as a seasoned folk-rock singer-songwriter touring around the US in his station wagon, playing festivals, winning songwriting competitions from Maine to Texas, wowing house concerts, and playing to full crowds at many of the country's best acoustic venues.
Radio listeners across the US became enthralled with Garvey's sound when his song Soul on the Line remained in extensive airplay on Sirius XM's The Coffeehouse- garnering him a spot in their top 6 new Singer Songwriters of 2010.
 "...when Connor Garvey stepped up with solid singing and playing, the place was silent and I knew that this acoustic music tradition was in the right hands..."
Vance Gilbert

"... proves you can be optimistic and self-aware without being boring."
Aimsel Ponti - The Portland Press Herald

Saturday May 10, 2014

with special guest HONOR FINNEGAN

$25 ($22 for members)

  Click HERE to order tickets online

Who else would name their most recent album "Old White Men", and actually have recorded a groundbreaking, heartbreaking title song to back it up?

That’d be Vance Gilbert.

This latest release has received raves based solely on the material folks have heard live over the past 2 years. The soul aching title cut, the winsome "Boy on A Train", and the comic tour de force "My Bad" are all present. Plus nine other killer songs that make up a great portion of his current, ever evolving live showeaking of the live show, artists as varied as Arlo Guthrie, Anita Baker, and the late George Carlin have in recent years requested Vance to be added to their evenings.

Vance Gilbert burst onto the singer/songwriter scene in the early 90's when the buzz spread through the folk clubs of the Northeast about an ex-multicultural arts teacher who was knocking them dead at open mics. Word got out about this Philadelphia-area born and raised performer, and Shawn Colvin invited Gilbert to be a special guest on her 1992 Fat City tour. Gilbert took audiences across North America by storm.  Gilbert's three albums for the Rounder/Philo label - Edgewise (1994), Fugitives (1995), and Shaking Off Gravity (1998) - are all essential additions to the American singer-songwriter collection. With guests as varied as Tuck and Patti, Jonatha Brooke, Patty Larkin, Vinx, and Jane Siberry, all three albums found significant niches on NAC (New Adult Contemporary) and Non-Commercial A3 radio.

These discs were followed by the self-released Somerville Live (2000), One Thru Fourteen (2002), Side Of The Road (2003) - a duo album with Ellis Paul,  and Angels, Castles, Covers (2006), "Gilbert's choice of an album of covers seems both fitting and fearless. …he displays his vocal virtuosity with some unexpected choices from the late 20th century songbook. From the sounds of Motown, through the R&B of Al Green to classic Joni Mitchell and Shawn Colvin…He makes each and every tune sound fresh and new," writes Roberta Schwartz of FAME.

Gilbert then launched into a year and a half as support for George Carlin, leading up to the creation and recording of Up On Rockfield (2008), a landmark album noted for being written in the styles of some of his favorite songwriters. Of this disk Vintage Guitar proclaimed that “His fervor for composing is as powerful as a Colorado thunderstorm...accomplishing the seemingly impossible...Up On Rockfield should be on your must hear list.”

And now Old White Men makes album number ten in Vance’s ever growing, glowing catalogue.  Vance continues to refine his unlikely union of humor, virtuosity, and the unexpected.

"...the voice of an angel, the wit of a devil, and the guitar playing of a god..."
Fort Worth Star-Telegram

"He is that rare performer for whom people lean forward in their seats
as eagerly between songs as they do during them"
Boston Globe 

 * * *

Honor Finnegan will open the evening. Hoinor is the Susan Boyle of quirky indie folk, only hotter. Her songs are humorous then heartbreaking with melodies that soar Based in New York City, she has been making a splash in the northeastern regional folk scene with her original songs and ukulele playing. Combining elements of musical theatre, comedy, traditional folk, and poetry, Honor is cooler than the other side of the pillow.

Honor Finnegan was born and raised on the South Side of Chicago and learned to appreciate a variety of people and music living in a mostly African American neighborhood and sitting in the back seat of her single mothers car listening to the radio for long periods of time. When Honor was 11 her dream of being an actress came true when she was cast in the 1st National Tour of “Annie”.

