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Thursday, August 25


8:00 pm

With Emily Duff Opening


Hawaii-based surfer Donavon Frankenreiter is a soft-rock singer-songwriter who often writes his songs with Grant-Lee Phillips. His songs often have an easygoing lilt that one might expect from his years of riding waves. He should appeal to fans of Jack Johnson, Amos Lee, and John Mayer.

To create his fifth full-length album, "Start Livin'," Frankenreiter holed up in a Southern California studio for seven days with his longtime bassist Matt Grundy, and no one else. The follow-up to 2010's "Glow," "Start Livin'" is a nine-track selection of folk-infused songs that sweetly reflect the simplicity of their recording. With its smooth showcasing of Frankenreiter's rich, honey-thick vocals and masterful guitar work, "Start Livin'" bears all the intimacy of an impromptu back-porch performance and the tenderness of a treasured love letter.

"Start Livin' is basically a love album," says Frankenreiter. "Most of the songs are about my wife and our two boys, and the life that we've built together in Hawaii." Thanks to Frankenreiter's infectious warmth and finely honed pop sensibilities, each of those songs has the singular effect of drawing the listener into that bright and breezy world for a blissed-out moment.

Called the "perfectly cool combo of Lucinda Williams meets Patti Smith," Emily Duff's street-smart poetry and vocal style and her roots-rock American brand of country, gospel and soul weaves a patchwork quilt of sin, tragedy, romance and regret.

    






Friday, August 26


9:00 pm



For over 40 years, BeauSoleil avec Michael Doucet have blended the rich Cajun traditions of Louisiana with elements of zydeco, New Orleans Jazz, country and blues to become the most esteemed Cajun group in music. A twelve-time Grammy Award nominee and two-time Grammy award winner (1998 & 2010), BeauSoleil were the first Cajun Band ever to win a Grammy and have released 25 albums. Perhaps no single band is more responsible for popularizing the unique Cajun sounds of the Louisiana bayou than Beausoleil.

A frequent guest on Garrison Keillor's public radio show "A Prairie Home Companion" (Keillor calls them "the best Cajun band in the world"), BeauSoleil have also made appearances on Late Night with Conan O'Brien, Austin City Limits, the Super Bowl XXXI pre-game show, and HBO's New Orleans-based hit show "Treme."

But BeauSoleil is not just about re-creating a traditional sound without lending it a new accent. While they are experts in Cajun tradition, they are equally at home channeling the godfathers of other music as well, by including a Cajun/La La-style reimagining of James Brown's classic 1962 Live at the Apollo version of "I'll Go Crazy," and a swing version of John Coltrane's "Bessie's Blues." Guitarist David Doucet even tucks an occasional Lester Flatt-style bluegrass G-run into his highly melodic guitar solos. In recent years, the group has been exploring the African roots of its music.

As always on an evening featuring Louisiana music, you can expect Helsinki Hudson executive chef Hugh Horner, a native of the bayou himself, to pull out all stops with a menu perfectly according with the musique du jour.

    






Saturday, August 27


9:00 pm



Named after a Bob Dylan song ("The Ballad of Hollis Brown"), Hollis Brown is an edgy, roots-rock indie band from Queens, N.Y., known for its adrenaline-fueled performances. The independent act has achieved a significant amount of success since their formation in 2009. They released their debut album "Ride on the Train" in 2013, garnering song and video premieres from Rolling Stone, Paste, and American Songwriter, along with music placements on Direct TV's "Kingdom," Showtime's "Shameless," MTV's "Real World," and the Willem Dafoe/Matt Dillon film "Bad Country."

Following a Lou Reed tribute concert in NYC, Hollis Brown was asked to record a tribute to the Velvet Underground's classic album "Loaded," as a limited-edition vinyl release for Record Store Day 2014. "Hollis Brown Gets Loaded" took on a life of its own, with airplay on influential radio stations, resulting in a full CD and digital release.

The band has toured extensively in America and Europe, headlining and supporting such bands as The Zombies, Jackie Greene, Heartless Bastards, Rich Robinson of Black Crowes, and Jesse Malin, and building an impressive fan base.

    






Saturday September 3


9:00 pm

With Sarah Borges Opening


Phil and Don of the Everly Brothers. Ray and Dave Davies of the Kinks. Liam and Noel Gallagher of Oasis. Heck, Cain and Abel. The rock 'n' roll landscape is littered with the broken ties of bands based on sibling relationships.

