Let us go to the banks of the ocean
Where the walls rise above the Zuider Zee
Long ago I used to be a young man
And dear Margaret remembers that for me
Can you hear that tune in your head? Michael P. Smith’s song “The Dutchman” is considered a classic in the folk community, recorded by Steve Goodman, Liam Clancy, and Tommy Makem, among many others. I still remember the first time I heard it, at a concert by the Clancy Brothers many years ago at a theatre in Vermont; such a poignant song that it brought tears to my eyes.
Smith performs at Golden Link on Saturday, April 13 at 7:30 pm. Considered a master of the story song, he brings to life characters like Margaret and her Dutchman, the riverboat gamblers in “Spoon River,” schoolteacher Sister Clarissa, and the beautiful princess and the talking frog (not all his songs are serious; some are hilarious).Read more
Fresh from their win at the 2018 Canadian Folk Music Awards (both Ensemble of the Year and English Songwriter), The LYNNeS – Lynn Miles and Lynne Hanson – come to Rochester for their first Golden Link concert on Saturday, January 19 at 7:30 pm.
These two Canadian musicians fuse tight vocal harmonies with hauntingly gritty lyrics. Also known for their humor, the two witty songwriters play off each other live, often leaving the audience howling with laughter with their between-song banter. The two songwriters are not new to working together, having toured and written songs off and on over the past 10 years, and with Miles having produced two of Hanson’s albums.
“A bunch of powerful songs, two exceptional and complementary voices, some interesting twists on the arrangements … and a great rapport with the audience between songs. Stack all of that up and you have a pretty memorable night.” – MusicRiot (UK)Read more
Joe Newberry and April Verch will take you back to an era when people made their own fun at holiday time, and all year long, when they bring music of the Ozarks and the Ottawa Valley to Rochester for a Golden Link holiday concert on Saturday, December 15 at 7:30 pm.
The holidays have always been a special time for both of them, with traditions of home and family, festive decorations, and always the music. Lively fiddle and banjo numbers combine with traditional dance steps. You’ll hear original songs and timeless hymns, plus stories that warm the heart and give a twinkle to the eye.Read more
Golden Link’s 2018–19 concert series kicks off on Saturday, October 27 at 7:30 pm with the quartet Windborne.
I first heard Will, Lauren, Lynn, and Jeremy at a house concert and was quite impressed by their close vocal harmonies. Not surprising, given their roots in Vermont’s Village Harmony and Northern Harmony vocal ensembles.
Windborne’s repertoire covers quite a range – from songs of workers’ rights (“Bread and Roses”) to old-time music (“Rollin’ in My Sweet Baby’s Arms”), from traditional songs like “Blackest Crow” or “Lazy John” to the mining song “I Can Hew” – and even songs from Corsica, Quebec, and Bulgaria, in their native languages and traditional styles.Read more
For more than four decades now, the Virginia-based duo of Robin and Linda Williams have made it their mission to perform the music that they love, a robust blend of bluegrass, folk, old-time, and acoustic country that combines wryly observant lyrics with a wide-ranging melodicism. Today some might call it “Americana,” but these two revered music masters were living and breathing the music 20 years before that label was turned into a radio format.
On the heels of performances at MerleFest and Jorma Kaukonen’s Fur Peace Ranch, Robin and Linda come to Rochester for a Golden Link concert on Saturday, May 19 at 7:30 pm.Read more
Born into a family of Newfoundland music makers, Matthew Byrne has developed a repertoire that is heavily influenced by his unique musical lineage – weaving a great story with a beautiful melody. Established as one of Canada’s most authentic and vital traditional voices, Matthew Byrne comes to Rochester for a Golden Link concert on Saturday, April 21 at 7:30 pm.
Matthew’s music has traveled well beyond those rugged shores since his 2010 debut, Ballads. Touring as both a solo artist as well as singer with The Dardanelles, he has graced major festival stages worldwide. I first heard him at the Old Songs Festival, where he kept the mainstage audience enthralled with his powerful vocals and polished guitar work. His second album, Hearts & Heroes, received Traditional Recording of the Year at the 2015 Canadian Folk Music Awards.
His most recent album, Horizon Lines, explores songs from both sides of the Atlantic. The album features an original ballad by Byrne called “Adelaide,” penned after discovering a fascinating family connection to a beautiful love story – “a traditional song just waiting to be written,” as he describes it.Read more
Quickly gaining recognition as one of Irish music’s new “super-groups,” RUNA has been enchanting audiences by pushing the boundaries of Irish folk music into the Americana and roots music formats since their formation in 2008. The group’s members have played with Riverdance, Solas, Eileen Ivers, Clannad, Guy Mendilow Band, Eric Anderson, and Jonathan Edwards, among others. RUNA comes to Rochester for a Golden Link concert this Saturday, March 24 at 7:30 pm.
They weave together the haunting melodies and exuberant tunes of Ireland and Scotland with the lush harmonies and intoxicating rhythms of jazz, bluegrass, flamenco, and blues to offer a thrilling take on traditional music. Here’s an example of their musical variety – in addition to traditional Celtic songs and tunes, one of their CDs includes the classic labor song “The Banks are Made of Marble,” a gospel song, two Child ballads, and songs by Kate Rusby and Amos Lee.Read more
Called folk music’s Renaissance man, John McCutcheon is an engaging storyteller, powerful singer-songwriter, and master instrumentalist (hammer dulcimer, banjo, guitar, piano, autoharp) who excels at getting people singing together and thinking about what’s important in life.
We’re in for a real treat when he returns for a Golden Link concert on Saturday, February 17 at 7:30 pm at the Rochester Christian Reformed Church. (Click here for concert details.)
Local musician Allen Hopkins says of McCutcheon, “His set at the Turtle Hill Folk Festival a couple years ago was the finest individual performance I’ve seen in decades; he’s master of several instruments, a great singer, and has an evident social conscience that pervades his music. If you only see one concert this week, this is the one not to miss.”Read more
A concert by the Detroit musicians Robert Jones and Matt Watroba covers the gamut of traditional American music – blues and spirituals, field hollers and work songs – as well as some original compositions, early rock ‘n’ roll, R&B, and country. They consider it all “roots” music – music that America and the world have in common and can help bring people together.
Last here for the 2016 Turtle Hill Folk Festival, Jones & Watroba return for a Golden Link concert on Saturday, January 20 at 7:30 pm at the Rochester Christian Reformed Church. (Click here for concert details.)
Both have powerful voices and play a mean guitar, with Jones adding in some blues harmonica. Their music is exciting and energizing, conveying a message of mutual respect and diversity – which seems more important now than ever – with humor and musicality. And there will be lots of opportunities to sing along.Read more
The Grateful Dead exposed generations of music fans to the nooks, crannies, branches, and offshoots of American roots music like perhaps no other act of their size and influence. Jerry Garcia grew up listening to field recordings, jazz, traditional folk songs, bluegrass, and ancient Child ballads, first getting together with Bob Weir and Pigpen NOT to start a rock-and-roll band, but to play jug band music. They learned songs from itinerant street musicians, covered blues legends and country stars, and packed many musical styles into their own original songs.
Join the Buffalo-based Canal Street String Band on Saturday, October 21 at 7:30 pm at the Rochester Christian Reformed Church as they explore the deep well of American music that inspired the Grateful Dead, and discover some fascinating stories behind the music. Even if you’re not a Deadhead, you’ll love the Canal Street String Band’s renditions of their songs using a wide variety of instruments – both traditional and unusual – along with selections from the trio’s standard repertoire.Read more