Archive for the ‘events’ Category

New Millennium Jelly Rollers – September 2015 Tour Dates in Northeast USA

August 13, 2015


The New Millennium Jelly Rollers have been playing raucous fiddle tunes, singing low-down blues, and inspiring general hilarity all over the eastern United States for one year and counting. This foot-stompin’ duo is composed of Max Godfrey and Elias Alexander, who began making music together by trading off verses on call-and-response worksongs and spirituals. Since then, their sound has grown to encompass everything from country-blues to old-e dance tunes and Skillet-Licker-style sketch comedy. For all their performances, The New Millennium Jelly Rollers encourage attendees to come ready to cut loose and sing out!

Their self-titled debut album can be found at:

Follow them on Facebook:

September 2015 tour dates:

Thursday, September 3rd: Boston House Concert
Doors open 7:30, Show starts 8 PM
Location: private residence in Jamaica Plain, MA. Please RSVP to for directions

Friday, September 4th: The Prairie Whale Restaurant, Great Barrington MA
6:30 PM Start.
Free music, tasty farm-to-table food, tips gladly accepted, and CDs for sale.

Saturday, September 5th: Mettabee Barn Concert and Worksong Hootennany
Featuring local worksong composer Eric Sherman
Music begins at 7 PM. Suggested donation $15.
Potluck dinner before show at 5:30 PM. Bring your favorite bowl, plate, spoon, fork, spork, and dish if you wish. Camping is available for those who wish to stay over. RSVP about camping to:

Monday, September 7th: Labor Day Spectacular @ Windy Hollow
8 PM Start
66 Sunderland Rd (Rt. 47), Montague MA.
$10 admission

Thursday, September 10th: House Concert @ Takoma Park, MD.
Sponsored by the Folk Song Society of Greater Washington
Doors open at 7:30, music starts at 8 p.m.
$15 donation
Dessert, coffee and wine.
Reservations required: or 443-786-0463 for Directions.

Saturday, September 12th: The Jalopy Theatre and School of Music, Brooklyn.
With Miss Tess and the Talkbacks
9 PM
$10 in advance, $12 at door.

Monday, September 14th, Club Passim Boston MA: Monday Discovery Series with The New Millennium Jelly Rollers and The Meadows Brothers
8 PM
$10 Admission
To Purchase Tickets:
47 Palmer Street, Cambridge, MA 02138


Gourd Banjo Making Workshop: NYC, 7/26-8/1/15

June 10, 2015


From Jamaica to Brooklyn: Gourd Banjo Making Workshop
Brooklyn Lutherie
The Old American Can Factory
232 3rd Street suite #E003,
Brooklyn, NY,

Gourd Banjo Making Workshop offered by Jeff Menzies July 26-August 1st. Jeff Menzies is a professor of sculpture at the Edna Manley College of Visual Arts and Performing Arts in Kingston, Jamaica. Instrument making has become an extension of his sculptural practice. Jeff is offering a weeklong intensive gourd banjo making workshop walking students through the Art of making a gourd instrument where students will explore form and function.

An emphasis on the history of the banjo will be analyzed throughout the course. Students are welcome to create a gourd instrument of their own design with the technical support of Jeff Menzies. No experience in wood working or music is required. Tuition is $650. $150 deposit is required to secure your enrollment.

All materials are supplied with the tuition fee. There is a limited enrollment of 12 students so don’t wait to long to register. Registration closes on June 26th. Please feel free to email Jeff Menzies directly with questions.

World Fiddle Day

May 16, 2015

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Black Creek Fiddlers’ Reunion

May 10, 2015


John Schwab Guitar Workshop: NYC, 3/15/15 and 3/28/15

March 12, 2015




Saturday, March 28, 1:00PM-3:00PM, Jalopy School of Music, Brooklyn, NY

John Schwab is teaching two workshops at an intermediate to advanced (not beginner!) level, with an emphasis on traditional backup styles. The first one will cover at least 4 different styles of backing up straightforward tunes in the key of G (or A). Learn approaches used by Hub Mahaffey, Luches Kessinger, Asa Martin, Ernest V. Stoneman, and others. This “G-tune toolbox” is loads of fun and really useful, too. Details about the second workshop coming soon!

