Joe Jencks, Sunday, August 28, 2016

Joe Jencks

Music at 3:00 p.m.
Socializing and light potluck at 2:00 p.m.
$15-20 suggested artist donation*

For an invitation to attend, please contact Lee
by email at
or at 312-810-3067

It’s a great privilege for us to host Joe Jencks and a rare opportunity to see him solo. While he’s based in Chicago, he’s usually out on the road solo or as part of the blockbuster trio, Brother Sun. He’s also appearing on Folkstage, the nationally syndicated folk show on WFMT-FM 98.7 Saturday, August 27.

Joe has an amazing voice, fabulous guitar chops and writes great songs. Besides, that, he’s one of the nicest, warmest people I know. He was really the first to welcome me to the Chicago folk music community, before we even moved here. So I’m thrilled to share his music with you and get a chance to spend some time with a great musician.

Please don’t take my word for it. Here are a few comments from other folks, some of whose names you may recognize. Then check him out online at the links at the bottom of this post. You really have to hear Joe perform!

“Joe Jencks is the type of musician that will cause you to drop that morning newspaper or pull your car to the side of the road when you hear his songs. He is the type of artist that will turn heads in his direction when he walks onto a stage. His voice will instantly draw you into his passionate songs. He is the type of musician whose music will become a part of you.” – Ron Olesko, WFDU-FM, Teaneck, NJ

“In these times, we need the singers who will do the homework and tell the stories! Joe Jencks is among the fine next generation singers who are ready to carry on the tradition as well as look into the future” – Holly Near, Ukiah, CA

“The key to the future is people joining in. The music of Joe Jencks captures this essential spirit. Joe is a fantastic singer who carries on the traditions.” – Pete Seeger

“The next time someone says that folk music has lost its conscience, lacks great protest songs, or has lost its connection with its causes, I will sit them down and play Joe Jencks’ CD, I Hear Your Voice. Jencks sings with a superb tenor voice, and picks flashy guitar… that doesn’t obscure the beauty of his voice or the words of his well-crafted songs.” – Sing Out! Magazine, Rich Warren, Host of ‘The Midnight Special’ and ‘Folkstage” on WFMT-FM 98.7, Chicago, IL


“Love is the Reason” is one of my many favorite Joe Jencks songs.

“Come with Me” is one of my top favorites.

Joe performing on Horses Sing None of It, a non-commercial cable TV show. Don’t be put off by the silly intro (a little over a minute). This gives a good taste of Joe in concert.

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* All funds go to the musician

Dana Cooper – Sunday, June 19, 2016

Dana Cooper

Music at 4:00 p.m.
Socializing and light potluck at 3:00 p.m.
$15-20 suggested artist donation*

For an invitation to attend, please contact Lee
by email at
or at 312-810-3067

Out of the heartland of America, stomping grounds of Truman and Twain, “powerhouse” troubadour Dana Cooper dedicated himself to a life of music over 40 years ago. This song poet engages and inspires audiences around the world with his quick wit, insightful stories and commanding presence. Dana is the recipient of the 2014 Heritage Musician Award from Pilgrim Center for the Arts in Kansas City, MO. He was also named the 2015 Spirit of Folk award winner by Folk Alliance International. He has performed on Austin City Limits, Mountain Stage and the Kerrville Folk Festival where he was nominated for their Hall of Fame. Cooper’s songs have been recorded by top-notch artists such as bluegrass star Claire Lynch; Irish vocalist Maura O’Connell; and luminary songwriters Pierce Pettis and Susan Werner.

Cooper’s mixture of flat-picking, finger-picking and percussive strumming style is legend among other guitarists. An expressive singer, his voice is ageless, evoking a rich lifetime of experience.

