Saturday, September 24, 2011: Stephanie Bettman and Luke Halpin

Stephanie Bettman and Luke Halpin

Stephanie Bettman is a triple threat. An accomplished writer, she infuses her music with wit and wisdom, exploring the many facets of the human heart. Stephanie’s songs are sometimes sad, sometimes sassy, but always stunning. As a vocalist, she moves effortlessly from her up-tempo bluegrass originals (featuring her fiery fiddling), to a soothing honey-sweet ballad, to a rousing passionate anthem. While her first-rate fiddling combines elements of bluegrass and jazz, in her essence there is tribute to such masters as Stephane Grappelli, Byron Berline, and Johnny Gimble. One thing’s for sure, if Stephanie Bettman is on the bill, you are in for an unforgettable performance that will have you hooked from the first fiddle line to the last sweet harmony.

Touring with Stephanie is multi-instrumentalist Luke Halpin, who is equally adept on mandolin, fiddle and guitar. Inspired by the likes of Sam Bush, Tony Rice, and Mark O’Conner, Luke’s perfectly blended harmonies and his instrumental expertise together with Stephanie’s artistry and performance make for a dynamic experience audiences are discovering from coast to coast.

If you heard them on one of their earlier visits to Las Cruces, you already know all of this. So mark your calendar and come join us. If you haven’t heard Stephanie and Luke, you are in for a remarkable treat.!/stephaniebettma!/lukehalpin

Suggested artist donation $15

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

Please bring potluck food and wine to share.

For more information, please contact Lee at or by phone: 575-522-5197

Saturday, June 25, 2011: Jennings and Keller

Jennings and Keller on Porch Steps
Jennings and Keller is Laurie Jennings Oudin and Dana Keller, an acoustic duo based out of Miami, Florida. They bring a wealth of experience to their collaboration, from the Broadway musicals of New York to the honky tonks of West Texas. Their music is called “Fusion Folk Americana’ – a blend of many different elements that comes from their vast and wide-ranging musical backgrounds.

Laurie and Dana played Las Cruces at Judy Harmon’s Harmony House Concerts in June of 2008. I wrote a little review of their show at the time; it still applies and now you have another chance (or your first chance) to see them.

“Jennings and Keller just played my friend’s Harmony House Concert series in Las Cruces, NM this past weekend and put on a wonderful show. This duo from Florida plays and sings original songs of life, love and everything else. Laurie Jennings has a beautiful voice and plays a sweet guitar. Dana Keller plays outstanding dobro and sings very well. They put on a great show – great music and great sense of humor and interaction with the audience. I recommend them highly so please attend a show near you and/or pass the word to your friends.”

Check out their music at:

Suggested artist donation $15

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

Light refreshments provided, guests are welcome to bring wine or refreshments to share.

Attendance is by invitation only. For more information and an invitation, please contact Lee at 575-522-5197 or by e-mail at lasalturashouseconcerts (at)

Saturday, May 21, 2011: Big Wide Grin

BWG Postcard
Big Wide Grin is the right name for this trio! When you hear them, you will have your own big wide grin! Their music and performance is joyful and uplifting, a mix of traditional and original music. This bi-coastal trio of Karl Werne, Elaine Dempsey and Lawrence Lambert from California and Virginia, bring diverse backgrounds of experience, music and theater together to form a rich, soulful blend of character and deep harmony. They are constantly on the move- whether at festivals, concert series, shows, or select house concerts and have shared the stage, collectively, with such artists as Janis Ian, Harriett Schock, Lowen & Navarro, Richie Havens, Bruce Hornsby and toured with legendary blues man Keb’ Mo’.

I saw Big Wide Grin in their Premiere Showcase at FAR-West (Western Region Folk Alliance) and was blown away by their performance. The opportunity to host them came up as the result of their being one of the winners of a contest sponsored by Concerts in Your Home. 30 artists submitted videos of their songs and 45 house concert hosts reviewed the entries and in multiple rounds, narrowed the top submissions down to 3 artists, each of whom won merchandise, cash and a house concert tour. Big Wide Grin’s tour is in the southwest, including Las Alturas House Concerts.

