Folknotes: January

Perley Swett, known as “the Hermit of Taylor Pond,” was born in 1888, in an old farmhouse located in Stoddard, near both the Sullivan and Munsonville town lines. He spent his childhood learning to work hard, with little time for frivolity. When he came of age, he bought his own place a couple of miles away in Sullivan. He soon married and had several children, and achieved what might be considered rural prosperity (lots of land, and an adequate cash flow) before events unfolded that resulted in three years of imprisonment at the County Farm in Westmoreland. After his release he eventually returned to the original homestead. Alienated from family and friends, he began a more reclusive existence, taking comfort in his herd of goats (which numbered over 100 at one point). Eventually he became a local, and then a national legend – his “simple” life style (most of us can at least now imagine living without electricity) and his astute and candid observations about life conveying wisdom which, unknown to many, had come at a very high cost. Except for one day trip to Boston, he never left the Monadnock region, and seldom left his little tri-town corner. When he died in 1973, his life had intersected and influenced a remarkable number of people in ways that could never have been imagined. Read more

Bluegrass and Gospel | DelRossi’s

Bluegrass & Gospel (double show)

Iron Skillet Band & The Right Path

Gary Skillings hosts two bands performing foot stomping bluegrass and tight harmony singing gospel tunes with some of the hottest New England Bluegrass musicians around.

(The band will be collecting $10 ticket charge at the door.)

DelRossi’s Trattoria, Rt. 137N
PO Box 337, Dublin NH 03444

Serving fine Italian cuisine. Wed.&Thurs., 5:00-8:00,  Friday&Saturday, 5:00-9:00
Sunday, 4:00-8:00.  Closed Monday and Tuesday.

Erin McKeown | Armadillo’s

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Erin McKeown

Armadillos Burritos

Sunday, December 14th

General Admission

Tables Saved for Sponsors and Angels only!

Doors Open 5pm

Show Starts 6pm

From elegant pop to balls-out rock,sweet electronics to witty swing, Erin McKeown has packed a ton of music into her young career. With 5 albums, 2 EPs, and numerous soundtracks and compilations to her credit, the 29-year-old songwriter and multi-instrumentalist hasn’t stopped for a breather in the last 10 years. Along the way she has averaged 200 shows a year and garnered the praise of fans and critics alike. McKeown’s newest release is Lafayette, a rollicking evening with her six-piece Little Big Band.

Erin McKeown was born in Boston, MA, in October, 1977. After high school, she attended Brown University, where she earned a degree in ethnomusicology and spent here evenings performing in local bars and coffeehouses.
After making the semi-finals for the Songwriters’ Association of Washington, DC, Mid-Atlantic Song Contest, she released her debut album, Monday Morning Cold on her own TVP label in 1995. This introduced her as a strong multi-instrumentalist and folk-rock singer/songwriter.

In addition to releasing her debut on her own label, McKeown spent a time performing around the American Northeast with other young singer/songwriters Beth Amsel, Jess Klein, and Rose Polenzani as the collaborative group Voices on the Verge. Since then, she has slowly gained notoriety among Americana enthusiasts, though managing to skirt national recognition on a large scale. Her 2000 independent release Distillation was universally well-received and won her opening slots for many of her peers, including Ani Difranco, the Indigo Girls, Dar Williams, and others.

She has appeared regularly at festivals around the world, including Falcon Ridge Folk Festival, Boston Folk Festival and Newport Music Festival, and continues to tour on a rigorous schedule.

Laura Wilson
Orange Earth Productions

PO Box 243

Spofford, NH



Windborne | Joseph’s Coat

Windborne, the singing duo of Will Thomas and Lynn Mahoney, will offer music at Joseph’s Coat in Peterborough to mark the opening of the store’s late holiday hours and to showcase the musician’s newly released CD. Just back from a European tour with the esteemed singing ensemble, Northern Harmony, Windborne has an extremely varied repertoire of traditional music from around the world with rich harmonies.

The open house will kick off the store’s extended holiday hours: open until 9 pm every night until the 23rd with their fine selection of world crafts, gifts, clothing and remembrances.

Champagne and festive food from Holiday traditions of the Joseph’s Coat ‘families’ will be served with the music.

For the store open house, Windborne will draw from their wide repertoire with songs in many languages and traditions: from Ireland, Appalachia, Bulgaria and the Republic of Georgia, Corsica, as well as the Spanish and Italian renaissance singing including mid-winter seasonal songs. Thomas has composed for poetry by Yeats, poems in Elvish and an award-winning setting of Aprill from the prologue to Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. The duo also wrote a timely song with an environmental message about not being a Slave to Time. Samples of the music can be heard at:
The duo have directed a World Music Ensemble of their own creation at Marlboro College in Vermont and will be touring in January with Renewal, a group of veteran singers of the Village Harmony camps, as well as offering full Windborne concerts. For booking, contact: The music will be offered in small sets throughout the evening free of charge for the shopper’s pleasure.
For information: 603-924-6683;

The Cold River Ranters | Armadillo’s

The Cold River Ranters Holiday Set; playing some old favorite seasonal tunes, some ancient and odd and some new tributes for the Holiday Season.  The evening’s second set will be the Ranter’s unique all-acoustic primitive folk jive. Come Celebrate the Season!

Location: Armadillos Burritos, corner of Main & Railroad Street, Keene, NH

Admission: Free

Contact: 603 352-0460 for info.

Folknotes: December

In the fall of 1978 I was helping out with the logistics of a folk festival that the Folkway was putting on at Crotched Mountain ski area in Greenfield, New Hampshire. One of my assignments was to go to the Jack Daniels Motel in Peterborough and pick up one of the weekend’s headliners, Odetta.  I knocked nervously on the door, As I expected, her presence was instantly intimidating (though she was perfectly polite), and I also realized that her ample physical presence would be somewhat intimating to the front seat of my little Datsun sedan.  I took my place behind the wheel  and by way of making conversation asked her how she was doing this day. She was silent for a short time and then said sternly, “My father died yesterday.” “I’m sorry,” I said, and then – “will you be able to sing today?” She practically glared at me (though I later learned Odetta’s glare could have a certain warmth to it) and said, “I have to sing today!”

Odetta fell in love with Peterborough, and I don’t recall if it was that year or the following, but she rented a house one winter and just hung out. She soon became a fixture at the Folkway, visiting often and performing occasionally. Others will remember better than I whether she engaged in many return visits, but I will never forget my initial encounter. Read more