Summer 2014 Schedule

Saturday, June 28, 2014

7:30 pm

Josh White, Jr.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

7:30 pm

Chasin’ Steel

Saturday, July 12, 2014

7:30 pm

Detour Bluegrass

Saturday, July 26, 2014

7:30 pm

Jack Williams

Saturday, August 2, 2014

7:30 pm

Alley Cats

Saturday, August 9, 2014

7:30 pm

Barbara Bailey Hutchison

Saturday, August 16, 2014

7:30 pm

Ronny Cox

Saturday, August 23, 2014

7:30 pm

Lindsay Lou and the Flatbellys

This will be the 4th time that Jack Williams has returned to Aten Place, and each time he has garnered a greater fan base and enthusiastic following.

     Jack has been counted among the most dynamic performers on today's folk circuit. He is considered by the who’s who in the industry to be a musician’s musician.  Jack is an uncommonly unique guitarist and writer of vivid songs with a strong sense of place.   He has a extraordinary talent as a storyteller in the old Southern tradition, and illustrates each tale with his mastery of the guitar.  A native of South Carolina, he has shaped a 50+ year career of playing folk, rock, jazz, R&B, classical and the popular music of the 30s, 40s and 50s.

     Avoiding the compromises of the commercial music industry during his 50+ year professional career, Jack prefers touring under the radar, playing concerts, large and small, week in and week out, from the sheer love of music and performing.  Playing for more than 50 house concerts each year, Jack enjoys the intimacy of that venue most of all, with a more personal connection to his listeners.   Jack is a sought-after artist on all contemporary acoustic music stages, from coffeehouses and festivals to music halls and city arts stages.   From acclaimed appearances at the Newport, Boston, Philadelphia, Kerrville, New Bedford SummerFest Folk Festivals, his musicianship, songs, stories and commanding presence have established him as an uncommonly inspiring and influential performer.  Jack’s performance at Aten Place has always been one of the highlights of the summer concerts season.

    Our first concert in 1995 was Josh White, Jr.  It is only fitting that Josh should open our 20th season of Summer Concerts in the Barn.  Josh has graced our stage 19 times; (16) evening adult concerts and (3) Children’s Matinees.

     Josh White, Jr., became, a 'hit' literally over night at the age of four, by performing with his legendary father JOSH WHITE one night at New York's famed "Café Society" night club (America's first integrated nightclub). For the next five years, Josh, Jr. performed with his father from New York to Boston to Philadelphia.  Between the years 1949 and 1960 Josh was in five Broadway plays and one off-Broadway play.  By 1961 Josh had already Guest Starred in more than 50 American Television Dramas, and costarred with his father in Great Britain for North Grenada television in "The Josh White Show." However, as he was approaching his 21st birthday, the number of acting jobs available on Broadway, TV and film for young Black actors was limited, while musically, the Folk Revival in America was beginning to take storm and offer more lucrative opportunities. Accordingly, Josh decided to focus on his career as a singer/guitarist, put his acting career on hold, and branch out from his long association with his father, to go on the road alone to pursue his solo concert and recording career. 

     Josh is highly regarded as a master of vocal inflection as well as one of music's premiere vocalists and performers.  In the shadow of his father, Josh White Jr. invokes the presence of the senior, making music for the masses and masses for the music.   His simple acoustic renditions reveal layer after layer of intrinsically belabored design.  The pure, unadulterated chords and notes, along with deeply intense lyrics, are characterized in every tune.   Josh takes his listeners through a history of American blues, gospel and folk favorites, and often encourages audience participation.

     This summer will mark the 6th time Chasin’ Steel has played on the Aten Place stage.  They have made themselves a crowd favorite in the bluegrass genre.  

    Jonah, Jacob and Jason Kuhlman grew up playing music in the family band and when they joined forces with Adam Carpenter, a unique chemistry brought a new flavor of bluegrass to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.    Chasin' Steel is a traditionally structured four-piece bluegrass group with the majority of their songs featuring the banjo, mandolin, guitar and acoustic bass with three and four part harmonies. Although they typically structure their instrumentation in this traditional manner, their sound has, what has been called, a unique edge to it.  Some have called them, "Bluegrass with a Rock & Roll attitude."  They do have several songs that feature the hammered dulcimer which are always crowd pleasers.

     Chasin' Steel has numerous original songs, traditional songs, and contemporary bluegrass covers that have a hard driving, aggressive nature to them. Many of their loyal fans enjoy their tribute to Jimmy Martin, also known as the King of Bluegrass. They have been called a high-energy band that appeals to not only hard core bluegrass fans, but to the average fan of music. It is also not uncommon to see a varied crowd of college students and older folks in the same audience.

