The January show with Mary Ramsey and the Healers provided a rare intimate look at an artist of depth, charm, beauty, prodigious skill, and unique taste. Mary’s interpretation of works by such diverse artists as the Everly Brothers and George Gershwin in addition to her original songs displayed an enviable ability to lend her singular talent to a wide array of music. Her fragile grace and disarming humor are positively captivating onstage. The Healers were exactly the band to back her up. Tasteful and deft, this band rallied for every musical demand Ms. Ramsey threw at them. On a personal note, I have to say Craig, Marc, and Sandra were positively delightful to hang around with.
On February’s show, episode #13, we will conduct a new exploration of the term “grassroots music” with classical guitarist David Allen Coester and singer/songwriter Steve Piper. On Woodsongs, we often talk about “grassroots”, how it is an expression of genuine human nature and how it is the music of the people. These two artists approach that term from quite different directions.
David Allen Coester is a classically trained guitarist. A native of Virginia, Coester earned his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in classical guitar performance from the Manhattan School of Music in New York City where he lived for 18 years. He has performed at the Seoul Arts Center in South Korea, the Basilica of San Clemente in Rome, Italy, and at the Corcoran Gallery in Washington, D.C. He played monthly at the Intermezzo Coffeehouse in Fredonia and has performed at the Lily Dale Assembly, the Fredonia and Westfield Farmer’s Markets, and the Mayville Guitar Show where he offered a number of popular workshops.
Coester is a passionate advocate for normalizing classical music through everyday interaction in the community. “It is unusual for classical guitarists to play outside the concert hall,” he says. “I really enjoy bringing classical and fingerstyle guitar to non-traditional venues in the community and to audiences who are unfamiliar with my style of playing. Many people come up to me and say they’ve never heard the guitar played this way.”
And then, our old Woodsongs pal, Steve Piper. Piper is a songwriter and performer roughly in the folk/country tradition. He lists Hank Williams, Guy Clarke, Townes Van Zandt, Captain Beefheart, John Coltrane, and Mozart as influences. Piper released his first solo cd in 2005 (Kid) and followed up with Home in 2007. A beautifully adept guitarist and ukulele player, Steve has appeared as a sideman on several cd’s by other artists, including his current band, Rochester, NY’s hilariously poignant Watkins and the Rapiers. He is the host of the prestigious “Flipside Open Mic Night” in Rochester.
Steve’s sensitivity, creative observations, and the care he puts into the songwriting craft never get old. Having studied with Jimmie Dale Gilmore for years, Steve’s songwriting continues to grow in magnitude and precision.
This month, the Woodsongs Coffeehouse Radio Hour welcomes Trinity Guitars as our new sponsor. We are very happy about our association with this fine establishment and luthier James Holler.
The taping of the Woodsongs has become an entertainment destination for a growing number of people. Please stop in. Be part of the live radio audience. The show starts at 6:45pm on Thursday, February 23.
See you then!
March 29: Kev Rowe and Gina Vecchio
April 26: Chris Passamonte and Claire Stuczinski
June 3: WRFA presents the Woodsongs finale at the Southern Tier Brewery. Lots of artists from 1:00 to 4:00