His prolific endeavors have resulted in over 20 albums. The critically acclaimed Miracle Mile on Compass Records was nominated for a Nashville Music Award as “Best Pop Album” and was chosen by Performing Songwriter magazine as one of the top DIY recordings for the year. Harry Truman Built a Road was named one of the best records of 2002 by The Tennessean and was also chosen as one of the top twelve DIY recordings for that year. Made of Mud, released on King Easy Records in 2005, won Cooper the “Best Male Songwriter Award” by Indie Acoustic Project. Cooper joined co-producer/guitarist Thomm Jutz in 2010 to record the indie Americana classic The Conjuror. Working again with Jutz, Cooper released Building a Human Being in September, 2015. This is Cooper’s 25th album and it’s gaining momentum on Americana radio stations all over the US. Grammy-award-winning singer/songwriter Kim Carnes co-wrote two of the songs with Cooper and sings on several tracks.

* These voluntary donations all go to the artist. The suggested amount is just that (suggested), so we’d rather have you attend and contribute what you can than not hear the music.

To get emails about our shows, please click here to subscribe to our mailing list.

Claudia Nygaard – Sunday, April 3, 2016

Claudia Nygaard

Music at 3:00 p.m.
Socializing and light potluck at 2:00 p.m.
$15-20 suggested artist donation

For an invitation to attend, please contact Lee
by email at
or at 312-810-3067

Claudia Nygaard’s captivating storytelling overflows from her songwriting into her live performance. With a voice like amber honey, and a twinkle in her eye that makes the entire audience feel she is sharing a secret with them alone, she takes them on an emotionally fearless journey with stories that expose a rare vulnerability and tenderness one moment, then a quick wit and an outlandish, irreverent sense of humor the next. Her songs move from heartfelt to humorous and from scrappy to sensual, and all the while the stories she tells in between them are as entertaining as the songs themselves.

“Claudia Nygaard’s music invitingly straddles the fence between country and folk with a band sound that is decidedly unplugged and artfully laid-back in support of her sensually lyrical alto. And then, there’s the matter of her songs — that rival the likes of Guy Clark or Ian Tyson in their plainspoken, memoir-like quality, rich with personalized images and a resonant point-of-view.” Sing Out Magazine

“I am continually amazed by the emotions she can evoke; heart wrenching I cry every time, to a social statement which could be a call to action or at least some inner searching, to sexy and funny that leaves everyone in the room delightfully joyfully heated. She is a pleasure to work with and gives her best every time. Always delighted to have her at Kerrville!” Dalis Allen, Producer of the Kerrville Folk Festival, Kerrville, TX and Chair of SWRFA (SouthWest Regional Folk Alliance)

I met Claudia at a Folk Alliance conference long enough ago not to remember exactly when it was and she made an immediate impression. Different with more of a country/Americana flavor than most of the singer/songwriters, but with story songs that drew you in with paintings in words and characters alive with emotion. Over the years, I got to see her at a number of conferences, but only a couple songs at a time. I knew she had a sense of humor but I didn’t realize how really funny she can be until a couple years ago.

Finally in July, 2014, I got to see her do a full show at Two Way Street Coffee House and discovered she has a wonderfully impish sense of humor. Her songs and performance will have you crying at times and laughing out other times. She’s a sweetheart and a house concert is the perfect way to see her.

Lara Herscovitch – Sunday, October 11, 2015

Lara Herscovitch at Club Passim Aug 2015 by Neale Eckstein

Music at 3:00 p.m.
Socializing and light potluck at 2:00 p.m.
$15-20 suggested artist donation

For an invitation to attend, please RSVP to Lee
by email at or at 312-810-3067

“Pure musical poetry” (The Courier), Lara’s award-winning music is contemporary folk with shades of blues, jazz, and pop. With her voice “clear and smooth like expensive liquor”, she stands “above and beyond the pack” (Northeast Performer). For some people, what they do and who they are two different things. Not for Lara; her art as songwriter, poet, singer, performer reflects her work as a policy social worker on behalf of disadvantaged individuals focusing on education, community development, and juvenile justice around the world.

Former State Troubadour of Connecticut (2009-2010), Lara brings charm, authenticity, intelligence and a love of performing that immediately resonates with diverse audiences. She has appeared as a guest on A Prairie Home Companion with Garrison Keillor.

Rebecca Folsom – Sunday, May 17, 2015

Rebecca Folsom with Guitar

“What I love most in life is being on stage singing, with people connecting and  loving the music, having their hearts opened, dancing, singing along.  I absolutely love it.” – Rebecca Folsom

Socializing & Light Snack Potluck at 4:00 p.m.

