Saturday, July 30, 4-8 pm: Common Ground’s Front Porch Jamboree

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Common Ground Community Concerts
at the Dobbs Ferry Historical Society, 12 Elm St., Dobbs Ferry

Common Ground’s

Front Porch Jamboree & Potluck Picnic

Copy of Music Fest-7

Join us on the lawn of the Dobbs Ferry Historical Society for the Common Ground Front Porch Jamboree and Potluck Picnic. Featuring live music by: Radoslav Lorkovic, Andrea Asprelli and Abby Hollander, Greetings from Anywhere, Eric Lee and Jacob Bernz. Bring the kids, pack a picnic (and something to share at the potluck table), and help us celebrate a mid-summers eve in style.

Drawing from a multitude of influences ranging from elegant classical and jazz styles to the rawest, most basic blues, country and soul, Radoslav Lorković has taken on an unusually broad musical spectrum and refined it into his distinctive piano style. His tenure on the R&B and folk circuits has culminated in five critically acclaimed solo recordings and numerous appearances on the recordings of and performances with artists including Odetta, Jimmy LaFave, Ribbon of Highway Woody Guthrie Tribute, Greg Brown, Richard Shindell, Ellis Paul, Ronny Cox, Dave Moore, Andy White, and Bo Ramsey. His thirty year touring career has led him from the taverns of the upper Mississippi River to the castles of Italy, The Canary Islands, The Yup’ik villages of Alaska, The Kennedy Center and Carnegie Hall.

Abby Hollander & Andrea Asprelli are classic country and bluegrass duo vocalists and instrumentalists. With Abby on bass, Andrea on fiddle, and some of NYC’s finest pickers backing them up, Abby & Andrea capture a classic country sound with a modern feminine edge. Abby grew up in Woodstock, NY and has studied diverse aspects of voice, music, and theatre. Coming from a family of musicians, she was raised on an eclectic mix of bluegrass, country, and jazz, absorbed some swing and blues from a stint in Austin, TX, and finally settled in New York to make music in 2011. Originally from Colorado, Andrea is a classically trained violinist and community-taught fiddler, shaped largely by bluegrass subcultures from Northampton to Syracuse to New Haven and most recently Brooklyn, NY. Both Abby and Andrea are award-winning songwriters in their own right, and are front women in the Abby Hollander Band and Cricket Tell the Weather, respectively. As a duo, the project features the more classic and traditional sounds and songs of the musical heroes that have shaped these two prominent young voices in Brooklyn’s roots music scene.

 Raised in rural upstate New York, Eric Lee’s earliest introductions to music were the sounds of his mother’s piano and the songs of John Gorka, Bob Dylan, and Jackson Browne. He began studying classical violin and traditional Irish fiddle at the age of nine, and was soon performing and recording with local artists. In 2007, Lee attended the Falcon Ridge Folk Festival, where the newly-formed supergroup, The Strangelings (featuring Pete & Maura Kennedy, Christina Thompson, Rebecca Hall, Ken Anderson, and Cheryl Prashker,) invited him to join them on an informal campground performance. That Saturday night, Lee, (then 18), was playing on the main stage as the band’s newest member.   With the conclusion of the Strangelings’ two-year run, Eric became a member of the Falcon Ridge Folk Festival’s House Band, playing alongside some of the most respected and has since accompanied such iconic artists as John Gorka, Lucy Kaplansky, Tom Rush, and Eliza Gilkyson, among others. It is these landmark artists along with the works of the late Dave Carter that inform and inspire Lee’s own songwriting.

Jacob Bernz was born and raised in New York’s Hudson Valley surrounded by the musical friends and colleagues of his father, including Pete Seeger. At a young age he began writing his own songs and playing whenever he could. He has since become a prolific songwriter and an accomplished musician. Through his friendship with Pete, and as a member of Clearwater’s Power of Song, Jacob had the opportunity to play at many distinguished venues including The Guthrie Center, The Tarrytown Music Hall, New York’s Symphony Space and Lincoln Center Out Of Doors. He’s been fortunate to share the stage with notable musicians including David Amram, Guy Davis, Livingston Taylor, Jackson Browne, Tom Chapin and Arlo Guthrie.

