The North Elk Coffee House is held on the third Saturdays of September through November and January through May. Guest performers present live music in a variety of styles, including: Celtic, Blues, Bluegrass, Jazz, and traditional American folk music. All members of the community are welcome to attend. The Coffee House seats 110 people at small, candlelit tables, in the friendly and intimate style of the coffee houses of the 1950’s and 1960’s. There are desserts, snacks, and coffee, tea, soda, and water available for a suggested donation. The audience is mostly comprised of adults, but there are also families in attendance. The coffee house is smoke-free and alcohol-free, and has no religious affiliation.
The North Elk Coffee House is located in North East, MD, a small community on the northern tip of the Chesapeake Bay. We are housed in the parish hall of St. Mary-Anne’s Episcopal Church.
From the north, take Route 95 south to Exit 100A. Follow the left lane on the exit ramp, Route 272 south, toward North East. From the exit, go about two miles, into the town of North East (crossing Route 40 and a small railroad bridge). After the bridge, we are about one half mile farther along, on the right side. It is a large white-sided building with a front porch. Look for the blue and white North Elk Coffee House sign out front. There is on street parking and a parking lot across the street, adjacent to North East United Methodist Church.
From the south, take Route 95 north to Exit 100A. Follow the right lane on the exit ramp, Route 272 south. Then follow the directions above.
The doors open at 6:45 p.m. We sometimes have an opening act, or we play the music of one of our upcoming performers until 7:20. The audience is invited to visit the kitchen for snacks and drinks. At 7:30 the guest artist begins their performance. They play two sets of music with a short break in between. The evening ends by approximately 9:30 p.m.
Your donations are collected at the door on the night of the performance. Tickets are not distributed in advance. The suggested amounts are $8 for adults and $6 for children, under 18. All money that is collected, beyond the cost of running the coffee house, is donated to The Meeting Ground, an organization that supports the homeless individuals and families in Cecil County, Maryland. Read more about The Meeting Ground at: www.meetingground.org.
The North Elk Coffee House is completely managed and staffed by volunteers. Without their help, our monthly shows would not be possible. There are opportunities to assist with setting up and taking down the room on the day of the performance and baking for and working in the kitchen during the show. If you are interested in joining our other volunteers you can contact Rick Waterhouse through the St. Mary Anne’s Church office: 410 287 5522 or, via email: email@example.com.
A lighted table is set up on which the artist’s CD recordings and other information are displayed. The audience may purchase the guest artist’s recordings before and after the show and at intermission. Guest artists normally greet the audience and sign CDs at intermission and at the end of the evening.
Main Street has many shops selling antiques, craft items, artwork, and food, all within walking distance. There are also “fast food” restaurants, including McDonald’s, Wendy’s, and Burger King, just a two- minute drive from the coffee house.
You may look for announcements about the coffee house on this web page. We also announce the performances in the Wilmington News-Journal and the Cecil Whig. Information is sent for announcement on WVUD (FM 91.3), the radio station at the University of Delaware, Newark, DE. WVUD has a weekday morning folk program called “Roots”, on which they make concert announcements and sometimes have performers as guests. You may also look for our banner in front of the Parish Hall during the week before the performance.
For Potential Performers
The North Elk Coffee House is a non-profit venue operated as a community outreach of St. Mary Anne’s Episcopal Church. Artists receive $300 for the evening’s performance of (2) 45-minute sets of music. The Coffee House provides stage and sound equipment, although performers are strongly encouraged to bring their own microphones, effects boxes, etc., as desired. A committee meets in June to select artists for the coming season. Musicians interested in playing at the North Elk Coffee House should send a CD and promotional information about themselves to:
North Elk Coffee House
c/o St. Mary Anne’s Church
315 S. Main Street
North East, MD 21901
2014-2015 Schedule of Performers
September 20, 2014 – Sin City Band
We are excited to present The Sin City Band as our opening performers of the 2014-15 season, as they celebrate their 40 th year! Sin City performs a mix of original songs and their versions of classic songs from every American genre. They have visited bandstands from The Grand Opera House (Wilmington) to The Grand Bahamas, from New England to Colorado, from backyards to music festivals. They played their first show in a cozy New Hampshire roadside bar, the night Richard Nixon resigned. That was followed by a year of touring the VFW’s and Moose Lodges of the northern United States, playing classic pedal-steel-country music. From there, it was off to Colorado for an urban-cowboy winter before they finally settled in the Delaware Valley in 1976.
Scott Birney (guitar), Steve Hobson (guitar) and David Berry (piano and bass) are all original members of the band, playing together since the mid-seventies. Drummer Jim Ficca, signed on in 1985, and Alan Berdoulay has been adding the beloved steel guitar tones since 2008. They have been described as “being retro before retro was cool” and Birney says they “go back to when vintage was in color…” We hope you will join us as the Sin City Band begins our new season by bringing its own version of “The Never Ending Tour” to the North Elk Coffee House in September! You can watch video of the band at its website: www.thesincityband.com .