Born on the Mississippi, raised on the James, educated on the Appomattox and the Boneyard; Elaine has lived most of her life on the the Chesapeake and San Francisco Bays. She moved to the San Francisco Bay area from her home in Virginia with a desire and dedication to write. As a singer, songwriter and performer Elaine blends a background of folk, rock, gospel and blues to create a dynamic vocal and acoustic guitar style truly her own.

Raised on a farm in rural Virginia, Lambert started singing as a child with his twin brother and older twin brother and sister. Although the group could never replace the “Jackson Five,” it was a great way to spend those quiet nights in Pungo, Virginia. Music has always been a big part of Lambert’s life. Early piano lessons lead to the tenor sax and finally the show choir in high school. He found his voice again and the power of a well written song. Lambert continued to pursue his interests in music and theater at the University of Virginia. Although Lambert has developed the nickname “the Voice” for his unique vocal style; he wants nothing more than to write the kind of music that ‘helps someone to get over that broken heart; music that will make a difference and make the world better place.’ But, if you asked his mother, she would say that he should sing more in church.

Karl Werne has been entertaining the Hampton Roads area of Virginia Beach since he was 16 years old. Eight years with The Lewis McGehee Group and four years with his own Instant Karma have made Karl a local favorite with his versatile guitar work and smooth hypnotic vocals. Highlights of those years include touring as the opening act for Bruce Hornsby’s Grammy winning ‘The Way It Is Tour’ and numerous recordings still receiving airplay. When not on the road with BWG, Karl can be heard these days playing with saxophonist Eddie Williams and electric guitarist Curtis Eley.

“Big Wide Grin … Good singing. Great songs and the hardest working band in folk music.” Keb’ Mo’

“Take three supremely talented performers, throw in a generous portion of intelligent and heartfelt songwriting, add a dash of wit and charm, then sit yourself down to a spellbinding evening of top-notch entertainment with Big Wide Grin … guaranteed to put one on every face.” BJ Leiderman, theme composer, National Public Radio

“Big Wide Grin is well named. Their groove and their vibe will put a big smile on your face and in your heart.” Freebo, singer/songwriter, formerly Bonnie’s Raitt’s bass player

Suggested artist donation $20

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

Light refreshments provided, guests are welcome to bring wine or refreshments to share.

Attendance is by invitation only. For more information, please contact Lee at 575-522-5197 or by e-mail at lasalturashouseconcerts (at)

Saturday, April 30, 2011 Beth Wood

Beth Wood
It’s taken a while to make the stars align, but we are blessed to host Beth Wood, a singer/songwriter with an amazing voice, great guitar playing and wonderful songs. She can rock the house as she does when singing the Star Spangled Banner to open baseball games or present a poignant, sensitive ballad in a small, sweet voice. But don’t just take my word for it:

“Folk singer-guitarist Beth Wood has such a dazzlingvoice it’s a mystery why she’s still just a cult artist.” – Dallas Morning News

“Beth Wood is a musical triple-threat — a thoughtful songwriter and talented multi-instrumentalist with a supple, soulful voice.” – The Washington Post

Picture a home-body with an ever-present wanderlust, an introvert with a passion for performing, a creative free-spirit with enough discipline to rework her dream year after year, calloused little hands and a big pile of curly hair…and you’ve got Beth Wood, modern-day troubadour. She won the 2005 Kerrville New Folk Contest, along with another dozen awards for her performances and songwriting at the national and regional level. I’m happy to brag on Beth as a friend, but the point is that Beth is widely recognized in the folk world for her songs, performance and spectacular vocal ability.

If you ask Beth to describe her music, she might just shrug. Some have called it folk, pop, folk-pop, country-folk, Americana, etc. Beth prefers to say it is soulful, organic, free-range, barefoot music delivered through a high energy communicator of joy. The Fort Worth Star-Telegram calls Beth “a superb singer-songwriter whose versatility discourages labeling.” Beth’s songs tell of life and love, stories of all kinds of folks she knows or has seen.

