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NEXT! Saturday, Jan. 17, 7:30 pm: Orange Julius and the Big Beat

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Common Ground Coffeehouse
at The First Unitarian Society of Westchester
25 Old Jackson Avenue, Hastings-on-Hudson NY

presents

Orange Julius and the Big Beat

Drummer, Pianist, Composer, Arranger, Transcriber, Writer, and Bandleader Julius Rodriguez, 16, has accomplished a lot in his musical career so far. Showing a sense of rhythm at a young age, he began teaching himself drums, started piano lessons at the age of 4. Being exposed to jazz music being played in the house, Julius was first exposed to jazz under the tutelage of private teacher John Senakwami. After studying with Senakwami from the age of 7-10, and a brief few months of private study with Professor Ubaldo Díaz-Acosta, Julius was accepted into the Manhattan School of Music Precollege Program for Classical Piano. While studying at the Manhattan School under Prof. Díaz-Acosta, Julius began teaching himself jazz. In 2010, he joined the Jazz Elite Big Band, a conglomerate high school jazz band led by Iantheia Calhoun. With Jazz Elite, Julius participated in the 2011 Charles Mingus Competition, the 2011 Next Generation Jazz Festival, and the 2012 Greenwich High School Regional Essentially Ellington Festival where he was given an award for outstanding soloist. Also, with Jazz Elite, Julius performed/worked with artists such as Reginald Thomas, Terell Stafford, Kuumba Frank Lacy, Professor Ronald Carter, and Wycliffe Gordon. In 2011, Julius was admitted to the Manhattan School of Music Precollege Jazz Program under Jeremy Manasia in addition to his classical studies. With his Manhattan School Combo, Julius competed in the 2013 Charles Mingus Festival where he was given an award for best soloist and was invited to sit in with the Mingus Big Band at Jazz Standard. In 2013, he was accepted into the Manhattan School of Music Precollege Jazz program again for Jazz Drums. Julius was awarded outstanding soloist in the 2013 Downbeat Student Music Awards, and was a gold medalist in the 2013 national ACT-SO Competition in the instrumental contemporary category. Julius plays at Union Baptist Church in White Plains, and occasionally visits jam sessions in NYC and Westchester County.

Tickets: Adults – $18 in advance, $20 at the door/Students (12+) -$10 in advance, $10 at the door, Kids under 12 are free

Eventbrite - Orange Julius and the Big Beat

About Common Ground

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Common Ground Community Concerts is the producer the long-standing Common Ground Coffeehouse  at the First Unitarian Society of Westchester at 25 Old Jackson Avenue, outside of Hastings-on-Hudson NY. 
On occasion, we also present concerts at historic Irvington Town Hall Theater at 85 Main Street in Irvington NY and partner with community groups and non-profits to produce concerts in other locations as well.

All Common Ground locations are wheelchair accessible.

Common Ground was founded as an effort to build community and to support regional and national musicians and other artists. Since 2005, Common Ground has used its profits to operate the Common Ground Microcredit Fund. The fund raised has raised over $25,000 for local, regional and global community groups and organizations that provide either much needed social services or work toward progressive, nonviolent social change. For more information on Common Ground’s social justice mission, and to learn more about the Common Ground Microcredit Fund, please click here.

Now preparing for our 11th year, Common Ground has hosted such beloved national and regional artists as Richard Shindell, John Hammond, Eliza GilkysonEllis Paul, Red Molly,  Chris Smither, Andy Statman, Susan Werner, and many more. For many years, Common Ground was a regular stop on the Falcon Ridge Folk Festival’s Annual Most Wanted Preview Tour. In addition to traditional and modern folk artists and singer-songwriters, we frequently feature other musical genres, such as jazz, blues, cajun-zydeco, popular song, and even the occasional evening of avant garde gamelan music!

Our 2014-15 Season at a Glance

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bannerandmike

photo by John Kramer



Saturday, January 17, 7:30 pm:: Orange Julius and the Big Beat
Saturday, January 24, 7:30 pm:Joe Crookston with special guests, The Levins
Saturday, February 7, 7:30 pm: Howard Fishman presents Bob Dylan’s Basement Tapes
Saturday, February 28, 7:30 pm: The Murphy Beds and Anna & Elizabeth
Saturday, March 7, 7:30 pm: Driftwood
Saturday, March 28, 7:30:The Kennedys
Saturday, April 11, 7:30 pm: Dance Party w/Bumper Jacksons
Saturday, April 18, 8 pm: TBA
Saturday, April 25, 7:30:Eliza Gilkyson
Saturday, May 16, 7:30:Jon Brooks with Fred Gillen, Jr.

