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CentreGives 2017

May 9-10

Thank you, live, acoustic music lovers. Through your generosity, we raised $1,300 from 17 donors. The funds will help us continue to bring renown acts to our wonderful venues. We hope to see you May 14 for Molsky’s Mountain Drifters or at one of our shows this fall.

Molsky’s Mountain Drifters – SUNDAY, May 14 CWB

4:00 pm $19. Center for Well-Being, Lemont.  Buy tickets now

Click on the pic to visit Molsky’s Mountain Drifer’s website

We’ve added a “Special Brew1” to our Spring lineup to introduce Bruce Molsky’s brand new trio with Allison de Groot and Stash Wyslouch – Tradition steeped in possibility.
 
Bruce Molsky, “one of America’s premier fiddling talents” (Mother Jones) and Grammy-nominated artist on fiddle, banjo, guitar and song is delighted to present his new group already on tour in the US. Bruce’s previous collaborations, with Anonymous 4, 1865 – Songs of Hope and Home from the American Civil War, was released to rave reviews and was on the top 10 Billboard charts for weeks. He is also a special guest on legendary guitarist Mark Knopfler’s latest CD, Tracker and is working on his 3rd album with Andy Irvine & Donal Lunny’s supergroup Mozaik. You can also hear Bruce on BBC TV Transatlantic Sessions singing with Joan Osborne, Julie Fowlis and fiddling with Scottish legend Aly Bain and America’s great dobroist Jerry Douglas. Bruce is also Berklee College of Music’s Visiting Scholar in the American Roots Program.
 
Allison de Groot combines wide ranging virtuosity and passion for old-time music. With her own bands The Goodbye Girls and Oh My Darling, she has played Trafalgar Square in London, Newport Folk FestivalStockholm Folk Festival the Winnipeg Folk Festival, and Tønder Festival in Denmark. Like Bruce, Allison loves collaborating and bringing new ideas to old music, and brings a fresh approach to the trio.
 
Boston-based Stash Wyslouch is one of bluegrass’ great young genre-bending pioneers. He got his start as a guitarist in metal bands before immersing himself in roots music as a member of The Deadly Gentlemen. Stash is a veteran festival performer, having played at Grey Fox Bluegrass FestivalRockygrassMerlefestSavannah Music Festival and others. Coming over from the punk-metal world, Stash brings great sensitivity and real emotion to the trio, plus some superb guitar and vocal chops.

 

“It is no exaggeration to say that Bruce Molsky is one of the greatest American fiddlers of all time. His playing is mesmerizing and transporting, and best experienced live” – WBUR, Boston Public Radio

1Special Brew: Sometimes we get a call that an artist has a date open and we can add a great show to our season. This show is an addition to our published schedule and is not included in the Season Ticket package.

The Hillbilly Gypsies – Apr 15 WPSU

7:30 pm $16. WPSU Studios in Innovation Park. Buy tickets now

Click on the pic to visit the Gypsies’ website.

Hailing from the beautiful Mountain State of West Virginia, The Hillbilly Gypsies have been making and performing their own brand of old time bluegrass and original mountain music for well over a decade! Formed in 2001 from a chance meeting at the now infamous Wednesday night old time jam in Morgantown, WV; The Hillbilly Gypsies have been pickin’ n’ grinnin’ and entertaining their loyal fans ever since.

The band is best known for their high-energy live performances and have become a crowd favorite at major festivals, fairs and concert venues all across the mid-Atlantic region and abroad. They perform in the old fashioned style, playing around a single vintage ribbon microphone. This “Old Timey” approach adds an authentic high-energy barn party atmosphere to their show. Watching the whole band work around the mic is like taking a trip back in time. It’ll sure make you want to get up and dance!

…and don’t let the flash of their lively stage performance and choreography fool ya, these folks are all highly skilled musicians and seasoned entertainers! Their lightning fast award-winning picking skills and musical arrangements mixed with natural comedic wit and high lonesome mountain vocal harmonies are sure to catch your ear right away. Combine that with a knack for original songwriting and a strong passion for old time and traditional music and this makes for an all-around authentic and exciting musical experience that you won’t soon forget. One listen and you’ll know that you are getting the real deal! The Gypsies are more than a band; they are a tight knit family, mindful of tradition but bold explorers of new and authentic styles of acoustic music and entertainment!

