Friday, November 27, 2015

Thanks for 2015, eye on 2016

Oh my what a great year for our house concert series.  All performances were either sold out or nearly sold out.  The legend Bill Staines, the playful Natalie Gelman, Kelley McRae with her big hairy guy Matthew, and then to top it off the return of the The Whiskeybelles.

Next year has all four spots committed.  Barbara Jean & Erik Koskinen are coming back in February with the agreement it's a shared set.  We love Barbara yet want to hear more of Erik stuff too.  Another legend, Michael Johnson is coming in April and he is such an entertainer.  Fall brings a shot of energy from Jillian Rae, and we've committed to Norah Rendell coming back this year with Brian Miller and Randy Gosa; who tour under the name Norah Rendell and the Lost Forty.

Here are a few favorite videos of the upcoming line up:

Erik with his rockabilly sound:

Love Barbara's video with the train shots near the Mississippi, and Erik produced it with his guitar work in the background:

Now Michael has many more songs than Bluer, but I had to include it so you can warm up your pipes for the concert:

Yes Jillian promises to rock us out with her energy:

And Norah will bring such a delightful close to the year with her smooth vocals and warm personality:

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Kelley will be inside on Friday.

 It's definitely worth holding on to the reservation and make it to the concert.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Friday, April 10, 2015

Fall line up set!

We're going to be a little rural country this fall...We'll welcome Kelley McRae who has a sound like Gillian Welch and has written my most favorite tribute song to Johnny Cash; and then we'll be welcoming back my three favorite belles, the WHISKEYBELLES; the best Wisconsin trio from Milwaukee who rocked out a night to remember back in 2013, about time they come back!

More to follow... enjoy the summer and don't forget to stop out at the Great River Folk Fest and say hi to me, I'll be walking around as the Fest Master again... ha.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Back to Back Sell outs

I feel great for the artists, we're now in airplane mode and overbooking to a waiting list.  Don't be shy to get your name on the list, stuff comes up and people shift their plans.  At least with Natalie, you can drive over the Elmaro Vineyard on Saturday afternoon and listen to her.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Newsletter update

Hey peeps! Happy Day Light Savings Day! Fresh off of a PACKED house concert for Bill Staines and a good 14 new emails to the list I thought I should send out a little newsletter.

First up Bill Staines wrap up:

Oh my to host a legend in real.  Bill is not a spring chicken anymore at 68 but his voice and his stories are not waning at all.  His fingers are what he finds that slow him down a bit, but truly at 68 I wish I could still play that well.  The road warrior brought songs that touched all corners of his travels and his life as a dad and a lover of his dog.... but really that's Bill.  Lori and I have known is music as long as we've known each other, and his song, "All of me" was sung at our wedding.  I would gladly share an LP import of that song and one cut from the concert, just ask.  I'm not one to fill up people's in boxes.  (Heck I email this list maybe 6 times a year)

Next up Natalie Gelman:

I am notorious for booking pretty women, but I rationalize my choice this time with the fact that Lori and I both agree that Natalie is such fun and a good soul to be around.  We've seen her twice, and last time we hosted her overnight after she played the Elmaro.  While Bill was working coffee shops in the 60's in Boston, Natalie was born to classical musicians in Greenwich Village in mid-80's.  Classically trained in Opera at Univ of Miami, this girl has some set of vocal chords, but it's her writing that got my attention.  Really many a pretty artist I run into I would book in a flash, but their music sometimes is boring.  Natalie will mix in some pop hits and covers that range from Gnarls Barkley to Joni Mitchell.  What she's really good at though is making conversation with the audience, you will leave this concert knowing you have just met a new friend.  Natalie will give you Seven Free songs if you sign up for her email list:  With a few reserved regulars and some newbies already on the list, we're at 24 of 45 spots filled.  Here's a Facebook event that you could join,

Fall is taking shape:
Yes BOTH spots for fall are filled.  Kelley McRae and Matt Castelein have kept in touch with me over the last two years, and I really like their sound.  Paste Magazine is a magazine that was first to promote the Civil Wars gives Kelley FOUR Stars our of four, and if you like Gillian Welch with David Rollins, you'll think this is one of the better house concerts I've booked.  Matt's guitar leads are smooth and tasteful, harmonies are top notch, and if Kelley's piercing eyes don't touch you her lyrics and singing will.  Kelley will give you a great free song if you sign up for her email list.

The Whiskeybelles have pretty much agreed to come back too, October or November... still working out the details.  Sara's has cabin in Ferryville so maybe we'll see the husband's this time and maybe not.  Rockin good time was had last time in the fall of 2013, we just had to do this again.  Funny a regular of mine said, "I wasn't too sure about the Whiskeybelles when you booked them, but they are now my favorite of all your house concerts."

