The Keene Music Festival

Creating Community Through Music

The home of The Little Music Festival That Could.  

The 14th Annual Keene Music Festival

The 14th Annual Keene Music Festival

Now in its fourteenth year, the Keene Music Festival is a unique event in the New England area.  Featuring over sixty bands at twelve performance areas, the Keene Music Festival is one of the largest free music festivals around.  The event features a wide array of musical styles, allowing the audience to walk around the downtown Keene area and listen to a wide variety of musical styles.  It is truly a special day of music in a special town.  We'll be posting a link to the schedule soon!

The Keene Music Festival is an all volunteer effort; with all of the organizing staff, performers and local merchants contributing to create the event.  Performers are a mix of local and regional performers; both up and coming artists and "alumni" acts who enjoy coming back to be part of the event.  The actual Keene Music Festival occurs every Labor Day weekend, and makes a wonderful way to end the summer season.

  • Keene Music Festival (map)
Sumner Knight Series:  Ian Fitzgerald & Haunt The House

Sumner Knight Series: Ian Fitzgerald & Haunt The House

 The Keene Music Festival, in collaboration with Keene Parks and Rec and Southwestern Community Services presents a series of concerts at the Sumner Knight Chapel in the Woodland NED Cemetery to help raise money to renovate the chapel. This amazing little venue features music in its natural form. No amplification or sound equipment is used during the show; though on occasion folks do use electric instruments. It's music just as it's always meant to be.

Admission is by donation, and usually around $12 or so; depending on the performers we bring in. All profits go towards renovation and preservation of the Sumner-Knight Chapel. This is a family friendly event that we hope you'll be a part of.  You can also get a discount by bringing a canned good to donate to the local food pantry ($1 per can for up to three cans; though you can pay it forward for someone else).

For you GPS and/or mappy types, the Chapel's address is:

0 Chapel Drive
Keene, NH 03431

This session's performers are:

Ian Fitzgerald:

Though perhaps technically a singer-songwriter, Ian Fitzgerald prefers the term 'folk singer,' as it more accurately describes the tradition in which his music is rooted. From early twentieth century field recordings through Woody Guthrie, Hank Williams, Bob Dylan, Townes Van Zandt, Gillian Welch, and hundreds of artists in between, Ian has been influenced by one of the sturdiest strains of American music.

Since 2004, Ian has performed extensively throughout New England; toured up and down the east coast; and independently released four albums of original material. Ian's compelling lyrics and indelible melodies have won him first place in the Boston Folk Festival Songwriting Contest (for the song "Lillian") and earned him a spot in the Emerging Artist Showcase at the Falcon Ridge Folk Festival and a Quad Showcase performance at the 2013 Northeast Regional Folk Alliance (NERFA) Conference. In their review of Ian's latest album, No Time To Be Tender [2013], Performer Magazine called Ian "a polished songsmith who is high atop a field of great artists breaking through to festival and folk concerts throughout the States."  Ian performs at coffeehouses, clubs, concert halls and venues of all kinds both as an opener and a headliner.

Haunt The House:

Haunt the House comes from a quiet place. Born in the woods of Charlestown, Rhode Island from the mind of songwriter Will Houlihan, the music began as a whisper. His solo EP, Rural Introspection Study Group, and performances have garnered attention from artists, musicians, and audiences around southern New England.

In the spring of 2012 a story began to develop and it gestated until the fall of 2013 when Will assembled a band to record the debut full-length album. Recorded over five days at the Columbus Theatre in Providence, Rhode Island, Haunt the House’s new releaseJack Rabbit Jones tells the story of a loving couple torn apart by jealousy and madness. With featured performers Allysen Callery, Amato Zinno of Vudu Sister and Bessie Bessin of Pier Jump, and many others, produced by Ben Knox Miller and Jeff Prystowsky of The Low Anthem, “Jack Rabbit Jones” is but the first statement by one of Rhode Island’s most intriguing new folk ensembles.