Beth is wonderful to be around – her joy and energy are contagious. Her performances are masterful and warm and personal at the same time. Please get in touch so you can be part of this wonderful evening.!/bethwoodmusic

Suggested artist donation $15

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

Light refreshments provided, guests are welcome to bring wine or refreshments to share.

Attendance is by invitation only. For more information and an invitation, please contact Lee at 575-522-5197 or by e-mail at lasalturashouseconcerts (at)

Thursday, April 14, 2011 Antje Duvecot

Antje Duvekot
Antje Duvekot is one of the brightest singer-songwriters to rise out of Boston’s competitive acoustic music scene. Her second studio album, “The Near Demise of the High Wire Dancer” on Black Wolf Records was released in 2009 (she has a new live album out since then). Antje chose one of her favorite songwriters, Richard Shindell to produce the album. Richard lent his talent to the record and brought in well respected musicians such as John Gorka, Lucy Kaplansky and Victor Krauss.

“What a blessing to have worked with someone as talented as Antje. With a voice like hers, and songs as good as these, a producer (especially a first-time producer!) just tries to get out of the way, to do no harm, and to let the artist speak for herself.” – Richard Shindell

“The Near Demise of the High Wire Dancer” demonstrates why, according to The Boston Globe, “Antje Duvekot’s provocative, dark-eyed ballads are becoming the talk of the folk world. Duvekot has gotten hotter, faster than any local songwriter in recent memory.” The songs on the album reflect both Duvekot’s personal journeys and her observations of those of others. Antje remarks “I’ve come to find that writing about someone else’s struggles or happiness feels just as cathartic as writing about my own.”

“As far as I can tell, Antje is the whole package… I’ve had this reaction once in the past 10 years, and that was the first time I heard Patty Griffin… Antje has proven once again that she ranks with the most intense and beautiful songwriter on the planet”- Dave Marsh former Editor of Rolling Stone and XM/ Sirius Satellite Host

Along with 7 new songs, Antje and Richard decided to add studio versions of some of her best known songs such as, “Merry Go Round”, which was used in a Bank of America national TV ad campaign as well as radio favorite “Long Way”. “Since I first recorded this older material live, I have become a better performer”, Antje explains “I decided to revive the songs that were worthy and produce them properly so that I should not be such a bad mother to them”.

Singer songwriter Ellis Paul says “Antje is the rare artist that can write about the social and the personal in the same breath. She is as understated as she is wise and her songs go down mentally as well as soulfully. Her voice has a sound of innocence and naivety which makes razor sharp insights into the human condition.”

Neil Dorfsman, the producer of Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen and Sting says, “When I first heard Antje I knew I was witnessing something very special. She creates an entire, detailed world in verse, and takes you there with beautiful and understated melody. Her songs are stunning paintings of color and shade and always generate the heat and light that real art should. In an unpoetic and ‘in your face’ world, she is lyrical and subtle.”

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 and an invitation, please contact Lee at 575-522-5197 or by e-mail at lasalturashouseconcerts (at)

Thursday, March 3, 2011: Bill and Kate Isles

Bill and Kate Isles

Bill and Kate Isles are wonderful musicians and performers. They are also two of the nicest people I know. It is a great pleasure and privilege to be able to host them again. They bring a personal warmth and romantic sensibility that will lift even the most cynical spirit. Their songs cover a variety of topics, most telling a story of life and its meaning.

Bill Isles (Duluth, MN) performed his first show of original songs in twenty-five years in February of 2000. Since that time, he has become one of the most well known singer/songwriters in the Minnesota acoustic scene and has been getting national and international attention.