It seems almost natural that the same thing would afflict Dave and Phil Alvin, who cofounded seminal early LA punk-roots band The Blasters in 1979. They hung in together for seven years, when Dave left to become lead guitarist of cowpunk legends X. It would be nearly three decades before the brothers would record another album together, and their reunion album, 2014's "Common Ground," garnered them a Grammy Award nomination. The two followed that up with last year's "Lost Time," for which the two have been making up since then, both onstage and in the recording studio.

The Alvins will be backed by Dave's band, the Guilty Ones. And Helsinki Hudson's favorite goddess of twang-rock, Sarah Borges, will warm up the crowd for this celebration of the power of brotherly love.

    






Friday, September 9


9:00 pm



Having migrated from his birthplace, Nashville, to New York City, the critically acclaimed folk-rock singer-songwriter Justin Townes Earle - who was named after Texas singer-songwriter legend Townes van Zant - pairs the sage wisdom of Americana music with themes that relate to life in the Big Apple as well as his recent marriage and newfound sobriety.

Earle directly confronts the legacy handed down to him by his father, Steve Earle, on the poignant song, "Mama's Eyes," on his album, "Midnight at the Movies," when he sings, "I am my father's son/I've never known when to shut up/I ain't fooling no one/I am my father's son." His most recent albums, "Single Mothers" and "Absent Fathers," have deepened the autobiographical nature of his work.

When it comes to comparisons, the Guardian UK hears "echoes of Guthrie and Springsteen" in Earle. Earle himself claims to be influenced by artists including Randy Newman, Chet Baker, the Replacements, Tom Waits and Bruce Springsteen. Accolades for Earle include the 2011 Americana Music Award for Song of the Year, as well as the 2009 Americana Music Awards in the Best New and Emerging Artist category, as well as nominations for Best Artist and Best Album.

    






Friday, September 16


9:00 pm



On his own and with collaborators from all over the world, Vieux Farka Touré has forged a distinctive musical blend, drawing on the music of his native Mali, and particularly that of his father, the late legendary Malian guitar player Ali Farka Touré, with rock, Latin music, and other sounds from around the world. In particular, his music explores the tonalities of West African music that is echoed in American blues.

Often referred to as "The Hendrix of the Sahara," Vieux is known for dazzling crowds with his speed and dexterity on the guitar, as well as his palpable charisma and luminous smile, both of which captivate audiences from all audiences in spite of any language barriers (though Vieux does speak eight languages!).

Vieux has collaborated on a wide range of projects with the likes of South African-born vocalist Dave Matthews, Derek Trucks, jazz guitarist John Scofield, and Israeli superstar Idan Raichel. Last year, Vieux released another unexpected, genre-bending collaborative album, this time with New York-based singer Julia Easterlin, aptly titled "Touristes." The album includes a languid, haunting version of Bob Dylan's "Masters of War" as well as covers of Fever Ray's "I'm Not Done" and a reworking of Lead Belly's "Where Did You Sleep Last Night" retitled "In the Pines."

    






Sunday, September 25


8:00 pm



Trixie Whitley is one-of-a-kind. The Belgian-born daughter of musician Chris Whitley has been immersed in music her entire life, hanging out in New York City's Electric Lady Studios while just a toddler. She split her early years between Ghent (the one in Belgium) and New York City, and picked up drums as a child, before hitting the road with a dance company as an actor, singer, dancer and musician. She spent time as a DJ spinning at raves, festivals and parties in Europe and in New York.

Now a multiple threat on drums, guitar, and keyboard as well as vocals, Whitley's first solo EP was produced by Hudson's own Meshell Ndegeocello. She has made music with an all-star lineup of downtown jazz artists including Marc Ribot and Craig Street, and is a member of Daniel Lanois' Black Dub, alongside drummer Brian Blade and bassist Daryl Johnson – best known as bassist for the Rolling Stones.

As a solo artist, Whitley is an eclectic performer, stylistically ranging from folk to rock, pop to R&B, punk to electronica. She still sometimes still gets called a folk-blues singer because of her musical lineage, but she's truly carving out her own space in the musicverse.

    






Friday, September 30


9:00 pm



As leader of 1970s British rock legends Mott the Hoople and as a hugely influential solo artist, Ian Hunter is widely revered as one of rock 'n' roll's most compelling and influential performers, as well as one of its most articulate songwriters. Hunter penned such immortal rock anthems as "All The Way From Memphis," "Once Bitten, Twice Shy," and "Cleveland Rocks," and had a huge hit with the David Bowie-penned "All The Young Dudes," after turning down the first song Bowie offered, "Suffragette City."

Hunter was already a veteran of the London music scene by the time he joined Mott the Hoople in 1969. With Mott, he recorded four iconoclastic albums - "Mott The Hoople," "Mad Shadows," "Wildlife" and "Brain Capers" - by the time they hit international stardom with the glam-rock anthem for a generation, Bowie's "All The Young Dudes."

