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Lewis Franco performs as a vocalist, songwriter, and guitarist with The Missing Cats – an acoustic jazz combo. For this special Ripton Coffee House concert, he’ll appear with Will Patton, mandolin, Dono Schabner, guitar, Clyde Staats, bass and Susannah Blachly and Halle Toulis, harmony vocals. They do originals as well as gypsy swing and jive swing tunes from the 1930s and ’40s, featuring close 3-part vocal rhythm harmonies and thrilling improvisation.

This is an all-star group of musicians not to be missed!

Lewis Franco has been a fixture on the Vermont acoustic music scene for many years, entertaining audiences of all ages with clever and occasionally profound lyrics, delightfully tuneful melodies, and a fun-loving presence. Vermont Public Radio’s Robert Resnik calls Franco, “a brilliant songwriter – one of our very finest.” His music receives airplay on several radio stations including Vermont Public Radio, WNCS, WGDR, and WDEV (where his song “You Wouldn’t Have A Cowboy Without A Cow” became the theme song of Farmer Dave’s gubernatorial campaign).

Franco’s national recognition is of a different sort. A long-time resident of Maple Corner, in Calais, Vermont, he appears with only his guitar as “Mr. January” in the famous Men of Maple Corner Calendar. He wrote the theme song for the calendar and performed it on NBC’s Today Show. Also, National Public Radio interviewed Franco for its weekend sports show, “Only a Game.” A 9-time Wifflefest Champion, his combination of Wiffle-Ball and musical talents are virtually unsurpassed.

Saturday May 4th

Ordinary Elephant

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International Folk Music Awards 2017 Artist of the Year Ordinary Elephant captivates audiences with their emotionally powerful and vulnerable songs, letting the listener know that they are not alone in this world. The collaboration of husband and wife Pete and Crystal Damore, their connection, and their influences (such as Gillian Welch, Guy Clark, Anais Mitchell) all meet on stage. "Two become one, in song...hand-in-glove harmonies surprise the listener with focused intensity and musical mastery," says Mary Gauthier. Their forthcoming album was recorded in Nashville with producer Neilson Hubbard (Mary Gauthier, Sam Baker). Nashville studio staples Will Kimbrough (guitar) and Michael Rinne (bass) tastefully contribute only what is needed, letting the songs speak for themselves.

Crystal and Pete Damore have been performing together since 2011, when they called Texas home. The two took to full-time nomadic life with their dogs in 2014, and are still finding home and music wherever they go. The duo was both a Kerrville New Folk Finalist and Falcon Ridge Emerging Artist in 2017, and their release ‘Before I Go’ was No. 7 on the Folk DJ Chart for that year.

"Your songs speak, heal, and we need them more than ever."
-Donald Cohen, No Depression

"Their harmonies, singing, the whole presentation...as genuine as it gets"
-Lloyd Maines

“I remember when Gillian Welch and David Rawlings were here for the first time...I suspect that this couple is going to play in the same league in the foreseeable future.” (translated from Dutch)
-Dani Heyvaert, Rootstime.be

"These are elegant, warm and engaging songs delivered and played with instant warmth and beautiful, instinctive intensity.”
-Mike Ritchie, Celtic Music Radio

Saturday June 1st

Caitlin Canty

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Vermont native Caitlin Canty is an American singer/songwriter whose music carves a line through folk, blues, and country ballads. Her voice was called “casually devastating” by the San Francisco Chronicle and NPR Music describes her songs as having a “haunting urgency.”

Motel Bouquet, Canty’s third record, features ten original songs that hold her darkly radiant voice firmly in the spotlight. Produced by Grammy-nominated Noam Pikelny (Punch Brothers) and recorded live over three days in Nashville, the album boasts a band of some of finest musicians in roots music, including fiddler Stuart Duncan and vocalist Aoife O’Donovan. Rolling Stone hails Motel Bouquet as “dreamy and daring” with “poetic lyrics and haunting melodies.”

Since the release of her critically-acclaimed Reckless Skyline in 2015, Canty has put thousands of miles on her songs, circling through the U.S. and Europe. She warmed up stages for Mary Chapin Carpenter, The Milk Carton Kids and Josh Ritter and recorded with longtime collaborators Darlingside and with Down Like Silver, her duo with Peter Bradley Adams. She won the Troubadour songwriting competition at the Telluride Bluegrass Festival, and her song, “Get Up,” was nominated for Song of the Year in the Folk Alliance International Music Awards. Canty’s original recordings have recently appeared on CBS’s Code Black and on the Netflix original series House of Cards.

