The Kent Stage
Four years old and aging well.
At 8pm on March 22, 2002, Lucy Kaplanky sang the first note at the Kent Stage. Since then, a number of the best musicians in the world have come to Kent to provide special evenings at a special place. From folk to blues, rock, jazz and a bit of world music, the Kent Stage has developed into an outstanding venue with a reputation for presenting great talent in an environment with fantastic acoustics for a reasonable price.
A short list of artists that have played the Kent Stage includes: Folk artists; Joan Baez, Richie Havens, Tom Paxton, Livingston Taylor, John Gorka, Robin And Linda Williams, John McCutcheon, Janis Ian, Cheryl Wheeler, Tom Rush, Melanie, Jay Ungar and Molly Mason, Loudon Wainwright III, Al Stewart, Richard Thompson, Leo Kottke, Leon Redbone, and James Keelaghan
Bluegrass and Newgrass superstars: Ralph Stanley, Mike Marshall & Chris Thile, Darol Anger, Vassar Clements, John Cowan, Peter Rowan, Tony Rice, Nickel Creek, and Sam Bush.
Blues greats; Jimmy Johnson, The Holmes Brothers, Chris Thomas King, Roomful Of Blues and Robert Lockwood Jr. Jam Bands including: Donna The Buffalo, the Jazz Mandolin Project, Little Feat, Big Leg Emma, and The Horse Flies.
World Music stars: Cappercaile, Andy M. Stewart, Gerry O’Beirne, Cathy Ryan, Teada, Boys Of The Lough, Makem Brothers, Maura O’Connell, Bebbe Gampetta, and Dougie MacLean.
Not to mention fantastic performers like were Bo Diddley, India Arie, Over The Rhine, Steve Hackett, Jonathan Edwards, Karla Bonoff, Brian Auger, Colin Hay, Riders In The Sky, Eddie From Ohio, Pete Best, Ambrosia, plus many other local, national and international artists!
WRFAA has also presented presented Up From The River Music Festival, the Kent State Folk Festival, the Kent Blues Festival, Standing Rock Film Festival, community theater, children’s theater workshops and other community activities.
Friday, September 29
Anyone not familiar with the music of Bill Staines is in for a special treat.
For over thirty five years, Bill has traveled back and forth across North America, singing his songs and delighting audiences at festivals, folksong societies, colleges, concerts, clubs and coffeehouses. A New England native, Bill became involved with the Boston- Cambridge folk scene in the early 1960’s and, for a time, emceed the Sunday hootenanny at the renowned Club 47 in Cambridge. Bill quickly became a popular performer in the Boston area. In 1971, after one of his performances, a reviewer for The Phoenix stated that Bill was “simply Boston’s best performer.” A decade later, both in 1980 and 1981, the annual Reader’s Poll of The Boston Globe selected him as a favorite performer. In 1991 , Bill entered his forth decade as a folk performer with an international reputation as an artist.
Singing mostly his own songs, he has become one of the most popular singers on the folk music circuit today and averages around 200 concert dates a year.
Bill weaves a magical blend of wit and gentle humor into his performances, and as one reviewer wrote, “he has a sense of timing to match the best stand-up comic.” His music is a slice of Americana, reflecting with the same ease, his feelings about the prairie people of the Midwest or the adventurers of the Yukon.
Interspersed between original songs, Bill also includes songs ranging from traditional folk tunes to more contemporary country ballads and delights in having the audience participate in many of the numbers. He may even do a yodeling tune or two- having won the National Yodeling Championship in 1975 at the Kerrville Folk Festival in Kerrville Texas.
A number of Bill’s songs have been recorded by other artists including, Peter, Paul, & Mary, Makem and Clancy, Nanci Griffith, Mason Williams, The Highwaymen, Glen Yarborough, Jerry Jeff Walker, Grandpa Jones, Priscilla Herdman and others. Bill has recorded twenty-two of his own albums, fifteen of which are still in print. Additionally, Bill’s songs have been published in four songbooks, If I Were A Word, Then I’d Be A Song, River, Music To Me, The Songs of Bill Staines, and All God’s Critters Got A Place In The Choir. Two of the books contain nearly one hundred of Bill’s songs.
Radio and TV appearances have included A Prairie Home Companion, Mountain Stage, The Good Evening Show and a host of local programs on PBS and network TV. Bill continues to drive over 65,000 miles a year, doing what he loves, bringing music to people.
JOHN JORGENSON QUINTET
Friday, October 20
The John Jorgenson Quintet features guitarist John Jorgenson, a founding member of the Desert Rose Band, the Hellecasters, and six-year member of Elton John’s band. Artists ranging from Barbra Streisand to Bonnie Raitt to Earl Scruggs have sought out Jorgenson’s guitar work. Although John Jorgenson is well-renowned in the pop, country and rock world, it is gypsy jazz that is closest to his heart. In recent years through his performances, published magazine writings, and composing, he has pioneered the American gypsy jazz movement.
At a John Jorgenson Quintet performance of gypsy jazz, audiences are amazed by John’s dazzling guitar work as well as his mastery as a clarinet player and vocalist. Whether playing his own compositions or classic standards, John and his band make music that is equally romantic and ecstatic, played with virtuosity and soul.
To form the John Jorgenson Quintet, John has gathered talent from all over the world. He is well backed up by Gonzalo Bergara on rhythm guitar, Charlie Chadwick on bass, Stephan Dudash on violin, and Cesare Valbusa on percussion. All of these performers are masters on their own but as the John Jorgenson Quintet, they are simply astounding!
“To say that John is a superlative guitarist is an understatement. He is simply great.” ~Earl Scruggs
“John is not only one of my favorite musicians but also one of the nicest people in the industry. He has contributed his musicianship to several of my albums as well as some of the most memorable and important live performances I have ever done. He is one of very few musicians who is capable of pulling off performances with the likes of Earl Scruggs as well as Elton John. I appreciate him for his talent, positive attitude, and professionalism. Long live John Jorgenson!” ~Travis Tritt