With slide blues guitar, gospel organ chords, New Orleans-style horns, and group harmonies, bluesy roots-rockers Buffalo Stack can't help but recall Woodstock heroes the Band. In fact, it was at Levon Helm's barn in Woodstock that husband-and-wife Andy and Tania Stack (a Grammy and Juno award- winning fiddle player) of Hudson – at the time performing as a duo called the Stacks - met bassist Brandon Morrison, drummer Lee Falco, and guitarist Connor Kennedy, the other musicians who would soon join them to become Buffalo Stack, who at their hardest hitting and blues-rockingest recall Black Keys or White Stripes.
Troy, N.Y., native Sean Rowe is a throwback to 1970s-era soulful rock poets like Leonard Cohen, Bruce Springsteen and Van Morrison. Rowe boasts an impossibly deep and rich baritone, a gift for melody, an innate sense of groove, and a knack for the perfectly hewn image to get across his haunting, brooding folk-rock and soul anthems.
A lifelong naturalist, Rowe's spare, organic approach and poetic simplicity at times recalls Greg Brown, another folk-rock poet with a deep growl. Other influences include Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley, John Lee Hooker and Ray Charles, all of whom can be heard in Rowe's vocals, rhythms, and percussive guitar playing. Singer-songwriter Matthew Fowler will warm up the crowd for Rowe.
This past February, a tragic fire destroyed the barn and a herd of 100 goats at Green Goats Farm in Red Hook.
Among the many community efforts to raise funds to rebuild the barn and reestablish a goat herd, three country, Celtic, and roots music outfits will lend their musical assistance to the Green Goats Jam. The performers include the Little Creek Band, T McCann Band, and the Stringmasters.
The Little Creek Band fuses country rock with Irish music. T McCann Band offers a fresh take on traditional Celtic music. The Stringmasters play classic country music.
Canadian folk-rock outfit Great Lake Swimmers boasts a timeless sound, blending acoustic guitars, violin, banjo, standup bass and drums with leader Tony Dekker's ethereal vocals. The band is likely to appeal to fans of Neil Young, Iron and Wine, Nick Drake and Red House Painters.
The group's songs are evocative of the natural landscapes Dekker writes about. For example, the title of their brand new album, "A Forest of Arms" (Stream free now at the Wall Street Journal website: on.wsj.com/1IG0UK3) is taken from album track "The Great Bear," a song inspired by a trip Dekker took to the northern rainforests of British Columbia in September 2013 with the World Wildlife Fund. It's a pristine wilderness area that is under threat of being compromised by the construction of a pipeline, and Dekker and the group have been very vocal in their opposition to it.
Great Lake Swimmers consists of Tony Dekker on lead vocals and guitar, long time guitarist and banjo player Erik Arnesen, Miranda Mulholland on violin and backing vocals, Bret Higgins on upright bass and newcomer Joshua Van Tassel on drums.
New England folk-rockers Winterpills have been slowly tugging on ears with their fragile-but-dangerous chamber-pop songs that The Washington Post called "densely packed but hugely evocative, tiny bombs of feeling and meaning… fiendishly melodic." From the group's origins one cold winter in 2004 as a song circle for heartache, the band has truly blossomed, releasing three full-length albums — the eponymous debut in 2005, The Light Divides in 2007 and Central Chambers in 2008 — and the 2010 E.P. Tuxedo of Ashes, which The New York Times' Jon Pareles praised for "elegant arrangements" of "songs that stay haunted."
2012's All My Lovely Goners embraced the hushed vocal harmonies and graceful chamber-pop sound the group has made its trademark, while pushing the quintet into new sonic realms. MOJO magazine included the album in their 2012 top 10 Americana list. In October, 2014, Winterpills released their 5th full-length, the archival cover's project, Echolalia.
Singer-songwriter Heather Maloney is noted for her indie rock sound and folk roots. With her new album, she sought to write songs that were meaningful and intelligent, that told a story.... an album that cared both lyrically and musically. Her Helsinki concert comes just one week after the release of her long-awaited new album, "Making Me Break" (Signature Sound Recordings). With this new album, Maloney feels this is the closest she’s ever been to the sound that’s truly herself. Singer-songwriter Will Dailey will warm up the crowd for Maloney.
Although she went to school for music and had done plenty of singing, Heather only found her voice after living and working for three years in a silent-retreat meditation center in central Massachusetts. Her joint EP with indie-folk quartet Darlingside, "Woodstock," gained national attention in the New York Times for their cover of Joni Mitchell's "Woodstock," which Graham Nash (Crosby, Stills, Nash, Young) lauded as "Delicious, really excellent."
Critics are quickly discovering Maloney's talent with No Depression raving "her music is riveting, her voice adventurous, her lyrics thought-provoking..." while Blurt Magazine wrote "Heather Maloney is one of the most talented tradition-based singer-songwriters I have heard in some time...the writing is stunning."
