Oct 21 – Constellation
Eric Thomas has been playing guitar since 1965. He began by playing the Rock ’n Roll, Rhythm ’n Blues, and “Beach Music” tunes that were popular in the mid and late ’60’s. Over the years he has played a wide range of material in a number of different bands. He has played in venues ranging from coffeehouses to private parties and from Rock ’n Roll clubs to country clubs. These experiences have enabled him to incorporate the blues, traditional acoustic, and country tunes into his musical inventory. More recently, his collaboration with Helen has launched him into the world of Celtic music, lyrical waltzes, and other music that he never imagined he would play.
Helen Wolfson began playing the hammered dulcimer in 1993. Her initial, fairly traditional hammered dulcimer repertoire has been greatly enriched by her collaboration with Eric. Today, you are as likely to hear her backing up Eric on his original vocals or playing the blues as you are to hear her playing fiddle tunes, waltzes, and popular standards. As a soloist, Helen has played for numerous private parties, weddings, and other events. She is also certified by the Music for Healing and Transition Program as a Music Practitioner and plays therapeutic music at bedside for people in physical or emotional pain.
Oct 28 – Don Smith
Don Smith was born in Burlington, NC in 1950 and has spent all of his 66+ years in the South … 64 of them in the Tar Heel State. Don started performing publicly in early 2001 with the trio of Emerson, Smith & Phelps right here at Sacred Grounds. In late 2004, he also began playing solo at coffee houses across the Triangle and has appeared at a number of venues in Raleigh, Durham, Apex and Clayton. He draws his material from old public domain tunes, from traditional American artists such as The Carter Family and Woody Guthrie, and from more recent folk singer-songwriters such as Tom Paxton and Norman Blake. An evening with Don is a sort of trip through America’s rich folk/traditional music history. He sings of train wrecks and ships lost at sea … of hobos, outlaws and orphans … of lost love … of what it is to see the coal mine shut down or the entire year’s crop lost to drought. But before you grab the “crying towel”, you should know that he also sings of what it’s like to suddenly realize that you’ve become your own grandfather … or that tonight’s main course for dinner has just appeared in your headlights … or that your name is William Morgan, but your wife spends money as if it was J P Morgan instead! Some of his songs will make you laugh; others might make you cry. But nearly all of them have a story to tell, and Don has a story to tell about most of them as well. By the time you leave his show, you’ll have been not only entertained, but also educated and enlightened about some parts of American history that you might not have known when you arrived.
Nov 4 – Dogwood Blossom Band
The Dogwood Blossom Band is a five-piece mostly acoustic band based in Durham-Chapel Hill, NC. Tom Williams, Cathy Klein, and Mike Paris have performed together for more than six years in various projects and this current collaboration has been playing as a band in the region since August 2012. New members, George Michaels and Rebecca Ogus, joined the band in the Fall of 2015. Their music incorporates Americana, folk, a dash of bluegrass, a little country, and some Dogwoodized classic pop/rock tunes, and original songs written by band members. Songs by artists such as Levon Helm, Gillian Welch, Alison Krauss, John Prine, J.D. Souther, Ryan Adams, Johnny Cash, Rosanne Cash, Jason Isbel, Emmylou Harris, Rodney Crowell, Nanci Griffith, Crosby, Stills, and Nash, Bob Dylan, Zac Brown Band, Paul Simon and others are in their repertoire.
Artists are Cathy Klein – vocals, rhythm guitar, percussion, George Michaels – vocals, guitar, banjo, Rebecca Ogus – vocals, violin, percussion, Mike Paris – vocals, upright and electric bass, guitar, dobro, percussion and Tom Williams – vocals, guitar, mandolin, harmonica, percussion.
Nov 11 – String Peddlers
The String Peddlers is an acoustic band out of Raleigh, NC. composed of Stuart Gordon (sings and plays guitar, mandolin and harmonica), Bob Setzer (sings and plays harmonica, strumstick, mandolin and kalimba), Bill Olding (sings and plays electric and acoustic guitars) and Frank DeFillippi on electronic persussion. They play an eclectic mix that could range from blues to reggae, from calypso to folk. You might hear mandolins, harmonicas, strumsticks, and even the occasional kalimba. Without missing a beat it could go from Johnny Cash, to Jimmy Reed, to the Melodians. String Peddlers are regularly scheduled artists at Sacred Grounds and are always a lot of fun so please come hear for yourself.