Saturday, January 24, 7:30 pm: Joe Crookston with special guests, The Levins

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Common Ground Coffeehouse
@ The First Unitarian Society of Westchester
25 Old Jackson Avenue
Hastings-on-Hudson NY

presents

Joe Crookston

with special guests, The Levins

Joe Crookston of Ithaca, New York, is an artist, writer, singer, guitar picker, painter, clawhammer banjo player, eco-village member and believer in all things possible. You’ll be pulled in by the magic and musical world he creates, and you’ll end up in the moment, humming and buzzing with the rest of the crowd. He’ll sing to you—you’ll sing with him. He’s plumbing for lyrical gold, like some kind of social archaeologist. Joe’s story songs are universal, masterful and his concerts are a grand celebration of all of us. Come to a show … you’ll ride along mystical, historical, and humorous roads, and twist through personal stories along the way—stories of amber eyes, Oklahoma towns, rattlesnake tails, Grandmother Moons, Galway heather, meter maids and silver crowns. At the end of the night, you’ll leave inspired, with a renewed sense of what’s possible. Joe appears tonight in a duet performance with Peter Glanville. Together as the BlueBird Jubilee, Joe and Peter have played to full houses at Festivals and Performing Arts Centers across the U.S.

Opening the evening is The Levins. ( pronounced The L’Vins ) Ira and Julia Levin combine harmony-driven acoustic folk rock with wistful overtones of the 1930s and the intention of putting a smile on your face. Original tunes, guitar, piano and voices provide a full sound with unexpected harmonies and unique arrangements. It’s Happy-Folk, Smile Pop….sounds like The Mamas and The Papas having coffee with Cole Porter. 2011 Winners of the Connecticut Folk Festival Songwriting Competition.

Tickets: $18 in advance, $20 at the door

Eventbrite - Joe Crookston, with special guests The Levins

Saturday, Feb. 7, 7:30 pm: Howard Fishman presents Bob Dylan’s Basement Tapes

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Common Ground Coffeehouse
First Unitarian Society of Westchester, 25 Old Jackson Avenue, Hastings

Howard Fishman

presents

Bob Dylan’s Basement Tapes

“Fishman, much like Dylan himself, is loath to tarry very long in any one particular neck of the musical woods. Something of a sonic Zelig, Fishman  works backward to get to the root of Dylan’s source material, rather than attempting to drag the rustic songs into the 21st century.” – David Sprague, VARIETY

“Not a tribute… it presents an important critical lesson about Dylan’s past-into-present musical relationship with The Band while using the songs themselves more as suggestions than scripts.” – Grayson Currin, INDY WEEK

Following up on his sold-out performance at the First Unitarian Society in 2013, composer, guitarist and bandleader Howard Fishman returns to the Rivertowns for a musical exploration of Bob Dylan and the Band’s  “Basement Tapes” sessions. Using Greil Marcus’ book THE OLD, WEIRD AMERICA as a touchstone, THE BASEMENT TAPES PROJECT explores the legendary and mysterious underground recordings made in 1967.  The project has been programmed to wide acclaim at a major national venues, including Lincoln Center’s “American Songbook” series, the Steppenwolf Theatre’s “Traffic Jam”; and at “Duke Performances” at Duke University. The evening will feature classics like “Tears of Rage” and “This Wheel’s On Fire” alongside less well-known numbers.

Howard Fishman began his musical career on the streets of New Orleans and in the subways of New York before landing his first major engagement at the Algonquin Oak Room in 1999. Since then, he has headlined in some of the most prestigious venues in the US and abroad, including: Lincoln Center, The Steppenwolf Theatre, The Blue Note, The Pasadena Playhouse, Joe’s Pub, The Great American Music Hall, and Le Petit Journal in Paris. A testament to his wide-ranging appeal, Fishman has appeared on bills with such diverse artists as: Odetta, Yo Yo Ma, Maceo Parker, Califone, Robyn Hitchcock, Madeleine Peyroux, Allen Holdsworth and Nellie McKay.