I normally do take the summer off... there are plenty of great place to hear good music.  I love the fact that I have a bigger audience network, and I might take a flyer mid-week if the artist is really special.  I've already tossed out to SHEL and Kristin Andreassen that they are welcome any day they pass thru; heck for SHEL I'd pay them $100 just to be in the audience of our little house concert.
Finally ... two personal gigs... Lynn and I are backing up Melissa McCarthy at the Acoustic Cafe in Winona Friday March 27th, and on Wednesday May 27th I'd like to invite you down to the Wine Guyz and have a glass of wine... tips and a percentage of the wine sales go to the Great River Folk Fest.  Anyone want to book Lucky Dog just give me a howl.

I leave you with a video from the next three concert artists:

Bill Staines was wonderful..

I have to thank Bill for a great night of music and conversation afterward... such a memory that guy has; even better than my wife's.  I'm going to remember the stories and the gentleman almost more than the concert.  Did get a good taping of Bill, who knows some day I might slice it into songs.

Oh and thanks for helping draw a full house, now more people know how to find the place and know that we're not big scary strangers.

One couple left me a bottle of wine and another knitted a hot pad for us during the concert.... all unnecessary but appreciated.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Natalie Gelman April 10th

Twice Natalie came through the area and looked me up because she and artist within Concerts in Your Home network, and I'm a host in it; and twice it was short notice and I was booked.  BOTH times I ended up seeing her, once at The Root Note and the next time at the Elmaro Vineyard.  At the Elmaro I setup up her sound and she did stay over.  Lori, Natalie and I stayed up way past bedtime talking about stuff.  What a talented and loving soul.  This spring determined not to miss her we held a slot open until we could get a date booked.  Friday April 10th it is, and guess what, she's back at the Elmaro on Saturday... a double shot of Natalie... should be a great weekend for me, you should try NOT to miss one or the either opportunities.  The house concert will be much better because of no background noise and the room is much warmer for sound.

Obviously I could write on and on about my favorite songs of hers... why don't you check out her website at

or watch at least my most favorite video:

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

sold out, but call for waiting list

People have stuff come up, so don't hesitate calling me and get on the waiting list.


Saturday, January 17, 2015

Bill Staines March 6th

Yes THE Bill Staines... I rarely use hero much, but this guy is one I so admire... I started listening to him after my tastes were honed on John Denver, Harry Chapin, and Jim Croce... and wow he was better, and accessible. Nanci Griffith called him today's Woody Guthrie, and he'll be at our house concert... yep expect it to be sold out, please get your name on the list early many have already.

I really love the use of Facebook Event planners, here's the link if you FB..

If you don't know Bill, well here a little press release:

After touring and playing concerts for over 41 years, you would think that musician and songwriter Bill Staines might think about slowing down, but that’s just not the case. Bill continues to perform more than 175 shows a year and drives close to 70,000 miles getting to them.  He is one of the most durable and beloved singers on the folk music scene today.

Staines has twenty-six recordings to his credit and has written over three hundred songs, many of which have been recorded by the likes of Peter, Paul, and Mary, Makem and Clancy, Nanci Griffith, Glen Yarborough, and Jerry Jeff Walker. His music is sung at campfires and folk music gatherings, in homes and churches, all around the country. Songs like “All God’s Critters,”  “The Roseville Fair,”  “Child of Mine,” and “River,” have become folk music classics. Composer David Amram once described Bill as “a modern day Stephen Foster. His music will be around a hundred years from now.”

On stage, Staines is an intimate, compelling performer, out of the folk scene of the 60’s, encouraging his audience to sing with him on his chorus songs. He will mix in traditional tunes with his own contemporary folk ballads. His humorous tales of life on the road and observations of everyday people provide an entertaining blend of story and song.

 “I have always wanted to bring something of value to people with my songs. I think that is important, to try to write beyond myself, to write to the great things that we all experience in our lives.”  For Bill, that is what folk music is all about--a music rich in the human experience and spirit.

Bill has recorded two children’s albums, The Happy Wanderer and One More River, both of which have won the coveted Parents’ Choice Award. His music has appeared in a number of films, including the HBO series, Deadwood, Return of the Secaucus Seven, John Sayles’ first endeavor as a director, and Off and Running with Cyndi Lauper.

Bill has done numerous radio and television appearances and, during its early years, was a frequent performer on Garrison Keillor’s “A Prairie Home Companion Show.”

Staines has released two songbooks: If I Were a Word, Then I’d be a Song published by Folk Legacy and Music to Me published by Hal Leonard Corp. An illustrated book of his song All God’s Critters was published in 2009 by Simon and Schuster with illustrations by talented artist, Kadir Nelson. Bill’s memoir, The Tour, was released in 2003.

Nanci Griffith once wrote, “Bill Staines has been my hero since 1977. He carries on where Woody left off- carrying on the tradition of stories and characters you wish you knew.”

 “When do you think it will be time to retire?” someone once asked Bill. He answered, “In the words of my old friend, Tommy Makem…about ten o’clock tonight.”