Past Dates

Tuesday, April 23rd, 2013

Emerson House - 5:30 PM
420 North Main Street
Rockford, IL 61103
USA
815 543-7627
Price: $10

***LIVE SESSION***

The mission of Concert Conversations is to give the artist a comfortable (and acoustically delicious), space with professional sound and lighting in which to share with an attentive and intelligent audience, the passion of the art that drives him/her which speaks to the passion that drives us.

Acoustic Eidolon

Acoustic Eidolon, featuring Joe Scott on double neck guitjo and Hannah Alkire on cello are from Colorado and have graced stages throughout the US, Europe, Australia and Canada.  With nine CDs and a DVD to their credit, these masterful artists continue to captivate audiences throughout the world with their signature “new acoustic” sound and boundless possibilities in blending Celtic, Folk, World & Latin music influences, something that Dirty Linen Magazine praises as “a sumptuous musical feast.”  

Their original sound is created by the mixing of their diverse musical backgrounds and their unusual instrumentation including the one-of-a-kind double neck guitjo, an instrument of Joe’s own design described as a beautiful harp-like sounding instrument. The double-neck guitjo has 14 strings and Joe has developed his own style and technique, playing both necks simultaneously.  Classically-trained cellist Hannah Alkire studied with G. Magyar of the Hungarian String Quartet and is recognized internationally for her stunning tone and emotional, impeccable playing and for taking the cello places it’s never been before.

The two joined their personal lives after forming their musical alliance and were married in 2001.  The result is a coupling of intricate and passionate music with genuine and engaging stories.

Fate has a magical way of bringing people together. Take the case of Joe and Hannah, aka Acoustic Eidolon. In 1995, Hannah, a studio cellist, received a call to play on a Boulder ensemble’s record. Hannah listened in amazement as directions to the recording studio told her to turn on a small road near her home, and then turn down her own street past her house!

What happened next was magic. Captivated by the music they created together, Joe and Hannah immediately agreed to clear out their schedules, start rehearsing full-time, and form what would become Acoustic Eidolon.

Six years later, they were married and now their love for one another, and their passion for life, speaks through their music.

Tuesday, November 13th, 2012

Reitsch Room, inside Mendelssohn PAC - 5:30 PM
420 North Main Street
Rockford, IL 61103
USA
815 543-7627
Price: $10

***LIVE SESSION***

The mission of Concert Conversations is to give the artist a comfortable (and acoustically delicious), space with professional sound and lighting in which to share with an attentive and intelligent audience, the passion of the art that drives him/her which speaks to the passion that drives us.

John Batdorf

John Batdorf has sung and strummed through many careers in one lifetime. Starting with the 70's as a recording artist with Batdorf and Rodney and Silver. He made records and toured this country and Canada for most of the 70s. Batdorf spent the 80's as a staff songwriter writing songs for America, England Dan, The Curry sisters and Kim Carnes, and as studio singer singing on hundreds of jingles, movies, and TV shows.Then came the 90's and he started producing records and commercials. During that time Batdorf met and went on to write some great songs with Michael McLean. They recorded 4 CDs together. In 1996 Batdorf scored the CBS TV prime time show, "Promised Land", going on to compose all the music underscore for three years until the show came to an end. I went on to compose music for another CBS drama, "Touched By An Angel", the entire musical score for a 2 hour made for PAX TV movie called "Book of Days" and the music for a theatrical piece "The Best Two Years".

Entering into the new millennium, John recorded a new CD with James Lee Stanley "All Wood And Stones" (a highly original take on early Rolling Stones songs, done acoustically with tight harmonies) along with his first solo EP, "Side One." His first full length solo CD, "Home Again" is an acoustic guitar and vocal enthusiasts dream come true! John's 2008 CD, "Still Burnin'" teams him up again with Mark Rodney. The duo recorded a live show at XM Studios in Washington D.C. revisiting many of their great songs from the 70s.This marks the first new Batdorf and Rodney recordings since 1975!

