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.