Saturday, Nov 4th, Pete and Maura Kennedy in concert, Harrisburg

Singer-songwriters Pete and Maura Kennedy, whose musical career spans over two decades and a broad musical landscape, come to Harrisburg’s Fort Hunter Centennial Barn, 5300 N. Front Street, on Saturday, November 4, 2017, for a 7:30 p.m. concert sponsored by Susquehanna Folk Music Society.

Concert tickets are $22 General Admission, $18 for SFMS members and $10 for students ages 3-22. Advance tickets are available through Brown Paper Tickets online at http://www.brownpapertickets.com or toll-free (800) 838-3006. For more information, visit the Susquehanna Folk Music Society website at http://www.sfmsfolk.org.

We had the chance to talk to Pete Kennedy about how he and Maura met, what audiences should expect from a Kennedys concert, and what the duo has been up to lately.

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FOLKMAMA: How did you and Maura meet?

 

PETE KENNEDY: We met in Austin Texas, in 1992. I was playing in Nanci Griffith’s band, and I had a few days off so I went to Austin to play a couple of gigs on my own. A mutual friend introduced me to Maura, and we hit it off right away, as soon as we sang together and sensed that our musical taste and style was a perfect match up.

 

I left town to play a show up in Telluride, Colorado, and afterwards I phoned Maura down in Texas. We decided to meet up at the equidistant point. That turned out to be Lubbock Texas, and since we both love Buddy Holly, we decided that we would each drive the 500 miles solo from Colorado and Austin, and meet at Holly’s grave. So that was our first date!

 

Shortly after that, Nanci had an opening for a harmony singer in her band, so Maura joined and we developed our duo act by opening or Nanci all over England, Ireland and Scotland.

 

FOLKMAMA: How do you describe your music?

 

PETE KENNEDY: Our music is described by others as folk-rock, acoustic roots, and Americana, so any one of those will do!

FOLK MAMA: What kinds of experience would you expect audience members to have at one of your concerts?

 

PETE KENNEDY: Our hope is that the audience finds the concert experience uplifting and empowering. Our songs have a positive, encouraging vibe, and being a duo, we have a more energetic stage presence than a solo sit-down folk singer.

 

FOLKMAMA: What are some songs of yours, in particular, that are real crowd pleasers?

 

PETE KENNEDY: Maura’s newest songs are the ones getting a lot of requests, especially “Safe Until Tomorrow” and “Don’t Talk to Strangers”.

 

FOLKMAMA: You have three new albums coming out shortly. How much of Saturday’s concert will be the new material and how much will be older material and covers?

 

PETE KENNEDY: I take requests from the audience right before we start to play, and that creates the setlist, with the addition of any brand new songs or surprises that we insert ourselves.

 

We don’t use a standard set list, because we like each show to be different and spontaneous.

FOLKMAMA: You’re known for adding a lot of variety to your shows. What gear can we expect to find up on stage with you?

 

 

PETE KENNEDY: Well Maura will be on her plugged in acoustic cherry-red Gibson. I like to play “quiet electric guitar” and I make my own custom modified versions, so whatever I have bolted together that day gets played at the show!

 

 

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Thurs Oct 19th, Friction Farm with The Robert Bobby Duo, Lancaster

On Thursday, October 19the at 7:30 PM Friction Farm with The Robert Bobby Duo will perform at the Ware Center located at 42 N Prince St in Lancaster. This concert is held in tribute to Robert Bobby, who is battling brain cancer.

Concert tickets are $20 General Admission, $21 for SFMS members and $5 for students ages 3-22. Advance tickets are available at http://www.artsmu.com, by calling 717-925-3729 or at the door.

Modern-folk duo Friction Farm is a husband-and-wife team of traveling troubadours. Aidan Quinn and Christine Stay combine storytelling, social commentary

 

 

and humor to create songs of everyday life, local heroes, and quirky observations. From ballads to anthems each song is filled with harmony and hope.