Fishman is a frequent NPR guest, and has made feature-length appearances on “Fresh Air” with Terry Gross, “World Cafe” with David Dye, “The Leonard Lopate Show” and “Soundcheck” with John Schaefer, among many others.

Although primarily known as a songwriter, Fishman began his career immersed in early jazz, folk, blues, and country music, creating a bedrock of knowledge of American roots forms that, when applied to his pop, classical and experimental leanings, helped forge the style for which he is known today (and which critics are, universally, at a loss to describe).

Fishman’s most recent recording (his tenth), is “The Howard Fishman Quartet Vol. III: Moon Country.” His next album, “Uncollected Stories” awaits release in fall 2013.  His original oratorio “we are destroyed,” featuring his band plus four singer/actors, continues to be programmed, most recently at the Abrons Arts Center in NYC. “The Frozen North,” Fishman’s original score for the Buster Keaton silent film of the same name, was programmed and performed as part of the 2012 New York Guitar Festival at Merkin Hall in NYC. He is currently at work on a new project entitled “A Star Has Burnt My Eye,” an examination of the life and music of Connie Converse, as well as a commissioned score for “Manna-Hata,” a site-specific theater project to be performed in the Penn Station Post Office, produced by Peculiar Works in NYC.

Howard Fishman maintains a full-time touring schedule and has garnered a devoted following worldwide.

Saturday, March 7, 7:30 pm: Driftwood

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Common Ground Coffeehouse
at the First Unitarian Society of Westchester,
25 Old Jackson Avenue, Hastings-on-Hudson

presents

Driftwood

The energy of rock n’ roll is impossible to categorize – mercurial, specific to its beholder and profoundly reflective.

Formed in 2005, the band spent four years playing just about anywhere they could. “We just wanted to be able to play for any crowd and turn heads,” says banjo player Joe Kollar. “We played everywhere. Coffee houses, bars, churches, rock clubs, Bluegrass festivals and the streets…a lot on the streets. We didn’t make any money, but what we learned was invaluable.”

From the Binghamton, New York music scene comes Driftwood, a band with a rock ‘n’ roll soul and a folk art mind. Carving out a name for themselves with electrifying live performances, they bring one of the most unique, raw sounds to the Americana/roots music scene. Incorporating upright bass, banjo, acoustic guitar and violin, the ghost of traditional American folk music lives in their palette. But the melodies, the harmonies and the lyrics are something else entirely.

In November 2012, Driftwood started work on their third and latest CD. Despite a grueling tour schedule and very little time at home, the recordings were finished in the summer of 2013. The self-titled new disc was recorded in a church outside of Ithaca, NY with Grammy-winning engineer Robby Hunter. It was released on December 3rd, 2013.

Tickets: $18 in advance/$20 at the door

Eventbrite - Driftwood

Saturday, March 28, 7:30 pm: The Kennedys

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Common Ground Coffeehouse
@ The First Unitarian Society of Westchester
25 Old Jackson Avenue
Hastings-on-Hudson NY
presents

The Kennedys

“Byrdsy jangle, boy-girl harmonies…irresistible” -Rolling Stone
“Unabashed, hook-laden pop” -Village Voice
“More hooks than Marilyn Monroe’s closet” -Chicago Sun-Times

In a career that now spans two decades, New York duo Maura and Pete Kennedy have traversed a broad musical landscape, surveying power pop, acoustic songwriting, organic rock rooted in their early days in Austin, and a Byrds-inspired jangle that drew the attention of Roger McGuinn, Steve Earle, and most notably Nanci Griffith.

On their new release, Closer Than You Know, The Kennedys strike out into new territory, this time inspired by a sojourn in Paris, where they immersed themselves in the turn of another century, the time when Debussy and Ravel were inventing the sonic palette of modern music. No strangers to reinvention, Pete and Maura came up with a cappuccino-fueled concept at a small café in Montmartre: music inspired by the Impressionist composers, married to the rock and pop sounds for which the duo have long been known. In the spirit of Paris-trained composer Burt Bacharach and his lyricist partner Hal David, Pete took on the task of creating musical landscapes that would cushion Maura’s lyrics and bell-like harmonies. The songs have a quality, inherent in Maura’s voice, that is both soothing and urgent. As writers and producers, the Kennedys continue to mature, from their early style-conscious pop to today’s burnished sheen. Always tuned to their own muse, Pete and Maura have once again come up with a unique sound that is as uplifting as it is unclassifiable.