In June 2009, John released his third solo CD, "Old Man Dreamin'," which got rave reviews and extensive radio play and truly established John as a solo artist. May of 2011, Batdorf and Rodney were elected into the Las Vegas Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame. Now in the fall of 2011, John has released arguably his finest solo CD, "One Last Wish," and will be supporting the project all of 2012.

When you hear John sing songs about things that really matter to him, you'll understand why they mean so much to his fans that have spanned over four decades.

Monday, September 24th, 2012

Emerson House - *New Time: 5:30 PM*
420 North Main Street
Rockford, IL 61103
USA
815 964-2238
Price: $10

***LIVE SESSION***

The mission of Concert Conversations is to give the artist a comfortable (and acoustically delicious), space with professional sound and lighting in which to share with an attentive and intelligent audience, the passion of the art that drives him/her which speaks to the passion that drives us.

Shane Leonard’s interest in songwriting and the banjo wasn’t passed down from family, as is tradition for most of the musicians he's come to admire, and he didn’t grow up anywhere near Appalachia. But then again, his music isn't exactly traditional. Imbued with the kind of countrified instrumentation heard most often in stringbands and old country music, armed with lyrics of a poet's caliber, and delivering songs that shape-shift their way through a range of lush sounds and emotion, this music moves ever-onward while remaining keenly aware of the past. Leonard's solo project, Kalispell, released its debut album, Westbound, to wide critical praise in May of 2012. The album features a wide array of instruments (mostly played by Leonard himself), and also benefits from an eclectic backing band (featuring members of Field Report, S. Carey, AA Bondy and The Barley Jacks). Kalispell has toured relentlessly in 2011 and 2012, gaining blog buzz and a growing fan base.

Wednesday, September 19th, 2012

Emerson House - *New Time: 5:30 PM*
420 North Main Street
Rockford, IL 61103
USA
815 964-2238
Price: $10

***LIVE SESSION***

The mission of Concert Conversations is to give the artist a comfortable (and acoustically delicious), space with professional sound and lighting in which to share with an attentive and intelligent audience, the passion of the art that drives him/her which speaks to the passion that drives us.

Montana Skies

A must see live concert experience

Their name, Montana Skies, is a metaphor for musical freedom, and they continue to follow their creative instincts far beyond traditional boundaries. In concert, these award winning musicians delve into music from Pink Floyd and Rush to Vivaldi, and House of the Rising Sun, as well as their own originals that have been featured everywhere from NPR to the Travel Channel. Montana Skies seemingly non-stop tour schedule has taken them all across the US as well as to Canada, Asia, and Russia; and their dedication to their musical vision has helped them build an enthusiastic grassroots fan base along the way. Combining elements of classical technique, jazz improv and the power and energy of rock n' roll; Jonathan's guitar wizardry and Jenn's blazing electric cello combine to create a sound that is truly remarkable. While the music defies simple categorization, it is a fusion in the truest sense of the word. It's been called everything from chamber rock to psychedelic strings. Whatever you want to call it, rest assured, this ain't your grannies chamber music.

 

Jonathan and Jennifer met while studying music at the University of Georgia, in Athens, GA. Recognizing a kindred spirit in each other's devotion to their music, the desire to share music together was ignited immediately. The two assumed they would be performing classical recitals and great works for the cello and guitar; then, in one trip to the library to select music, their whole world of classical intentions came crashing down. The discovery: music written for cello and guitar was as rare as the combination itself -- no great classical works existed. What resulted from this new musical freedom of expression between the two was the formation of Montana Skies, and a unique style of music that would garner instant recognition and praise. Jonathan explains, "The fact that 'ready made' repertoire is not available for our combination of instruments is really what pushes us to be more creative with our music. We love composing and arranging, and appreciate the opportunity to present old favorites, along with newer music, to our audiences."