Making a special appearance for this concert is The Robert Bobby Duo, a perfect blend of folk, singer-songwriter, Americana and blues. Robert Bobby has been a staple of the Central Pennsylvania music scene since his days as lead singer for The S

peedboys, and has been favorably reviewed by music critics in Rolling Stone, The Village Voice, Sing Out! and numerous other publications. Mrs. Bobby, who learned to play bass because she figured “it was the best way to keep an eye on Mr. Bobby,” occasionally adds background vocals.

We had a chance to speak to The Bobbys about the concert and their friendship with Friction Farm.

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FOLKMAMA: The Robert Bobby Duo is certainly well known in this area, but I’m curious how you met Friction Farm–then thought about performing together as a “Duo of Duos.”

MRS BOBBY: We met Christine and Aidan through the Folk Alliance conferences. Mr. Bobby had gone up to the North East Folk Alliance conference a lot before I even started going. The first year that I went to the South East Folk Alliance conference Aidan came up to me in the lobby and gave me this big hug like I knew him. Mr. Bobby told me who he was and then I met Christine too. We just hit it off. How do you explain a friendship with people? We just kind of clicked. So next thing you know they are coming to hear us and we are going to hear them. We’re hanging out at dinner, and then we are meeting some of the other people that they know from that region.

 

Both Christine and Aiden come from the corporate world, but then they made the leap of faith about eight years ago to cut the cord and play music full time. A couple of years ago we started thinking of doing a show together and that’s why we approached Susquehanna Folk about this concert idea. We hoped at some time to get a small tour together with them.

 

We like how they tour. They do a lot of house concerts and stay with people, but they also have a camper and stop along the way and see things. They are just not like drive-drive-drive-drive-drive. They always like to strike a balance in their life which appeals to us in the friendship. They are community minded and socially minded– just really nice people.

FOLKMAMA: So what is your plan for the evening for this “Duo of Duos” concert?

MR. BOBBY: The plan is to split up the first set and have each group play for about 20 minutes. And then after the intermission we’ll plan to put all four of us on stage and we’ll do a song swap. We might even be able to put something together, we’ll see.

FOLKMAMA: How do the two duos go about song writing?

MRS. BOBBY: One of the fun ways we have written songs is through song prompts. At the conference that we go to in Texas they have this process there—when you come in to register there is a jar that has song prompts in it. So if you are a songwriter you can pick a prompt and over the course of the three or four days that you are at the conference you write an original song. And you are going to perform that song at the final event of the conference which is a brunch. There must be 35 or 40 people that do it and its amazing what people come up with!

FOLKMAMA: Can you tell me a little more about the music of the Robert Bobby Duo?

MRS. BOBBY: We’re thinking because this show is in Lancaster that there are a lot of people who will want to hear his old band stuff, the Speedboys, so we picked some of those songs. And we wanted to do “Fine as Wine” because you like that one and because it was on last year’s Susquehanna Folk sampler CD.

Now that Mr. Bobby is taking steroids, we thought it might be funny to do his song “Anna” which is a love song to anabolic steroids. He used to do it with the Speedboys and there is a part in there that people are likely to sing along to. Otherwise we tried to pick one song from our various CDs.

One of his newest songs was a song prompt song two years ago before he got sick.  It’s called “The Movie of Your Life”. Joe can’t play it because it’s a finger picking song and Joe’s not really a finger style guitar player, but Aidan is going to do the guitar. We’re going to do that song the last one of our set.

Corn Potato String Band, Oct 15th, 2017. Hbg, PA

The Corn Potato String Band will make their first appearance on the Susquehanna Folk Music Society stage when they appear at on Sunday, October 15, 2017 at 7:30 p.m. at the Fort Hunter Centennial Barn located at 5300 N. Front Street in Harrisburg, PA. Tickets are $24 General Admission, $10 Students, and $20 Susquehanna Folk Music Society members. For tickets and information visit http://www.sfmsfolk.org/concerts/CornPotatoStringBand.html.

