Shawna Caspi, Sunday, April 29, 2018

Find out more about the Shawna Caspi show.

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 childcare provided (advance notice required)

I was introduced to Shawna when she played an Official Showcase at the FARM (Folk Alliance Region Midwest) conference last October. I was blown away by the combination of her finely crafted songs, achingly beautiful vocals, and masterful guitar playing. I had a chance to interview her at the Folk Alliance International conference this past February. Click to read the interview.

Toronto-based singer-songwriter and fingerstyle guitarist Shawna Caspi hadn’t done much traveling before tapering off a series of administrative jobs to start touring full-time. She had never even rented a car. She had never been camping before performing at the Blue Skies Music Festival in 2014.

Since then, Shawna has toured throughout Canada and the United States, including performances at the Ottawa Grassroots Festival, the Shelter Valley Folk Festival, the Summerfolk Festival (ON), and the Deep Roots Music Festival (NS), and concert series including the Calgary Folk Club, the Nickelodeon, the Northern Lights Folk Club (AB), the Greenbank Folk Music Society (ON), the Circle of Friends Coffeehouse (MA), On Your Radar (NY), and Six String Concerts (OH).

Shawna’s fourth album Forest Fire, released in September 2017, is a collection of songs about burning things down and building them up again. Engineered and produced by Don Kerr (Rheostatics, Bahamas, Ron Sexsmith), the elegant arrangements draw the listener into the depths of haunting, atmospheric tracks, then lift them out with airy, bluegrass instrumentation and hopeful narratives for brighter days. It’s dark granite stone with a shot of glimmering quartz through the middle. When the words get heavy, they are held up to the light of love, grace, and gratitude. With these songs, Shawna strives to be unafraid, to embolden quieted voices, to tell the truth above all else.

It’s an album about cycles, about playing the long game. That’s why it’s called Forest Fire – something that seems huge and devastating when it happens, but in the relative vastness of space and time, it’s just one small moment on a much grander scale, a necessary catastrophe that leads to new growth.

Shawna’s vocals are brewed by years of classical training followed by years on the road finding her own voice singing folk songs. She combines power, intensity, character, and closeness. She has a whole band under her fingertips, with a remarkable lyrical fingerpicking guitar style. Her performances capture audiences with grace and intimacy whether the setting is a living room, a festival stage, or the bar car of a passenger train.

“Some musicians make songwriting sound less of a craft and more of a life affirming obsession. Caspi’s compositions stand out as beautiful, complex and intricate even in an increasingly crowded folk scene.” – NOW Magazine

“Shawna taps into her Canadian folk roots to share songs with beauty, humor and a keen eye for the world around her. Add to the fact that she is a classically trained guitarist with a stunning voice, and you have an artist that is destined to be an important artist on the folk circuit.” – Ron Olesko, Sing Out! Magazine

“Shawna’s songs have a way of making you feel at home, no matter where you are.” – Lynda Norman, Executive Director, Kelowna Arts Council

Ernest Troost – Cancelled for Sunday, September 11, 2016

Ernest Troost

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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

Update: We had to cancel this show – please join us for a future show.

I’m thrilled to host Ernest Troost in his return to Chicago. He played WFMT Folkstage last year in June and this year we get to host him. He’s also playing Two Way Street Coffee House on Friday, September 9 before heading north to Wisconsin for several shows. We’ve hosted Ernest previously in New Mexico and gotten to know him a bit. Some of his songs are a bit dark, but he’s a lovely person to spend time with.

Ernest is an Emmy-winning film and television composer as well as a recipient of the prestigious Kerrville New Folk award for his songwriting. He also composed and produced two award-winning albums of songs for Judy Collins using the words of Emily Dickinson, Robert Browning, Gertrude Stein, and others. Los Angeles-based Troost’s scores for films include the cult classic Tremors and HBO’s award-winning Lesson Before Dying.

As a solo performer, Ernest brings his amazing songs to life with a spare singing style and some amazing guitar chops, all in service of story-songs that tell a story – aural movies, if you will, that will draw you in time after time.