 

Montana Skies' name is taken from one of the first songs Jonathan composed for the group titled "Montana Skies." The song was written specifically about being in Montana and the joy of inspiration Jonathan felt from its natural beauty. At the time of its composition, he and Jennifer were completing their individual studies of music (he in Montana and she in Italy) and they realized that they would like to be together. Written during a crucial turning point in their relationship, the song marked the beginning of the duo's musical collaboration and their newly found sound. Montana Skies maintains an active touring schedule. Highlights from their touring has included: the Seoul Arts Center (2,500 seats) in S. Korea, Great Falls Civic Auditorium (1,800 seats) in Montana, and the new backstage series at the Morrison Center in Boise, Idaho. Jonathan's full length instructional book and CD, "Getting Into Fingerstyle Guitar" was published in 2002 by Mel-Bay Publications. Additional publications are in-the-works.

Wednesday, August 15th, 2012

Emerson House - 6:00 PM
420 North Main Street
Rockford, IL 61103
USA
815 964-2238
Price: $10

***LIVE SESSION***

The mission of Concert Conversations is to give the artist a comfortable (and acoustically delicious), space with professional sound and lighting in which to share with an attentive and intelligent audience, the passion of the art that drives him/her which speaks to the passion that drives us.

Adler & Hearne  From their Spring Hollow Organic Song Farm in the piney woods of East Texas,   performing songwriters Lynn Adler and Lindy Hearne will serve up an evening of original songs for the Concert Conversations ‘live session’ series at the historic Emerson House on Wednesday, August 15 at 6 p.m. Joining them will be rising-star daughter, 22-year-old singer/songwriter Kate Hearne, featured on lead guitar, dobro, mandolin and djembe.Kate Hearne

Performing as Adler & Hearne since 2002, the duo’s itinerary winds them through Rockford as they make the final stretch back toward Texas on what will end up being a 30-shows-in-44-days Midwest concert tour in support of their newest release “Adler & Hearne Live at Eddie’s Attic.” Recorded live at the iconic Decatur, GA listening room (the first place many people got wind of artists like the Indigo Girls, Sugarland and John Mayer), the new CD is enjoying worldwide airplay by the Folk DJ community.

The duo wanted a fresh recording that would work hard for them in terms of garnering gigs in other noted listening rooms around the country. “Presenters want to know how artists are going to sound live on their stage,” says Adler. “Not just how good they can make things sound in the studio.”

As founders of the noted listening room Crossroads Music Co. (2005) in Winnsboro, TX, Adler & Hearne know what it’s like to wear the music presenter’s hat, having hosted hundreds of national touring artists during their three-and-a-half years of running the venue before turning it over to new management. Now they are the ones touring nationally full time. Crossroads has moved around the corner to room with the town’s center for the arts, the series continues to host name artists on its stage, and Adler & Hearne enjoy the friendly title of Crossroads’ “Official Artists in Residence.”

“Our new live CD is a tip of the hat to live music venues like Crossroads, Concert Conversations and Eddie’s Attic,” says Hearne. “Places known for being listening rooms first and foremost are like hallowed halls – not just for the performers, but for all the folks in the audience who want to be a part of the exchange that is the live music experience – up close and personal.”

            As self-defined ‘organic song farmers,’ Adler & Hearne describe their music as a spirited blend of “folk-jazz blues-grass.” Both are award-winning songwriters whose songs have been covered or recorded by such diverse artists as Al Green, Amy Grant, Debby Boone and Ronny Cox. She (Adler) sings and plays rhythm guitar. He (Hearne) sings and plays guitar, mandolin and harmonica. Their live sets range from crooning love songs of losing and finding, to covering touchy subjects with quirky musical arrangements, to camping it up with modern-day spirituals steeped in dry wit. Trivia of note: Hearne once toured as musical director with Roy Clark, and has performed from Hee Haw to Carnegie Hall; Adler co-wrote the theme song for the PBS children’s TV show “Wishbone,” and she is a former FFA Sweetheart.


Thursday, August 2nd, 2012

Emerson House - 6:00 PM
420 North Main Street
Rockford, IL 61103
USA
815 964-2238
Price: $10

***LIVE SESSION***

The mission of Concert Conversations is to give the artist a comfortable (and acoustically delicious), space with professional sound and lighting in which to share with an attentive and intelligent audience, the passion of the art that drives him/her which speaks to the passion that drives us.

