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.

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

* All funds go to the musician

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.

Andrew McKnight – Friday, October 17, 2014

Andrew McKnight

Since permanently leaving his corporate environmental engineering career in 1996, award-winning folk and Americana artist Andrew McKnight’s musical journey has traced over half a million miles of blue highways, and earned him a wealth of critical acclaim and enthusiastic fans for his captivating performances and five CDs.

“With a voice reminiscent of Don McLean, McKnight traverses from old-time Appalachian tunes to contemporary folk and blues, all backed up by his dead-on guitar playing” – The Boston Globe

Andrew’s solo performances are like one man theatre; the songs are woven together with humorous stories and poetic drama, and the musical soundscape traverses influences from Appalachia, tasteful slide and jazzy blues, feisty anthems, rustic folk, and even a little fancy flat-picking on a Carter Family tune.

“Stretching across the landscape of American folk music is a highway paved by Guthrie and Dylan… now Virginia native Andrew McKnight takes his turn smoothing down the blacktop” – Performing Songwriter

Andrew sees that comparison as more philosophical than musical. “I see both of them as witnesses to times of great change. And I am privileged to travel our country during this evolution as a society – replacing neighborhood ties in favor of chosen connections to people who share our values wherever they may live; that is profound and fundamental,” he muses. “And by definition, fundamental change means some win, and some lose. Those are the stories that move me to act as well as write.”

Andrew’s story-songs will entertain, teach and draw you in, leaving you uplifted and with food for thought by the end of the evening. It’s a rare treat to get Andrew this far west. Please listen to Andrew’s music and if you like what you hear, get in touch for an invitation (see below).

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.

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.

Saturday, September 28, 2013: Sarah McQuaid

Sarah McQuaid - Photo by Colm Henry (

Windy City House Concerts is thrilled to present Sarah McQuaid. We had the privilege of hosting her when we lived in New Mexico and now we have to pleasure of welcoming her back to her home city of Chicago. Sarah is a consummate pro, a beautiful singer, amazing guitarist, wonderful songwriter and one of the sweetest people on the planet. Yes, she’s really that good.

Sarah McQuaid’s voice has been likened to malt whiskey, melted chocolate and “honey poured into wine” (Minor 7th). A captivating performer, she seduces her audience with cheeky banter and stories from the road, as well as with stunning musicianship; in her hands, the guitar becomes much more than merely an accompanying instrument.

Her musical output reflects her own eclectic background: Sarah was born in Spain, raised in Chicago, holds dual US and Irish citizenship, and now lives in rural England. Refusing to be pigeonholed, she spans the genres with both her beautifully crafted originals and her interpretations of material from around the globe and down the centuries. Sarah’s third solo album The Plum Tree and the Rose has drawn critical acclaim on both sides of the Atlantic: “Impeccable,” wrote fRoots (UK), while Midwest Record (USA) called it “low key but glorious and incendiary” and Hot Press (Ireland) said it “should feature on many end-of-year best-ofs.”

Now living in Cornwall with her husband and their two children, Sarah currently spends six months of each year on the road in the UK, Ireland, Continental Europe and the USA, with ambitions to extend her range to Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

“A great songwriter and traditional singer, and a wonderful guitarist.” — Mike Harding, BBC Radio 2, UK

“Brilliant musicianship, a warm and welcoming stage presence and a voice as rich, matured and knowing as the finest thrice-distilled Irish malt whiskey.” — Geoff Wallis, fRoots, UK

“Sparkling guitar and compelling alto voice … reminiscent of Pentangle’s best efforts.” — Tom Druckenmiller, Sing Out!, USA

“Likely to make the hairs stand up on the back of your neck.” — Aled Jones, BBC Radio 2, UK

“An unreserved thumbs-up. Captivating performance, great songs, playing and singing. Sarah was also totally professional, charming and low maintenance. What more could you ask for?” — Gerry Evans, TwickFolk, UK

“Pure magic!! We are running our folkclub for 16 years now but I never experienced such a thrilling interaction between artist and audience.” — Piet Snellen, De Fookhook, Netherlands

Music at 7:30 p.m. Potluck and socializing at 6:30 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 $20 (All funds go to the musician.)

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

Saturday, June 26, 2010: Calaveras


Singer-songwriters Greg Beattie and Victoria Blythe, along with instrumentalist Dave Decker, combine voices and a half dozen acoustic instruments into original songs that are both fresh and timeless–from the roots of American traditional song forms to explorations of contemporary sounds.

Their songs and performances have captured the prestigious Kerrville New Folk prize, grand prize in the West Coast Songwriters International song contest, Falcon Ridge Folk Festival Emerging Artists, the Napa Valley Emerging Songwriter award, West Coast Songwriter’s Association Song of the Year honors, and have appeared in TV shows and movies. Their songs have been recorded by other artists and on numerous compilations with such well known artists as Joan Baez, Cheryl Wheeler and Livingston Taylor.

Their live show is a mix of Victoria’s soaring, ethereal vocals and hauntingly beautiful fiddle on pure folk ballads and sultry jazz-fusion torch songs, Greg’s energetic and insightful musical treatment of birth, death and everything in between, and Dave’s constantly creative lead-guitar commentary.

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, please contact Lee at 575-522-5197 or by e-mail at houseconcerts (at)

Saturday, May 22, 2010: Natalie Gelman

Natalie Gelman Standing in the New York subway

This New York City native has no fear taking her performance from underground on a NYC subway platform to some of the worlds premier stages and arenas. Natalie has performed at Lincoln Center, Bally’s Casino in Las Vegas, Carnegie Hall, Nassau Coliseum and Shea Stadium among many other venues.

Featured on the front page of the New York Times, Natalie’s soulful voice carries over multiple trains in the underground subway and her intimate songs stop even the most hurried NYC commuters in their tracks. She has been praised by songwriting legends such as Peter Yarrow of Peter, Paul and Mary who stopped to listen to her perform on the subway and introduce himself.

Admiring music from a young age, Natalie’s passion and persistence led to admission into the prestigious Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and the Performing Arts, the acclaimed FAME school. There, she received classical voice training from coaches of the Juilliard School and the NYC Opera. After securing her second solo at Carnegie Hall, Natalie began strumming her guitar and writing lyrics, pursuing what would soon become her vitality..

Her passionate voice and music is a means to articulate her response to current affairs as well as reveal parts of her inner self with the world. Inspired by music greats like Carole King and Sheryl Crow Natalie often finds herself being compared to them. When you see a live show you will realize you’re in the presence of a legend in the making. Whether she is singing to 7 or 17,000 she is sure to amaze you!

Natalie has opened for and performed with: Dave Mason of Traffic, Richard Cheese and Lounge against the Machine, Ellis Paul, Jonathan Coulton and Javier Colon. Now you can see her live, close up in our living room!

Suggested artist donation $15

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

Light refreshments provided, potluck wine and refreshments to share are encouraged. For more information, please contact Lee at 575-522-5197 or by e-mail at houseconcerts (at)

Technorati Tags:
, , , , , , , , ,