Tickets: $18 advance, $20 at the door

Eventbrite - The Kennedys

Saturday, April 11, 7:30 pm: Bumper Jacksons

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Common Ground Coffeehouse
at the First Unitarian Society of Westchester
25 Old Jackson Avenue, Hastings-on-Hudson

presents

A Dance Party with

Bumper Jacksons

“Bumper Jacksons have a powerful, nuanced and versatile sound, spanning genres from traditional jazz and ragtime to early country and their signature street blues tunes.”
-Louisville Jazz Society

Bumper Jacksons are a big, fat party. Hot and sweet, their early jazz and country repertoire paints America’s story from New Orleans’ brothels to Appalachian hollers. Unafraid to scrap together new sounds from forgotten 78’s, the Bumper Jacksons boldly and elegantly balance paying homage to the traditions while fashioning their own unique, DIY style. Recognized as DC’s “Best Traditional Folk Band” at the Washington Area Music Awards this past year, the Bumper Jacksons are ready to pounce onto the national scene. Despite their young career, Bumper Jacksons have positioned themselves squarely at the helm of the young roots music scene in DC, pioneering a new, fresh take on American music, and all the while throwing one hell of a party.

After immersing herself traditional jazz in the streets and small clubs of New Orleans, front-woman Jess Eliot Myhre (clarinet, vocals, washboard) teamed up in 2012 with her co-bandleader Chris Ousley (guitar, vocals) to form Bumper Jacksons as a duo. Chris, an old time banjo player just beginning to delve into swing guitar, brought the Appalachian influences that are so important to their sound. With the knowledge that the early jazz Jess focused was the music of rowdy urban streets and brothels, and Chris’s old time was also primarily a dance music, although a rural one – the two sought to capture and make cohesive these old sounds of a raucous America. In the spirit of raw adventure, together they explored the intersections between these early American musics in bars, house concerts, and at swing and contra dances. They built a bedrock of repertoire, and the two also developed a narrative and approach to their music as a community-driven art.

After two short years, the Bumper Jacksons swelled to become a six-piece band. The talented team of gents (Alex Lacquement (bass), Brian Priebe (trombone), Dave Hadley (pedal steel and dobro), Dan Cohan (The Suitcase) all come from a range of musical backgrounds – ranging from classical, to polka, to rock, to bop – but carry a common, deeply rooted love of early jazz, swing, blues, and old time country. Together, they re-imagine roots music with power and tenderness, and have developed a rich and innovative early American sound. Bursting at the seams with some of the richest threads of old America, from street blues, to country swing, to viper jazz, the Bumper Jacksons bring you into the center of a party where everyone is invited and the dance floor never sleeps.

Tickets: $18 in advance, $20 at the door

Eventbrite - Bumper Jacksons

Saturday, April 25th, 7:30 pm: Eliza Gilkyson

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Common Ground Coffeehouse
@ The First Unitarian Society of Westchester
25 Old Jackson Avenue
Hastings-on-Hudson NY
presents

Eliza Gilkyson

Eliza Gilkyson is a Grammy-nominated singer, songwriter and activist who has become one of the most respected musicians in Roots, Folk and Americana circles.   The daughter of legendary songwriter Terry Gilkyson, she entered the music world as a teenager, recording demos for her father.  Since then she has released 19 recordings of her own, and her songs have been covered by such notables as Joan Baez, Bob Geldof, Tom Rush and Rosanne Cash.

She has appeared on NPR, Austin City Limits, Mountain Stage, e-town, XM Radio, Air America Radio and has toured worldwide as a solo artist and in support of Richard Thompson, Patty Griffin, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Dan Fogelberg, as well as with the  Woody Guthrie review, Ribbon of Highway-Endless Skyway, alongside the Guthrie Family, Jimmy Lafave, Slaid Cleaves, and special guests Pete Seeger, Jackson Browne and Kris Kristofferson.  She has been inducted into the Austin Music Hall of Fame alongside such legends as Willie Nelson, Townes Van Zandt and Nanci Griffith and is an ongoing winner of the Austin Chronicle’s various music awards, as well as Folk Alliance awards for Best Artist, Best Songwriter and Record of the Year.