Sofia Talvik 

"Of all the voices - and man, they seem to issue them at birth to Swedish women - Talvik has the most faith in hers in an "I don’t need a theatrical gimmick" kind of way." - Austin Chronicle

Sofia Talvik is a Swedish singer/songwriter who just released her 5th album, The Owls Are Not What They Seem. She embarked on her extensive Drivin' & Dreaming US tour in November 2011 and will be playing her way through the US until either she or her tour bus breaks down for good.


She has played big festivals like Lollapalooza, SxSW, CMJ etc but this acoustic solo tour focuses more on the personal connection between Sofia and her audience and you will more likely see her at small intimate venues than the large arenas.


Listen to Sofia Talvik's new album here:
www.music.sofiatalvik.com

Tuesday, July 17th, 2012

Emerson House - 6:00 PM
420 North Main Street
Rockford, IL 61103
USA
815 543-7627
Price: $10

***LIVE SESSION***

The mission of Concert Conversations is to give the artist a comfortable (and acoustically delicious), space with professional sound and lighting in which to share with an attentive and intelligent audience, the passion of the art that drives him/her which speaks to the passion that drives us.

SteveSpurgin

A life of music began early for Steve Spurgin, starting with lessons in classical piano at age five, moving on to French horn and choral training in school. The performing bug bit in the early 60's when Steve picked up a folk guitar and started entertaining his school mates with the songs of his heroes like Bob Dylan and Gordon Lightfoot In the summer of 1965, fresh out of high school, the first paying job in music came along and Spurgin launched a professional career that has touched on five decades and entered a new century.

Dan Crary

Dan Crary is one of the elite few flatpick guitar players who has earned true “legendary” status. His distinctive playing style and intense power have made him stand out from the crowd for decades. The multiple awards and credits he has garnered over the years attest to Dan’s recognized status as a master of his chosen instrument.  From his early days with the groundbreaking Bluegrass Alliance, to the stunningly creative BCH trio with Byron Berline and John Hickman, to the multi award winning band California to his new sound fusion ensemble DAN CRARY and THUNDERATION, the amazing music just keeps flowing through Dan’s muscular pick and sonorous voice.

Tuesday, June 19th, 2012

Emerson House - 6:00 PM
420 North Main Street
Rockford, IL 61103
USA
815 543-7627
Price: $10

***LIVE SESSION***

The mission of Concert Conversations is to give the artist a comfortable (and acoustically delicious), space with professional sound and lighting in which to share with an attentive and intelligent audience, the passion of the art that drives him/her which speaks to the passion that drives us.

SmallPotatoes

Small Potatoes is Jacquie Manning and Rich Prezioso. This Chicago-based duo has been touring on the folk circuit since 1993 and in that time they’ve become sought-after regulars at many clubs, coffeehouses across the U.S. They have made repeat appearances at major folk festivals, including the Kerrville Folk Festival, the Walnut Valley Folk Festival, and Philadelphia Folk Festival. They were one of the “most requested” acts at the 1999 Falcon Ridge New Artist Showcase. Jacquie is also a past winner of the Kerrville New Folk Songwriting Contest.
They call themselves eclecto-maniacs. They describe their music as “Celtic to Cowboy” and say in has taken them “years of careful indecision” to come up with a mix of music that ranges from country, blues, and swing to Irish, with songwriting that touches on all of those styles and more. Their four recordings, “Alive!”, “Waltz of the Wallflowers”, “Time Flies”, and “Raw” cover all these styles. They both sing, they both play guitars and an array of other instruments. They even yodel.


Tuesday, May 8th, 2012

Emerson House - 6:00 PM
420 North Main Street
Rockford, IL 61103
USA
815 543-7627
Price: $10

***LIVE SESSION***

The mission of Concert Conversations is to give the artist a comfortable (and acoustically delicious), space with professional sound and lighting in which to share with an attentive and intelligent audience, the passion of the art that drives him/her which speaks to the passion that drives us.