Formed high up on a hill in Dobbs Ferry, NY in 2007, Greetings From Anywhere mashes folk, blues, bluegrass and country into a unique roots-rock hybrid, performing with the gritty, impromptu abandon of a good-old-time garage band. Veterans of the NYC and Hudson Valley club, pub and festival circuit, GFA features a wide array of original compositions alongside choice reinterpreted feel-good covers.

$15 in advance
$20 at the gate

Eventbrite - Common Ground's Front Porch Jamboree


Announcing Our 2016-2017 Season!

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Announcing Our 2016-2017 Season!

Tickets on sale soon!


Saturday, September 17, 7:30 pm: Eef Barzelay, with special guest Bay Uno

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Common Ground Coffeehouse at The First Unitarian Society

(of Clem Snide)

with special guest Bay Uno


Singer-songwriter Eef Barzelay, known as the creative force and former frontman for the critically-acclaimed band Clem Snide, was once described as a cross between Hank Williams and Nick Drake. As Rolling Stone puts it, “Lyrically, he can be as cool as jazz, as earnest as folk, as sorrowful as country, as goofy as pop and as ironic as indie rock, sometimes all in one song.” His former band, founded in 1991, was named for a character in several novels by William S. Burroughs, including Naked Lunch, The Ticket That Exploded and Exterminator!. After building up a local following in Boston, Clem Snide attracted the attention of the Seymour Stein, who then signed them to the Sire label. A couple years later, Barzelay’s song , “Moment in the Sun”, was used as the theme song for the second season of the NBC program Ed. As a solo artist, Eef has toured with Ben Folds showcasing new material from Lose Big  The multi-talented Barzelay has also enjoyed success as a film composer with his mesmerizing musical score for the 2007 Sundance Film Festival Award-winning film Rocket Science, which features the song I Love The Unknown. Eef s most current project, the score for The Yellow Handkerchief, came about when legendary movie producer Arthur Cohn asked Eef to compose the film s music.

Native Californian Bay Uno , whose style has been compared to Sufjan Stevens, M. Ward, Father John Misty, Bon Iver, and Bright Eyes, opens the show. Bay wrote the songs on his 2015 debut, “Catalina” in his bedroom over the course of many years but rarely played them for anyone except close friends. The songs on this record take place around different bodies of water, including the shores of Catalina off the coast of California, which Bay used to visit as a kid. The small island provided a magical backdrop to his childhood, with creatures like roaming buffalo and bright orange fish that could be seen clearly from the dock. Catalina is also where Bay reportedly learned about kissing.

FRONT ROW: $22 in advance, $25 at the door;
GENERAL ADMISSION: $18 in advance, $20 at the door

Eventbrite - EEF BARZELAY (of Clem Snide) with special guest Bay Uno

Saturday, October 1, 8 pm: The Music of Linda Ronstadt

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Common Ground Community Concerts
At Irvington Town Hall theater
85 Main St., Irvington, NY

The Songs of Linda Ronstadt

A Benefit for Parkinson’s Research

Featuring Bobtown, Ana Egge, Jim Gaudet, Sarah Milonovich, Ronstadt Generations, Spuyten Duyvil and more


A masterful interpreter, Linda Ronstadt had a keen ear for simple songs that touched on universal themes. As a champion of great songwriters, she brought the works of The Eagles,Warren Zevon, Lowell George and many more After 30 albums and 11 Grammys, she retired from performing in 2009 and in 2013 announced that she had Parkinson’s Disease and would no longer sing publicly. Presented by Common Ground Community Concerts, “The Music of Linda Ronstadt” features artists including Michael G. Ronstadt, Spuyten Duyvil; Ana Egge, Bobtown, Sara Milonovich, Jim Gaudet and more in a rolling review format.

Nephew of Linda Ronstadt, cellist Michael G. Ronstadt brings a rich musical heritage and absolute knack for improvising up a storm. He holds a masters degree in cello performance from the University of Cincinnati’s College Conservatory of Music (CCM). Michael G. displays genre-blending explorations on cello and guitar in complement to thought-provoking lyrics. To say his originals are unusual is an understatement. They set the bar at Olympian heights in their depth and breadth. In addition to his solo recordings and those with Ronstadt Generations, Michael G. is a much sought-after studio musician, who has appeared on more than 100 albums in the last dozen years.