“If you ever get the chance, see the Hillbilly Gypsies live. You’ll want to hear them, too, of course, but you’ll be in for a real treat when you watch them. They are masters of the single microphone style, with the awards to prove it. It’s mountain ballet at its finest.” – David Morris, Bluegrass Today

Mustard’s Retreat – Mar 25 CWB

7:30 pm $18. Center for Well-Being, Lemont.  Buy tickets now

Click on the pic to visit Mustard’s Retreat’s website

Mustard’s Retreat (David Tamulevich and Michael Hough), met in Ann Arbor, MI in 1974, as short order cooks, both on hiatus from their studies at the University of Michigan. Discovering a mutual interest in music/writing and performing, they put together 3 songs one day after work, and took them to the legendary Ark coffeehouse’s open mike night. They were a  hit, and, on the spot, were invited back to do a 45 minute set 2 weeks later.

Within a year and a half they had both quit the restaurant and were doing music full time. 40 years later, they have 12 highly acclaimed recordings of their own, plus 3 more CDs with their songwriting collective, The Yellow Room Gang. Mustard’s Retreat has performed more than 4,000 shows over those years, traveled more than 1 million miles and in doing so, have earned a dedicated and loyal following, many of whom have been coming to hear them since the 1970s.

“They are so warm and friendly and giving on stage, completely in touch with their audience. There are no barriers at all, and you just love to watch that and be part of it.” – Tom Paxton

Mike + Ruthy – Mar 11 CWB

7:30 pm $16. Center for Well-Being, Lemont.  Buy tickets now

Click on the pic to visit Mike’s + Ruthy’s website.

Mike + Ruthy are hard touring folk musicians from New York’s Hudson Valley. It doesn’t just mean that they play square dances on old, dusty instruments (which they do), it means they write about the times we live in using sturdy roots music as their bedrock. Buckle a couple kids in the backseat (check!) and you’ve got something that looks a lot like the American bohemian dream.

They host their own festival (homeofthehoot.com), have archive endorsed co-writes with Woody Guthrie and Allen Ginsberg, postcards of encouragement from none other than the late Pete Seeger, and miles upon miles of touring under their belts supporting one of the best catalogs of original music being performed today.

As a duo encircled around one simple microphone they alternate between whisper-soft intimacy and rafter-raising hoedowns. Expanded into a crack 5-piece roadhouse band they slalom between Motown soul and “Bringing it All Back Home” Americana. 

Their latest record, Bright As You Can, is being hailed as one of the top Americana releases of the year (“One of the year’s standout Americana records” – Boston Globe) and their touring schedule reads like a who’s who of today’s scene (“In the vanguard of today’s vibrant folk revival”- PopMatters) including appearances with Ani DiFranco, Avett Brothers, Watkins Family Hour and The B-52s. 

Woody Guthrie’s guitar killed fascists. This family carries the torch.

Everything is masterfully performed as Mike Merenda and Ruthy Ungar sing about the charms of hard work, homemade wine and free parking. Amid the barn dance reverie created by fiddle, pedal steel, horns and more, Ruthy’s versatile alto is the most glorious instrument of all.” –ABC News

Listen to Mike + Ruthy on The Freq’s Live at Five

Lúnasa – Feb 25 WPSU

7:30 pm $25. WPSU Studios in Innovation Park. Buy tickets now

Click on the pic to visit Lúnasa's website.
Click on the pic to visit Lúnasa’s website.

Lúnasa is internationally acknowledged as being the finest traditional Irish instrumental outfit of recent times. They are renowned for their stunning shows honed by superb musicianship and a constant touring cycle. They have performed over 1,500 shows across 36 countries since the band formed in 1997. The band has appeared at internationally renowned venues such as The Hollywood Bowl, National Concert Hall (Dublin), Sydney Opera House and Moscow International House of Music. They have been invited to appear at the White House, and now they’re coming to the Acoustic Brew.

Their inventive arrangements and bass driven grooves have steered Irish acoustic music into surprising new territory. Their recordings have been hailed as some of the best and most important world music albums anywhere, while their blend of intelligence, innovation, virtuosity, and passion has brought them to the forefront of Celtic music.

Lúnasa is composed of Kevin Crawford (flutes, low whistles and tin whistles), Trevor Hutchinson (double bass), Ed Boyd (guitar), Seán Smyth (fiddle and low whistle) and Cillian Vallely (uilleann pipes and low whistles).