Two sets of music starting at 5:00 p.m.

Suggested artist donation $20 (all funds to Rebecca)

For address and to attend, please RSVP to Lee
at 312-810-3067 or by email at

“Lush harmonies, great acoustic music and a lot of sass and attitude….sweet one minute, and then rebellious and smart the next.” High Plains Radio

“songs that are at once literate and emotional, and harmonies that strike just the right note of connection and invention while staying spare and serving the music.” Dirty Linen

The quotes above just scratch the surface – a Rebecca Folsom show is great fun. Her performance is energizing and her voice is amazing!

I first heard Rebecca at the Folk Alliance International conference in 2010. I fell in love with her music and performance then and she’s just gotten better with time. I’m thrilled that we can host her and I’d love to share her music with you. Please get in touch to join us.

Chad Elliot – Sunday, March 8, 2015

Chad Elliott

“Normally billed as a folk singer, Elliott’s songs all tell finely crafted stories and his mastery of written word is apparent on all of them. His vocals remind me of Townes Van Zandt or a possessed Rodney Crowell. Many of the songs have a very haunting feel to them and the sound meanders from straight folk to country with a splash of delta blues thrown in at times.” – Adam Dawson, Broken

Averaging close to 200 shows per year, Elliott has been on the road for nearly 20 years performing a blend of Americana, roots and country music. Elliott is currently working on his 20TH ALBUM traveling to Nashville to record with producer/drummer Ken Coomer (Wilco, Uncle Tupelo).

With a couple thousand songs in tow, Chad has also collected more than a few interesting stories, many of which end up crafted into lyrics. Perhaps the most surreal moment in his career happened in 2009 while he was portraying Buddy Holly for the Surf Ballroom on the 50th anniversary of the fateful plane crash which took the rock legends life. He was asked to sing Oh Boy with Buddy’s widow Maria Elena Holly. She whispered in Elliott’s ear after the song faded, “You’re my Buddy”.

He has also shared the music stage with great artists such as: R.L. Burnside, Odetta, Tom Paxton, Loudon Wainwright III, among other stadium acts like Counting Crows, Eric Church and Lonestar. Chad has also accumulated a string of awards and honors.

Awards and Honors

  • 2014 Newsong Contest – Midwest Finalist
  • 2013 Top 25 Albums on – So Sang the Crow
  • 2013 Iowa Blues Challenge – Winner Solo/Duo
  • 2013 Rising Star – Finalist
  • 2012 Show Me the Music Song Contest – Finalist – Americana
  • 2012 Int. Folk Alliance Conference – Official Showcase Artist
  • 2011 Iowa Motion Picture Awards – Best Original Music Score
  • 2011 Mixies Award – “Most Creative Tour” – One Horse Town Tour
  • 2009 International Songwriting Contest – 3rd Place Winner – Americana
  • 2009 Woody Guthrie Song Contest – 1st Place Winner
  • 2008 Kerrville New Folk – Finalist
  • 2006’s – Open Mic Winner
  • 2006 Just Plain Folks – Top 20 New Folk Songs

Music at 3:00 p.m. Light snack potluck and socializing at 2:00 p.m. Please feel free to bring a dish and/or beverage to share. Wine or beer are welcome. Water, glasses, dishes and silver provided.

For more information and an invitation, please contact Lee by e-mail at or at 312-810-3067.

Suggested artist donation $15-20. This is a voluntary donation — we welcome you and appreciate whatever you can contribute. All funds go to the musician and along with any CD and merchandise sales is how the musician gets paid.

To get emails about our shows, please click here to subscribe to our mailing list.

Cancelled: Mike Mangione – Friday, February 27, 2015

Mike Mangione

Due to unforeseen circumstances, we’ve had to cancel this show. Please join us for a future show.


Mike Mangione is the band leader of the traveling orchestral folk group Mike Mangione & The Union. Mike and his brother Tom write ballads with lyrics sometimes literal and direct, sometimes metaphorical and mysterious. Whether solo or with the full band, the music fits the stories, crossing blues, folk and rock as appropriate. While we won’t get the full band, we are privileged to host Mike in a smaller format. Red-Winged Blackbird Man, the band’s most recent album, is a great introduction, with several songs with fairly spare acoustic treatments as well as songs by the full band.