October 18, 2014 – Lisa Brigantino with Special Guest, Lori Brigantino
You may have attended Lisa’s show at the North Elk last season. If so, you’ll definitely want to come back in October when Lisa and her sister, Lori, return. Lisa Brigantino is an award-winning singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, based in Brooklyn, NY. She is a trained composer, who writes for TV, film and more. Her latest CD is “Wonder Wheel”, a critically acclaimed, eclectic collection of original songs ranging from Folk and Rock to Old-Time and Americana. Among other accolades, the album was awarded “Editor’s Pick” by Indie-Music.com. Lisa also placed seventh on their “Top 25 of 2012″. Lisa was an original member of Lez Zeppelin, the world’s first all girl Led Zeppelin tribute band and toured internationally with the band for a number of years playing bass, mandolin and keyboards. She left the band in 2009 to return to composing original material. She is currently recording her next CD release.
Her talented sister, Lori, will join Lisa. Lori’s vocals can be heard on “Wonder Wheel” and on Lisa’s first solo album, “A Brooklyn Night.” Lori is also a trained actor with Off-Broadway, TV, and film credits. We hope you will come out in October to hear Lisa and her guest, Lori! You can hear samples of their music by visiting www.lisabrigantino.com .
November 15, 2014 – Hungrytown
This month we welcome the first of several new acts to our stage: the husband and wife duo of Ken Anderson and Rebecca Hall, known as Hungrytown. They have released two highly acclaimed CDs, “Hungrytown” (2008) and “Any Forgotten Thing” (2011), both of which continue to receive much airplay on folk and Americana stations worldwide. Rebecca and Ken tour full time, performing throughout the US, Canada, Europe and New Zealand. Hungrytown’s music has also appeared on several television shows, including the Independent Film Channel’s hit series, Portlandia.
Rebecca learned to sing in church as a child, and had developed into a skilled interpreter of jazz and blues standards by the time she was in her 20s. Her discovery of roots music inspired her to write her own songs in this style. Rebecca made two well-received solo CDs (with help from Ken behind the scenes), “Rebecca Hall Sings!” (2000) and “Sunday Afternoon” (2002). She has developed a reputation for crafting classic, instantly memorable songs, weaving modern themes into the traditional song style. Daniel Gewetz, writing for the Boston Herald, says, “Rebecca Hall is a true rarity: a new folk classicist.”
Ken is an accomplished multi-instrumentalist as well as a talented producer and arranger. He learned to play drums and keyboards as a child, and has since moved on to bass, guitar, mandolin, banjo and harmonica. He also has a great harmony voice, which is evident on Hungrytown’s recordings. When not touring with Rebecca, Ken is often hiding out in their home studio, Song Catcher Recording, working with other songwriters and instrumentalists.
“Hungrytown make folk music of astonishing delicacy and purity,” reported John Davy, in the UK’s Flyinshoes Review. And Roger McGuinn says: “I love the sound of Rebecca Halls voice. There’s a sweetness and a worldly wisdom, in perfect balance. “ Hear for yourself when we host Hungrytown in November. You can read more and hear music at their website: www.hungrytown.net.
January 17, 2015 – Buddy Mondlock
In January, we are happy to have Buddy Mondlock as our guest! Buddy has been a songwriter and a folk performer since he was 21, and he opened for Steve Goodman at a Chicago folk club on New Year’s Eve. Since then he has released 6 albums, played coffee houses and festivals across the United States and Europe, shared stages with Nanci Griffith and Peter Paul and Mary, and toured with Art Garfunkel and Maia Sharp in 2003, playing songs from an album they released as a trio. Can you imagine the road stories Buddy has to share?!
Buddy’s story-telling skills are evident in the songs he writes, and he shares his love of songwriting , teaching courses at the Swannanoa Gathering in North Carolina. Over the years, Buddy’s songs have caught the attention of Guy Clark, Janis Ian, Joan Baez, Garth Brooks, and several other artists, who have all recorded his compositions. Nanci Griffith asked Buddy to sing on a show she was taping for Irish television. She ended up liking that song so much that she recorded “Comin’ Down In the Rain” on her Grammy Award winning collection “Other Voices, Other Rooms.” And Buddy’s song, “The Kid”, won a Kerrville Music Festival Award for Song of the Year, in 1996. In 2013, he released his newest collection, titled “The Memory Wall”. We hope you will be able to join us to hear Buddy Mondlock singing songs from his new album in person! To read more and hear samples of his music, go to: www.buddymondlock.com.
February 21, 2015 – Brooks Williams
If you have attended the coffee house for several years, you will remember Brooks Williams’ and his amazing guitar work. That’s the reason we had him on our schedule for three years in a row! After trying for the last two seasons, we were finally able to find a date for his return. It happens this month and you will want to be here to hear Brooks Williams live. Brooks plays finger picking blues, swing, flat-picking roots music, and soulful rock, moving easily between all of these styles and beyond. Dirty Linen magazine calls Brooks “a consummate artist” and one of “America’s musical treasures”. Brooks Williams’ performance of instrumentals, ballads, blues, and original songs will have you calling for more!
