18th annual festival comes alive with the sounds of music

NORWICH – Colorscape is pleased to announce the musical lineup for the 18th Annual Colorscape Chenango Arts Festival in downtown Norwich, Sept 8 and 9. As always, the festival and music is free and open to the public. The performers ad schedule this year are as follows:

Saturday, Sept. 8

10 a.m. – L.J. Gates

11 a.m. – Opening Ceremonies

11:15 a.m. – Mustard’s Retreat

12:45 p.m. – Roosevelt Dime

2 p.m. – Synergy

3:30 p.m. – Guy Davis

5 p.m. – Professor Louis & the Crowmatix

Sunday, Sept. 9

11 a.m. – Gospel Show with Kim & Reggie Harris

12:30 p.m. – Hardin-Burns

1:30 p.m. – Tumbleweed Highway

2:30 p.m. – Driftwood

4 p.m. – Blackie & the Rodeo Kings


If you’re from around here, you’ve probably already come to appreciate this dues-paying, truth-telling, homegrown singer and guitar player. Did you hear him first when he toured with his band in the 80s, shared the stage with major headliners, opened the debut of the Chenango Blues Festival in 1993 or inspired new fans at local venues where he continues to sling the guitar and sing a bluesy, country, rockinfused catalog of original songs? Yeah, we thought so. His Workin’ Slob recording, among others, reflects a natural musician whose life has a soundtrack and a story. The songs are his own, the opinions are earned, and the guitar has something to say.


“Rising from the ashes” is how band members describe their coming together, but sometimes a band’s electricity is well-fueled by the origins of its players. With chops born from early work in popular regional bands like Panhandle, Fetish Lane, Tumbleweed Highway brings whiskeyin-oak harmonies supported by very fine alt-country instrumentation. They are that good, and that’s why they’ve shared stages with Steve Earle, Arlo Guthrie and others across the northeast. You could say they have a Band thing going on, or maybe it’s Jerry Jeff Walker and Gram Parsons we’re thinking of. We just know that this music reminds us of somewhere we’ve been before.


You, the audience, are the most important people in the room (or in this case, the park) when Mustard’s Retreat plays. Every song and every story delivers an invitation to sit awhile, listen close, and laugh when you’re so inclined. After more than three decades writing and performing, David Tamulevich and Michael Hough have mastered the art of using folk music to pull people together. Being in the audience with David and Michael means sharing a connection in time carried on a sweet mix of harmony, tempo and lyricism. We are so pleased to bring these long-time Colorscape favorites back to the festival.


Look what Brooklyn has delivered to Colorscape: a five-piece, nontraditional lineup that blends acoustic jug-band blues, classic New Orleans soul and neofolk to make what they call Steamboat Soul. Thick, energetic and time-bending, this juicy blend of banjo, electric and washtub basses, percussion, trumpet, woodwinds and vocals brings the party to you. Crazy-good critical acclaim and a tour schedule that brings in new fans weekly promises certain attention for this band. “Roosevelt Dime sound like they’re from somewhere far more open, lush, green and mountainous than downtown Brooklyn” Ian Fildes, Americana UK.


What started out as the Noble Jones Project has been reassembled as Synergy, and we’re pretty confident that if you’ve been listening to bluegrass, you already know these guys: Craig Vance on guitar, Chris Leske on banjo and mandolin, Anthony Hannigan on mandolin, Jeff Wisor on fiddle and Steve Belcher on bass. They played together because they wanted to while on a touring break from their respective bands, including the McKrells and the Hickory Project and the 4-star recording that resulted also led to Synergy’s current incarnation. This is not another Newgrass clone, say the critics, but master musicians making music that smokes. Watch their fingers.


One of the most multi-talented artists we’ve ever met, Guy Davis has been at home on and off Broadway, on television, behind the pen as a writer and storyteller, in front of students of all ages, and on major music festival stages worldwide, but the heartbeat of his work is the Blues. Guy has been nominated for nine W.C. Handy awards, including Best Traditional Blues Album and Best Acoustic Blues Artist, and his latest album, Legacy, was picked as one of the best recordings of the year by NPR. “Davis never loses sight of the blues as good time music, the original forum for dancing on top of one’s sorrows. Joy made more exquisite, of course, by the sorrow from which it springs,” says critic Dave Marsh. We agree.


Called “an Americana template that is timeless rock, country, blues and New Orleans-influenced originals” (The Village Voice) this band knows how to make the Colorscape stage sizzle. Aaron Professor “Louie” Hurwitz has played, produced and toured more music and more miles than can be fit in a lifetime, but he did it. We love that he coproduced , engineered and performed the last three CDs by The Band and spent time in Siberia (ask him). But mostly we love this band, with Gary Burke, Miss Marie Spinosa, Frank Campbell, and Josh Colow. Between them, the Crowmatix have collected more awards and stage time with American musical icons than we can count.


The Sunday morning Gospel Show is a great place to showcase the soul and sensibilities behind this superbly talented traditional folk duo. Kim and Reggie’s musical inheritance includes a gospel legacy alongside a rich palette of sonic and cultural diversity from their Philadelphia hometown. Now they do it all, sweetly and powerfully. Audiences at The Kennedy Center, the Brooklyn Academy of Music and The Smithsonian Institute have been gifted by these performers’ work as musicians, interpreters of history, and cultural advocates. Their recordings and films are great, but we are so grateful to have them with us, performing live.


When a duo is more than the sum of its parts, two gifted musicians draw from their prodigious backgrounds and make something new. Expect something special in this pairing because Jeannie Burns (one third of the Ithaca-based, Binghamtonborn Burns Sisters) and Andrew Hardin (fierce country blues guitarist and right hand man to Tom Russell) now perform fresh, original music together. Jeannie calls up the strong woman, folk-roots sounds we hear in Emmylou Harris and Bonnie Raitt, while Andrew uses his gorgeous guitar work and voice to both harmonize and lead in ways we haven’t heard before. Their Colorscape debut features music from their first recording, released this summer.


Unless you’ve checked in from the far-and-wide venues and major festivals Driftwood has played since its formation in 2005, we’re going to guess this band is not what you think. Formed in Binghamton but matured in a cloud of American roots music stirred together with… (yes, those influences are probably what you think you heard)…Driftwood defines fusion exactly the way they want to. This music is a discovery thanks to the musical appetites of Dan Forsyth, Joe Kollar, Claire Byrne and Jon Doll on guitars, mandolin, percussion, keys, fiddle, upright bass and vocals. Driftwood is now getting the recognition they deserve. Go go go!


In 1996 when Colin Linden, Stephen Fearing and Tom Wilson came together to record what was supposed to be a one-off tribute album to the great songwriter Willie P. Bennett, there was no thought of their giving up their solo careers to become a band. Lucky for us, their musical chemistry was so compelling that a band was, well, necessary. Groove, timbre, melody and rhythm as well as shockingly good musical taste produced something that was too big even for their native Canada. Their first 6 recordings were delicious, and their latest album “Kings and Queens” is dessert. We’re privileged to welcome them

Times are approximate and subject to change without notice. Musical entertainment is arranged by Night Eagle Productions and funded by NBT Bank and grants from the Follett Foundation, Greater Norwich Foundation in memory of Robert Calvin, Herbert H. & Mariea L. Brown Charitable Trust, and a Decentralization Grant.

Located on the greens of East and West Parks in the city of Norwich, Colorscape features over 100 juried artists and crafters selling their wares in an interactive atmosphere that includes artist demonstrations, literary and arts activities for all ages, student art exhibits, a competitive poetry slam and the finest in creative food. For more information visit www.colorscape.org.

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