Bill & Kate

Bill & Kate Isles are an acoustic singer/songwriter duo based in Duluth, Minnesota. Using a wide variety of musical styles, their performances carry audiences through a broad landscape of experiences from metaphorical worlds to small town family stories and to zany comedy. Consummate performers, they are known for their catchy melodies and memorable songs. They have a deep-seated love for the audience, and each other, and it shines before, during, and after the performance. They tour nationally, presenting their profound songs for audiences large and small, from house concerts to festival stages and everything in between. Words like “Mesmerizing”, “Transcendent”, and even, “Hysterical” are common descriptions from audience reviews and audiences members feel that they are listening to stories of their own lives, told by two of their best friends.

Bill Isles (Born and raised in Duluth, MN) performed his first show of original songs, after a twenty-five year haitus, in February of 2000. Since that time, he has become one of the most well known singer/songwriters in the Minnesota acoustic scene and has been getting national and international attention. Bill’s love of life has strong roots in his childhood, but his urgency to tell these stories comes from an experience in 1993 when, with just enough warning to drive himself to the hospital, he experienced a Sudden Cardiac Arrest. He arrived with just ten minutes to spare. After being defibrillated, and before the doctors had time to detect and open a blocked artery in his heart, he made a commitment to himself that, if he survived, he would begin to write again. Those paddles restarted more than just his heart…

Kate Isles (Born in Tecumseh, NE, raised in Rochester, MN) was a closet singer/songwriter when she came to a CD release concert for Bill's first CD, “Weightless” after hearing a public radio interview. She bought the CD and signed up on his e-mail list. ("Grounds for marriage!” quips Bill). Their song, “Public Radio (A True Story)” is a delightful duet that chronicles these beginnings.

Their relationship began in the ensuing months as they enjoyed afternoon sessions with guitars, harmonies and coffee. They've been together ever since, marrying in May of 2004. They have toured nationally as a duo, full-time, since early 2007, performing about 150 shows per year. Their late-2011 duo album, “Still Beneath the Stars and Moon”, includes ten new original songs, and showcases their respective songwriting with several of Kate’s songs as well as a few they’ve co-written. The response has been very positive with many comments such as “We’re wearing out your CD, we listen to it all the time!”; and "It’s the perfect blend of two voices".

Tuesday, April 24th, 2012

Emerson House - 6:00 PM
420 North Main Street
Rockford, IL 61103
USA
815 543-7627
Price: $10

***LIVE SESSION***

The mission of Concert Conversations is to give the artist a comfortable (and acoustically delicious), space with professional sound and lighting in which to share with an attentive and intelligent audience, the passion of the art that drives him/her which speaks to the passion that drives us.

Mark Dvorak

Mark Dvorak is a modern day troubadour who has never stopped performing, writing and recording. He has been called a folk singer's folk singer who has an encyclopedic knowledge of traditional songs. His song writing has been called "wondrous" and "profound."
Since 1981, Mark has performed in nearly all of the United States, and has visited several countries in Europe. Though he often appears on festival stages and in theaters, he is also at home in more intimate settings. His concerts are a mix of the familiar and the new, traditional folk and standards from the American song book. He plays authentic country blues guitar and picks great old-time banjo. Mark enjoys involving his audiences in sing along songs, just like The Weavers used to do, and he mixes in his own well-crafted and often poignant originals. 
Mark has a refreshing down-to-earth stage presence, and is a very engaging performer. He likes to joke around with the folks who attend his shows and throughout the program he'll add personal anecdotes and a touch of history or social context.
His roots are in Chicago, but for more than twenty-five years he has been crisscrossing the country, performing, teaching and learning all the while. He's visited big citiies where his concerts and recordings have been hailed as, "a refreshing portrait of the living folk tradition," and he's traveled many a back road to some little town or out-of-the-way place where the sounds and songs of the American experience seem more deeply rooted; here his performance comes across like a friendly conversation with neighbors.
Dvorak continues to be an integral member of the faculty at Chicago's venerable Old Town School of Folk Music. When he's not on the road, you can find him there teaching, jamming with students and passers by, or just hanging out and soaking in the vibe. 
Since 1986, thousands of music students have passed through his classes. He has helped many a beginner get through their first chords and strums, and has hosted a catalogue of master classes and workshops on a range of subjects from old time banjo picking to the legacy of the great Lead Belly, to just about every other topic related to the study of the American folk song.