“Maintaining the unique, intimate qualities of a musical tradition while at the same time meeting and fulfilling the demands of the contemporary music world is a difficult juxtaposition to achieve, yet Lúnasa have managed to accomplish exactly that.” – Kevin Burke

John Flynn – Feb 4 CWB

7:30 pm $16. Center for Well-Being, Lemont.  Buy tickets now

Click on this image to visit John's website.
Click on this image to visit John’s website.

John Flynn is an American singer-songwriter and activist known for his powerful music and tireless efforts on behalf of “the lost and the lonely, the shackled and scarred”. Over three and a half decades, John Flynn’s music has carried him from Jersey shore bars to Nashville’s Music Row; from home plate performances in major league ballparks to concerts in maximum-security prisons; from star-studded benefit shows at Tipitina’s in New Orleans to awareness-building appearances at the Walter Reed Military Hospital and the Dover Air Force Base.

Along the way Flynn has continued to make new friends and fans as he has given of his defiantly unguarded heart and optimistic spirit from large and small stages, living rooms, pulpits and schools across this country. His career has embodied an authentic troubadour odyssey that moved legendary folk DJ Gene Shay to call Flynn “the most quintessential folk singer in my life”.

“It has been disappointing that the world of folk music has not, during the last half century, been creating many new heroes. John Flynn is a notable exception, and is worthy of our respect as he follows the paths of Woody Guthrie, Phil Ochs and Kris Kristofferson.” – Andrew L. Braunfeld, Philadelphia Folk Festival

Ari and Mia Workshop & Family Concert – Dec 3 Friends School

Workshop: 1:30 pm $20
Family Concert: 3:30 pm, Adults $10, Children 3-10 $5
  under 3 free. Each Adult admission includes one free 
  child admission. 
Friends School, 1900 University Drive, State College 

Ari and Mia Friedman's website
Click on the pic to visit Ari’s and Mia’s website

The Acoustic Brew along with the State College Suzuki Program and Betha’s Music are pleased to present Ari and Mia Friedman for a string workshop and family concert at Friends School before their evening concet at the Center for Well Being in Lemont. 

The workshop features old-time American tunes and fiddling techniques for string players of all ages and levels.

“Ari & Mia blend a traditional rootsy grounding with a clear background of classical training. Their own works are soothing and fresh, tasteful and accomplished. This duo is taking the classical study of a conservatory program and bringing it alive in folk touring circles.” – SingOut! Magazine

Ari and Mia Friedman – Dec 3 CWB

7:30 pm $16. Center for Well-Being, Lemont.  Buy tickets now
Ari and Mia Friedman's website
Click on the pic to visit Ari’s and Mia’s website

Known as “Boston’s Americana Sister Act,” Ari & Mia reference the traditions of Southern and Northeastern fiddle music and the early American songbook to create a realm where their own compositions cross paths with older traditions. Their stylish and sophisticated music honors the sounds of Appalachian cottages, rural dance floors, and urban concert halls. Combine this with their innovative approach to songwriting and the result is a captivating sound.

Both sisters studied at New England Conservatory in its cutting edge Contemporary Improvisation department and have toured all around the U.S and Australia. Their two previous albums, Land on Shore, and Unruly Heart, ranked high on the national folk radio charts and Mia’s song “Across the Water,” won the 2010 John Lennon Songwriting Contest in the folk category.

“Ari & Mia blend a traditional rootsy grounding with a clear background of classical training. Their own works are soothing and fresh, tasteful and accomplished. This duo is taking the classical study of a conservatory program and bringing it alive in folk touring circles.” – SingOut! Magazine

Joe Crookston – Nov 19 WPSU

7:30 pm $20. WPSU Studios in Innovation Park. Buy tickets now
Joe Crookston's Website
Click on the pic to visit Joe’s website.

Joe Crookston is a master storyteller & he is seeking the creative edge. His music swirls with themes of lightness, darkness, clocks ticking, fiddle looping, weeping willows, slide guitar bending, cynicism, hope, and the cycles of life and rebirth. If you love a moving song and musical madness, Crookston delivers it all, the melodies, the lyrics, the energy, and a deep passion for exceptionally well-written songs.

Whether he’s picking his 48 Gibson, weaving through lap slide songs or looping his fiddle, Crookston will draw you in. His songs are universal, his rhythm infectious and in concert, he is funny as hell one moment and transcendent the next. With unwavering courage to be himself, he is literate, poignant and funny as hell.

"With all the performers out there, an artist has to go beyond good… and Joe does." – SingOut! Magazine