Bella Hardy, Sunday, September 10, 2017

Bella Hardy with fiddle

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

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

Free child care provided (advance notice required).

I’ve been waiting for years for the opportunity to host Bella Hardy and share her amazing performance. I was captivated by her beautiful voice, gripping songs and soulful fiddling the first time I saw her at a Folk Alliance conference.

BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards Singer of the Year 2014, Bella Hardy’s fine fiddling and mesmerizing voice have propelled her to the vanguard of British folk music.  Creating twisted tales that touch on both the fantastical elements of Kate Bush, and the lovelorn songwriting craft of Carole King, she presents folk songs in the best tradition; not as antiquated museum pieces, but as relevant and very human artworks.

Since the release of her critically acclaimed ‘With The Dawn’ two years ago (“nothing short of a masterpiece” – The Sunday Times UK), she has spent a winter in China as British Council Musician in Residence, extensive time in Nashville co-writing and observing from coffee shop windows, and opened tours for Grammy winner Mary Chapin Carpenter.  Bella, her fiddles and her notebooks, have once again been traveling, thinking, flying, driving, training, reading and gazing. A rare treat, Bella’s travels bring her to us from her home in Glasgow, Scotland.

“Ultimately, what Hardy has done here is make a folk album for people who don’t normally like folk music. In doing so, it’s both a credit to her and the genre.” – Q Magazine reviewing Bella’s latest album, “With the Dawn

“Bravely personal diary of a touring folk singer… never since Paul Simon’s Homeward Bound has
the life of a touring folk singer sounded quite so angst-ridden” – The Guardian

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

Cara Luft – Sunday, April 6, 2014 – Exclusive Chicago Appearance

Cara Luft

“Canadian Folk Heroine” is the tagline on Cara Luft’s web site. That’s a pretty cheeky claim to live up to, yet it’s a perfect way to describe Cara. She’s a fine and award-winning musician, singer and songwriter, a plucky performer with an impish sense of humor and a founding member of a Canadian folk super-group.

Cara Luft has a rich tradition in folk music. A Juno award winner (that’s a Canadian Grammy for those of you who are internationally impaired) and co-founder of acclaimed folk/roots trio the Wailin’ Jennys – it’s safe to assume that she knows her stuff – and upon listening it becomes quite clear that she is indeed a formidable songwriter and performer. ”Darlingford” marks her third release as a solo artist, and finds the lovely Ms. Luft continuing to hit her stride and setting the bar for the talented few who’ll follow in her footsteps. – Mathew DeRiso, No Depression

Cara has earned her solid reputation as one of Canada’s finest live performers with an engaging, down-home style, wrapped in a warm and delicious sense of humour. Her spirit and innate musicianship were instrumental in the rise of The Wailin’ Jennys to the forefront of the North American roots music scene. Since leaving the trio, she has wowed audiences and critics across North America and Europe with her performances. Yet, with all this acclaim, Cara is a warm, down to earth person, connecting to her fans as fellow travelers on her musical journey.

Cara and I have been trying to schedule a show for several years, visiting every year at Folk Alliance and trying to figure it out. We finally found a time and we have the privilege of being the only Chicago show on her spring tour of the upper midwest US.

Check out her music at these links:

Music at 7:00 p.m. Potluck and socializing at 6:00 p.m. Please feel free to 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 $20 (All funds go to the musician.)

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

Saturday, April 20, 2013: The Twangtown Paramours

Twangtown Paramours

The Twangtown Paramours, MaryBeth Zamer and Mike T. Lewis, put on a wonderful and enjoyable show. Beautiful vocal harmonies, Mike’s fabulous guitar work and a mix of songs about love and life, serious and humorous combined with their warm personalities all combine to make their shows great fun.