     This is the 3rd time that Detour has brought their band to the Aten Place stage.  They are a bluegrass powerhouse and perform some of the “tightest” and most professional bluegrass music that has ever performed at our venue.  Their music features heartfelt originals, tightly focused harmonies, and high-steppin' instrumentals from a superbly talented sextet of veterans of Michigan's bluegrass scene.     

     "Quarterline Road," the kick-off tune from the group's latest CD, *A Better Place,* soared to the top of BluegrassToday.com's weekly airplay chart and scored in the top 50 of Roots Music Report's national folk/bluegrass charts. The band’s lineup features the soaring lead vocals of Missy Armstrong, the championship fiddling of Peter Knupfer, the inventive rhythm lines of Jack Grant on bass, the soulful guitar of Scott Zylstra, the hard driving mandolin and superb song writing of Jeff Rose, and the stellar banjo playing of Kevin Gaugier.   Detour has quickly become a standout—“a bluegrass joyride” that the Lansing State Journal acclaims as “perhaps the best bluegrass band Michigan has yet produced.” Bob Blackman, host of “The Folk Tradition” on WKAR-FM, says "for the total bluegrass package, take this Detour!"

     Detour has enjoyed six highly successful seasons receiving great critical acclaim at numerous concerts and festivals including Dunegrass, Wheatland, the Great Lakes Folk Festival, Virginia Public Television's "Song of the Mountains"  concert series, and Interlochen Center for the Arts, among many others.

    The last show of the summer in 2012 set record attendance for Aten Place.  This summer will be the Alley Cats 1st return engagement.  We could not have had an ‘encore performance summer’ without bringing them back.  Their business card says,  “Tight harmonies, universal humor, and unbelievable a cappella energy = The Alley Cats”, which is totally true and spot on.

     The Alley Cats are a perfect blend of musical talent and comedic timing. The Cats never miss a beat as they sing a cappella to the greatest songs that the baby-boomers remember from their youth.  Their interaction with audiences combined with their spontaneous humor makes each show refreshing and exciting.  They have won over audiences nationally with their lively humor, engaging stories, tight harmonies and unbelievable a cappella energy.

     The Alley Cats began at Fullerton College in California, and landed their first professional gig at Disneyland's "Blast to the Past." Soon after, they appeared on TV, radio shows, corporate events, Performing Arts Centers, fairs, festivals, schools, and even a USO show aboard the John C. Stennis aircraft carrier welcoming home the troops from Iraq. Currently, the CATS are the opening act for Jay Leno in Las Vegas.

The Alley Cats have several members, allowing them to perform multiple shows on the same day. All of the original members are still performing with the group, and most of the Cats have been in the group for over 10 years.  Make your reservations early for this performance.

     Barbara has truly established herself as the “sweetheart’ of Aten Place.  She has made a home here, and will perform for her 16th time this summer.  Her favorite date has been either on or near her birthday in August, a date that is also within one day of Maxine’s birthday.  Oddly enough, her husband Chris and I also share the same birthdate.  Cosmic!

     Barbara is a Grammy Award winning singer songwriter. Her voice is also familiar to millions of television and radio listeners as the voice of several popular commercials.   Barbara has also appeared at the White House three times, performed in nearly all 50 states, Japan, Korea, the Philippines, and Thailand.

     Barbara grew up in Detroit, Michigan. She launched her career in music while attending Michigan State University, where she gained a loyal following performing in the local listening rooms and music clubs. She began touring colleges & universities throughout the United States and was voted "Best Solo Performer", "Best Acoustic Performer", and "Best Female Performer" in a national magazine poll.

     After she received the Grammy for "Best Musical Recording for Children", the calls started coming in for children and family concerts.  It's an easy transition for her to make, from adult to youth concerts and back again.  Her show is always fresh and powerful, offering finely crafted songs with a clever wit.   Her lyric driven, melodic, often humorous, alternative folk music speaks to issues of tolerance and human rights, as well as personal relationships and funny circumstances.   She writes much of what she presents, and has gained critical acclaim for her work. Inspired by experience, hers are songs in which everyone can find themselves.  This will be a sell-out performance so make your plans to come party with the ‘birthday girls’ early.

