Sunday, November 2, 2008

Mary McCaslin & Geoff Bartley

NOTLOB FOLK CONCERT SERIES is proud to present two of the most highly regarded traditional folk artists performing today, Mary McCaslin and Geoff Bartley, and hosted by Dave Palmater of WUMB-fm at the Clarendon Hill Presbyterian Church, 155 Powderhouse Blvd, Somerville, MA 02144 on Saturday, November 15 at 8:00 pm (doors 7:30). Earlier that same day, Geoff Bartley will be offering a guitar workshop in the Nave Gallery (information is on his website ~

Suggested donation is $15, $10 for students with ID.

Tickets are available online through Brown Paper Tickets -

Coffee and water are available for a donation.

Earlier in the week, Mary and Geoff will be on area folk radio programs:

* November 11, 1pm ~ Mary McCaslin on WMBR w/ Eli Polonsky (88.1fm, streaming @
* November 14, 9am ~ Mary McCaslin on WCUW w/ Troy Tyree (91.3fm, streaming @
* November 14, 4pm ~ Geoff Bartley on WUMB w/ Dave Palmater (91.9fm, streaming at
* November 15, 3pm ~ Mary McCaslin on WGBH w/ Brad Paul (89.7fm, streaming @


Mary McCaslin represents an unbroken link between traditional folksingers and today's "new folk" singer-songwriters. Her music ranges from ballads of the old west to her own songs of the new west and modern times. Regarded as a pioneer of open guitar tunings, and known for her distinctive vocal style, Mary's influences can be heard in many younger folk performers.

She is also known for her haunting renditions of pop standards and rock classics, such as "Ghost Riders In The Sky", "The Wayward Wind", the Beatles' "Things We Said Today", and the Supremes' "My World Is Empty". Her versions of the Beatles' "Blackbird" and the Who's "Pinball Wizard" are made more unique by her "clawhammer" banjo accompaniment.

Mary's musical influences are as varied as her repertoire: The western ballads of Marty Robbins, the guitar playing of Joan Baez and Joni Mitchell, the singing and banjo playing of Hedy West, and the vocal inflections of the Beatles and the BeeGees.

Her songs have been recorded by Tom Russell ("Prairie In The Sky"), Bill Staines ("Prairie In The Sky"), Chris Williamson ("Circle Of Friends"), David Bromberg ("Young Westley"), Kate Wolf ("The Ballad Of Weaverville"), Stan Rogers ("Down The Road") and others. The Grand Canyon Railroad has used her song "Last Cannonball" for its promotional television ad.


"A great composer and interpreter."


"Mary McCaslin is an inspiration"


"- a sage writer, warmly expressive singer and exquisite player."


"- a songwriter's songwriter."


"McCaslin's real-life western songs and earthy romanticism were profoundly influential among songwriters in the '70s.

Too often overlooked is the great impact her guitar playing also had on the acoustic scene."

L. A. TIMES (feature on mystery writer Walter Mosley)

"Mosley is a conundrum who pulls from Louis Armstrong and folk singer MaryMcCaslin with equal fervor and fascination."


"She sounds as if she had risen out of the Western soil and became its voice."


Geoff Bartley is a prize-winning acoustic guitarist and a nationally respected singer/songwriter whose songs are grounded in traditional folk music, roots blues and jazz. Some of his songs and co-writes have been performed and recorded by other artists in the US, Nashville, Canada and Ireland. Mr. Bartley has released five CDs available from Waterbug Records in Chicago. He hosts two nights of acoustic music each week at the Cantab Lounge in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Both nights have been voted Best of Boston in local entertainment media. Mr. Bartley lives in a Boston suburb.

Mr. Bartley is best known for his elegant blues-influenced guitar style and the archetypal imagery in his writing. His songs address the human longing for meaning in life and are told by average people living in a mysterious world. Running through his material are veins of social consciousness and a recurrent fascination with the “inner terrain”. By bringing images from the natural world coupled with street-level observations of the human condition to the heart of his message, Mr. Bartley reveals a love for the mystical in everyday life. His songs are ultimately uplifting and full of promise.

A natural performer with plenty of personality, Mr. Bartley brings a liberal sprinkling of humor and offbeat between-song patter to his live shows. Audiences are treated to songs and instrumentals in several styles plus traditional and contemporary blues. He boasts a blues-soaked baritone voice and is an expressive harmonica player and slide guitarist. In addition to his own shows mostly in southern New England, Mr. Bartley plays guitar and sings harmony for topical songwriter and folk veteran Tom Paxton at concert venues and festivals in the northeast and elsewhere. Mr. Bartley was also instrumental in bringing the Tom Paxton signature model Martin guitar into production in 2004.

Since his first paying gig in Boulder, Colorado in 1969, Geoff has played in thirty-two states and Canada and has opened for or shared venue or festival stages with Dave Van Ronk, Jonathan Edwards, David Bromberg, David Mallett, Leo Kottke, John Sebastian, Barry Crimmins, John Martyn, the Persuasions, Asleep at the Wheel, Peter Paul & Mary, Leon Redbone, Guy Van Duser & Billy Novick, Brownie McGhee & Sonny Terry, Taj Mahal, Jorma Kaukonen, Al Kooper, Arlo Guthrie, Dr. John, Martin Mull, John Hammond, Livingston Taylor, Richie Havens, Suzanne Vega, Michael Manring, Richard Thompson, Shawn Colvin, Tom Rush, Doc Watson, Tim O’Brien, Norman & Nancy Blake, Gamble Rogers, John Jackson, Odetta and the rock band Aerosmith.

In the 1980s, Mr. Bartley won four guitars at the National Fingerpicking Championships hosted by the Walnut Valley Festival in Winfield, Kansas. Acoustic guitar instrumentals and songs Mr. Bartley has written have been used on the History Channel, Animal Planet, A&E, the Learning Channel, the Discovery Channel, National Geographic, Nature on PBS and in other commercial and non-commercial television programs on other stations, and in documentary films and in private and commercial advertising in the US and other countries. These recordings are licensed to the Sonoton label in Munich, Germany and are distributed worldwide by APM Music.

The concert series is made possible with the support of ARTSomerville, a volunteer organization that draws upon the talents of local creativity, strengthening communication among artists and the public by presenting exhibits, performances, and educational activities. The goals of ARTSomerville are:

* To create partnerships with municipal, public, and private organizations
* To provide facilities for the support, promotion, and exhibition of the arts
* To foster educational and cultural programs in the arts
* To promote Somerville as a vibrant and welcoming artistic community

Community involvement, questions and reservations are encouraged; contact series producer Jeff Boudreau through the Notlob website -

CHARITY: Through Clarendon Hill Presbyterian Church’s “Peace, Justice and Mission Committee”, a portion of the proceeds will be donated to RESPOND. Patrons may also bring items from RESPOND’s wish list. Patrons may also donate funds directly through RESPOND’s website -

RESPOND’s mission is to help women and their children create options for a safer life, free from domestic violence, and to further the efforts of the larger community to end domestic violence. At this time we seek to fulfill our mission by providing shelter, support, advocacy and education.

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