The band has delighted audiences with their driving fiddle tunes and harmonious singing across the US, Canada, Europe, Mexico, and India. In addition to being champion fiddlers they play banjo, guitar, bass and mandolin and deftly handle many different old-time styles including ballads, “ho-downs,” country “rags” and southern gospel, specializing in twin fiddling and double banjo tunes.

Onstage they are infectious, fun, and VERY ententertaining! Aside from humorous songs and stellar musicianship, we’ll also get a chance to see a “crankie” (scrolling picture show) and some flatfoot dancing!

 

We had the chance to learn more about the band during a chat with band member Aaron Jonah Lewis.

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FOLKMAMA: What can people expect to hear when they come to a Corn Potato Soup concert?

AARON: We play old time music in a broad sense.  You will hear old time Appalachian tunes, Country Rags, Mexican Polkas, Early Country and some Western Swing.  We like to dig up beautiful and unique songs and instrumentals from the 1920s and 1930s.  You will definitely hear something you haven’t heard before, and if you have heard it before, we might do it different.  We recently have been featuring “Classic Banjo” which is a style of music that comes from the 1890’s-1900’s.  The banjo music of this era has a ragtime feel and reminds you of silent movie music, which is why we have our own scrolling picture show to accompany a couple of the banjo pieces.  We also can’t get through a show without letting Lindsay do some flatfooting.

FOLKMAMA: How did all the members in the band meet?

AARON: We all met for the first time at a Spaghetti Dinner in Richmond, VA, where our mutual friend was hosting a variety show.  None of us remember it, so the second time we all met was at the Appalachian String Band Festival in Clifftop, WV.  Lindsay and some friends recruited Aaron and Ben to play Klezmer music for a latke party.

FOLKMAMA: How did the band get its unusual name?

AARON: The Corn Potato String Band got its name in the tradition of band names that evoke a bucolic setting with a suggestion of gaiety.  We have since realized that it gives us the tag line:  “The Ears and Eyes of America” which is kind of fun and weird at the same time.

FOLKMAMA: Tell me a little bit about the band members—specifically what they bring to the band.

AARON: Aaron is the Brains, Ben is the Face and Lindsay is the intestines.  Aaron and Ben played in a bluegrass band in Richmond for a long time.  They love to play fast and have great chops on fiddles and banjos.  Lindsay is a puppeteer but when she met up with Aaron, who is her household companion, she always wanted to be in a band.  She has managed to sneak some cranky shows and the occasional novelty song into the Corn Potato repertoire.

FOLKMAMA: Are you all full time with the band, or do you have other projects?

AARON: We are not a full time band right now.  We do have other projects.  Ben Belcher plays with the Hot Seats, based in Richmond when he can. Lindsay and Aaron play and tour with Roochie Toochie and the Ragtime Shepherd Kings.  Aaron also performs solo and plays with several other bands in and around Detroit and some Chicago and New York based projects when he can.  Lindsay continues to make puppet shows and works with puppet companies in Minneapolis and Vermont.

FOLKMAMA: Tell us about any CDs which you have recently made. (Which concert goers may want to purchase!)

AARON: Our latest CD is called: “Good Job Everybody” and features a little of everything we do.  Highlights include a double fiddle polka, an old country song about UFOs, an original double-banjo “stomp,” and one of our favorite novelty songs about drinking too much from 1928.

Our three previous CDs are currently out of print but they are available on our website http://www.cornpotato.com. We will also have a couple of Aaron’s CDs from other projects available: Square Peg Rounders’ “Galax, NYC,” an all-instrumental album of traditional fiddle tunes played with fiddle, banjo and guitar, and lots of flair, and “Wild Hog,” an experimental/traditional album of classic old time songs and tunes played with fiddles, banjo, guitar and bass, in the style of old time musicians who also love free improvisation.