  • Sumner Knight Chapel (map)
Sumner Knight Series:  Mike & Ruthy

Sumner Knight Series: Mike & Ruthy

Hailed as “a national treasure”  by songwriter peer Anais Mitchell, an evening spent with Mike + Ruthy promises to thrill your senses, raise your spirits, and delve deep into your soul. Their harmony-driven, fiddle & banjo alchemy echos a sound from a golden age of music yet their relaxed, often hilarious, and charismatic on-stage demeanor delivers a riveting live concert experience that is thoroughly in the present. 

Now in their 16th year of performing together, and as a second generation folk family, Mike + Ruthy spend most of their time on the road - with their kids in tow - performing 100+ concerts annually ranging from major folk festivals to intimate house concerts, both as Mike + Ruthy and with the Jay Ungar & Molly Mason Family Band.

“Some of the best songwriting of their generation” -- LA Weekly 

Mike + Ruthy met in NYC, just out of college, and went on to found “subversive acoustic stringband” The Mammals, one of the most popular folk rock bands of their generation.  (http://www.themammals.net)

 “The Mammals are the finest young bluegrass/old-timey band in the country, the country-branch house band for the new weird America.” -- LA Weekly 

 Tapped by Nora Guthrie in 2011 to make the first ever recording of Woody Guthrie’s love song “My New York City,” the song is now being hailed as one of the most gorgeous pieces to have ever come out of the archive. 

 In February 2013 Mike + Ruthy introduced a newly minted folk and roots festival called the Winter Hoot which brought Amy Helm, Sprit Family Reunion, Elizabeth Mitchell, Jeffrey Lewis,  Jay Ungar & Molly Mason, and other Americana favorites to the Ashokan Center near their home in upstate NY.  The Summer Hoot is scheduled for late August. (http://www.homeofthehoot.com 

Four releases into their duo career, Mike + Ruthy’s current plans include a new live record in 2014 and a fully analog studio record in 2015. 

   "Mike + Ruthy offer breathy. rich Americana...warm vintage sounds. -- Time Out NY

"Infectious new folk rock" -- Boston Globe

  • Sumner Knight Chapel (map)
Sumner Knight Series:  Michael Tarbox and The Bluebird Orchestra

Sumner Knight Series: Michael Tarbox and The Bluebird Orchestra

Michael Tarbox:

Michael Tarbox is a smokey-voiced singer from Boston with a sound that combines Appalachian music, blues and gospel in exciting, unexpected combinations. An innovative guitarist, his playing revisits American musical traditions in a unique voice. Tarbox is also a songwriter, with a spare, lyrical style that reflects and expands on his influences. His work with his band, The Tarbox Ramblers, has been praised by All Things Considered, The New Yorker and many more. Tarbox recently released his second solo album, Works and Days

"At the heart of Tarbox’s music is his guitar, as raw as it is charismatic. It creates an electricity that courses through every song." –– Twangville.com

http://www.michaeltarbox.com

The Bluebird Orchestra:

 

The Bluebird Orchestra is a quartet from Southern Vermont, led by artist/musician, Donald Saaf ,(known for his previous work with Dan Zanes and friends.) The group draws it’s influences from diverse corners, including the Carter Family, The Incredible String Band, Kurt Weill, and Thelonious Monk, while always keeping one foot in traditional American roots music. In any particular tune, you may encounter elements of folk, rock, early Jazz, Klezmer or even Polka music. The new self titled C.D. is a collection of songs written by Saaf with his wife, artist Julia Zanes but the band itself is a true collaboration of talented local musicians. It features Donald Saaf on vocals, guitar, tenor banjo and reed organ, Duke Johnson on the standup bass, Rick Contino on pedal steel, and Paul Mctaggart on drums. The C.D. also includes the amazing guest artist, Anna Patton on clarinet. Their music has been described as beautiful, sometimes sad, poignant and funny, sung and played with gusto, and sure to delight any audience.

 

  • Sumner Knight Chapel (map)
Sumner Knight Series:  Dave Dersham

Sumner Knight Series: Dave Dersham

The Keene Music Festival, in collaboration with Keene Parks and Rec and Southwestern Community Services presents a series of concerts at the Sumner Knight Chapel in the Woodland NED Cemetery to help raise money to renovate the chapel. This amazing little venue features music in its natural form. No amplification or sound equipment is used during the show; though on occasion folks do use electric instruments. It's music just as it's always meant to be.