Writing in American Songwriter Magazine about Red-Winged Blackbird Man, Hal Horowitz said:

“Lyrically, the tunes are reminiscent of Bruce Springsteen’s ability to describe characters in such exquisite detail that by the end of five minutes it seems as if you’ve known them your whole life…The frontman’s boyish voice is an impeccable fit for this often dramatic material, balancing talk singing with a casual Paul Simon type vibe”

Blurt Magazine described Mike’s singing this way:

Like a less-raspy Ray LaMontagne, or perhaps a huskier Jason Isbell, Milwaukee (by way of Chicago) singer-songwriter Mike Mangione’s got that soul thang (sic) going on in his voice – at once vulnerable enough to telegraph that he’s known heartache, yet with just the right hint of swagger to suggest he’s not afraid to take another chance at love.

Give a listen and check out the lyrics at the links below and see what you think. I’m excited to hear a full show from Mike. I’ve gotten to hear him showcase several times at Folk Alliance but that’s only a couple songs at a time, so I’m really looking forward to this show. If you like what you hear, please get in touch (see the contact information at the bottom of the page).

Music starts at 7:30 p.m. You’re welcome to join us from 6:30 p.m. for socializing and optional potluck supper. BYOB wine or beer are welcome. We’ll have two sets of music with a short break in the middle.

Suggested artist donation $20. This is a voluntary donation. All donations go to the musician.

For more information, please contact Lee by e-mail at or at 312-810-3067.

To get emails about our shows, please click here to subscribe to our mailing list.

Allie Farris – Sunday, December 7, 2014

Allie Farris at Folk Alliance

Allie’s journey as a musician and performer began with piano lessons at age 7. At 15, she was writing and recording her own songs and performing them with her own band at venues in and around her hometown of Dallas. She also recorded two EP’s during that time, which show her gift for words and music early on, with mastery of the piano and a powerful, expressive vocal ability. There’s no doubt that she was born to be doing exactly what she is doing.

Raised on classic rock, Allie fell in love with songs of Elton John, Joni Mitchell, Tom Petty, The Band and more. This ‘70s and ‘80s music is a primary influence for the Allie’s songs today – piano driven, melodically soaring, lyrically focused, and emotionally rich.

She’s shared stages with David Wilcox, Gabe Dixon, Jimmy LaFave, Sara Hickman, Emily Elbert, Seth Glier, Beth Wood, Robby Hecht, Kate Klim, Grace Pettis, and Natalie Gelman, several of whom we have hosted at Windy City.

“Allie has found a home in Nashville after going to school in her native Texas and spending some time in Boston. Allie’s accolades continue to grow…Allie’s contemporary piano-driven songs are melodic, thought-provoking and exceptionally memorable.” — Kathy Sands-Boehmer, No Depression

Allie has won and placed in numerous performance and songwriting competitions. I’ve had the privilege of seeing her grow as a writer and performer for several years and it’s a pleasure to be able to host her and share her music with our friends. Please give a listen and consider joining us for a lovely afternoon of music.

Allie's Awards

Music at 4:00 p.m. Light snack potluck and socializing at 3:00 p.m. Please bring a dish and beverage to share. Wine or beer are welcome. Water, glasses, dishes and silver provided.

For more information and an invitation, please contact Lee by e-mail at or at 773-334-5776.

Suggested artist donation $15-20 (All funds go to the musicians.)

To get emails about our shows, please click here to subscribe to our mailing list.

Robby Hecht – Sunday, September 14, 2014

Robby Hecht

I first heard Robby Hecht at a Folk Alliance conference showcase a couple years ago. I was blown away by the middle of his first song. After the other two songs in the showcase, I knew I wanted to host him for a house concert. It’s taken a while to schedule this show, but it was worth the wait.

The first thing you hear is Robby’s warm, smooth tenor voice that fellow songwriter Steve Poltz once compared to “a warm blanket that wraps itself around you.” Then you are pulled in by the lyrics of his songs – beautifully and carefully crafted – some telling a story, some capturing feelings – happiness or sorrow, fulfillment or wistfulness. All supported by solid and tasteful finger-style guitar playing.