His and Kate’s songs are poetic reflections of life experiences and often explore adventurous spiritual courses. Admittedly romantics, many of their lyrics focus on the joys of relationships, but others explore metaphorical worlds. Just when you conclude that a song is about Michelangelo’s first visit to scope out the project at the Sistine Chapel, you start to realize that, perhaps, this is also an artist’s perception of entering the “chapel” of his/her audience. But then, again, it also hints at personal interactions. It is this multi-layering that has drawn fans to listen over and over again. Words like “mesmerizing” and “transcendent” are common in descriptions of his live performances, not to mention, “very funny”, such as the response to “The Sutra (Comma) Minnesota Polka”.

Bill’s love of life has strong roots in his childhood, but his urgency to tell these stories comes from an experience in 1993 when, with just enough warning to drive himself to the hospital, his heart stopped beating. He arrived with just ten minutes to spare. After being defibrillated, and before the doctors had time to detect and open a blocked artery in his heart, he made a commitment to himself that, if he survived, he would begin to write again. Those paddles restarted more than his heart…

Highlights …
2001 – Winner of the 2001 Minnesota Folk Festival New Folk Songwriting Contest
2002 – Nominee for the 2002 Minnesota Music Awards Song of the Year for “I Can’t Take You Home” a duet with Becky Schlegel (From “Weightless” 2001)
2005 – Performance Alley Showcase Artist, Int’l Folk Alliance Conference, Montreal, QU
2008 – Main Stage Performance, Big Top Chautauqua, Mt. Ashwabay, WI
2008 – Formal Showcase Artists, Midwest Regional Folk Alliance Conference, Chicago, IL
2008 – Formal Showcase Artists, Far-Western Regional Folk Alliance Conference, Phoenix, AZ
2009 – WFMT-FM (NPR) FolkStage Concert, broadcast live in Chicago, replayed on XM Radio
2010 – “Matching Baggage” named one of “Top CDs of 2009” by multiple public radio stations

Kate Isles was a closet singer/songwriter, full-time wine representative and dedicated single-mom when she came to a CD release concert for Bill’s first CD, “Weightless” after hearing a radio interview. She bought the CD and signed up on his e-mail list. (“Grounds for marriage!” quips Bill)

Their relationship began soon afterwards with afternoon sessions with guitars, harmonies and coffee. They’ve been together ever since, marrying in May of 2004. While Bill initially toured solo, Kate is becoming an integral part of the act, with extensive duo touring planned for 2008 to support their upcoming duet album, “Matching Baggage” which will include several songs that they’ve co-written. The response has been very positive with many comments about the “perfect blend of two voices”. “I’m honored to hear such things,” said Kate, “it reflects the wonderful relationship that we’ve enjoyed.” They have toured as a duo full time, nationally, since early 2007.

Please join us for an evening of music and friendship.

Suggested artist donation $15

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 and an invitation, please contact Lee at 575-522-5197 or by e-mail at lasalturashouseconcerts (at)

Thursday, January 27, 2011: Lynne Hanson and Lynn Miles

From north of the border, two award-winning Canadian singer/songwriters will bring us an amazing evening of songs and stories. Don’t miss this rare opportunity to hear a two of Canada’s top performers.

Lynne Hanson and Lynn Miles

Lynne Hanson

As the youngest in a musical family of eight children, Lynne was exposed to a diverse array of musical eras and styles as she grew up. Older siblings were quick to pawn off their babysitting duties to stacks of records and tapes, Lynne being only too happy to sit and sing along for hours with the likes of Johnny Cash and Bruce Springsteen. The result is a hybrid brand of eclectic roots music that Lynne can truly call her own merging her thought-provoking lyrics with heart-felt soul-country.

Hanson’s early love of jazz was later replaced by bluegrass and traditional country , while teenage years included singing and playing Neil Young songs at home. If pressed, Lynne will describe her sound as “porch music with a little Texas red dirt. I write these songs on acoustic guitar in my kitchen. I want them to sound like the original concept, except with a band. I call it porch music, as it’s like everyone in the neighbourhood comes over and brings their instruments.”

