Excellent singer/songwriter and
contemporary folk music in Monmouth County,
at UUCMC, 1475 W. Front St., Lincroft, NJ
Saturday 10/9/2021 7:30 PM (RESCHEDULED FROM 2020).
Dancing on a line between imagination and reality, ethereal-folk artist Annie Sumi’s music invites you into a familiar otherworld. Like an inbound wind, her voice begins with a whisper, gathers strength and purpose, and transforms into an airy howl. Her songs take you to places – of quiet wonder, of unspoken love, of tranquil landscape.
Over the last five years, the Ontario-based singer-songwriter has released two critically-acclaimed albums and toured her music across Canada, the United States, U.K. and Central Europe. With grace and humility, she’s charmed audiences at more than 400 shows, from living rooms to major music festivals, and has been asked to open for the likes of Buffy Sainte-Marie, Amelia Curran and Jim Cuddy.
In 2018, she was recognized with a Canadian Folk Music Award nomination for Emerging Artist of the Year. Pieces from her latest album, In the Unknown, received airplay all across Canada, earning chart placements, critical acclaim and accolades.
Folk-roots magazine Penguin Eggs listed Sumi as one of their top “Music Discoveries” for 2018, describing her voice as “generous and expansive” and offering high praise: “If you’d like to hear the future of contemporary Canadian folk music, take a listen to the sophomore release from Annie Sumi.”
Annie received lots of buzz in last November’s NERFA conference, and we’re thrilled to have her come play for Earth Room Concerts with her trio.
Saturday 10/23/2021 7:30 PM. (RESCHEDULED FROM 2020)
Scott Cook, Meghan Cary co-bill show
A roots balladeer with a rare personal warmth, Canada's Scott Cook has managed to distil the stories collected over twelve years touring across Canada, the USA, Europe, Asia, Australia and elsewhere into straight-talking, keenly observant verse. Road-worn, painfully honest, and deeply human, his tunes weave threads of folk, roots, blues, soul and country over spacious fingerstyle guitar and clawhammer banjo arrangements. His fourth release, One More Time Around, was nominated for a Canadian Folk Music Award, and its opening track "Pass It Along" won the Folk and Acoustic category in the 2013 UK Songwriting Contest, with UK magazine Maverick Country naming him "one of Canada's most inspiring and imaginative storytellers. In 2017 he released his sixth album Further Down the Line, earning his second Canadian Folk Music Award nomination, for English Songwriter of the Year. The album is packaged in a 132-page softcover book offering a look back, in words and pictures, on his last decade of near-incessant rambling. Cook is one of the hardest-working DIY troubadours on the road today, averaging over 150 shows and a dozen festivals every year since 2007. All the hard miles notwithstanding, he still believes that songs can change your life, and your life can change the world.
Meghan Cary didn’t mean to be a musician. When her fiancé unexpectedly died, she picked up his guitar, figured out how to play it, and wrote her debut, earning her Billboard Magazine’s Critic’s Choice for Best Newcomer. “I wrote my grief into song, and sang my way out of the abyss. I keep making music to help others connect with their own stories and find their joy.”
Known for her unabashed willingness to connect with her audience, Cary brings listeners to their feet and at times to tears with high-energy tunes, masterful storytelling, and deeply personal lyrics that resonate universally. After pushing pause on performing to raise two children, Cary launched back onto the scene at Philly Folk Fest and was awarded an Emerging Artist Showcase at Falcon Ridge Folk Festival. Cary’s smoky voice, emotional singing, and vulnerable writing garner favorable comparisons to Melissa Etheridge, Shawn Colvin, and even Bruce Springsteen.
Saturday 11/20/2021 7:30 PM (RESCHEDULED FROM 2020).
Matt Nakoa is an award-winning songwriter, singer, and multi-instrumentalist. A modern troubadour, he makes his home on the highways and concert stages of America, and appears regularly with folk music icon Tom Rush. The Boston Globe says of Nakoa, “Between his piano chops and heartfelt originals on guitar, he drops jaws.”
Nakoa trained to be a concert pianist before accepting a scholarship to attend Berklee College of Music as a vocalist. He developed his dramatic songwriting style with his college alt-rock band, The Fens, and after the band dissolved, he landed in NYC. It was in Manhattanʼs all-night piano bars that Nakoa developed an uncanny ability to command the attention of any audience. His first solo albums, released in 2012 and 2014, garnered multiple songwriting awards, including a win at Kerrville Folk Festivalʼs New Folk Competition.
Nakoaʼs newest album, Casting Shadows, is a spellbinding blend of pop, soul, and classical influences that tells a story of childhood dreams crashing headlong into grownup reality.
Saturday 12/4/2021 7:30 PM (RESCHEDULED FROM 2020).
Pat Wictor, with Emily Mure opening
Pat Wictor first burst on the folk and acoustic scene as an innovative slide guitarist known for fresh and memorable interpretations of traditional and contemporary songs. Since then he has made his mark as a singer-songwriter penning lean and poetic songs that honor - and subvert - rural blues and gospel traditions. For seven years he toured as one third of Brother Sun, the powerful harmonizing trio with Joe Jencks and Greg Greenway, garnering critical acclaim, two #1 CDs on the Folk DJ charts, and a continent-spanning tour schedule. His most recent solo release, This is Absolutely Real: Visions and Versions of Phil Ochs, reached #2 on the Folk-DJ charts and was nominated for Best Tribute Album by the Independent Music Awards.
Pat took a convoluted path to folk music, winding his way through rock, heavy metal, jazz, and free improvisation. He started with guitar, shifted to bass, moved to saxophone, and then quit music entirely before returning to guitar, and teaching himself lap slide guitar. He organized and ran a songwriters circle in New York City for 13 years, mentoring and influencing dozens of songwriters. An adept improviser and accompanist, he is sought after as a collaborator, sideman and session musician, with over 60 recording credits to date, including releases by Sloan Wainwright, Jon Vezner, Joe Crookston, and David LaMotte. He is a music educator of note, teaching workshops on writing and rearranging songs, slide guitar and other guitar techniques, vocal and instrumental improvisation, and various topics of music history.
Recognition and honors have followed Pat for years: he won the Falcon Ridge Emerging Artist Showcase, was nominated for Emerging Artist of the Year by the Folk Alliance, was nominated for Gospel Song of the Year by the Independent Music Awards, and was a finalist in the Kerrville New Folk songwriting contest. His CDs This Is Absolutely Real and Sunset Waltz both reached #2 on the Folk-DJ charts, and Heaven is so High and Waiting for the Water both reached #4.
Raised on New York City's Roosevelt Island, Emily Mure sharpened her songwriting chops while studying music at Ithaca College and busking on the streets of Galway, Ireland. She later returned to New York, pursuing her songwriting career in the same city that housed her grandfather, musician Billy Mure. Over the course of three acclaimed albums, she has cracked the Top 10 on the Folk DJ Charts, showcased at the International Folk Alliance conference, toured internationally, and seen her music featured on NBC, ABC, and PBS. With her new EP “Sad Songs and Waltzes”, she directs her focus toward her influences, while also doubling down on her own ability to transform — and transcend — the sounds that helped inspire her to pursue a career as a songwriter.