FALL FOLK IS BACK! Concerts and SFMS’s 21st Annual Savannah Folk Music Festival
An Open Invitation from Hank Weisman & The Savannah Folk Music Society
On Friday, September 24, at 7:30 PM and at First Presbyterian, SFMS hosted a ticketed concert featuring Mark Erelli with special guest Meg Hutchinson. Discovered in an impromptu 3:00 AM hotel room jam at a music conference when he was just 23, Mark Erelli was finishing up a graduate degree in evolutionary biology when his self-titled debut was released in 1999. He hit the ground running when he won the prestigious Kerrville New Folk contest, joining the ranks of past winners such as Lyle Lovett and Nanci Griffith. With his sophomore release, Compass & Companion, Erelli embarked on a non-stop touring schedule, sharing the stage with the likes of Dave Alvin, John Hiatt, and Gillian Welch. Erelli’s albums spent weeks in the top ten of the Americana radio charts and garnered four Boston Music Award nominations.
Meg Hutchinson is a lyric-based, contemporary acoustic songwriter. Her influences include poet Mary Oliver, songwriter Shawn Colvin, and mood maker David Gray. Originally from rural western-most Massachusetts, Hutchinson is now based in the Boston area. She has won numerous songwriting awards in the US, Ireland and UK, including recognition from John Lennon Songwriting Competition, Billboard Song Contest and prestigious competitions at Merlefest, NewSong, Kerrville, Falcon Ridge, Telluride and Rocky Mountain Folks Festivals. She released “Come Up Full” on Red House Records in 2008, and is now celebrating the release of her new album “The Living Side.”
The Savannah Folk Music Society proudly presents the 21st Annual Savannah Folk Music Festival, October 8, 9, and 10, 2010. The Festival’s signature event, the Sunday Concert from 2:00 to 7:30 PM on Oct. 10, will be at historic, Grayson Stadium featuring the following internationally acclaimed folksingers: Karla Bonoff, Otis Taylor, Sam Pacetti and Carl Jones & Beverly Smith. This three day, five-event Festival is presented by the Savannah Folk Music Society and the City of Savannah’s Cultural Affairs Department, Bureau of Leisure Services. The entire Festival is FREE TO THE PUBLIC. The Festival begins with its traditional “Folkfest in Ellis Square” from 7:00 to 11:00 PM on Friday, Oct. 8th. The Folkfest features a variety of Savannah’s top folk performers making joyful sounds in a number of folk music styles and genre. The evening also features part one of the “Noteworthy Art” silent auction, the sale of several Gretsch guitars, some signed by celebrities and others transformed into unique art objects by leading Savannah artists.
The Folkfest is an open air event, but should the rains fall, provisions have been made to hold the event at nearby Trinity United Methodist Church on Telfair Square.
On Saturday, Oct. 9, there are two big events. At 2:00 PM will be the finals of the “Youth Song Writing Competition” held at The First Presbyterian Church, 520 E Washington Avenue. This is the culmination of a contest between youth (under 20 years old) from Savannah-Chatham County and Georgia counties adjacent to Chatham as well as Jasper and Beaufort Counties in South Carolina. For the best original song in the acoustic folk tradition. Winners divide $1,000 in prizes from event sponsor, AMR Music. The first place winner is also given the opportunity to present the winning song on Sunday, October 10th at the Festival’s grand finale. The finalists, each performing his or her own original song, are: Lacey Caldwell, age 17, of Tybee Island; Cara Diaz, age 10, a 5th grader at St. Frances Cabrini School; Carolyn Gibbs, age 15, a student at Savannah Arts Academy; Connor Johnson, age 13, an 8th grader at Ebenezer Middle School; Leila Kyriacos, age 11, a 6th grader at St. Andrews; Lauren Maxwell, age 15, a student at Richmond Hill High School; Nicholas Roebuck, age 19, from Midway, GA; Niki Walker, age 13, an 8th grader at Coastal Middle School; and Cecilia Witt, age 17, a student at St. Vincent’s Academy.
The second event on Saturday is the “Old Time Country Dance” from 8:00 to 11:00 PM at Notre Dame Academy gymnasium. Beginners and contra dance veterans are welcome to have a great time. Not a dancer? The music alone is worth the visit!
