Labor Day Weekend, Sept. 3-4 — PLYMOUTH — The President Calvin Coolidge State Historic Site will host the 17th annual Plymouth Folk & Blues Festival on Labor Day Weekend, Sept. 3 and 4 from 2 – 5 p.m. The festival has been selected by the Vermont Chamber of Commerce as a 2022 “Top 10 Fall Event.”
Local as well as internationally known musicians will team up for a lively two-day festival of folk and blues music performed in the pure country air of historic Plymouth Notch. The concerts are free; a donation is suggested, or guests may bring non-perishable food items in support of a food drive for the Vermont Foodbank.
The festival will be held rain or shine at the President Calvin Coolidge State Historic Site in Plymouth Notch. In the case of inclement weather, the rain venue is the Union Christian Church located within the historic village.
Additionally, come early on Saturday to enjoy a “Shakespeare Alive!” theatrical performance at 12 p.m. at the Union Christian Church. For information about the theatre presentation, please call the Coolidge Foundation at 802- 672-3389.
The Plymouth Folk & Blues Festival concerts are organized by Jay Ottaway and the Vermont Division for Historic Preservation, and generously supported by Clear Lake Furniture, Good Commons, The Mountain Times, Plymouth Artisan Cheese, Ramunto’s Brick and Brew Pizza, Escobar Music and Vermont Standard.
2022 Plymouth Folk and Blues Festival Line-Up:
Saturday, Sept. 3 / 2 p.m. – 5 p.m.
2 p.m. Jay Ottaway and the Ramble
3 p.m. The Speckers
4 p.m. Sarah King
Sunday, Sept. 4 / 2 p.m. – 5 p.m.
2 p.m. Craig Bickhardt
3 p.m. Alastair Moock
4 p.m. Reggie Harris
Jay Ottaway is an award-winning songwriter/producer who has toured for decades throughout Europe with the Jay Ottaway Band and Jay Ottaway and the Lost Boys. He has now teamed up with Dan Bowden, Greg Holt, and Ralph Rosen in the U.S. to form the acoustic-based, Jay Ottaway and the Ramble. The band features original music combined with classics from rock legends such as Bob Dylan and the Grateful Dead. Lead guitarist Dan Bowden is a guitar professor at the Berklee College of music in Boston, and veteran of the Boston blues and rock scene. Bassist Greg Holt has collaborated with numerous organizations and musicians such as the Boston Pops, blues artist Sam McClane, jazz artist Kurt Elling, as well as folk artist Martin Sexton. Drummer Ralph Rosen has played drums, percussion and harmonica throughout the world with blues legends, including Bruce Katz. More info: jayottawayandtheramble.com.
Vermont-based fiddle icon John Specker earned the title “Father of the Ithaca Sound” for his seminal influence upon younger generations of upstate New York fiddle players. Defying the odds, he also has the rare good luck to front The Speckers, a fiddle trio featuring his two daughters. Family bands have a long and storied history in the annals of American music. The Specker family both honors and meddles with that fine tradition. Lila and Ida Mae inherited dear old dad’s hard driving style and subversive approach to fiddle music. Triple bows slice the air, heartfelt vocals tell it like it is and bodies sway in biological and stylistic synchronicity. The result is a singular take on “old-time,” anchored in tradition, audacious in originality. More info: johnspecker.com/the-speckers.html.
Vermonter Sarah King inhabits the dark side of Americana, creating gritty murder ballads and feminist anthems anchored by her atmospheric voice and rhythmic blues guitar. Her music is for the lost and lonely, when the twist of a knife is what keeps the pain at bay, and a song can lead to redemption. Her debut EP “The Hour,” produced by Simone Felice and David Baron (The Lumineers, Jade Bird), marks her stunning arrival with “Nightstand” named 2020’s #1 Best Song in Vermont by County Tracks. King’s live show crackles with energy and devil-may-care attitude, earning her support slots for The Steel Woods and a place on 2021’s Vermont Roots Roadshow. More info: sarahkingsings.com.
By the time Craig Bickhardt was 25 years old, he’d signed a record contract with Bob Dylan’s manager Albert Grossman; inked an artist development deal with legendary talent impresario and head of Atlantic Records Ahmet Ertegun; had one of his songs recorded by Art Garfunkel; shared the concert stage with Bruce Springsteen, Stephen Stills and Harry Chapin; lost nearly everything he owned in a California house fire; and had his only guitar stolen in New York City. Three decades later, despite steady touring and achieving respectable success scoring music for the Academy Award winning film “Tender Mercies” and writing songs that have been covered by Johnny Cash, Ray Charles, B. B. King, Kris Kristofferson, Alison Krauss, Kathy Mattea and many others, Bickhardt remains a relatively undiscovered artist. His new CD, “Home For The Harvest,” is being played on olk and Americana stations worldwide. More info: craigbickhardt.com.
Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter Alastair Moock has made a name for himself on the folk and Americana circuit, touring throughout the U.S. and Europe and playing renowned events like the Newport Folk Festival. When Moock’s twins were born in 2006, he turned his focus to children’s music, releasing four award-winning albums for kids and families. In 2017, he returned to his singer-songwriter roots with his first “grownup” album release in years. The Boston Globe calls him “one of the town’s best and most adventurous songwriters” and The Washington Post says, “every song is a gem.” More info: moockmusic.com.
Reggie Harris has been a vital part of international folk and acoustic music circles for over 40 years. A celebrated songwriter, storyteller, song leader and a John F. Kennedy Center artist educator, he presents over 300 performances, workshops, and lectures per year for audiences of all ages at venues, schools, and arts centers around the world. As co-president and music education director for the Living Legacy Project, he co-leads pilgrimages to sites of the modern civil rights movement in the southern U.S. He has released chart-topping CDs, for years with the duo Kim and Reggie Harris, as a solo act with his CDs “Ready to Go” (2018), “On Solid Ground” (2021) and in the musical collaboration “Deeper Than the Skin” (2020) with fellow artist Greg Greenway. Through his work Harris has continued to build a movement of “courageous conversations” on race, equity and hope across the nation. He is an artist who entertains, educates, and builds community through music and dialogue. More info: reggieharrismusic.com.
The President Calvin Coolidge State Historic Site is open daily through Oct. 16, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. For further information and event listings, visit us online at historicsites.vermont.gov and on Facebook at Vermont State Historic Sites.