Raised in small-town Vermont, the daughter of a school teacher and a house painter, Canty earned her degree in biology in the Berkshires and subsequently moved to New York City. She spent her days in the city working as an environmental sustainability consultant and her nights making music at Lower East Side music halls and bars. In 2009, she quit her job and set out to make music full time. In 2015, she packed up her house plants and her 1939 Recording King guitar and drove to Nashville, TN, which she now calls home.

Saturday July 6th

Moira Smiley

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Photo credit Michael Wilson

Addison County native Moira Smiley is a Singer / Composer who creates and performs new work for voices. A musical polyglot, and vocal shape-shifter, her voice – and composing – are heard on feature films, BBC & PBS television programs, NPR, and on more than 60 albums. She accompanies herself with banjo, accordion, piano and percussive movement, and when she’s not leading her own group, moira smiley & VOCO, Moira has toured with Indie artist tUnE-yArDs, Irish super-group, Solas, The Lomax Project and Billy Childs’ “Laura Nyro Re-Imagined”. She’s also toured with Paul Hillier’s Theater of Voices and KITKA. Recent solo performances include TED, Stravinsky’s ‘Les Noces’, the London Proms Festival, features on BBC Radio3, and ABC Australia’s Books & Artsprograms. Moira’s recordings feature spare, vocally driven collections of warped traditional songs, original polyphony and body percussion. She is a well-known choral composer (recent commissions included for Los Angeles Master Chorale) and arranger, with millions of singers around the world singing her works. In 2018, she released a solo album and choral songbook called ‘Unzip The Horizon’. .

“Whether she’s carrying a slow-burning torch above sparse sounds a notch beyond ambient (“One Step Dance”), addressing a global problem on a personal level (“Refugee,”) or leading a…chorus in understated celebration (“Sing About It”), Smiley makes every word & inflection cut deep.”~ROOTSWORLD

Saturday September 5th tbd

Saturday October 5th

Kolonien

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Kolonien is a four piece family band. A ”big year” champion birdwatcher, his brother a housebuilding father of two sons, their neighbor a percussion explorer of four continents and their cousin Anna Möller, the star fiddler of the band.

THE BAND GREW UP with the traditional music scene, deeply embedded in the family.
As Kolonien they reinvent their roots with their rich Swedish harmonies, both instrumentally and vocally.

THEIR JOURNEY STARTED IN THEIR TEENS, when they left their countryside home to travel around Sweden as protest singers in the Swedish Green movement. When they got invited to perform at a Zanzibar festival in Tanzania in 2010, things really started taking shape.

IT WAS MEANT AS A ONETIME GIG, but the songs and the conversations of change fell in place unexpectedly well and they decided to start a band and write their own songs.

KOLONIEN HAVE RELEASED TWO ALBUMS. Twice prized and awarded at the Swedish Folk and World Music Awards. Also twice nominated for one of their offspring projects Världens Band for which they’ve gathered thirteen musicians from six countries.

“THE MOST UPLIFTING PROTEST MUSIC I’VE EVER HEARD” – LIRA MUSIC MAGAZINE (SWE)

KOLONIEN – from latin: “Colonia”
“The cultivator and explorer of new grounds, a place to make things grow.”
SINCE THE START they have strived to live up to, and be guided by, the meaning of their name.
THE FIGHT for a fair and sustainable world is far from won.
But more importantly: it’s not yet lost, either.

“Kolonien creates their own world on the folk music map. A generous world that is both playful and serious. They want their music to go beyond the usual stories.” – Jury Swedish Folk & World Music Awards

Saturday November 2

Moors & McCumber

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Moors and McCumber create that rare chemistry that happens when two gifted singer- songwriters and multi-instrumentalists perfectly complement each other’s strengths, a modern day version of Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young.

James Moors and Kort McCumber grew up in different places and listening to different kinds of music – classical, rock, bluegrass, you name it. But when they met ten years ago they knew they’d found something golden. Since then, they’ve been cultivating their wide-ranging musical influences in songs that delve into love and life through haunting lyrics, soaring harmonies, and dazzling instrumental proficiency. As Grammy award-winning producer Lloyd Maines puts it, “These guys should be playing every major festival in the country. They bring it all to the stage and deliver it in a big way.”

Sat. December 7th tbd