Sisters Folk Festival announce the 2017 Winter Concert Series that includes a songwriter focus with three fantastic shows. On Wednesday, January 25, the great Martin Sexton will perform his soulful singing, brilliant guitar playing and well-crafted songs. Syracuse, NY native Sexton got his start singing in the streets and subways of Boston in the early 90s. Still fiercely independent and headlining venues from the Fillmore to Carnegie Hall, he has influenced a generation of contemporary artists. Sexton’s incendiary live show, honest lyrics, and vocal prowess keep fans coming back for more.
From 1996 to the early 2000s Sexton released acclaimed albums Black Sheep, The American, Wonder Bar and Live Wide Open. The activity and worldwide touring behind these records laid the foundation for the career he enjoys today with an uncommonly loyal fan base. Since then he has infiltrated many musical worlds, performing at concerts ranging from collaborating with John Mayer to the jam scene working with Peter Frampton, to the Newport Folk Fest, Bonnaroo, and the New Orleans Jazz Fest. Promotion of the 2017 tour states: “Remember that mix-tape your friend made you way back when — the one that’s etched in your soul? Martin Sexton’s new album, Mixtape of the Open Road, is that musical cross-country trip, blazing through all territories of style as you cruise through time and place. This record is a charm bracelet of 12 gems all strung together with the golden thread of what Rolling Stone calls a “soul-marinated voice.”
On Tuesday, February 21, the series will feature serious bluegrass pickers and singers. This bluegrass showcase includes the dobro/guitar duo of Rob Ickes & Trey Hensley, and the powerful yet intricate music of the Molly Tuttle Band, each doing their own sets. Rob Ickes & Trey Hensley were sure their musical partnership was the right move at the right time, but it was still welcome news when their debut project, Before The Sun Goes Down, earned a nomination for a Best Bluegrass Album Grammy, about the time Ickes took leave of his band to make the joint venture the centerpiece of his career. With the release of their new project, The Country Blues, on July 8, the pair build on the earlier album’s strengths to take their unique musical conversation to an even higher level. “Rob’s helping me to explore more of what to play and when to play it,” says Hensley, who’s made the transition from hot-shot guitar phenom to well-rounded instrumental and vocal powerhouse look easy. Ickes’ award-winning resonator guitar-work not only helped to power famed bluegrass ensemble Blue Highway for two decades, but appears on hundreds of bluegrass and country albums.
The Molly Tuttle Band performed at the 2016 Sisters Folk Festival to great audience acclaim. A virtuoso multi-instrumentalist and award-winning songwriter with a distinctive voice, Molly sings with the gentle authority of Gillian Welch, yet plays astoundingly fleet flat-picking guitar — like Chet Atkins in overdrive. Molly has turned the heads of even the most seasoned industry professionals. She began performing on stage when she was 11, and recorded her first album, The Old Apple Tree, at age 13. Since then, she’s appeared on A Prairie Home Companion and at Hardly Strictly Bluegrass; was featured on the cover of Flatpicking Guitar Magazine; won first place in the prestigious Chris Austin Songwriting Competition at Merlefest; and, last May, graduated from the Berklee College of Music. Her lovely voice, impeccable guitar-playing, and sensitive songwriting make her a star on the rise.
Thursday, March 23, the final show in the series will feature the emotive and beautiful singing of two outstanding singer-songwriters; Canadian Rose Cousins and Nashville-based Caitlin Canty.
A native of Prince Edward Island, Rose Cousins lives in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and is celebrating the much-anticipated CD release of Natural Conclusion, after working with Grammy award-winning producer Joe Henry. Rose deeply values being part of multiple music communities, and is constantly fueled by collaboration. Cousins’ 2012 album, We Have Made A Spark, celebrated her Boston community. It won a JUNO Award; 3 East Coast Music Awards; a Canadian Folk Music Award; was nominated for the Polaris Music Prize; and made picks/best-of lists in USA Today, NPR Music and Oprah Magazine. At the end of 2013, Rose took a break from touring and went through an introspective time in her career. Her goal became to connect with artists, writers, and producers to make songs in new ways, new sounds with new people, not knowing where they would go and not needing to. Her catalogue and perspective expanded, and in that time her new album, Natural Conclusion, was conceived.
Caitlin Canty returns to Sisters after successful performances at the 2016 Sisters Folk Festival and Winter Concert Series, when she performed with Darlingside. Her sound harnesses the grit and spark at the very heart of American music, tempered with a voice both haunting and distinct. In January of 2015, she released her breakout album Reckless Skyline — backed by an all-star “dream band;” made the big move from the Green Mountain State to Music City; and won the 2015 Telluride Troubadour Contest at the Telluride Bluegrass Festival.
For more information on the 2017 Sisters Folk Festival Winter Concert Series please visit sistersfolkfestival.org/winter-concert-series. Tickets can be purchased online at sistersfolkfestival.org/tickets or by calling 541-549-4979. Series passes are $55 for adults, $40 for youth 18 and under. Tickets are also available for individual shows. All shows are at the Sisters High School auditorium, and start at 7 p.m.