Ten Pound Fiddle Unveils 45th Concert Season With Tribute to Phil Ochs

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Monday, September 2, 2019, 7:15 am
Christopher A. Wardell

The Ten Pound Fiddle concert series is preparing to raise the curtain on its 45th season with a tribute to the music of Phil Ochs (above) on Sept. 13.

As in the past, this year’s lineup mixes favorites both old and new, as well as a few new events, including a play and a performance by a local dancer.

The series will again split its time between the MSU Community Music School (4930 S. Hagadorn Road), Edgewood United Church (469 N. Hagadorn Road), and The Robin Theatre, located in Lansing’s REO Town at 1105 S. Washington Ave.

The collaboration between the Ten Pound and the Robin Theatre began last season. According to the Ten Pound’s booking manager, Sally Potter, the partnership has yielded nothing but positive reactions from attendees.

“The Fiddle will host nine shows in that small, quaint, beautiful venue right in the heart of REO Town,” Potter said. “The Robin Theatre allows concert-goers to be even closer to the action, to the music. Concerts at the Robin are a real musical conversation between performer and audience. We are delighted to be able to work with Dylan (Rogers, owner and producer) on these productions.”

Performances that will take place at the Robin include, “Mother Jones in Heaven,” a play written by Si Kahn (October 16); Erin Zindle and The Ragbirds (October 18); Amythyst Kiah (November 20); Tim Grimm and Ben Bedford (January 24); Lansing’s own The Fabulous Heftones and Friends (February 7); Molsky’s Mountain Drifters (February 23); Scott Cook (February 27); Kyshona (March 6); and Lynn Miles (March 20).

The MSU Community Music School will host about 20 of the Fiddle’s shows, while two will be held at Edgewood.

Mid-Winter Singing and Folk Festival

The very popular annual Mid-Winter Singing and Folk Festival will take place January 31-February 1 at the Hannah Community Center.

This year’s Friday night concert at the festival will feature performances by the Philadelphia folk-fiddle duo House of Hamill, Irish Fiddler Liz Carroll (who will be joined by harpist Maeve Gilchrist), and dancer Nic Gareiss, who hails from Lansing.

The Saturday program of the festival will feature its usual workshops, culminating in an end of the night community sing-a-long, which will be led by the Minneapolis-based Dan Chouinard. Chouinard is a pianist, writer, and radio show host who has been entertaining the Twin Cities for more than three decades.

“A singing festival favorite, Dan adds exquisite piano-playing, or the accordion, to the mix of hundreds of voices, singing along with every word of 20-25 songs. Lyric sheets will be provided,” Potter said.

For Potter, bringing the House of Hamill to East Lansing is a dream that’s finally come to fruition.

“I am a huge fan of the very talented, entertaining duo, House of Hamill, and we finally made it work,” Potter said. “They will be the first half of Friday’s ‘concert’ night of the Mid-Winter Singing and Folk Festival, followed by world-renowned, Chicago-based Irish fiddler, Liz Carroll, hometown prodigy and dancer extraordinaire, Nic Gareiss, and harpist Maeve Gilchrist. That will be a very special night.”

May Erlewine to play two shows

Familiar favorites making their return to the Fiddle include Joel Mabus (October 25), Josh Davis (March 27), and May Erlewine (October 11). Erlewine will be in town to promote the release of her latest album, “Second Sight.”

Erlewine will return to the fiddle February 14 with her other band, The Sweet Water Warblers (pictured above), which also features singer-songwriters Rachael Davis (middle, in photo above) and Lindsay Lou (right).

The tribute to Phil Ochs will feature performances by Greg Greenway, Pat Wictor, Reggie Harris, and Tom Prasada-Rao, who are all accomplished performers in their own right. The night will be hosted by Phil’s sister, Sonny Ochs. Phil Ochs is famous for being a part of the same early-’60s Greenwich Village folk music scene as, and is often compared to, Bob Dylan.

Now in her 12th season as the booking manager for the Ten Pound Fiddle, Potter is happy to see the concert series continue to evolve.

“I’m excited about the overall mix with several old favorites, the best of Michigan’s next generation, and some up-and-coming, incredibly talented artists.” Potter said. “Most of all, each of these artists connects with the audience, with the social or geographic environment, with the times. Every show should be both memorable and engaging.”

Potter added, “This year, we have a good gender balance, a nice range of genres under the very wide folk umbrella, and a mix of old favorites and new, very interesting, entertaining acts.”

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