On Sunday, Oct. 10, our final event of the Festival is from 2:00 PM till 7:30 PM. The “Concert at Grayson Stadium” features : Karla Bonoff, Otis Taylor, Sam Pacetti and Carl Jones & Beverly Smith. as well as the winner of the Youth Songwriting Competition. The Sunday, Oct. 10 concert also includes the second half of the “Noteworthy Art” silent auction. Each of the performers will present two sets, one in an early and one in a later rotation. Born and raised in Southern California, Karla Bonoff was a songwriter by the age of fifteen. She and her sister Lisa were writing songs and playing as a duo titled “The Daughters of Chester P” named after their father, Dr. Chester Paul Bonoff. She had already fallen in love with the guitar and studied with Frank Hamilton of the famous folk group, The Weavers. By 16, Karla and her sister Lisa auditioned for Elektra Records. An 11-song demo [recorded by Doors’ engineer Bruce Botnick] was recorded but no deal came of this first effort. Karla’s sister became a teacher of history and religion, but Karla’s passion was always music. She became friends with other singer-songwriters and musicians [in the ’60s] who were creating their own unique sound. She talks about lining up at the legendary Troubadour at noon on Mondays to get a slot in the famous Monday night Troubadour “hoot,” which was a breaking ground for many artists who went on to great success. She says, “It was an amazing time. Jackson Browne, James Taylor and Elton John were around the Troubadour in those days.”
There were some other writer-singers who became friends of Karla’s, and eventually, they decided to put a band together. They were Kenny Edwards, (who had started the Stone Poneys with Linda Ronstadt and Bobby Kimmel), Wendy Waldman, and Andrew Gold. Something powerful in their combined sound drew them together. Thus the band Bryndle was born – one of the early songwriter groups, even before the Eagles.
No one ever accused blues singer/composer/multi-instrumentalist Otis Taylor of overindulging in the brighter and happier aspects of the human condition. His songs are often peopled with characters whose emotional landscape – no matter how raw or dark – is laid bare for all to experience, and the story is often less than pretty. But if love – in any or all of its joyous and painful variations – is somewhere amid that confusing emotional swirl, he’ll go there too. The result will by no means be syrupy, over-simplistic ballads obsessing over romantic love. Instead, Taylor’s love songs take a hard, realistic look at the relative benefits and costs of what is perhaps the most confusing and unnerving of forces within the human heart. If Kottke, Fahey, and Procter are household names where you live, consider getting familiar with Sam Pacetti’s work. This young guitarist is an enormous talent. Whether playing a reel, covering Martin Simpson or dishing out a ravishing original, Pacetti is a simply astonishing guitarist…” – Eric Fidler, AP. Sam Pacetti from St. Augustine, Florida, has achieved a dazzling command of the steel-string guitar. Sam learned flamenco at the knee of his Cuban grandfather, pursued classical guitar studies in his early teens, and became the protégé of Travis-style master Gamble Rogers for the last year of Gamble’s life.
For Years Carl Jones and Beverly Smith have appeared on the traditional music scene, at festivals, on record, at contests and dances, in various bands and formations, playing just about anything with strings or tossing in vocal harmonies wherever there was the opportunity. In their recordings they bring those years of experience to the art of the duet—songs and tunes, old and new, done simply and with love. Carl Jones toured with Norman and Nancy Blake as part of the Rising Fawn String Ensemble, playing mandolin, banjo, and fiddle. He often plays as a duo with James Bryan, and is sometimes found pickin’ as part of a trio with Bruce Green and Don Pedi. Carl has been an instructor at Pinewoods, Port Townsend’s Festival of American Fiddle Tunes, Mars Hill Old Time Week, and the Swannanoa Gathering. His songs have been recorded by the Nashville Bluegrass Band, Rickie Simpkins, and others. One of the most respected guitar players in old time music today, Beverly Smith is also in demand as a singer, fiddler, and dance caller. She has made numerous recordings, backing up fiddlers Bruce Molsky, Rafe Stefanini, Tara Nevins and Brad Leftwich, vocalizing with Irish musicians Mick Moloney and John Doyle, and also singing with bluegrass great Laurie Lewis. She has taught and played at many camps and folk festivals and, in addition to her collaboration with Carl, also plays with old time band The Rockinghams. Also, the winner of the Youth Songwriting Competition will present his or her winning song at the Sunday Concert.
David Jacobs-Strain, the blues playing phenom who wowed the audience at the 2009 Festival, will be back in Savannah for a concert on Oct. 23rd. The Folk Music Society brings David to Ships of the Sea Museum at 8 PM for an outstanding evening of traditional and original acoustic guitar blues.
For information about SFMS, call Hank Weisman at 912-786-6953. Visit: http://www.savannahfolk.org.