With an open heart and not a hint of sentimentality, Hanson sings simply and honestly about loss and the search for redemption. That redemption comes at her live shows. No one leaves a Lynne Hanson concert feeling heavy-hearted. Onstage Hanson is a happy-go-lucky storyteller with a gift for the gab and a wink in her eye, engaging her audience just as much with her stories and one-liners as she can with her music. She’s intimate with her audience, as if she were shooting the breeze with old friends at her kitchen table. Or her front porch.

Which brings us back to that Texas red dirt…

“Any listener thinking Hanson couldn’t have been born north of the Mason-Dixon Line is forgiven.” – Folk and Acoustic Music Exchange

Hanson grew up seeing more white Canadian snow than Texas red dirt. She grew up in Ottawa, a quiet, conservative government town with bone-chillingly cold winters. Unlikely breeding ground for a southern-style roots musician? Perhaps. But anyone who can live through a lonely Ottawa winter just might emerge in springtime singing the blues. And that’s exactly what Hanson did.

For years, Hanson was a self-described “closet kitchen musician” until 2006 when everything she’d kept inside spilled out onto her acclaimed first CD, Things I Miss.

Things took off pretty quickly with the release of her second CD, Eleven Months. Word got out about an earthy singer-songwriter from Canada and Hanson was invited to showcase stages from Austin, Texas to Memphis, Tennessee, a European tour, a few more stops in Texas and a Canadian Folk Music Award nomination.

It’s been a busy few years for Lynne Hanson. And with a nonstop touring schedule she’s not taking any breaks just yet. Well, maybe just a few. On her front porch. To kick off her cowboy boots, grab her guitar and write some more unforgettable songs for her third CD.

They say everything’s bigger in Texas. With a little Texas red dirt under her heels, Hanson might have to consider building a bigger front porch to fit in more fans.

Since I first got to see Lynne at Folk Alliance, I’ve been one of those fans. We agreed she should do a show at Las Alturas House Concerts a while ago but Ottowa, Canada isn’t right around the corner from Las Cruces, so it has taken us a while to get her here. I assure you she was worth the wait.

2009 Canadian Folk Music Award Nominee – New/Emerging Artist of the Year
2009 Southwest Regional Folk Alliance Official Showcase Artist
2009 Kerrville New Folk Finalist
2009 Rose Garden Coffeehouse Performing Songwriter Finalist
2008 FAR West Official Showcase Artist
2008 Mountain Stage New Song Canadian Finalist

Lynn Miles

Born outside Montreal in Sweetsburg, Quebec, Lynn Miles grew up in a musical home. Her father played the harmonica and listened to his jazz collection while her mother was a lover of both opera and country music. Miles’ mother recalled once that she knew when Lynn had finally fallen asleep in her crib: Lynn stopped singing. During her elementary school years, Miles learned guitar, violin, flute and piano. She began performing in public at around the age of sixteen and when she was in her early twenties she studied with an opera singer to strengthen her voice and enrolled for a time at Carleton University in Ottawa where she studied classical music history and theory. Years later, Miles put this training to good use while serving as a voice teacher at the Ottawa Folklore Center. While at the center, she taught voice to many students including a then fourteen-year-old Alanis Morrisette. The lessons came just prior to the making of Morrisette’s first album.

Though Miles had been writing her own songs since the age of 10, she didn’t end up recording any of her own material until 1987 when she cut 9 original compositions for a demo at Happyrock Studio in Ottawa. An avid reader and music-lover, those early recordings were inspired by the books she loved to read, and the music she listened to on the radio.

Miles continues to draw inspiration from music and literature to this day. On her latest album (Love Sweet Love) for example, the opening track, “Flames of Love,” was inspired by a long period of reading Sufi poetry. “I’m fascinated by the way the Sufis write about love,” Miles says. “Their love is spiritual, and I reinterpreted it and wrote ‘Flames of Love,’ about jumping in the fire, Lynn Miles letting go and not being afraid and letting it get hot and not caring about what other people think. Just really going for it.” The idea – and the song itself – is exhilarating and exciting, yet full of hidden corners and alleyways from where the joy can be blindsided without notice. But as Miles notes, “You don’t learn from happiness.”