John Schwab has been playing old-time backup guitar since the early 1970s. He’s played with loads of different fiddlers and banjo players, at fiddlers’ conventions and music camps, concerts and community dances, and in kitchens and living rooms.  His approach to teaching backup guitar has evolved over the years, but it’s always been rooted in his reverence for the master backup guitar players of the 1920s and ‘30s.

Here’s a review of  John Schwab’s Old-Time Backup Guitar: Learn from the Masters.  It’s a 102-page book (plus an accompanying CD with more than 120 mp3 files) teaching a traditional approach for playing backup guitar.

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Treasures from the Archive Roadshow

March 9, 2015
The Down Hill Strugglers are proud to be a part of the forthcoming “Treasures from the Archive Roadshow: Celebrating Alan Lomax & The Folk Music Collections at the Library of Congress” – an outreach program of theAmericanFolklife Center at the Library of Congress.

The idea is that The Down Hill Strugglers, John Cohen (of the New Lost City Ramblers), Jerron “Blindboy” Paxton, Nathan Salsburg (Curator of the Alan Lomax Archive) and others will tour festivals, performing arts centers, colleges and universities, playing live renditions of songs and styles learned directly from the collections at the Library of Congress.
The Roadshow is also accompanied where appropriate by a museum quality panel display with more information about the American Folklife Center as well as a presentation of folklore-related films from the collections there.The intention of this project is to bring the beautiful diversity of music, songs and styles, faithfully preserved in this amazing archive, out to the general public.
The Roadshow will raise awareness about the existence of the Folklife Center itself and encourage people to take advantage of this amazing resource, just as we have.  By touring and playing live for audiences the Roadshow can introduce people in a live and immediate way to some of the kinds of songs and styles laid away by folklorists and collectors in this deep repository of our grassroots indigenous American music.The “Roadshow” honors the folk music collections at the Library of Congress and particularly in 2015 the seminal work of folklorist Alan Lomax who would have been 100 years old this year, and whose unparalleled collecting work formed the basis for the American Folklife Center’s holdings.  The first exhibition and performance of the Roadshow will take place Sunday, April 19th at the Brooklyn Folk Festival, with more performances TBA over the coming months.
The American Folklife Center was created in 1976 by the U.S. Congress as the national center for folklife documentation and research, with the mandate to “preserve and present American folklife.” The American Folklife Center Archive, established in the Library of Congress Music Division in 1928 and moved to AFC in 1978, is now one of the largest archives of ethnographic materials from the United States and around the world.


Georgia String Band Festival 4/24-4/25/15

February 20, 2015



Start planning for this gathering on Hallowed-Old-Time-Grounds, where Riley Puckett played on the streets, Andrew & Jim Baxter dug graves & wells during the week, then played music for hundreds of events on the weekend, for almost 50 years

This was Ground Zero for the roots of Country Music during the birth of it’s recording, and Calhoun can be easily be called cradle of these efforts, as experts have expressed.

As many as 5000 attended our Gordon County Fiddlers’ Convention, back in the 1920’s, as it was THE event of the year.

We have brought it back, in all it’s glory, and we need YOU to come help us celebrate this delightful and important heritage!

Brooklyn Folk Festival, 4/17/15-4/19/15

February 4, 2015

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 CLICK HERE for tickets, or visit

April 17th-19th at our amazing new venue, St. Ann’s Church, centrally located in Brooklyn Heights!  Here’s a photo of the venue:

See below for the complete 30 band lineup! PLUS! Workshops, film screenings, and the BANJO TOSS competition!

Brought to you by Down Home Radio Show and the Jalopy Theatre…


Friday April 17th:

8:00PM Jackson Lynch – Blues guitar, old time fiddle and banjo breakdowns, songs and ballads
8:45PM Horse Eyed Men – Original folk/country outer-space music
9:30PM Michael Hurley – Legendary folk musician, needs no introduction!
10:15PM Jerron “Blindboy” Paxton – Country blues, fiddle and banjo
11:00PM Terry Waldo’s Rum House Band – Legendary early Jazz and Ragtime pianist with his band
11:45PM Feral Foster and His Band – Excellent songwriting based solidly in Blues, Folk, Gospel and Balkan music

Saturday April 18th: Afternoon Concerts

1:30PM Wyndham Baird – Folksongs, blues, and more!
2:15PM King Isto’s Tropical String Band – Hawaiian/tropical stringband music
3:00PM Ryan Spearman – Banjo and fiddle music, old and new
3:45PM Brotherhood of the Jug Band Blues – Raucous jug band music! Traditional and original
4:30PM Frank Fairfield and Zac Sokolow – American stringband music from the great state of California!
5:15PM Suzy & Eric Thompson – Folk, Blues and Bluegrass music, from the great state of California!
6:00PM Tom Marion with Frank Fairfield – Italian and American string music featuring polkas, waltzes, mazurkas!
6:45PM Ozark Highballers – Amazing old time string band from the great state of Arkansas!