The band's artistic and commercial success continued with "Mott" and "The Hoople," between them containing the hits "All The Way From Memphis," "Honaloochie Boogie," "Roll Away the Stone" and "The Golden Age of Rock 'n' Roll". On Mott the Hoople's final tour, they took out a then little-known band called Queen, who would have a hit single with a song about their experiences, "Now I'm Here."

Mott the Hoople disbanded in 1974 and Hunter moved to New York, segueing into a celebrated solo career and quickly building a formidable body of solo work. The albums, "Ian Hunter," "All American Alien Boy," "Overnight Angels," "You're Never Alone With A Schizophrenic," "Short Back 'n' Sides" and "All Of The Good Ones Are Taken," featuring such diverse talents as the aforementioned Queen and the Clash, Bowie guitarist Mick Ronson, the then-unknown jazz sensation Jaco Pastorious, and a New Jersey bar outfit called the E Street Band.

These days he performs with his current outfit, the Rant Band, which backed him on his most recent album, "Fingers Crossed," which contains "Dandy," his tribute to his late friend and collaborator, David Bowie.

    






Saturday, October 1


9:00 pm



Amy Ray is best known as one-half of Indigo Girls with Emily Saliers. But Amy has a thriving solo career, too, much of it based on her acclaimed 2014 solo country release, "Goodnight Tender," her modern take on the early Nashville Sound, dogs, pills, Duane Allman, and heartache. Amy brings her band with her to perform songs from "Goodnight Tender" and her five other solo efforts.

Singer-songwriter, author, and gay-rights activist Chely Wright grew up in a musical family in the small town of Wellsville, Kansas. The young Wright starting singing professionally at age 11, and by her senior year of high school was working as a performing musician at the Ozark Jubilee, a country music show in Branson, Missouri. After graduating, the young Kansan went directly to Nashville. It didn’t take long for her innate talents to be recognized. In 1995, she was named Top New Female Vocalist by the Academy of Country Music, then scored her first Top 40 country hit in 1997 with "Shut Up and Drive." Her songs have been recorded by Brad Paisley, Richard Marx, Indigo Girls, Mindy Smith, and Clay Walker, among others.

    






Visit amy-ray.com


Visit chely.com







Sunday, October 16


8:00 pm

With Jono Manson Opening


Folk-country singer-songwriter Crystal Bowersox is an American Idol finalist who was the first contestant in the program's history to have one of her original songs played on the show. Bowersox is critically acclaimed for her considerable vocal prowess – her soulful audition pieces on Idol included songs by Aretha Franklin, Erma Franklin, Gladys Knight and LaVern Baker – and she has gone on to enjoy a successful post-American Idol career of originality and authenticity, along the way winning the endorsement of Jakob Dylan, who duetted with Bowersox on "Stitches," a rootsy ballad the two co-wrote for her 2013 album "All That for This."

The 27-year-old Bowersox has performed alongside Harry Connick Jr., Joe Cocker, Alanis Morrisette, Michael Franti, John Popper and B.B. King. At her most soulful, she channels Sade; at her hardest-rocking, she recalls Melissa Etheridge, at her twangiest, she's in the vein of Mary Chapin Carpenter. It comes as no surprise to learn that Bowersox, who is also an actress, is slated to portray country legend Patsy Cline in the Broadway production of Always, Patsy Cline.

    






Friday, October 21


8:00 pm



The Suitcase Junket is the nom-de-bande of Northampton, Mass.-based indie-blues singer-songwriter Matt Lorenz, who should appeal to fans of Tom Waits and White Stripes alike.

    






Friday, October 28


8:00 pm

With Milton Opening


Having distilled his own signature sound of blues and folk for 50 years, Chris Smither is truly an American original. A profound songwriter and virtuoso guitarist, Smither continues to draw deeply from the blues, American folk music, modern poets and philosophers. From his early days as the New Orleans transplant on the Boston folk scene, through his wilderness years, to his reemergence in the 1990s as one of America's most distinctive acoustic performers, Smither continues to hone his distinctive sound. His voice, in particular, is the very embodiment of the folk-blues sound.

New York City-based singer-songwriter Milton, who warms up the crowd for Smith, boasts a strong regional following based on his tender yet gritty folk-rock tunes evocative of his influences, which include Bob Dylan, Hank Williams, Sam Cooke, Ralph Stanley, Bob Marley and Paul Westerberg.

