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
Best known as one third of the legendary trio Peter, Paul & Mary, folk legend Peter Yarrow comes to Rochester for a very special Golden Link concert on Saturday, November 4 at 7:30 pm in the Performance Hall at Hochstein School of Music & Dance. Tickets go on sale Monday, June 5 at 10:00 am.
Peter Yarrow’s talents – both with the legendary trio and as a solo performer – are frequently directed at using music to convey a message of humanity and caring. His gift for songwriting has produced some of the trio’s most moving songs, including “Puff, the Magic Dragon,” “Day is Done,” “Light One Candle,” and “The Great Mandala.”Read more
“I was born in the path of the winter wind and raised where the mountains are old ...” These opening lines to a Bill Staines song promise to introduce you to an intriguing main character, but as the song goes on, you realize that he’s writing from the perspective of the river itself. He’s also talking about memories, the changing of the seasons, and the passage of time.
“River” is one of the songs you’re likely to hear when Bill Staines comes to Rochester for a Golden Link concert on Saturday, May 13, 2017 at 7:30 pm.
A profound respect for nature is in all of Staines’ songs, and his lyrics convey a real sense of place. You feel as if you have joined him on an adventure along a dusty highway, traveling far up into the mountains where you might find an antique shop full of treasures, or meet someone with a special story to tell.Read more
Ithaca-based songwriter and guitarist Joe Crookston is a master storyteller. At one of his concerts, you might hear about rattlesnake tails, dark highways, Galway heather, good luck, meter maids, or drunk roosters. His songs are universal, his rhythm is infectious; he can be funny one moment and transcendent the next. At the end of the night, you’ll leave inspired.
Crookston comes to Rochester for a Golden Link concert on Saturday, April 22 at 7:30 pm at the Rochester Christian Reformed Church in Penfield.
Whether he’s picking his ‘48 Gibson, weaving through lap slide songs, or looping his fiddle, Crookston will draw you in. If you love a moving song and musical madness, you will find that he delivers it all: melodies, lyrics, energy, and a deep passion for exceptionally well-written songs.Read more
The next Golden Link concert coming up on Thursday, March 9 at 7:30 pm is a special one. Si Kahn, Joe Jencks, and Maria Dunn – three acclaimed singer/songwriters known for writing and performing songs about working people and social justice – are teaming up for a select number of concerts featuring songs of hope, courage, love, and triumph. (Please note that it is a Thursday night – not our usual Saturday.)
Making this concert extra special: Si Kahn was honored with the “Spirit of Folk” Award at the 2017 Folk Alliance International conference last month; and just a few weeks ago, Maria Dunn was nominated for a 2017 Juno Award (the Canadian equivalent of the Grammy) in the Traditional Roots Album of the Year category for her album Gathering.
From Charlotte, NC; Chicago, IL; and Edmonton, Alberta respectively, Si Kahn, Joe Jencks, and Maria Dunn represent the finest traditions in music that is socially aware, musically engaged, and filled with heart and purpose.Read more