But don’t just take my word for it. Here are some reviews:

“The Twangtown Paramours bring a blend of thought provoking lyrics with angelic vocals combined with well accomplished musicians. What more could you ask for?” – Dennis Double, Co-host Writer’s Block, WDVX-FM, Knoxville, TN

“The Twangtown Paramours…certainly know how to reel out great songs, with several proudly accepted awards (including the Wildflower Festival’s Michael Terry People’s Choice Award) under their belts to prove it…” – Emily Saxton, Maverick Magazine, UK

“Classifications are something that are very important in music these days. Everything must fit in a neat, little 4+6 box, so we can call it whatever we think it is. The Twangtown Paramours shatter that line of thinking. They are, all at once, a little bit of blues, pop, country, and even (at times) bluegrass.” -Chuck Dauphin, Music News Nashville

I can attest to all of this, since I’ve seen The Twangtown Paramours at Folk Alliance conference showcases and Uncommon Ground here in Chicago. MaryBeth and Mike are great to hear and fun to hang out with. Give them a listen at the links below.

Potluck and Socializing at 6:30 p.m. Music at 7:30 p.m. Please bring a dish and wine or other beverage to share.

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

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

Sunday, December 9, 2012: Bill and Kate Isles

Bill and Kate Isles

“Beautiful and heartfelt harmonies, great songs and musicianship… I’ve heard them sing Bill’s wonderful original song Hobos in the Roundhouse maybe a dozen times and it always makes me cry!” – Lisa Fuglie, Monroe Crossing

Bill & Kate Isles are an acoustic singer/songwriter duo based in Duluth, Minnesota. Using a wide variety of musical styles, their performances carry audiences through a broad landscape of experiences from metaphorical worlds to small town family stories and to zany comedy. Consummate performers, they are known for their catchy melodies and memorable songs. They have a deep-seated love for the audience, and each other, and it shines before, during, and after the performance. They tour nationally, presenting their profound songs for audiences large and small, from house concerts to festival stages and everything in between. Words like “Mesmerizing”, “Transcendent”, and even, “Hysterical” are common descriptions from audience reviews and audiences members feel that they are listening to stories of their own lives, told by two of their best friends.

We love Bill and Kate as friends and musicians and we’re thrilled to have them back for a Christmas show. Please join us for an evening of warmth, friendship and great music to kick off the holiday season!

Potluck and Socializing at 5:30 p.m. Music at 6:30 p.m.

For information and an invitation, please contact Lee at 575-571-9178 or e-mail

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

Saturday, July 7, 2012: Kira Small and Emily Baker

Kira Small andEmily Baker Poster

Kira Small, Nashville Singer/Songwriter and Emily Baker, UK Singer/Songwriter kick off Windy City House Concerts!

I met Kira at Folk Alliance. I went to her showcase because another singer/songwriter friend told me I had to go see her because she was “awesome.” Kira greeted me and asked how I came to be at her showcase. I told her how (no pressure), and sat down to listen. Fortunately for both of us, she lived up to her billing as “awesome.” And now she is coming to play for us in Chicago for our very first Windy City House Concert with her UK friend Emily Baker!

About Kira:
“Girl, you sound like a neat glass of single malt in a world of Michelob Ultra.” Those were the words of Grammy award-winning songwriter Mike Reid (“I Can’t Make You Love Me”) when he heard Kira Small sing. This sultry, soulful siren combines the smoothness of Norah Jones, the rawness of Bonnie Raitt, the retro soul of Adele and the flat-out-wailing of Aretha Franklin. Delivered with her huge heart, even huger voice and wicked sense of humor, Kira’s engaging original songs and choice R&B classics seem to snuggle right into listeners’ laps.

About Emily:
Drawing from the earthy inspirations of a long line of heritage singer songwriters such as Carole King whose qualities start with their songwriting prowess, Brighton singer songstress Emily Baker sets out her stall in this, her finely sculpted debut album and calling card ‘House of Cards’ (Little Love Records).

Once on stage Emily is genuinely at home with the audience. Her skill is in balancing passionate storytelling with flashes of eccentricity between songs: taking a slice of real life and serving up with a melody.

Suggested artist donation $20

Socializing and potluck at 6:30 p.m. Music at 7:30 p.m.

For more information and an invitation, please contact Lee at 575-571-9178 or by e-mail at windycityhouseconcerts (at)