This is an ever-evolving list of artists, music resources and interesting web-sites I've found along the way.
John Abbey and Kingsize Sound Labs: John and I have been working together for a few years now. Currently working on my second CD. Besides being an incredible musician, bass player (electric, upright), guitar, and quite a few other instruments, he's also an extraordinary engineer and producer.
Claudia Anderson: A writer of depth, a singer with heart, and a powerhouse of talent.
Jennifer Armstrong: I've known Jennifer for a long time and I will never tire of seeing her perform. She is a multi-instrumentalist - guitar, banjo, fiddle, bagpipes, celtic harp - and writes songs that make you laugh or shed a tear. She has a spirit that revives, inspires and leaves you in a more joyful place.
Steve Dawson and Kernal Music: Steve got me started on this whole CD thing. He is an incredible songwriter and musician, as a soloist and as part of the incredible Chicago band, Dolly Vardon. Great engineer/producer and a wonderful guy to work with!
Mark Dvorak: Mark is one of those musicians who seems to know everything about music, and is all about sharing it with others. You could write an encyclopedia of American music from Mark's wealth of knowledge. He's been a teacher and a mentor to me. He also puts on a wonderful show. Singer/songwriter/musician/teacher - he does it all brilliantly. Go see him!
Sue Fink: One of the SongSisters. Sue is a fantastic songwriter with a unique view of the world. Wry, witty, insightful and always surprising, Sue delights every audience she meets.
Jim Malcolm: I had the great opportunity to produce a concert for Jim in 2006 and he's been coming back to us every year since. He's a phenomenal musician, brilliant guitarist, fantastic singer/songwriter (I'm running out of superlatives), and also quite a nice guy. Whether he's playing a traditional Scottish tune, or one of his own wonderfully crafted songs, he has the audience with him from the very first note.
Patti Shaffner: One of the SongSisters. Jazz, folk, improvisational singing, songwriter, actor, visual artist - Patti is an incredible combination of talents. Anything she puts her mind to becomes magic.
Sons of the Never Wrong: I've been following their music for many years and now know them personally. Sue Demel worked with me on my first CD and, to top that, Sue and Deb will be with me on my second! Fantastic writers/musicians/performers. NOT to be missed!
Music websites and resources:
Chicago Acoustic Underground: A wonderful site for discovering some of the best of Chicago's Acoustic music. Singer/Songwriters, Acoustic bands - Michael Teach seems to find them all and bring them in for interviews. Well worth your time to sit and listen to the interviews he has up on his site!
Fox Valley Folklore Society: These folks put on the Fox Valley Folk Music and Storytelling Festival every year over Labor Day weekend in Geneva, IL. It has to be one of the best festivals around. They also sponsor a variety of events throughout the year. Check them out, you'll be glad you did!
The Lake County Folk Club: Wonderful group of folks who've been running this organization for, I believe, fifteen years or more. They have something going every Sunday night - Concerts, open mics, song circles and more. Come out and enjoy a show, perform at the open mic, or share some songs in the circle. It's well worth it!
Off Square Music: Great organization in Woodstock, IL. They offer concerts every month as well as sponsoring an open mic which I've played many times. Roger, Keith and Judy do an excellent job of bringing the best in folk music out to those of us who don't live close to Chicago.
Old Town School of Folk Music: One of the best venues for concerts in Chicago - Folk/Old Time/World Music/Bluegrass and more - you'll find it all here. It's also a fantastic place to take lessons if you live in the Chicago area.
Two Way Street: Dave Humphries and the folks at Two Way Street bring the best in local, regional and national touring artists to Downers Grove. They've got something cooking every Friday. Check them out!
Uncommon Ground: Great place to play in Chicago!
For a list of Radio stations and Folk Music Programs, please click HERE.
American Friends Service Committee
The Greater Good Network
FreeRice: You have to try this site! Not only do you improve your vocabulary, but you help fight world hunger. It's a word game. Every time you guess the right answer, 10 grains of rice are donated to the World Food Program. So, get smarter and help save the world!
Articles/Videos/Writings of Interest:
Dancing in the Seats: A great op ed piece from the New York Times that helps explain why I have such a difficult time sitting still when listening to music. Glad I'm not alone.
How to Listen to Music With Your Whole Body: Evelyn Glennie, the deaf Scottish percussionist, gave a great lecture last May about how to really listen to music. It's a video - about half an hour. Well worth the time. She's marvelous!
Why I Like the Term 'Folk Music': Essay by Mark Dvorak that struck a chord with me.
Centering, in Pottery, Poetry and the Person: This book by M.C. Richards is about pottery, life, and how to work toward a more centered existence.
Anne Lamott: I am a big fan of her essays. Her takes on politics, spirituality, humor, parenting and writing have all hit home for me. Four of her books I can recommend are Traveling Mercies: Some Thoughts on Faith, Plan B: More Thoughts on Faith, Grace (Eventually), and Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life.