Honor eventually outgrew the Annie thing and went back to Chicago, spending her early adult life studying Improv with Del Close who created “Honor Finnegan vs. the Brain of the Galaxy” to try and help the poor waif get somewhere in life.

In 1991 Honor moved to Ireland. While living in Ireland, Honor sang with jazz bands, blues bands, big bands and traditional Irish bands including DeDannan for about a day. Honor moved to New York in 1998 where she became a a regular attendee at the late great Jack Hardy's songwriter's exchange. Honor was chosen as a Kerrville New Folk Winner 2013 and a Falcon Ridge Emerging Artist 2012.

"Honor Finnegan's clever songs, powerful voice, and endearing stage presence
have made her standout on the fertile NYC folk scene. Don't miss her!" 
John Platt, "Sunday Breakfast," WFUV, New York

"I am honored to be compared to Honor Finnegan! I LOVE her!"
Christine Lavin

Saturday June 7, 2014
with special guest JENNA LINDBO

$25 ($22 for members)
Click HERE to order tickets online

When the singer/songwriter movement boomed in the mid-90s, Catie Curtis was at its forefront. Now a veteran artist with a 15 year career, Curtis has recorded ten critically acclaimed solo albums and has had songs featured in numerous TV shows including Dawson’s Creek, Felicity, Grey’s Anatomy and Alias, as well as in films such as 500 Miles to Graceland and A Slipping Down Life.

Since the release of her last album in 2009, Curtis has toured extensively, playing a number of diverse venues ranging from Chicago’s legendary Old Town School of Folk Music to the White House. She’s also spent that time writing and testing out new material, developing a collection of masterfully written lyrics that serve as the heart of her eleventh record, Stretch Limousine on Fire (Compass Records).

On the album, Curtis, a Lilith Fair alum who’s been dubbed a “folk-rock goddess” by The New Yorker, delivers some of the finest material of her career: ten original songs that push at her own musical boundaries and explore “the difficult edges of passing events” in life, harsh realities that are tempered with moments of fleeting beauty. That vibe is spirited, unique, and best embodied by the album’s title track. “Stretch Limousine on Fire” is an infectious song whose central image takes on the idea that “when bad things happen, you sometimes take comfort in realizing they happen to everybody.” It’s this portrayal of universal life experiences, wrapped in Curtis’ brand of evocative songwriting that won her the 2006 International Songwriting Competition, that appeals to her legions of dedicated fans.

With her Aspire to Inspire Endowment providing musical instruments to seven youth-oriented music organizations, a busy schedule officiating nontraditional weddings, and the fulltime job of raising two daughters with her partner, Catie Curtis is stretching her own boundaries to ensure that, despite the rough edges in life, there will always be those moments of beauty.

Folk-rock goddess
The New Yorker

"One of the melodic delights of our age."
Boston Herald

* * *
Opening the evening will Jenna Lindbo.  One part wise old woman and one part goofy little kid, singer-songwriter Jenna Lindbo is going to find a way to your heart. It’s only a matter of time. An Oregon native, Jenna travels the country, inspiring audiences from Asheville to Anchorage with her rootsy folk songs and infectious joy. Along the way she keeps meeting folks who love to hear her music, soak up the effervescent energy of her shows, and get smacked upside the heart.

Buoyed by the experience, exposure, and inspiration from touring extensively with Catie Curtis, Jenna’s solo career is taking off. She’s currently celebrating the release of her new cd, Jasmine Parade (2012), produced by Lorne Entress. With lush arrangements and simply adorned songs, this album beautifully captures Jenna’s storytelling and reflects a deepening in her art as well as a rich new chapter unfolding. The songs on Jasmine Parade as well as her first release, Strings & Spokes (2010) bring joyful attention to the sweetness and sorrow of life worth living.

“If you don’t have fun listening to Jenna, it’s pretty much your fault.”

- Peter Mulvey

The Fair Lawn Community Center at 10-10 20th Street in Fairl Lawn, NJ

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