Seeing a Spuyten Duyvil (pronounced “SPITE-en DIE+vul”) show for the first time is like “throwing a cherry bomb into a lake” (Rich Warren, WFMT). It wakes you up. Their brand of original and traditional American Roots music blends Olde Time, Blues, 2nd Line, Bluegrass, and Folk Rock with a pinch of Punk Rock energy to create a uniquely modern mix. Lead by song-writing couple, Mark Miller and Beth Kaufman, this six piece powerhouse brings barn burning energy to venues throughout the East Coast and Midwest.

“We were always the outsiders,” says folk songwriter Ana Egge of her early roots in a small North Dakota town of 50 people. Egge has since traded the openness of the American Plains for the untamable wilderness of New York City, recorded seven albums, and worked with musical legends such as Ron Sexsmith and Steve Earle, who said of her, “Ana Egge’s songs are low and lonesome, big square-state noir ballads which she plays on a guitar she built with her own two hands and sings like she’s telling us her deepest, darkest secrets.”

Sara Milonovich cut her teeth as a highly sought-after side person in the bluegrass, folk, rock, americana, and celtic music worlds, and has performed and recorded throughout North and South America, Europe and beyond. She was among the last generations to learn traditional music as it was passed down firsthand, from the grange halls and lumber camps of the North Country to the pubs of NYC. After a collection of awards for fiddling, singing, and composing, she left school at sixteen to hit the road with bluegrass band The McKrells. A diverse trajectory led her from there through a busy career as an accompanist and collaborator with such artists as Richard Shindell, Pete Seeger, Eliza Gilkyson, and Jim Gaudet and the Railroad Boys, among others.

With their distinctive original songs and vocal arrangements, NYC-based Bobtown is recognized as taking an unconventional and refreshing approach to the tradition of folk and Americana. WFUV’s John Platt chose the group as one of his top three music discoveries of 2013, and Americana UK perhaps summed up the band best when they said, “If you’re looking for acoustic, Gothic-folk-Americana kissed with gorgeous harmonies then look no further.”

Long a favorite on the Northeast folk scene, Jim Gaudet has anchored his deft wordplay and savvy songcraft in the classic roots music that so thrilled him as a young man. It’s a unique, driving style, firmly-based in Americana.

Serenity Fisher entices stories into becoming songs using truth-telling, highly-visual lyrics, and dreamy melodies. Fisher is a powerhouse singer whose nuanced vocals vary from bluesy belt to sultry whisper, from technical prowess to stripped down raw emotion. Her piano style is theatrical and passionate. Her music has been compared to Regina Spektor, Tori Amos and Fiona Apple.

Aaron Nathans, with his brilliant, off-kilter view of the world, adds humorous set-ups in his live shows that are as captivating as his beautiful guitar work, catchy melodies and sweet baritone voice. His work was honored in 2011 as a New Folk finalist at the Kerrville Folk Festival, a distinction shared by Lyle Lovett, Steve Earle and Shawn Colvin.

Five million people worldwide are living with Parkinson’s disease — a chronic, degenerative neurological disorder. In the United States, 60,000 new cases will be diagnosed this year alone. There is no known cure for Parkinson’s disease. But through your support of this concert, you can help change this.


RED MOLLY ORDER BAR Please note: all ticket sales are through Irvington Town Hall Theater Box Office (on sale now!)


100% of revenues from this concert’s ticket sales will be donated to The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research.  If you cannot attend the concert, or would like to make an additional donation to TeamFox, please click the logo on the left.

Saturday, October 22, 7:30 pm: Spuyten Duyvil and Durham County Poets

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Common Ground Coffeehouse
at The First Unitarian Society presents

Spuyten Duyvil and Durham County Poets

Seeing a Spuyten Duyvil (pronounced “SPITE-en DIE+vul”) show for the first time is like “throwing a cherry bomb into a lake” (Rich Warren, WFMT). It wakes you up. Their brand of original and traditional American Roots music blends Olde Time, Blues, 2nd Line, Bluegrass, and Folk Rock with a pinch of Punk Rock energy to create a uniquely modern mix. Lead by song-writing couple, Mark Miller and Beth Kaufman, this six piece powerhouse brings barn burning energy to venues throughout the East Coast and Midwest. It’s an exciting time for the Hudson Valley based band. They have just released their third full length CD, “The Social Music Hour Vol 1”. A love letter to the Anthology of American Folk Music, the project features lyrically relevant, known but not worn out, open for suggestion songs that thrives with re-interpretation. Familiar, forgotten words find new meaning in this historically informed but thoroughly contemporary treatment. A festival favorite, the band has played featured shows at Citi Field, The Philadelphia Folk Festival, Musikfest, The Falcon Ridge Folk Festival, and Clearwater. 2016 finds the band heading to Florida to headline the South Florida Folk Festival, to Israel to headline the Jacob’s Ladder Festival along with a series of shows for the American Embassy, to Vermont for Roots On The River, to New York for Caramoor’s American Roots Music Festival, to Massachusetts for the New Bedford Folk Festival and to Long Island for The Great South Bay Music Festival.