Admission is by donation, and usually around $10 or so; depending on the performers we bring in. All profits go towards renovation and preservation of the Sumner-Knight Chapel. This is a family friendly event that we hope you'll be a part of.

For you GPS and/or mappy types, the Chapel's address is:

0 Chapel Drive

Keene, NH 03431

This Session’s Performers are: 

Dave Dersham

Dave is a wanderer: He spent a summer working the local chuck wagon set beneath Wyoming's Grand Tetons; taught Environmental Education in South Dakota's Black Hills; conducted 3 week treks with under-served youth across southern Idaho; and explored the ruins and culture of Central America. Music finally pulled him back to the confines of New England and the Cambridge, MA folk scene where he completed his first CD, "The Burn of Summer." The album enjoyed regular airtime on Folk Radio's WUMB, Emerson College's WERS, and brought selection as a finalist for Mountain Stage's emerging artists.

Dave's second album, "Gilding the Lilies" was recorded with the assistance of Boston's most adventurous lap-steele players, Lloyd Thayer, as well as the shrewd lead-playing and production of Jared Fiske of Fiske and Herrera. The CD was released in the fall of 2011 and was distributed internationally. He is currently working on material for his third CD to be released in the near future.

Dave also continues a yearly pilgrimage to the Kerrville Folk Festival, in the core of the Texas Hill Country, where he finds inspiration and community among his fellow vagabonds and troubadours.

“Dersham taps hopeful melodies and reverses lyrical expectations at every turn... exudes a brand of humane charm that sets him apart from every other songwriter you’ll see this year.” --Club Passim

For more information, go to:

www.davedersham.com

  • Sumner Knight Chapel (map)
Sumner Knight Series:  Tracy Grammer with Mark Mandeville and Raianne Richards

Sumner Knight Series: Tracy Grammer with Mark Mandeville and Raianne Richards

TRACY GRAMMER

Tracy Grammer rose to acclaim as half of the "postmodern, mythic American folk" duo, Dave Carter & Tracy Grammer. From 1998-2001, the duo released three internationally celebrated, folk chart-topping albums featuring Carter's mytho-poetic Americana songcraft and in 2002, toured with Joan Baez, both as featured artists and Baez's band members. Called “the new voice of modern folk music,” the duo was clearly in its ascendancy when in July 2002, Carter suffered a fatal heart attack while the duo was on tour. He was 49; Grammer, 34. 

Determined to honor the duo's journey and bring Carter's songs, and those of other favorite writers, to broader audiences, Grammer has kept to the road, releasing solo albums as well as selections from the Dave Carter & Tracy Grammer archives. Her latest release, LITTLE BLUE EGG, is a collection of intimate recordings from the duo's home studios. LBE was the #1 most-played album on Folk Radio in 2012, and once again, the duo were the #1 most-played artists for the year. 

Grammer has become one of folk music's most beloved performers. Renowned for her springwater-clear alto, perfectly intoned violin, and guitar playing that is by turns percussive and delicate, Grammer is also a masterful storyteller with an ease and charisma on stage -- not to mention a riotous sense of humor -- that hardly belie her modest beginnings as Carter's reclusive accompanist. Stories about the duo's first meeting, Carter's quirks and fancies, or Grammer's own misadventures and missteps are woven thoughtfully into the set list to create a uniquely personal evening that connects audiences to performer, to the Carter/Grammer legacy, and most importantly, to one another. Additionally, Grammer has begun down the songwriter's path as part of a song-a-week challenge called RealWomenRealSongs, and is sharing her fresh, fledgling efforts--and the stories and struggles behind them--on her current tour, to the delight of her longtime fans. As one fan put it, "With Tracy, it's never just about the music. It's a soul journey."

http://www.tracygrammer.com

 

Mark Mandeville & Raianne Richards

Mark Mandeville & Raianne Richards are a folk duo from Massachusetts whose songs resonate with the lover of Americana and old country music, commanding familiar traditional melodies and poignant, introspective lyrics, and backing them with delicate arrangements on ukulele, clarinet, guitar and banjo.

http://www.markmandeville.com/press.html

  • Sumner Knight Chapel (map)