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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

The Bumper Jacksons

Roots, Old Jazz and Americana

Saturday, March 5, 2016 at 8:00 p.m.

only $20

Taking new sounds from forgotten 78’s, the Bumper Jacksons boldly and elegantly pay homage to roots and traditions while fashioning a vivid, true sound. They playfully create their own originals and re-imagine roots music with both power and tenderness. It’s sizzling and sweet, rootsy 1930s-style hot jazz, traditional jazz and pre-war country with great vocals and terrific instrumentals that draw from New Orleans’ brothels to Appalachian hollers. Bursting at the seams with some of the richest threads of old America, the Bumper Jacksons bring you into the center of a party where everyone's invited and the dance floor never sleeps. Frontwoman and Florida native Jess Eliot Myhre (clarinet, vocals, washboard) honed her musical chops in jam sessions in the streets and clubs of New Orleans, immersed in the music that fuels the city’s humid, carnivalesque all-night parties. In 2012, she met Maryland-born fellow songcrafter Chris Ousley (guitar, vocals) in Washington, DC, and the two joined forces to form core of the Bumper Jacksons. Chris’ background in old-time banjo and bluegrass music harmonized perfectly with Jess’s vintage jazz credentials; the songs the duo collects, arranges, and creates weave the high lonesome echoes of old rural America into the galvanizing sounds of the cities and artists that have defined American jazz, blues and swing. Their new recording, “Too Big World” is garnering nationwide attention.

The Bumper Jacksons website
The Bumper Jacksons video


Americana Folk-Rock

Saturday, March 19, 2016 at 8:00 p.m.

only $15

Parsonsfield is a five-piece band from Connecticut. They take wide and deep Americana influences and infuse an infectious, rowdy, rock-‘n’-roll spirit that blows away any preconception of what you think banjos and mandolins should sound like. The band is Chris Freeman on vocals and banjo, Antonio Alcorn on mandolin, Max Shakun on vocals, pump organ and guitar, Harrison Goodale on bass and Erik Hischmann on drums. Their new E.P, Afterparty, like their first recording in 2013 was produced by Sam Kassirer (Josh Ritter, Lake Street Dive) and was released on Signature Sounds last August. It features an accordion-drenched take on Mississippi John Hurt's "Let The Mermaids Flirt With Me"; a version of Huey Lewis and the News' "The Power of Love" with more than a hint of street corner doo-wop harmonies; and "Hang Me", a punk-grass take on the traditional song made famous by Dave Van Ronk and the Grateful Dead. While the band has drawn comparisons to the Avett Brothers and Mumford & Sons, their sound is uniquely, musically their own and has wowed audiences at major festivals such as Edmonton, Ottawa, and the Philadelphia Folk Festival.

Parsonsfield website
Parsonsfield video

Francesca Blanchard

Songs in French and English
Singer and Songwriter

Saturday, April 9, 2016 at 8:00 p.m.

only $20

Rescheduled from January. 23-year-old Francesca Blanchard was selected Best Vocalist of 2015 by the Vermont weekly Seven Days, who hailed her as a "a profound, mature talent” who "displays guile and artistic sensitivity that would be the envy of many tunesmiths twice her age. She may be young, but she has an old soul.” Born and raised in France, she traveled the globe with her family before settling in the small Vermont town of Charlotte near the shores of Lake Champlain. Her intimate music, sung in French and English, reflects on her travels, both physical and emotional, and reflects influences ranging from Norah Jones and Carla Bruni to Eva Cassidy and Francoise Hardy. At The Mainstay, she will augment her fine vocals and guitar with band members on keyboard, bass and drum. (For a sample of the sound check out the video in French below.) She has opened for Joan Armatrading and Suzanne Vega and performed at the prestigious Francofolies Festival in Montreal in 2013 and 2015. Her rendition of the classic French song “Sous Le Ciel de Paris” was featured on the Putumayo collection Vintage France and her recording of "Petit Papa Noel" appeared on Putumayo’s recent French Christmas collection. Her first full-length album, “deux visions” was released in October 2015 on the respected world music label Cumbancha. It was produced by Montreal singer-songwriter Chris Velan (Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars), mixed by acclaimed producer Jean Massicotte (Lhasa, Patrick Watson, Arthur H, Jorane) and mastered at the prestigious Metropolis Studios in London.

Francesca Blanchard video (in French)

Francesca Blanchard video (in English)

Francesca Blanchard website

Cassie and Maggie MacDonald

Fiddle, Guitar, Piano and Vocals
Celtic Music from Nova Scotia

Saturday, May 21, 2016 at 8:00 p.m.

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