While perhaps best known as lead singer and songwriter of seminal alt-country band the Old 97's, Rhett Miller has enjoyed an equally successful solo career, emphasizing his brilliance as a songwriting craftsman drawing on a wider, pop-rock palette, and delivering hooks around every corner – not unlike his friend Tommy Stinson's group, the Replacements.
With the Old 97's, formed in 1993, Miller was at the forefront of the alt-country movement, alongside such groups as Uncle Tupelo, Drive-By Truckers, Whiskeytown, the Jayhawks, and the Bottle Rockets. In his solo work, Miller joins together elements of classic country, indie folk, and chamber pop, bridging the space between Miller's harder rocking work with the Old 97's and the inventive complexity of his brilliant songwriting.
It's no wonder that early in his solo career he often worked with producer/visionary Jon Brion, of Aimee Mann fame. Miller's effervescent pop/rock approach has been compared to such current fave combos as Dawes, David Wax Museum, and The Head and The Heart.
Upstate New York native Martin Sexton emerged on the highly competitive Boston "new-folk" singer-songwriter scene in its heyday in the early 1990s. By the end of a decade that saw him busking in Harvard Square and self-releasing a cassette album that sold 20,000 copies from his guitar case, he was headlining theaters, large clubs and festival stages. His career has received a boost by several TV placements of his songs, and he’s a favorite on NPR.
A self-taught musician, Sexton composes a singular blend of folk, soul, jazz, gospel, and pop. He is a dazzling guitarist and virtuoso vocalist with an extraordinary range and blend of textures. Reviewing a recent Helsinki peformance, music critic Seth Rogovoy wrote, "Sexton never fails to impress with his audacity of talent." He is a stellar live performer, which is why it was no surprise when in 2009 he won Best Live Performance Album at the 8th Annual Independent Music Awards for his album "Solo."
Four-time Grammy Award-nominee Femi Kuti, son of the late Fela Anikulapo Kuti, whose name was nearly synonymous with "Afrobeat," carries on his father's legacy, combining swirling African rhythms and gritty textures with horn-laced funk in songs laced with social and political messages performed by his band, Positive Force.
Femi just celebrated the opening of the Kalakuta Museum, which honors his father and his music in Lagos. According to Femi, Afrobeat is about "making people dance while helping them swallow the bitter pill of reality." Given the crisis currently hitting Africa and the world beyond, that pill is as hard as ever to swallow, and Afrobeat is as necessary and universal as it has ever been. Femi has taken upon himself to carry forward the music and its message with his standard-bearing band, the Positive Force.
In 2008 with "Day By Day," Femi Kuti pushed Afrobeat forward, taking in elements of jazz masters' such as Miles Davis' and John Coltrane's works without compromising the essential power of Femi's native music. Two years later he released "Africa For Africa," a pan-African musical manifesto recorded at Decca studios in Lagos, where Fela had worked for years. More aggressive in its sound, it was also more radical, politically speaking, than his earlier records.
Fela Kuti said that Afrobeat was "the weapon of the future"— designed to resist, not to fight. He would certainly be proud of his son putting his philosophy into use with songs like "Action Time" and "Carry On Pushin On."
"There is no place for my dreams in the real world. That is what the people who want me to give up keep saying. They do not know that without my dreams, my life would be meaningless," says Femi Kuti.
The Platte Clove Nature Theater is a musical collaboration between three visionary performers: Fredo Viola, Luis Mojica and Ryder Cooley. The ensemble offers a unique and theatrical blend of electronic and organic sounds, complex compositions, looped and layered vocals, piano, accordion, singing saw, beat box, ukulele, video projections, aerial movement and more. Guest musicians including Melora Creager of Rasputina will join in this electro-acoustic odyssey.
Fredo Viola is well known internationally for his stunning vocal compositions, and his debut record “The Turn” was named #2 album of the year by Les Inrockuptiples in France. Luis Mojica casts wild, narrative spells on piano, with dynamic vocals and layers of live beatbox. Ryder Cooley plays gothic-folk songs on accordion and ukulele. She performs with the band Dust Bowl Faeries, and co-hosts the Helsinki Open Mic night with Hazel, a taxidermy ram. The collective vision of this trio brings a symphonic dreamscape of songs, stories and sounds to the stage.
Crafting a unique style that mixes poetic ballads with swinging rockers, Eilen Jewell, a favorite of Helsinki audiences, ranks among the best in the Americana genre today. As the reigning Queen of the Minor Key, Jewell leads a tight quartet who blend influences of surf-noir, early blues, rockabilly, and 1960s era rock and roll. Over the course of a decade, Eilen and her band have toured relentlessly. They have performed for legions of fans from Boston to Boise and Madrid to Melbourne at festivals, theaters, rock clubs and coffeehouses. Eilen's fans marvel at her warmth, unique wit, and onstage humor alongside her beautiful songs and fiery performances.
Jewell's fifth studio album, Sundown Over Ghost Town will be released May 26th (Signature Sounds). The album was recorded with Eilen's longtime road band and special guests in her hometown of Boise, and is composed of twelve stunning, original compositions that feature some of her most personal stories yet.