Her 2005 album Land of Milk and Honey was nominated for a Grammy for Best Contemporary Folk Album.  Eliza’s meditative “Requiem,” written as a prayer for those who lost their lives in the devastating tsunami in Southeast Asia, was recorded by the nationally recognized choral group Conspirare, whose version was nominated for a Grammy and won the prestigious Edison Award in Europe.  The song has become a standard in choir repertory the world over.  Two of her songs appeared on Joan Baez’ Grammy-nominated record, Day After Tomorrow.

In addition to touring in support of the highly acclaimed Roses at the End of Time, Eliza and her son, producer Cisco Ryder, are hard at work on a new album, The Nocturne Diaries, scheduled for release on March 18, 2014.

Eliza is an active member of the Austin music and political community, including the environmental organization Save Our Springs (www.sosalliance.org ), and she is a co-founder of  www.5604manor.org , an Austin-based activist resource center.

Tickets: $20 in advance, $25 at the door
Eventbrite - Eliza Gilkyson

Saturday, May 16, 7:30 pm: Jon Brooks, with Fred Gillen, Jr.

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Common Ground Coffeehouse
@ The First Unitarian Society of Westchester
25 Old Jackson Avenue
Hastings-on-Hudson NY
presents

Jon Brooks, with Fred Gillen, Jr.

“I write songs to calm those who’ve looked into, and seen, what is in their hearts. I also write songs to terrify those who have not.” — Jon Brooks, September 2013

It was in 1997, at 28 years old, and at the end of a year of travelling throughout Eastern Europe, the former Soviet Union, and particularly, throughout war ruined Bosnia-Herzegovina – it was during this time when Jon Brooks discovered what kind of song he wanted to write. It was in 2005, 8 years later, he decided he was ready to write and sing that song.

No Mean City, released in 2006, was the first in a trilogy of albums of sparse instrumentation and densely layered poetry – a singular writing style characterized by paradox, understatement, overstatement, and by allusion to Western literary and folk traditions.  It was followed by Ours and the Shepherds in 2007 and Moth Nor Rust in 2009. Each album is imprinted with a theme: architecture and homelessness of the modern urban soul; war; and all the things that neither moth nor rust may touch: love, hope, faith, memory, gratitude, trust, inspiration, and forgiveness.

Delicate Cages was initially released independently in November, 2011 but was formally re-released by Borealis Records in May 2012. The album earned Jon his third ‘Songwriter of the Year’ nomination in 5 years from The Canadian Folk Music Awards. Like its predecessors, the 11 songs on Delicate Cages were inter-woven to the larger common themes of love and fear; and freedom and imprisonment. The idea was inspired by the Robert Bly poem, Taking The Hands: ‘Taking the hands of someone you love,/you see they are delicate cages.’ Also consistent with Jon’s albums, the song subjects were as wide ranging as they were topical and controversial: the Alberta tar sands (Fort McMurray); Bill 101 and Quebec’s language laws (Hudson Girl); Palestinian suicide bombers (Son of Hamas); Bosnian child soldier turned Canadian mixed martial arts fighter (Cage Fighter); and so-called ‘Honour Killing’ (The Lonesome Death of Aqsa Parvez). Morally and politically ambiguous, Delicate Cages, offered what Jon has since called, “necessary and alternative understandings of ‘hope’ and ‘grief’ that are neither sanitized, dumbed down, nor cheapened or degraded by the modern lie of ‘closure.’”

Opening the evening is Fred Gillen Jr. Since his first solo concert in 1996, Gillen has traveled all over the U.S. and Europe singing his songs of hope and struggle at all types of venues, building a devoted following along the way. He feels at home performing at any type and size of venue, from a “house concert” in Indiana to Irving Plaza in New York City, to the main stages of festivals, and everything in between. He has played at many prestigious and famous venues, and just as many farmers markets, coffeehouses, pubs, and union rallies. With his sometimes partner Matt Turk he played for several years in the New York City subways as part of the MUNY (Music Under NY) program. At every performance he opens his heart and pours out the unglamorous but compelling tales of the marginalized and forgotten. His songs have often been described as both painfully intimate and universal, and this is what he strives for in writing them. His live performances are spontaneous celebrations of all that it is to be human; the joy and the pain, the comedy and the tragedy.

Tickets: $18 in advance, $20 at the door

Eventbrite - Jon Brooks, with Fred Gillen, Jr.