After Ronny’s first evening at Aten Place in 2010, it quickly became one of the most talked about shows in our history.  His easygoing amiability, unforced charisma, and willingness to mingle with the patrons prior to the show, thoroughly charmed our patrons.  Add to this his self-teasing humor, tart progressive insight, and a lulling Southwestern folk sound, and he completely delighted and captivated everyone.  What many people remember most was how accessible he made himself, which was not the normal expectation people had of a person who has been a famous Hollywood movie and television star.  This will be Ronny’s third show at Aten Place.

     Ronny grew up in New Mexico listening to Texas Swing tunes, but then played rock & roll in high school, and was eventually drawn to folk music after graduating from college.   Ronny grew up in Portales, New Mexico, and his craft as a singer/songwriter is a testament to his life on the Southwestern desert.   With a career that spans over a hundred and twenty-five films and television shows, Ronny Cox is often ironically identified with the villains he has played in movies like Total Recall, Robocop and the ruthless politician in the hit science fiction TV series Stargate.    Ronny's first film… his first time acting in front of a camera was as the guitarist in the famous "dueling banjos" scene in Deliverance.

     Ronny always brings at least two fellow musicians that accompany him on his tours.  As of this publication we are not sure who they will be, but we can guarantee that they will be phenomenal artists and add to a very special evening with Ronny.

     In mid-July of 2012, our patrons were treated to a special evening of bluegrass music played by young, enthusiastic and talented musicians.  That night they were introduced to Lindsey Lou and the Flatbellys, and the band knocked the socks off our patrons.  It was an easy choice to seek out the band for an encore performance that would wrap up our 20th season of shows.  This will be an awesome finish to an outstanding summer of entertainment.

     Hailing from all corners of the Great Lakes State of Michigan, Lindsay Lou & the Flatbellys are giving a nod to American traditional music, while boldly taking their own songs in new directions.  Distinct vocals, tight harmonies, instrumental expertise, and creative arrangements are all essential characteristics of their unique sound.  The group focuses on the original tunes of Lindsay Lou Rilko, which include true-life tales of bank-robbing aunties, moonshinin' grandpas, and celebrations of love, life, and nature.  Don't be surprised to hear bluegrass standards, Beatles hits, and contemporary classics at a Flatbelly's show as well.  Joining Lindsey Lou on mandolin is Joshua Rilko, Mark Lavengood on dobro, and P.J. George on upright bass.  It's an contagious vibe that could only have been born in the heart of America's Fresh Coast!

Saturday, July 19, 2014

7:30 pm

The Ragbirds

In 2008, the Aten Place audience were introduced to The Ragbirds.  Their enthusiasm and talent became an immediate hit with the patrons, and it wouldn’t be an encore performance season if they did not ‘land’ for a third time on our stage.

Like a mix tape made by a well-traveled friend, The Ragbirds music is diverse and foreign, yet somehow familiar.  The voice at the front of The Ragbirds carries the freshness of the journey itself, and the lyrics point out the scenery like a friendly tour guide.

With a brand new album in 2012, this up-and-coming Michigan band has been traveling the country with their “infectious global groove”  gathering a passionate grassroots fan base of all ages.

The 2012 release of  The Ragbirds fourth studio effort Travelin’ Machine is a new milestone for the band.  It’s the soundtrack of the observant road-warrior, with layers of world grooves that stir the listener to move. The songs strike a balance between home and adventure, drawing upon elements of Pop, Gypsy, Afro-Cuban, Celtic, Middle Eastern and African sounds, with a little Cajun spice.

The energy of multi-instrumentalist Erin Zindle demands attention.  She is the songwriter and front woman of the band, skillfully switching between violin, mandolin, accordion, banjo and percussion, all while dancing. Zindle wears an infectious smile and a positive message, always spun through a poetic loom.

“It’s folk-rock music at the heart of it”, says Zindle, who started the band with her husband, percussionist Randall Moore, “but I’m influenced and moved by sounds from all over the world”.  This interest in world music came first from her own roots.  With two Irish grandmothers, the young violinist struck ancestral gold when she discovered Celtic fiddling as a teenager.  At this same time the music of artists like Paul Simon, Rusted Root, and Peter Gabriel stirred up a deeper longing, bringing distant ethnic sounds into her small suburban Buffalo, NY bedroom.  She began seeking out the source of these sounds and her love for travel and world music became a life-long passion.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

2:00 pm

Children’s Matinee

Barbara Bailey Hutchison

     It has been a long time since Barbara has done a Children’s Matinee at Aten Place.   The last time she performed her Grammy Award Winning music was in 1999, three years after being recognized for her "Best Musical Recording for Children".  This will be a very special show for both children and adults, and it is very significant that it will take place this celebration year.