Tuesday, April 17th, 2012

Emerson House - 6:00 PM
420 North Main Street
Rockford, IL 61103
USA
815 543-7627
Price: $10

***LIVE SESSION***

The mission of Concert Conversations is to give the artist a comfortable (and acoustically delicious), space with professional sound and lighting in which to share with an attentive and intelligent audience, the passion of the art that drives him/her which speaks to the passion that drives us.

Rod MacDonald

Rod MacDonald is an American folk singer/songwriter. He was a "big part of the 1980s folk revival in Greenwich Village clubs, performing at the Speakeasy, The Bottom Line, Folk City, and the Songwriter's Exchange at the Cornelia Street Cafe for many years. He co-founded the Greenwich Village Folk Festival. He is perhaps best known for his songwriting: his songs have been covered by Dave Van Ronk, Shawn Colvin, Four Bitchin' Babes, Jonathan Edwards, Garnet Rogers, and others.

A tenor with a clear voice and wide range, MacDonald is often cited for both his musicality and the content of his songs about political and social events: “Rod MacDonald is a brilliant folk singer and composer. His melodic songs possess words that go straight into your heart and soul.” The Press Of Atlantic City....“A poet with a lot on his mind who has never allowed himself to make points at the expense of making music.” Although usually labeled a folk singer, his musical styles include rock, pop, country, light jazz, and blues. He has appeared onstage with fellow artists, including Pete Seeger, Peter Yarrow, Odetta, Tom Paxton, the Violent Femmes, Suzanne Vega, Shawn Colvin, Dave Van Ronk, Emmylou Harris, Richie Havens, Ani DiFranco, Tom Chapin, Jack Hardy  and David Massengill.

MacDonald began his musical education as a slide trombonist at 11, switching to guitar in his mid-teens as he learned the popular 1960s folk songs. He attended the University of Virginia, where he was managing editor of the student newspaper The Cavalier Daily and toured statewide with the five-piece folk group The Lovin' Sound. Graduating in 1970 with a degree in history, he attended Columbia Law School and joined the Judge Advocate General's Corps, U.S. Navy. He worked summers as a reporter for the Hartford Courant, Newsweek in Atlanta and Washington, DC for whom he covered the Pentagon Papers trial. In 1972, while at Officer's Training School in Newport, RI, he began working as a solo singer/guitarist at the waterfront bar, The Black Pearl, on a nightly basis. He was honorably discharged as a conscientious objector in August 1972. He graduated school in 1973 but did not take the bar exam, instead continuing his professional career in music.

After two decades in Greenwich Village, MacDonald moved to south Florida in 1995. Currently living in Delray Beach, FL with wife Nicole Hitz, of Chur, Switzerland, and daughters Ella and Alena, he remains active, touring in Florida, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, the Pacific NW, New York and New England in 2011.

In a recent NY Times interview, Ani DiFranco lists Rod MacDonald as a major influence.

As for Rockford? Well, Rod MacDonald has been performing on the Charlotte’s Web stage for almost four decades so we are certainly aware of the simple fact that he is one of the best singer/songwriters…EVER.

Tuesday, March 13th, 2012

Emerson House - 6:00 PM
420 North Main Street
Rockford, IL 61103
USA
815 543-7627
Price: $10

***LIVE SESSION***

The mission of Concert Conversations is to give the artist a comfortable (and acoustically delicious), space with professional sound and lighting in which to share with an attentive and intelligent audience, the passion of the art that drives him/her which speaks to the passion that drives us.