For many years, Brooks shared his musical talents from his home in Boston. For the last five years, though, he has made Cambridge, England his home. There he has added new musical styles and toured with British musicians, Andy Seward and Keith Angel, in Lightning Express, his first band. But Brooks will perform a solo show for us in February, playing songs from his latest CD, “New Everything”, released in July of 2013. The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, and Acoustic Guitar and Guitar Player magazines all agree that Brooks Williams is something special. Come out to hear this wonderful performer, about which The Irish News wrote: “He possesses a melodic virtuosity on the guitar that runs like liquid from his fingers…” You can learn more about Brooks at his website: www.brookswilliams.com.
March 21, 2015 – Heather Pierson
We are excited to be able to present another new performer this month – Heather Pierson. At first glance, Heather Pierson appears to be the girl next-door – youthful, friendly, and a little bit shy. At the seat of a piano or brandishing her father’s old Gibson, however, she transforms into a world-class performer, baring her soul in a manner that leaves her listeners breathless and aching for more. This talented, multi-genre singer/songwriter and winner of the 2012 New England Songwriting Contest will present a show you won’t want to miss.
Heather was born in Joplin, MO but her family called western Maine their home, by the time she was 5 years old. She got her early introduction to music on the piano from her dad, and from listening to him play the jazz clarinet. A few years ago, Heather also picked up the acoustic guitar and she has been composing on piano and guitar ever since. In the last 4 years, she has released three albums, including 2013’s ”The Hard Work of Living”, which features her Americana/folk/roots songwriting and award-winning single “A Hard Man To Please”. Her life’s work, she says, is to share her love of music and of life with others – one song, one heart, one mind at a time.” Heather Pierson is an amazing talent. Her gorgeous, rich vocals are filled with soul. She’s as comfortable and adept with bluegrass as she is with jazz. Don’t you dare miss an opportunity to hear her live,” raves WVPE Public Radio. You can do that in March at the North Elk Coffee House! Learn more about Heather’s musical journey and ear her music at: www.heatherpierson.com.
April 18, 2015 – Shady Rill
Patti Casey and Tom Mackenzie will return to our stage this spring, combining their numerous talents as the duo, Shady Rill. You might remember Patti and Tom from Shady Rill’s last visit in April, 2012, when their performance of Celtic tunes, and Novelty, French-Canadian, and American folk songs was super! Tom plays hammered dulcimer, banjo, guitar, ukulele, and keyboard, and Patti plays guitar, flute, penny whistle, and clogboard. Above the instruments, you’ll hear their voices blending in the beautiful harmonies that are the trademark of these fine folksingers. You will enjoy the traditional and original songs that Tom and Patti present as well as some opportunities to sing along!
Patti’s solo career has taken her many places along the way: she has appeared live on “A Prairie Home Companion” with Garrison Keillor, and has won Texas’s prestigious Kerrville Folk Festival’s New Folk Songwriter’s Competition. Vermont Public Radio says Patti has “the sweetest voice and some of the finest songwriting to come out of Vermont…” Tom has been a musician for most of his life, starting with the obligatory piano lessons then on to marching band in high school, and finally into the world of traditional music on the Banjo, Hammered Dulcimer, Guitar, Keyboard and recently the Ukulele. Tom enjoys stretching the bounds of musical styles. Clarinet Polka on the Dulcimer, why not? Hall of the Mountain King on Banjo, Sure! And he composes his own songs in a variety of styles as well. Please plan to join us as Shady Rill performs their eclectic mix of folk music this month. Learn more about them and find links to their individual websites at: www.shadyrillmusic.com .
May 16, 2015 – Tater Patch
We will finish our season with some great Bluegrass music from the local treasure, Tater Patch! This group of fine musicians has evolved over the years since the 1980s. Its roots were as a trio of performers, who first played together after Judy Hough met musicians, Shel Sandler and Carl Goldstein, through a concert presented by the Brandywine Friends of Old Time Music. It wasn’t long before Judy became Carl’s wife and band mates of both Carl and Shel. In 1998, Carl had stopped performing on the guitar. When Judy played a concert with guitarist, Richard Gordon, he joined her and Shel Sandler. This new threesome chose to play under the name of Tater Patch, taken from a great old fiddle tune. The name was also a good fit because Judy, an entomologist at the University of Delaware, has a professional interest in potato bugs. In 2001, the group took its current form, as Marge and Tony Sume brought their vocal and instrumental talents to Tater Patch.
The group brings a great mix of instruments to the stage, with Judy Hough-Goldstein and Marge Sume both on fiddles, Shel Sandler on banjo, Tony Sume on guitar, and Richard Gordon playing bass. They captured their happy blend on their self-titled CD in June of 2012. This lively group often plays for square dances and contra dances across the region, so their music will make you want to jump up and move! Join us for some toe-tapping fun as the sun sets over North East and on our 2014-15 season in May. Find out more about Tater Patch at: www.tater-patch.com.