    




Visit smither.com







Saturday, November 5


9:00 pm



While the Raleigh, N.C.-based Chatham County Line resembles a bluegrass outfit in instrumentation, plays bluegrass festivals, and even has won awards for its bluegrass approach, Chatham County Line is as much a songwriter's band as it is a picking outfit. The group's original songs betray the influence of classic roots-rock singer-songwriters like Neil Young, Gram Parsons and Bob Dylan. The group can do the high-lonesome sound with the best of them, but then turn around and stretch out on an improvisation that takes the audience on a ride into jazz or jam-band territory. The group's next album, "Autumn," is due out in September.

    






Thursday, November 10


8:00 pm



Omar Sosa is known and hailed for his singular blend of Latin jazz and African diaspora music – a modern, urban music with a Latin jazz heart. Having grown up in Cuba, where he studied Cuban jazz, folk music, and classical music, Sosa - who has been compared favorably to Keith Jarrett and Herbie Hancock - has also lived in Ecuador, Spain and San Francisco, as well as immersing himself in the Gnawa culture of North Africa. Thus what comes out of his fingers when he applies them to the piano keyboard is a unique fusion of all these influences – a kind of world music-influenced, up-to-the-moment world jazz.

    




Visit omarsosa.com







Friday, December 2


8:00 pm



An extraordinary and uniquely gifted pianist from Bali, Joey Alexander marked his recording debut with the release of "My Favorite Things," nominated as Best Instrumental Jazz Album for the 2016 Grammy Awards.

Joey brings a delicate, profound and soulful touch to his own interpretation of such classics as "My Favorite Things," "Giant Steps" and "Over the Rainbow" and showcases his talents as an arranger, composer and bandleader. His "Giant Steps" earned a 2016 Grammy nomination for Best Improvised Jazz Solo.

Joey Alexander taught himself to play piano by listening with his father to classic jazz albums. An amateur musician, Alexander's father soon recognized his son's gift for jazz, as his technique and ability to grasp complicated musical concepts was beyond someone of his years. Due to the lack of jazz education where he lived, Alexander began attending jam sessions with senior musicians. From there, his musical intuition flourished, as did his love of playing jazz.

In recognition of his talent, UNESCO invited Alexander to play solo piano in honor of his jazz idol Herbie Hancock, who provides enthusiastic support to Alexander's budding career. Through festival appearances and awards for his improvisational brilliance, the world has taken notice of this phenomenal and exciting pianist with the astonishing technique and soulful sound.

Joey has performed for Herbie Hancock, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. In 2014, Wynton Marsalis invited Alexander to play at the Jazz at Lincoln Center's 2014 gala, which made him an "overnight sensation", according to the New York Times. Alexander won the Grand Prix at the 2013 Master-Jam Fest, and performed at the Montreal and Newport Jazz Festivals in 2015.

Alexander is the first Indonesian act to enter the Billboard 200 chart in the United States, where "My Favorite Things" debuted at number 174 on the week ending May 30, 2015, re-entered and peaked at number 59 in January 2016.

    






Friday, December 9


8:00 pm



Joan Osborne has rightfully earned a reputation as one of the great voices of her generation - both a commanding, passionate performer and a frank, emotionally evocative songwriter. Osborne is widely known for her beloved hit song, "(What If God Was) One of Us," as well as her live performances of "What Becomes of the Brokenhearted" and "Heat Wave" in the Grammy Award-winning documentary "Standing in the Shadows of Motown."

A multi-platinum selling recording artist and seven-time Grammy Award nominee, the soulful vocalist and noted song interpreter is a highly sought-after collaborator and guest performer who has performed alongside many notable artists, including Stevie Wonder, Bob Dylan, Luciano Pavarotti, Emmylou Harris, Taj Mahal, the Holmes Brothers, and Patti Smith to name a few.

Counting such legendary artists as Etta James and Ray Charles as influences, Osborne is firmly rooted in R&B and soul, as evidenced by the soul covers she has recorded on her albums "How Sweet It Is" and "Breakfast In Bed," in addition to "Bring It On Home," which garnered a Best Blues Album nomination at the 2013 Grammy Awards.

    






Saturday, December 17


9:00 pm



Roots-music trio Ballroom Thieves plays a captivating mélange of acoustic styles, blending folk conventions with modern hymnals, classical textures, and Delta blues grit with rich harmonies. They describe themselves as "a rock band disguised as a folk band," and indeed they occasionally go electric in a way that reminds a listener of White Stripes or Tarbox Ramblers.

Guitarist Martin Earley, percussionist Devin Mauch, and cellist Calin Peters share lead vocals among them, adding gorgeous harmonies and fluid instrumentals to their original compositions. The band has shared the stage with bands like the Lone Bellow, Houndmouth, and fellow New Englanders Dispatch over the last couple of years.