Tuesday, December 13th, 2011

Emerson House - 6:00 PM
420 North Main Street
Rockford, IL 61103
USA
815 964-2238
Price: $10 - seating is limited

***LIVE SESSION***

The mission of Concert Conversations is to give the artist a comfortable (and acoustically delicious), space with professional sound and lighting in which to share with an attentive and intelligent audience, the passion of the art that drives him/her which speaks to the passion that drives us.

Joe Jencks

"Joe Jencks is the type of musician that will cause you to drop that morning newspaper or pull your car to the side of the road when you hear his songs.  He is the type of artist that will turn heads in his direction when he walks onto a stage. His voice will instantly draw you into his passionate songs. He is the type of musician whose music will become a part of you."  -Ron Olesko, WFDU –FM Teaneck, NJ

Joe Jencks is an international touring performer, songwriter, entertainer, and educator. From venues like Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center in New York, to coffee houses, festivals, spiritual communities, and schools, Joe Jencks has spent the last nine years touring full time. His songs have traveled to every continent via radio, CDs, web casts, and other musicians. He is noted for his unique merging of musical beauty, social consciousness, and spiritual exploration. Jencks weaves a diverse web of stories with brilliant musical skill, ensnaring even the most rigid of hearts, inviting them to open. His songs invite us to live inside of our passions and our beliefs.

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2011

Emerson House - 6:00 PM
420 North Main Street
Rockford, IL 61103
USA
815 964-2238
Price: $10 - seating is limited

***LIVE SESSION***

The mission of Concert Conversations is to give the artist a comfortable (and acoustically delicious), space with professional sound and lighting in which to share with an attentive and intelligent audience, the passion of the art that drives him/her which speaks to the passion that drives us.

Drew Nelson Every generation has its poets; the writers, musicians, and lyricists who capture the spirit and longings of their time. Those who give expression to our own personal memories and dreams as though they know us. They tell our stories, giving us the words we need to celebrate or let go. That is the soil in which singer/songwriter Drew Nelson has been toiling. Legendary songwriter John Gorka said “Drew’s songs sound like the rest of us feel. His characters are anything but defeated. They are dazed, angry, amazed and climbing.”

Monday, October 17th, 2011

Emmerson House - 6:00 PM
420 North Main Street
Rockford, IL 61103
USA
815 964-2238
Price: $10

***LIVE SESSION***

The mission of Concert Conversations is to give the artist a comfortable (and acoustically delicious), space with professional sound and lighting in which to share with an attentive and intelligent audience, the passion of the art that drives him/her which speaks to the passion that drives us.

Kraig Kenning face 2011
Call him contemporary folk, blues, roots rock, American Fingerstyle or Americana. Regardless of the genres crossed, Kraig Kenning manages to leave every audience feeling like they've just spent some quality time with an old friend. Few artists are as capable of connecting so directly with such diverse listeners while playing over 200 dates a year, receiving airplay on 40 stations nationwide, and selling 60,000+ recordings of six self-produced CDs. But Kenning has shaped himself into one of the most capable performers on the planet, touring non-stop for the past decade. "There is an exchange at a spiritual level in a great performance. My goal is to journey with all my listeners to this magical place." Together with his trademark dobro and passionate lyrics, Kraig reminds us just how personal--and potent--original music can be.

Kenning's driving perfectionism and attention to matters of the human spirit have inspired comparisons with Eric Clapton, Duane Allman, Bob Dylan and Jackson Brown…to name a few. "His fingerstyle is up to par with Leo Kottke and Willy Porter, his vocals reminiscent of Bruce Cockburn, and his overall performance and presentation stand equal with any of today's top singer/ songwriters," states Dave Glynn of the Fox Valley Blues Society. It's hard to be humble when elevated to the ranks of guitar gods and modern poets, but Kraig is quick to point out the logic behind such flattering comparisons: "Those are the guys I listened to, whose music I locked myself in my room with growing up. If I sound like any of them, it's because they were my inspiration and they fueled my dreams."