“Troost’s style and subject matter recall Dylan, Dave Alvin, and (especially for his concentration on life’s darker side) Richard Thompson —enviable company indeed.” – Tom Hyslop, Blues Revue Magazine

“Ernest Troost’s music is a perverse and diverse celebration of American folk music. . It’s a vibrant festival of tragedy and comedy, a wind-blown crossroads of American culture where Piedmont blues meets modern literature in the darkest of themes.” – Terry Rolands,

“Imagine a bayou-bred John Steinbeck taking up a fret board instead of a pen and you’ve pretty much got the picture.” – Don Grant, Freight Train Boogie


“Pray Real Hard” from Ernest’s most recent album, “O Love”.
“Switchblade Heart” is one of my favorite Ernest Troost songs.

* All funds go to the musician

Beth Wood – Sunday, May 15, 2016

Beth Wood in Wyoming

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

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

I’m so excited to have Beth Wood return to Windy City House Concerts! Beth is one of my absolute favorite singer/songwriters, really the essence of all the best – 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:

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

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Dave Gunning – Valentine’s Day, February 14, 2016

Dave Gunning at the Beach

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

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

We have a special treat for Valentine’s Day! Dave Gunning from Nova Scotia in Canada is going to warm up the day musically! I’ll have my Valentine with me and we’d love to share the afternoon with you. Still time for Valentine’s Day dinner after the show, too!

A charismatic performer and world class songwriter, Dave has the magnetic gift of captivating audiences by painting pictures through his heartfelt stories and compelling songwriting, humorous lyrics and stunning musical arrangements. Blending sensitive folk and innovative arrangements to his original songs, Gunning is rapidly building a solid fan base across Canada and abroad. Dave has a beautiful voice and great guitar chops and a warm personality.

“Gunning is the next big thing in the True North of Song, an artist as compelling, as assured and attentive to every nuance of the writing process, as Lightfoot, Cockburn and Stan Rogers before him.”- Toronto Star

You can check him out at the links below and on the radio the night before.

He’s playing live on the renowned WFMT 98.7 FM Folkstage radio show hosted by Rich Warren at 8 p.m. CST, Saturday, February 13. (listen live online here: WMFT 98.7 FM Live Stream)

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.

Jim Hurst – Friday, November 11, 2014

Jim Hurst

Steeped in bluegrass and country music, Jim Hurst embraces these genres but goes beyond their musical boundaries to create music both complex and sublime.

Jim Hurst’s dexterous guitar work and pleasing vocals can lead you down a path of a lovely ballad, get your feet stomping to a train song and ultimately leave you spellbound….in just one medley!

“Jim Hurst is one of the most versatile and tasteful guitar players I know. Whether he’s flailing the rhythm for an old time fiddle tune, laying down a funky groove, or finger picking a beautiful ballad, his playing is both impeccable and creative. Accompanying this instrumental virtuosity is a rich and expressive voice with a surprising range.” – Mark Schatz

Jim Hurst’s unique picking style and mastery of bluegrass guitar wows audiences and is revered by both novice guitar players and his musical peers. His eclectic career has made him a remarkable performer, an experienced instructor and a highly sought after session musician. His affability and gregariousness make him one of the most approachable musicians of his caliber.

The product of a musical family, Jim honed his musical style after being influenced by the likes of Tony Rice, Clarence White and Jerry Reed. He got national exposure with Holly Dunn’s Rio Band playing acoustic guitar and mandolin, and singing harmonies; followed by several high profile television and radio appearances while touring with Trisha Yearwood playing acoustic and electric guitar, and harmony vocals. Jim also experienced performances with Travis Tritt, and Sara Evans.

Craving to play more bluegrass, Jim joined Grammy-nominated Claire Lynch and The Front Porch String Band in 1995. Desiring greater freedom to create his own musical path, Jim left the Claire Lynch Band in 2010 to embark on a solo career. His shows meet with rave reviews as he astounds his audiences with his brilliant playing yet makes people feel right at home with his humble congenial and funny persona. Jim’s solo show, which allows his personal style and unique creativity to come through in spades, is what keeps his audiences mesmerized.

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 312-810-3067.

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