Durham County Poets are a lively and soulful five-piece folk and roots band from Southwest Quebec’s Chateauquay Valley that performs an eclectic blend of blues, folk and rock with tinges of country, gospel and swing tossed in for good measure. Although together only since 2011, Durham County Poets are seasoned musicians. Its members collectively have more than a century of diverse musical experience – having previously played in blues, rock, country, Cajun and vaudeville outfits. Reflective of the variety of genres its members have delved in over the years, the band’s musical influences include a broad range of artists — The Band, Eric Bibb, Dire Straits, Jimmy Reid, Leon Redbone and James Taylor among them. All of the Durham County Poets are songwriters. Either individually or collaboratively, they compose a musical potpourri of ballads, gospel, blues and country-rock songs – making for varied sets while performing in concert.  The obvious joie de vivre they feel playing together is reflected in the good-time feel the Durham County Poets share with concert audiences and listeners to their two recordings to date — Where The River Flows (2011) and Chikkaboodah Stew (2014).

FRONT ROW: $25 in advance, $30 at the door
GENERAL ADMISSION: $22 in advance, $25 at the door


Saturday, November 19, 7:30 pm: Mouths of Babes

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Common Ground Coffeehouse
at The First Unitarian Society of Westchester

Mouths of Babes

with special guests Old Dogs New Tricks

“Ty Greenstein and Ingrid Elizabeth have an absolutely mesmerizing kismet together, and are both accomplished musicians [with] versatile, fun-loving, moving, accessible and simply beautiful songwriting. Go see this band – and prepare to fall in love!” – North End Concert Series

With more than a dozen albums and over a thousand shows between them, Ty Greenstein and Ingrid Elizabeth of Mouths of Babes are no strangers to the modern folk music scene. For years, their respective bands Girlyman and Coyote Grace captivated thousands of loyal fans as they criss-crossed the country, rocked festival main stages, and toured with the likes of the Indigo Girls and Dar Williams. Now, as Mouths of Babes, Ty and Ingrid have distilled the very best of the songwriting, humor, and musicianship of their previous groups into a new power duo that brings more style and depth than ever before.

The key to the Mouths of Babes magic is in the contrast. Rarely is a sound or a show as balanced as it is with these two, and the differences in both their songwriting styles and personal presentation makes for an unusually satisfying yin and yang. The Chicago Tribune writes, “They offer unique counterpoints to one another…the laidback Ty, nattily dressed in a tie and crisp suit jacket, has a rich, lovely alto. Ingrid, clad in a sultry pink satin mini-dress, is a sassy chanteuse with a lilting soprano. Trading jokes and sharing elegant harmonies, the two women display an intuitive professional bond.” They easily switch off lead vocals and play a wide array of instruments, with Ty on acoustic and electric guitars, banjo, and foot percussion, and Ingrid playing upright bass, ukulele, and cajon.

Mouths of Babes burst onto the acoustic music scene in 2014 with big shoes to fill, and on their debut EP Faith & Fumes they delivered with songs that are equal parts celebration and blues, folk and soul, tear-jerker ballad and irreverent ditty. In just over a year, the duo has become a sought-after act in its own right, headlining some of the best rooms on the circuit, such as the Freight & Salvage in Berkeley, Evanston SPACE in Chicago, and Club Passim in Boston. They’ve also made some fans in high places, and in February 2016 Mouths of Babes will record its first full-length CD with legendary Grammy-winning producer Malcolm Burn (Emmylou Harris, Bob Dylan, Peter Gabriel, Patti Smith). Burn calls the new Mouths of Babes songs a veritable “gold mine of material,” and the highly anticipated CD is slated for a fall 2016 release.