Evening Concerts

8pm Pat Conte – Direct from the Secret Museum
8:45PM The Cactus Blossoms – Original and Traditional country songs, sung in harmony
9:30PM TBA
10:30PM Naomi Shelton and the Gospel Queens
11:15PM Souren Baronian and band – Middle and Near Eastern Music

Sunday April 19th: Afternoon Concerts

2:00PM Uncle Shlomo’s Brooklyn Kids – a traditional music ensemble comprised of some of Shlomo Pestcoe’s young private music students (ages 9 – 16) and his grownup musician friends who are all highly acclaimed local performers.
2:45PM Hoodoo Honeydrippers – Country Blues duet
3:30PM Art Rosenbaum – Grammy Award winning musician and folklorist
4:15PM “Treasure from the Archive Roadshow” – Live performance of music from the collections of the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress featuring the Down Hill Strugglers, John Cohen and Nathan Salsburg
5:00PMFamoro Dioubate – Djeli playing Mande Balafon music from Guinea
5:45PM Bruce Molsky – Old time fiddle, banjo and guitar
6:30PM Four o’clock Flowers – Blues and Folk duet

Evening Concerts

7:30PM Down Hill Strugglers with John Cohen – old time string band
8:15PM Jeffrey Lewis & Peter Stampfel (of the Holy Modal Rounders)
9:00PM The (Whiskey) Spitters – Old, Blues and Jug Band Music – the Jalopy House Band!
9:45PM Litvakus – Klezmer/Jewish music of Belarus, beautiful newly researched and rediscovered music

Workshops, Dances and Film Screenings:

All workshops and film screenings are included with the price of admission..!

1:00PM Old Time Jam Session
2:30PM Songs of Freedom with Mat Callahan & Yvonne Moore – Discovering the Irish Revolutionary songs of James Connolly!
3:15PM Folk City! A presentation about the history of folk music in New York by Stephen Petrus from the Museum of the City of New York
4-5:30pm “Singing in Harmony”, Vocal Harmony Workshop with Don Friedman and Phyllis Elkind
“We’ll pick a few songs from the world of old-time, early country, bluegrass and gospel, teach the melody and harmony parts, and before you know it, you’ll be singing in two and three part harmony!  We’ll do each song as a group and then give you a chance to try it out as a duet or trio.  All levels of singers welcome!”

1:00PM Banjo Toss – The famous banjo throwing competition.  Win a free banjo!
– Assemble at 1pm in front of the venue for the parade to the banjo tossing arena!
2:30PM Selected films by Alan Lomax with introduction and commentary from Nathan Salsburg, curator of the Alan Lomax Archive
3:30PM Fiddle Workshop with Bruce Molsky
5:00PM  Old Time Banjo Workshop with Art Rosenbaum (Grammy award winning musician and folklorist)
6:30pm Square Dance!

Great Southern Old Time Fiddlers’ Convention: Chattanooga, TN 3/14/15

January 21, 2015


by Marc Michael (

In 1925, auto magnate Henry Ford, a fan of “Old Time” music, had been hosting fiddlers and square dancers at his home in Michigan for some time. This attracted a fair amount of talent, including Mr. Mellie Dunham of Maine who was soon being hailed as the “champion fiddler” of the U.S. Tales of a Northern usurper claiming such a title without first having faced the best of what the South had to offer incensed local promoter J.H. Gaston, who was quoted in the Chattanooga Times as saying, “How can a Yankee claim to know as much about fiddling as a ‘born fiddler’ from here in the Tennessee Valley where the art of old time fiddling originated?”