Saturday, September 10th, 2011

Katie's Cup - 7:30 PM
502 7th Street
Rockford, IL
USA
815 964-2238
Price: $12 adv. $15 door

Peter Mulvey bike tour poster

 

"I like making records," reflects songwriter Peter Mulvey, "but my job is the live show: getting up in a room and taking people somewhere.” Peter's latest tour is on his 12th CD, Letters From A Flying Machine.

Over the past 20 years, Peter Mulvey has pursued a restless, eclectic path as a writer and musician - immersing himself in Tin Pan Alley jazz, modern acoustic, poetry, narrative, and Americana stylings. Relentlessly touring as a headliner – his attitude is, "When you love what you do, you can work all the time," – he has also shared the stage with luminaries such as Emmylou Harris, Richard Thompson, Ani DiFranco, Indigo Girls, and Greg Brown, and has attracted an audience that stretches from Anchorage to Amsterdam.

Immersed in language, art, and music, Mulvey's playing ranges from tender acoustic picking to rootsy blues & jazz. 

"His voice feels like fine old leather, and his guitar sounds like it's on steroids... a superb technician..."

- The Boston Globe

Thursday, September 1st, 2011

Emerson House - 4 PM to 5 PM
420 North Main Street
Rockford, IL 61103
USA
815 964-2238
Price: $75 - limited to first 8 students

Scott Holt        

Scott Holt leads a nationally touring blues/roots band, (performing at Rockford's new blues hotspot:  the Adriatic on Thursday night), and is widely regarded as one of the most talented guitar players touring now.  He began his career as Buddy Guy's band leader.  After 10 years on the road with Buddy, Scott hit the road making his own music.

The American South has contributed much to musical history — and Scott Holt’s new album Kudzu establishes the lanky, tattooed Tennessean’s turf within the region’s strong songwriting tradition.  Until now, Holt has been best known for his blazing guitar, but he’s more than a six-string powerhouse. Kudzu trumpets his arrival as a penetrating and soulful storyteller whose songs touch the heart of modern life, yet possess a timeless appeal driven by a blend of honesty and pure musical expression.

Holt calls it “tapping a frequency – getting to a place where the sounds that my band and I make are warm, human and undisguised by technology.”  Joined by Dan Eubanks (bass) and Marshal Weaver (drums), they are creating songs that are real, about real people with real lives who are experiencing things worth writing about.  He shares, “So much of today’s music is just a commodity, something to use to sell jeans or coffee.  But music should be more than that. There have been times, like in the ’60s, when music had the power to change the world, so I believe that as an artist I should try to touch people’s lives and say something meaningful.”

Tuesday, August 23rd, 2011

Emerson House - 6:00 PM
420 North Main Street
Rockford, IL 61103
USA
815 964-2238
Price: $10 - limited seating

***LIVE SESSION***

The mission of Concert Conversations is to give the artist a comfortable (and acoustically delicious), space with professional sound and lighting in which to share with an attentive and intelligent audience, the passion of the art that drives him/her which speaks to the passion that drives us.

Carrie Elkin
Carrie Elkin is a soulful singer with a gypsy spirit, a songwriter with a keen eye. Inspired by her travels and the many places she has called home-- Ohio, New Mexico, Colorado, Boston, Austin--she documents the human condition with sensitivity and humor, crafting songs that have garnered attention at prestigious songwriting contests, including Mountain Stage NewSong and the Falcon Ridge Emerging Artist Showcase.

Carrie is a born performer, possessing an infectious energy that cannot be contained. As Maverick Magazine so eloquently put it: “We have never seen a performer so in love with the act of singing. Onstage Elkin was simply a force of nature.” With her dazzling voice and unpretentious charm, she wins over new fans at every show, whether playing at a headlining club gig, singing the national anthem in front of 20,000 at a Chicago Bulls game or opening for artists like Jesse Winchester, The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and Greg Brown.

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Bill Miller Folsom Prison Blues at Charlotte's Web