If that’s true, one gets the sense that Miles has learned a lot. In a career that has seen her move from Ottawa to Los Angeles and back to Ottawa, and release albums as varied as the slick Night in a Strange Town (co-produced by Larry Klein, of Shawn Colvin and Joni Mitchell fame, and featuring renowned west-coast studio musicians David Piltch, Dean Parks, John Cody and Tal Bergman) and the stark Unravel, Miles has consistently been unflinching in putting it all out there: the unbridled ecstasy of new-found love, the fragile process of sweeping up the pieces when it breaks.

The accolades, meanwhile, continue to pour in. Her 1996 album, Slightly Haunted, was a Billboard Top 10 Pick of the Year. Unravel (released 2001) was praised by critics – All Music Guide describing it as “sounding as if it’s been produced by Daniel Lanois in an Appalichian town” and “a diamond in the rough.” Canadian folk-music icon Valdy once said, “I’m sorry for all the heartache she has to go through in order to get those juices going, but, yeah, she’s marvelous.” The New York Times may have said it best: “Lynn Miles makes being forlorn sound like a state of grace.”

Therein is the powerful secret behind Miles’ music – her astute observations of life, its trials and triumphs, are the hallmark of sincerity in her music. The gritty honesty of her music never falters – neither does her unshakeable ability to make even the most melancholy lyrics sound as if they are brimming with hope and grace. “Little Bird” infuses her lyrics with an assertive and encouraging voice. “I wrote this song after reading “In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts” by Gabor Mate. It’s the best book on addiction and articulates the need for compassion when dealing with addictions. The song about what I call The X Factor, the initial source of pain that can cause a person to seek solace in alcohol and drugs.”

Lynn Miles is a musician in the rarest sense of the word, an unmistakable talent, with an eye for both the subtle and sweet that can only be unearthed with experience.

Seven albums
2005 Winner Canadian Folk Music Awards – Best Singer Contemporary
2005 Winner Canadian Folk Music Awards – Best Songwirter – English
2003 Winner Juno Award for Roots & Traditional Solo Album of the Year

Suggested artist donation $15

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 and an invitation, please contact Lee at 575-522-5197 or by e-mail at lasalturashouseconcerts (at)

Saturday, January 15, 2011: Hungrytown


Hungrytown is the band name and the new self-titled offering from celebrated musical duo Rebecca Hall and Ken Anderson. Their deceptively simple compositions are rooted firmly in folk tradition; “in fact, Hungrytown’s music offers such an aura of authenticity–in titles and in tunes–it could be easily mistaken for original trad transcripts,” declares Lee Zimmerman of Performing Songwriter, and Rachel Nones of the Feminist Review raves “Hungrytown is American folk music at its zenith.” Early reviews of the CD have landed the group daily airplay on XM Radio’s “The Village,” and Hungrytown songs are beginning to appear on playlists across the country, including Boston’s WUMB, New York’s WFUV and Philadelphia’s WXPN.

In Hungrytown, things are not always what they seem. In “Rose or the Briar,” a Carter-Family-style parlor ballad, a young man is drawn to a beautiful girl, but finds her lovely appearance offset by her prickly disposition. “One Morning in May,” conjuring ’60s-era folk rock, begins with a soldier marching confidently off to what he thinks will be an quick and easy victory, only to find himself mired in an endless and pointless war. The metaphorical heart of the album, “Hungrytown Road,” is a bluegrass waltz depicting a poor girl’s longing to discover her potential beyond the boundaries of her limited and difficult life. Indeed, each character in Hungrytown is a resident–the variety of musical styles reflect each of their personalities, trials and perils. Hungrytown is a place where many of us have been, and where many of us still live.

Suggested artist donation $15

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 and an invitation, please contact Lee at 575-522-5197 or by e-mail at lasalturashouseconcerts (at)