Nov 18 – Randa McNamara
This will be Randa’s 4th performance at Sacred Grounds and she gives a great concert. Randa McNamara has shared the concert stage with artists including B.B. King, Bonnie Raitt, Odetta, Dr. John, Richie Havens, Rosie O’Donnell and Larry David. A recipient of Back Stage Bistro Award and the Manhattan Association of Cabarets & Clubs Award (MAC) for Best Female Blues/Jazz Vocalist, she has appeared at New York clubs including Reno Sweeney, Don’t Tell Mama, The Bitter End and the Laurie Beechman Theatre. She has been a regular at The Improv in Los Angeles and New York and has performed at New York’s Lincoln Center, Symphony Space and The Town Hall. Television credits include “A Time for Music” (PBS) and “An Evening at the Improv.” In North Carolina, Randa is recipient of the Durham Arts Council Emerging Artists Award and has toured the state with pianist/composer Loonis McGlohon. Her most recent recording is “Living in my Heart.” She studied with Phil Gushee of The Neighborhood Playhouse. Think you should come? I certainly think so…
Nov 25 – Closed for Thanksgiving Holiday
Dec 2 – Robert and Shoko Buxton
Shoko and Robert Buxton will be performing a program classical and popular music for four-hands, piano duo. Some of the pieces were originally written for this format, and others are arrangements from opera and orchestral music. The concert will have a Christmas theme, and will feature excerpts from Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker, and other familiar music of the season. Shoko and Robert will introduce each piece, describing its history and what to listen for. Shoko and Robert met at the University of North Texas in Denton, Texas, while working on their doctorates, Robert in solo piano, and Shoko in collaborative piano. They have performed duo piano concerts throughout Japan and the United States. Playing a wide range of repertoire, Shoko and Robert aim to make music from all styles and eras accessible and fun. The group’s nickname, piano duo “Four Paws,” was inspired by their orange tabby cat, Max.
Dec 9 – New Direction
New Direction is one of our favorite Bluegrass Gospel Bands at Sacred Grounds and always give a great performance. Bobby Gales plays guitar and banjo, Charity Dixon Gales plays a bass guitar, Billy Mickel plays guitar and their pastor, Greg Burris, plays the mandolin. This group is comprised of fine musicians and singers – if you’re a bluegrass fan you don’t want to miss this concert. They have performed their their highly acclaimed Christmas Special for Sacred Grounds every year starting in 2011 and maybe earlier (can’t find my records for earlier years). This is always a special concert.
Dec 16 – Dackel
“Dackel is a duo consisting of singers / songwriters Walter Miller and Phil Hatchett. Phil comes from Norfolk, England and Walter was born in upstate New York. Dackel started performing in Raleigh in 2009 and plays Rockin’ Americana Blues after our major musical influences. “Dackel” (German cute name for dachshund) was chosen in tribute to our song “Year of the Dog” In 2016 and 2017 they played various festivals, including the Carrboro Music Festival, and Durham’s Festival for the Eno; and performed live on the “Pass The Hat” radio show on WHUP Hillsborough. In 2017 Dackel is back in the studio to record their second CD.” They have become a Christmas regular at Sacred Grounds and we always appreciate the support they give us year round.
Dec 23 – Closed for Christmas Holiday
Dec 30 – Closed for the New Year Holiday
Jan 6 – The Commanderrs
Isaac and Sally Derr are siblings and have grown up predominately in Durham – Sally graduated from Earlham College in 2013 and Isaac is attending Loyola University in New Orleans. They love anything from rock to folk to blues to country to pop. Two kids, twelve strings, one heck of a concert. Together they have been performing and writing music since the summer of 2013. They recorded their first album, a collection of songs written by Sally, Set Sail, which was released Sept. 2014. Their Second album, a collection of Isaac’s songs, was released in November of 2014. They have played shows from “The Barnacle” on a pier over the Atlantic Ocean to the foothills of Virginia near Smith Mt. Lake. I still consider them a Sacred Grounds ‘regular’ although their performances are limited until Isaac graduates from Loyola and we look forward to having them more often.