Husband-and-husband singer-songwriter duo Mark Davis and Jim Howe have been singing together for years and have recently ventured into writing and performing their own songs. With Mark on acoustic guitar and Jim on cello, the two trade off lead and harmony vocals. Their songs ask what it means to be human and how, in the words of the poet Mary Oliver, we can make the most of our “one wild and precious life.” Forming Old Dogs New Tricks is one answer they came up with for themselves.

FRONT ROW: $22 in advance, $25 at the door
GENERAL ADMISSION: $18 in advance, $20 at the door

Eventbrite - Mouths of Babes, with special guests, Old Dogs New Tricks


Saturday, December 3, 8 pm: Chris Smither, with Jonah Tolchin

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Common Ground Concerts presents

at Irvington Town Hall Theater
85 Main Street, Irvington NY

Chris Smither

In Concert

with Jonah Tolchin

“Smither is an American original – a product of the musical melting pot and one of the absolute best singer-songwriters in the world.”
— Associated Press

“… A promising new artist who artfully occupies the gulf between old-school tradition and contemporary appropriation.”

– Kim Ruehl, NPR Heavy Rotation

For 50 years, Chris Smither has been drawing deeply from the blues, American folk music, modern poets,and philosophers. Reviewers continue to praise his dazzling guitar work, gravelly voice and songwriting. Smither grew up in New Orleans where he first started playing music as a child. The son of a Tulane University professor, he was taught the rudiments of instrumentation by his uncle on his mother’s ukulele. “Uncle Howard,” Smither says, “showed me that if you knew three chords, you could play a lot of the songs you heard on the radio. And if you knew four chords, you could pretty much rule the world.”
With that bit of knowledge under his belt, he was hooked. “I’d loved acoustic music – specifically the blues – ever since I first heard Lightnin’ Hopkins’ Blues In My Bottle album. I couldn’t believe the sound Hopkins got. At first I thought it was two guys playing guitar. My style, to a degree, came out of trying to imitate that sound I heard.”
What quickly evolved from his New Orleans and Cambridge musical experiences is his enduring, singular guitar sound – a beat-driven finger-picking, strongly influenced by the playing of Mississippi John Hurt and Lightnin’ Hopkins, layered over the ever-present backbeat of his rhythmic, tapping feet (always mic’d in performance).
Since releasing his first record, I’m A Stranger, Too! in 1971, he has released 16 more, the latest being Still On the Levee (2014) – a double-CD retrospective. Recorded in New Orleans at the Music Shed, this career-spanning project features fresh new takes on 24 iconic songs from his vast career – including Devil Got Your Man, the first song he penned, on up to several of his most recent originals.
Over the years, Smither records have featured guest appearances from a who’s who of musical luminaries, including Lowell George, Dr. John, Bonnie Raitt, Tim O’Brien, and Ollabelle, and he has toured with B.B. King, Bonnie Raitt, Nanci Griffith, Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, Dave Alvin and Tom Russell, among others.
Coming out at the same time as Still On the Levee, the book Chris Smither Lyrics 1966-2012 features his complete set of lyrics complemented by select images of Chris and performance memorabilia from his decades-long career. To commemorate his career to-date, Signature Sounds is releasing an all-star tribute record including a stellar list of artists offering their takes on some Smither favorites including Josh Ritter, Bonnie Raitt, Loudon Wainwright III, Dave Alvin, Peter Case, Tim O’Brien, Patty Larkin, and many others.
Honing a synthesis of folk and blues for 50 years, Chris Smither is truly an American original. As Acoustic Guitar magazine wrote, Smither sings about “the big things – life, love, loss – in a penetrating and poetic yet unpretentious way.”
Singer-songwriter Jonah Tolchin opens the evening. Tolchin’s Americana album Clover Lane was released in 2014 by Yep Roc Records to stunning reviews in both the US an Europe and was charted in the top fifteen folk albums on the Roots Music Report for three months.   In August the song “Mockingbird” from Clover Lane was chosen by NPR’s “Heavy Rotation:  Ten Songs Public Radio Can’t Stop Playing,” and Spotify named “Diamond Mind” on its list of “2014 Best Songs of the Year.”

RED MOLLY ORDER BAR Please note: all ticket sales are through Irvington Town Hall Theater Box Office (on sale now!)