Call Now to Reserve Tickets • (410) 639-9133 • 5753 Main St, Rock Hall, MD


Home of Musical Magic!

Located in a 100 year old building on Main Street, The Mainstay is a cultural and artistic center for Rock Hall, a historic “waterman’s” town on the Upper Eastern Shore of the Chesapeake Bay. The town’s healthy mix of people with a deep heritage on the Eastern Shore and newcomers who have fallen in love with the area give it a vitality, a hometown feeling and a sense of community that is hard to beat.

The Mainstay is a warm friendly place with great sound and sight lines. With only 120 seats, there’s not a bad one in the house. It’s a listening room that’s almost as comfortable as your living room. Beer, wine, soft drinks, home-baked goodies, Mainstay merchandise, Mainstay Music CDs, Chesapeake Scenes CDs and Charlie Byrd CDs are available at the bar in The Byrd Room.

Our audiences range from local Rock Hallers and Eastern Shore residents to those who find their way here from Philadelphia, Annapolis, Baltimore, Washington DC and beyond.

The Mainstay offers more than 50 concerts a year. You can hear great jazz, blues, classical, folk …almost any form you enjoy. Check out our list of memorable performances.

So, come and see us in Rock Hall… our town motto is “nice people live here” and you’ll find a whole group of those people right here at The Mainstay!

Tom McHugh



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Beth McDonald and Joe Holt

Piano and Vocals
"Love Stories"

Saturday, February 13, 2016 at 8:00 p.m.

only $15

Joe Holt and Beth McDonald each tell stories of love through their music - Beth through the songs she writes and those she chooses to sing, and Joe from the piano, especially through his creative improvisations. Joe Holt is an eclectic pianist known for his inventive improvisations and Beth McDonald is known for her sweet/tart voice and stunning interpretations of her own material and jazz, popular and gospel standards. They have worked with each other many times and have recorded an album together. This will be an evening of material that weaves a tapestry that the heart understands, finding - and perhaps remembering - its own stories; because at the heart of music, and the connection it makes, is love. What better time than the weekend of Valentine's Day to connect, remember, feel and share the musical love.

Joe Holt and Beth McDonald video

Joe Holt's website

Beth McDonald's website

Chuck, Ken and Clairdee: The Great American Songbook

Chuck Redd, Ken Peplowski and Clairdee

Friday, February 19, 2016 at 8:00 p.m.

only $20

A wonderful evening of jazz standards as Mainstay favorites Chuck Redd on vibes and drums and the marvelous clarinet/sax player Ken Peplowski introduce the San Francisco area vocalist, Clairdee. Clairdee’s soulfully alluring style and rich timbre reveal roots in the gospel church. She has an intimate, vulnerable and gentle way with a ballad, yet she can swing or shout at will. With her lustrous voice, heartfelt delivery, and scene-stealing charisma, she has honed a repertoire of standards. And her finely honed sensibility and old-school attitude about the importance of communicating with audiences, is skillfully demonstrated in her gift for putting her own stamp on a song while capturing its essence. Russell Davies on BBC2 called Ken Peplowski “arguably the greatest living jazzalt clarinetist.” He has recorded approximately 50 CDs as a soloist, and close to 400 as a sideman – some of the artists he’s performed/recorded with include Charlie Byrd, Mel Torme, Rosemary Clooney, Peggy Lee, Woody Allen, Benny Goodman, and Madonna. He travels at least half of every year, playing clubs, concert halls, colleges, and pops concerts and has headlined at the Hollywood Bowl, Carnegie Hall, the Blue Note, and Dizzy’s Club amongst many other venues. Chuck Redd is well known locally, in the DC area and internationally for his work on drums and vibraphone. Chuck began recording and touring the globe when he joined the Charlie Byrd Trio at the age of 21. He was also a member of the Great Guitars (Barney Kessel, Byrd and Herb Ellis.) Over the last few years he has served as unofficial jazz advisor to The Mainstay in between gigs around the country and around the world. This will be a wonderfully engaging evening of jazz standards from the Great American Songbook including the work of Gershwin, Ellington, Cole Porter, Harold Arlen and more. With piano and bass.

Clairdee's website

Ken Peplowski's website

Chuck Redd's website

Clairdee video

Ken Peplowski video

Chuck Redd video

Toby Walker

Multimedia Blues: Songs, Stories and Photos
"How I Got the Blues"

Saturday, February 27, 2016 at 8:00 p.m.

only $20

Toby Walker is a unique, accomplished fingerstyle guitar virtuoso adept at blues, rags and country picking. He has a knack for improvisation, is a skilled singer and songwriter and a masterful storyteller with a wicked sense of humor. In “How I got the Blues,” he creates an entertaining multi-media journey through the Deep South, where he learned songs and licks from the old time blues musicians, masters like Eugene Powell, James “Son” Thomas, Etta Baker and R. L. Burnside; masters who laid the foundation for the modern Blues. You’ll meet Etta Baker, who at 80 years of age was not only a master of fingerpicking guitar but had just finished shingling the roof of her house. And 68-year-old James “Son” Thomas, who, despite a recent gunshot wound, was entertaining two girlfriends, both less than half his age. Toby’s mentors come to life in his stories, songs, photos and his virtuosity on instruments like his National Steel guitars, the harmonica, a cigar box guitar and a one string diddley bow. As a youth, Toby’s passion for the blues was ignited when he learned that some of his favorite Rolling Stones songs were written by Chester Burnett and McKinley Morganfield (better known as Howlin’ Wolf) and Muddy Waters. Once he heard their recordings he was hooked and he travelled to the Mississippi Delta, Virginia and the Carolinas where he tracked down some of the more obscure - but immensely talented - music makers of an earlier era. He learned directly at the feet of those masters. This evening will tell story of that journey with humor, with pictures and with his astonishing musicianship. Recently inducted in the NY Blues Hall of Fame, Toby’s most recent recording is last year’s “What You See is What You Get,” hailed as a shining example of a traditional blues recording.

Toby Walker's website
Toby Walker video