Acoustic Cafe 2015-2016 Season

October 17

Brendan Taaffe with special guest Mark Roberts

Deeply versed in Irish and American traditions, it is on the mbira that Brendan Taaffe has found a truly distinctive voice, blending old-time ballads with traditional Zimbabwean rhythms. The ripple of the mbira, an instrument over a thousand years old, and Taaffe’s lush tenor casts old songs in a new light, creating “the kind of hushed, lonely warmth you experience sitting by a fire in a drafty house.”

A multi-instrumentalist on guitar, fiddle, banjo, and mbira, Brendan has toured with many different groups, including nationally acclaimed dance band Magic Foot and the internationally acclaimed vocal ensemble Northern Harmony. In addition to performing solo, he currently directs The Bright Wings Chorus, a vocal ensemble, and is the frontman of The New Line, a band that blends mbira with banjo, electric guitar, and percussion, creating a bridge between American and African traditions.

Originally from Minnesota, Brendan now lives in Brattleboro, Vermont and tours regularly throughout the U.S. and Europe.  He will be joined by Mark Roberts on gourd banjo.


November 21Sky Blue Boys

Sky Blue Boys

It’s a venerable tradition as old as American music itself…

Two fellows with a mandolin and guitar, a musical teamwork built of habit, their voices fused in the special blend produced by kinship. They were called “brothers duets,” and during the 1930s and ’40s it was the predominant format in country music, practiced by now-legendary teams of brothers on radio stations and stage shows throughout the countryside.

In Vermont, Dan and Willy Lindner, The Sky Blue Boys, have revived the tradition. Following the example of old-time duos such as The Blue Sky Boys, The Delmore Brothers and the Louvin Brothers they have built up a large repertoire of wonderful old ballads, parlor songs, heart songs and sacred numbers. Heeding their own musical instincts they have expanded the accompaniment to include a variety of acoustic instruments and added many newer songs including several of their own compositions.

Willy and Dan have played together for decades. They formed the celebrated Vermont bluegrass band Banjo Dan and the Mid-nite Plowboys in 1972 and have toured and recorded extensively in that context, as well as sitting in on shows and recording sessions for many of the region’s top acoustic musicians. But never far from their hearts were the sounds they learned to love long ago – the simple moving sounds of the early “brothers duets.”

It’s that clean, evocative sound The Sky Blue Boys now recreate for audiences throughout the Northeast… a reminder of things past, and of things constant.


January 16mikeagranoff

Mike Agranoff

Equally at home in the contemporary and traditional camps of the Folk world, he is a fine musician and storyteller. His prime instrument is the guitar, upon which he shines with intricate fingerstyle arrangements of anything from Tin Pan Alley tunes of the ’20s to fiddle tunes to his own music. He also plays concertina, piano, banjo, or sings acapella. He can be uproariously funny, contempletive, and powerfully emotional in the space of a few minutes. Not so much a singer-songwriter as a “singer-songfinder, Mike takes great delight in discovering the little-known hidden gems, polishing them with his own distinctive style, and bringing them to the light of day where they sparkle. The man will capture your attention, and then your heart.

Not only a performer, Mike is involved in presenting folk music as well. He is one of the prime movers of The Folk Project, New Jersey’s oldest and strongest folk music organization. For over two decades he has been chairman of that organization’s Minstrel Coffeehouse, one of the longest lived and most respected folk venues in the country.


February 20mottau drew and clark

Mottau, Drew & Clark with special guest Corey Walden

Folk, ragtime, blues and Celtic! Eddie Mottau, Bob Drew and Jimmy Clark have been playing music together in one form or another since the 1970’s. Eddie’s roots are the Boston and New York City folk scenes plus playing and recording for John Lennon among many other famous musicians. Jimmy and Bob were in New Hampshire band Sweeney’s Glider which morphed into Homegrown. All are friends and compatriots of Noel Stookey of Peter Paul and Mary.

Mottau, Drew and Clark are currently working on their second CD together and hope to finish it soon.

Mottau, Drew & Clark are joined by violinist Corey Walden for this show.



March 19kukuleles

The Kukuleles

Kuku about the Ukulele! The Kukuleles are from Milford, Amherst, Mont Vernon, Hollis, Wilton, Temple and Merrimack. Familiar songs of the 20’s, 30’s, 40’s, 50’s and 60’s!





Rakes of MilfordRakes-of-Milford-1024x464

Ah, those Rakes!  Who knew the Milford area was home to one of the friendliest seisiun (Gaelic for ‘session’) groups around?  Come experience traditional Irish jigs, reels and slow airs.  There’ll be some singing too!







April 16songofthelark2

Song of the Lark

“Song of the Lark”, a New Hampshire based flute/guitar duo, has released their first CD recording, a mosaic of world music and music to soothe the soul. The CD, also entitled, “Song of the Lark”, features original compositions by award-winning international singer-songwriter, Rahel, and improvisations composed by flutist Sue Hurwitz and Rahel together. The songs, including: Desert Journey, Brazil, Paris, Sinai Serenade, Mediterranean Breeze, Dawn, Flowers, Sweet Dreamer, See You Again and Lullabye, take the listener on an effortless musical journey around the world. Soothing melodies performed by Sue on the flute are supported by Rahel’s unique finger style and chordal guitar accompaniment.

“Song of the Lark’s” beautiful music creates a soothing environment for a peaceful world!