Gaston’s plan was simple. He would sponsor a competition to determine the best fiddler in the South and then send him up against Mr. Ford’s boy from Maine. That first event was held at the court house and Harrison resident “Sawmill” Tom Smith emerged the victor. Soon after that, Gaston dispatched a telegram to Ford asking him to tune in to local radio station WDOD at a particular time and date to hear Smith and learn what “real fiddling by a real fiddler” sounded like.

Ford’s reaction to that may not be known, but the local reaction was nothing short of astounding. A mere two years later the event had grown to more than 5,000 attendees and moved to the newly constructed Memorial Auditorium.  By this time, the event had been renamed the All Southern Championship and was essentially THE contest of note, the big daddy of them all. The winner was crowned Champion Fiddler of the South and the biggest and best names of the day made it a point to attend and compete.

The event continued for more than a decade until the fuel rationing of World War II put an end to it and events like it across the country. That would be the end of our story if it weren’t for the efforts of a fellow named Matt Downer.

Matt is best known as half of local duo The Old Time Travelers, reviewed in this very column some months back. At the time, my impression of Matt and his partner Clark Williams was that they were nothing if not authentic, the living embodiment of the music they play. I stand by that assertion and if the proof is in the pudding, then here’s a particularly large helping of it:  In 2010, Matt took it upon himself (in partnership with the Crisp family and Lindsay Street Hall) to revive the Fiddlers’ Convention here in Chattanooga. The feedback from the community (including scholars, historians, musicians and listeners) has been wonderful.

The event continues to grow annually, attracting more and more spectators and competitors every year. True to his nature, Matt has taken great pains to ensure the event is as faithful to its historical predecessor as possible. There are no amplifiers, no electrified instruments; the playing styles and tunes must be “old time.” Competitions will be held for fiddle, banjo, string band, dance and traditional singing.


Wax cylinder recording session

October 2, 2014


 from and

Wax cylinder recording session, Thursday, October 30 at 7:00 pm
WEST ORANGE, NJ –On October 30, visitors to Thomas Edison National Historical Park will have the opportunity to watch and listen as the Demolition String Duo makes recording history. Elena Skye and Boo Reiners are the featured artists at a wax cylinder phonograph recording session taking place on Thursday evening.
Elena Skye and Boo Reiners lead New York City’s “Demolition String Band”. They are currently celebrating the release of their recording of the Woody Guthrie song “Go Coney Island, Roll on the Sand” on the audio book “My Name is New York, Ramblin’ Around Woody Guthrie’s Town”. This new audio book is a collection of Guthrie’s New York City-inspired stories and music, produced and narrated by daughter Nora Guthrie.
The Demolition String Duo will record onto wax cylinders in the same way it was done in Edison’s time over a century ago. The method of capturing sound is non-electric. Like the artists who recorded for Edison during the 1890s, the Demolition String Duo will play in front of a large horn that will serve as their microphone. The duo hopes to release the recordings they make at the Edison Laboratory on a future album.


Max Godfrey: Work Songs

May 2, 2014
“The work song type will probably shortly disappear from the world.”
             Alan Lomax (notes to AFS L3: Afro-American Spirituals, Work Songs, and Ballads)




Max Godfrey teaches work songs from the Archive of American Folk Song, so hopefully the work song type will not shortly disappear from the world.  Here is a video of what his work song workshops are like:

Max Godfrey is on tour this spring in the Northeast:

May 17th: Restoration Farm, Old Bethpage NY, Worksong workshop, 10 am
May 17th: Sylvester Manor, Shelter Island NY, performance and worksongs 4 pm
May 22nd: Boston. Max and Elias House Concert, 8pm. Email for tickets.
May 23–26: Kerhonkson NY, Teaching at Folk Music Society of NY Spring Weekend (Near New Paltz, so if anyone is interested in holding a performance/worksong workshop in the Hudson Valley on May 26th or 27th, please get in touch.)
May 29th: Max and Elias @ Halcyon Grange, Blue Hill ME 6 pm
May 30th: Whitefield ME, Sheepscot General 5–7pm
May 31st: Skowhegan ME, work song workshop at the Grange in Skowhegan
June 1st: Brattleboro, VT, Max and Elias concert at the home of Louisa Engle
June 2nd: Max and Elias @ The Prairie Whale Great Barrington, MA 6:30 PM
June 5th: Max and Elias @ 51 Main Middlebury VT, @ 8 pm
June 6th-8th: Worksongs @ Whirligig Farm, Kingston, NY