Dana and Susan Robinson – Friday, April 24th, 2015

Dana and Susan Robinson Live

Socializing and Potluck at 6:30 p.m.

Two sets of music starting at 7:30 p.m.

Suggested artist donation $20

For address and to attend, please RSVP to Lee
at 312-810-3067 or by email at windycityhouseconcerts@gmail.com

I’m really excited to be hosting Dana and Susan Robinson, at last! I first heard them at a show in Las Cruces, New Mexico in October 2009. I fell in love with their music and performance at that show. So it’s with great pleasure that we are finally able to share their music with you. They perform a mix of traditional songs and Dana’s own songs, which continue in a traditional style. Both are fine instrumentalists and blessed with sweet voices alone and together. This a show not to miss!



About Dana and Susan

The genius of a Dana and Susan Robinson performance lies in their ability to capture the imagination of their audience, evoking a transformative experience that touches on the deepest humanity. They can make the audience howl with laughter or hush with poignant reflection as they take them on a journey across America and convey the mystery and wonder of the places they visit.

Underpinning the songs is the undeniable rhythm of their trademark guitar/banjo sound. Whether it is quiet or driving, there is a steady and unrelenting groove to the music that supports the lyric and delivers the story in an effortless and magical way.

A native of the Pacific Northwest, Dana relocated to New England where he discovered both a thriving songwriters scene and the deep well of traditional mountain music. In the early 1980’s, Dana settled in northern Vermont and built a house “off the grid” (no electricity and phone) on 30 acres near the Canadian border. There he founded a popular bakery, café and folk music venue. Dana launched into full-time touring after the release of his 1994 debut CD, Elemental Lullabye, and after receiving a request to perform at Carnegie Hall in New York City for Putumayo’s Shelter benefit project.

Sue grew up in a musical family in New England. She studied piano, oboe, and Scottish fiddle before meeting Dana in 2002. Sue was working in the environmental field in California when she met Dana at a house concert. Upon moving to North Carolina a short time thereafter, Sue launched into studying with many of the great oldtime musicians in the Asheville area, and naturally adapted to the on-the-road lifestyle.


“Many songwriters such as Bruce Springsteen, or John Mellencamp have been heralded as modern day Woody Guthries or keepers of the American rural spirit, but that mantle might be better entrusted to musicians like Dana Robinson who embody both the heart and the soul of folk music.” — Dirty Linen

“I am struck by how he writes songs that sound deeply rooted in tradition.  His phrasing and poetry are wonderful…”  — Dick Pleasants, WUMB, Boston, MA

“..A poet’s perspective delivered in quietly spectacular musicianship… the music sounds laid back even while his guitar licks are knocking your socks off” — Music Matters Review

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Sunday, September 15th, 2013: Jeni and Billy

Jeni and Billy Grinning

You have to watch where you sit at a Jeni and Billy concert, because that ordinary-looking chair might just turn into the back seat of a big ole Buick hurtling down the switchback of a coal truck road.

Or that chair might turn out to be the rock-hard sinners pew of a white-washed mountain church. That couch might be a marble stoop on a gritty street in Baltimore, and that velvet theater cushion could just be the well-worn driver’s seat of a wagon headed across the windswept Texas plains.

The high twang of a banjo starts it off — or maybe the mournful lilt of the mandolin. Then, a train comes barreling down the reeds of a harmonica. The guitar catches fire and lifts two voices into the high lonesome harmonies of the Appalachian Mountains, painting pictures of miners and millworkers, roustabouts and revival preachers, Buicks and beauty queens.

Asheville, North Carolina, antiquarian map dealer John Ptak captured the spirit of Jeni and Billy, “I knew within 10 seconds that you guys were for real . . . Jeni’s voice is that clear Mother-M kind of quality that I love. I like the music you two make — inspired, true-to-your roots, spare (excellent) guitar. I like silent places in music . . . Quiet, silent places give you time to listen, and also time to think — they are vastly underrated.”

Jeni and Billy bring together original traditional Appalachian ballads from Jeni’s home environment with modern folk performance to produce a unique sound — hearkening back to music from those hills and valleys but with a newer sense of musicality. As people and performers, Jeni and Billy radiate the warmth and open hearts of community, just perfect for the intimacy of a house concert.

This show will be our third time hosting Jeni and Billy and we are just tickled to have them back! We think you’ll love them, too! Check out their music at the links below.


Note: Since this is a Sunday show, we are starting half an hour early.

Music at 7:00 p.m. Potluck and socializing at 6:00 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 windycityhouseconcerts@gmail.com or at 773-334-5776.

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

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

Friday, April 27, 2012: Jeni and Billy

Jeni and Billy

“This is either the most sophisticated simple music or the simplest sophisticated music I’ve ever heard.”

That comment, heard after a Jeni & Billy performance, sums up the appeal of the duo’s “New Old Music.” With exquisitely spare accompaniment and performances that are never rushed, Jeni & Billy’s harmonies harken to a lost time and reverberate with a rare honesty, as they inhabit the lives of miners, preachers, ramblers, lovers, and plain-living folks.  Their music is quiet enough to be heard and just loud enough to be unforgettable.

Sharing the duties of songwriting, arranging, and performing, Jeni & Billy bring to the work very distinct musical backgrounds that both draw from the deep well of Appalachian roots music.

In recent years it’s been practically considered a given that the writing of coal-mining songs is a thing of the past, but lo and behold, along comes an album of new songs related to, or inspired by, the coal-mining lifestyle. Jeni Hankins is the granddaughter of coal miners, so she is well steeped in the tradition. Her mournful vocals compare favorably with other Appalachian old-time folks singers . . . the accompaniment is always very spare, and the performances are never rushed . . . Jewell Ridge Coal is a very worthy addition to a genre that may not be so antiquated after all. – Paul-Emile Comeau – Dirty Linen

Jeni and Billy call their music “New Old Music” on their facebook page and that is just what it is. Jeni and Billy write their own songs, but in the style of traditional country, Appalachian, old-time, country blues, bluegrass and folk music. Jeni was born in the coalfields of Southwest Virginia and traces her vocal style to Virginia Lowe, the blind music minister of the Friendly Chapel Church on Smith Ridge, VA. Billy grew up in Baltimore but spent his weekend nights high atop a hill in the nearby community of Oella — the home of Appalachian migrants who came to the city looking for work in the mills. There, among people much like Jeni’s grandparents, he fell in love with country music.

Steeped in roots of traditional music, Jeni and Billy perform their songs and tell their stories with heartfelt grace and genuine warmth that will reach anyone who hears them.

I first discovered Jeni and Billy online and then got to hear them in person at Folk Alliance, both in Memphis and at FAR-West, the Western Regional Folk Alliance conference. Regular attendees of house concerts know the close connection between musicians and audience members in general. Jeni and Billy exemplify that warmth. When I first met them in person, it felt like we had been friends for a long, long time, instead of just online correspondents.

Please join us for an evening of wonderful, unique music and warm friendship and camaraderie. You’ll be glad you came.

Listen to Monica Gomez’ October 2, 2010 interview with Jeni on her “State of the Arts” show on KTEP-FM.


Suggested artist donation $20

Music starts at 7:00 p.m. Socializing from 6:00 p.m.

Light refreshments provided, BYO wine and/or potluck refreshments to share are welcome.

For more information, please contact Lee at 575-571-9178 or by e-mail at lasalturashouseconcerts (at) gmail.com.