What Mike Agranoff does as a folk musician is a rather difficult question to answer. He plays a superb fingerstyle guitar in idioms ranging from ancient harp tunes to obscure Tin-Pan-Alley compositions. His concertina arrangements of music by anyone from Bach to Berryman's may be haunting, complex, exciting, but are, above all, musical. A performance might include a song of heart-stopping emotional impact, a Scott Joplin piano rag, an acapella Irish patter song sung to the melody of a mile-a-minute fiddle tune, a rivetting recitation in the style of Robert Service, and some of the most horrible parodies in the English speaking world. Whatever else he does, Mike puts a lie to the notion that folk music is boring.
Of course, if you've been around the folk scene at all in the Northeast, you've probably seen him. He's that tall guy with the red beard and funny hat with the light in it. And when the music starts, he's in the middle, adding to the chorus and probably knowing all the lines. His repertoire is vast and varied.
Mike is not only a collector of songs and a master at arranging them, but is also a writer of songs and recitations. He has a keen ear for the best of the best, and this only enhances his own writing. If you're sick of the endless stream of singer songwriters who write for the market, you will find Mike to be a refreshing alternative. He makes us laugh, cry and think, all the while entertaining us long into any evening of music.
- Christine Lavin
"If you're tired of the endless stream of singer/songwriters whose main goal in life seems to be MTV, check out this clever...veteran New Jersey musician/storyteller."
- Dirty Linen
Take one-part Crosby, Stills and Nash; a dollop of Peter, Paul and Mary; and a few morsels of The Byrds, Joni Mitchell and James Taylor, and you get Gathering Time – a head-turning folk-rock harmony trio described recently as “getting a whole beehive-full of buzz” on the Northeast regional folk scene.
Gathering Time's seamless vocal blends are spiced with masterful acoustic and bass guitars, and precise hand percussion. While earning acclaim for its tasty originals, the trio has firm roots in traditional folk, as well as 60s and 70s folk-rock, and often peppers performances with harmonized classic and traditional songs. The trio (Glen Roethel, Hillary Foxsong and Stuart Markus) celebrated its first CD, Songs of Hope & Freedom, during a multi-CD release party at North East Regional Folk Alliance (NERFA) 2008. Following a juried Showcase and several cameos supporting friends at the Suzi Wollenberg Folk DJ and various showcases last year, Gathering Time returned in 2010 with voices blazing to present another juried showcase, to support more artists (with whom the trio has since recorded) and to tear up the late-nights with its rich musical potpourri. “Red Apples & Gold,” the title track from its new upcoming release, just charted #7 in November on the FOLK-DJ Singles Chart (based on 13846 airplays from 148 different DJs across the US and Canada.)