Catie Curtis, Anais Mitchell, Julie Lee and others have gushed about the “natural beauty” of Hecht’s tone, the “honey in his voice” and his “authentic gifts” as a lyricist.

Robby has toured and written relentlessly over the last several years and is the winner of several songwriting awards including the Kerrville New Folk Competition, Rocky Mountain Folks Festival Songwriting Contest and Telluride Bluegrass Festival Troubadour Contest.

Note: we are starting half an hour earlier than the regular evening start time:

Music starts at 7:00 p.m. You’re welcome to join us from 6:00 p.m. for socializing and optional potluck supper. Wine or beer to share are welcome.

Suggested artist donation $20 (All funds go to the musician.)

For more information and an invitation, please contact Lee by e-mail at or at 773-334-5776.

To get emails about our shows, please click here to subscribe to our mailing list.

Eric Taylor – Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Eric Taylor

Eric Taylor is a legendary songwriter, singer and guitarist. He is a sage musician, a lyrical genius and a master of the guitar. If you’re familiar with the intricate Texas singer/ songwriter jigsaw puzzle, you probably already know a lot about Taylor. If you’re not familiar with Taylor by name, you’ve probably heard his songs performed by people such as Nanci Griffith and Lyle Lovett. He has created a multitude of fans and devotees that are legends themselves in the singer/songwriter realm, artists who have long considered Taylor to be a teacher and a lantern bearer whose time is long overdue.

Taylor learned intricate blues guitar stylings from music legends Lightnin’ Hopkins, Mance Lipscomb and Mississippi Fred McDowell while working at the Family Hand club. Later, he developed his own unique guitar picking style, that would be imitated by many of his contemporaries from the early Houston days, such as Guy Clark, Townes Van Zandt, Robert Earl Keen, Lyle Lovett, Steve Earle, and Nanci Griffith. “There were no lines drawn in the sand between musical genres in Houston back in those days,” Taylor remembers. “You were just a musician. I believe so many great writers came out of that scene because you could learn from others. Isn’t that the point of this whole thing?”

Taylor has headlined the prestigious Newport Folk Festival, played National Public Radio’s “Mountain Stage” and has appeared on both “Late Night With David Letterman” with Nanci Griffith and “Austin City Limits” with Lyle Lovett, Guy Clark, and Robert Earl Keen. A Kerrville New Folk winner in the 1970s, Eric continues to play the major folk festivals worldwide, with a few house concerts in between.

“To say that Eric Taylor is one of the finest writers of our time, would be an understatement…If you miss an opportunity to hear Eric Taylor, you have missed a chance to hear a voice I consider the William Faulkner of songwriting in our current time.” – Nanci Griffith

“I’m always the opening act when I’m around Eric. I love his voice, and he has a great narrative quality and sense of detail. He sort of takes you out of your own reality and into the reality of his songs. It’s good writing no matter how you cut it.” – Lyle Lovett

“He’s the real deal. Eric Taylor was one of my heroes and teachers when I started playing around Houston in the early 1970s.” – Steve Earle

“Eric Taylor….a very gifted songwriter. It was a high point for me performing “Strong Enough For Two” with him at the Newport Folk Festival. Hope to work more with him.” – Joan Baez

“Eric Taylor is one of the few artists I’ve ever seen with a greatness that wreathes about him as he takes the stage, no matter what size the venue. An audience instinctively knows to shut up and pay attention. This is a man who takes the art of songwriting – and the art of performance – seriously. And, at the end of the set, the audience will have been transported some place and back again…Aspiring – and accomplished – songwriters leave Eric Taylor shows shaking their heads in awe. And well they should.” – Charlie Hunter, Flying Under Radar Productions

Music starts at 7:30 p.m. You’re welcome to join us from 6:30 p.m. for socializing and potluck supper. Wine or beer are welcome.

Suggested artist donation $20 (All funds go to the musician.)

For more information and an invitation, please contact Lee by e-mail at or at 773-334-5776.

To get emails about our shows, please click here to subscribe to our mailing list.