All our ticket prices are discounted $5 for advance purchases. For example, $10/$15 means ten dollars in advance or fifteen dollars at the door. Unless otherwise specified, advance tickets are available until noon on the day of the concert at brownpapertickets.com. For any difficulties with online purchases, please call 1-800-838-3006.
DOORS OPEN 30 MINUTES PRIOR TO EACH SHOWTIME
Friday-Sunday December 8th-10th, $10/$15: 14th Annual Rough Shop Christmas Extravaganza
Christmas comes but once a year, and there’s much to be said for the celebrations, the gifts, and the gatherings with family and friends, which take place each December 25th. Still, in St. Louis, at least, the truest spirit of the holiday has been found in the annual Rough Shop Holiday Extravaganzas held on a couple of nights in December for the past 13 years. A mixture of holiday classics, obscurities and delightful originals are performed by the band’s five members, aided by a growing assortment of talented guests. Confirmed guests for the 14th Annual Rough Shop Holiday Extravaganza include Auset Sarno (Auset Music Project), Danielle Aslanian (One Take Band), Merv Schrock (Ransom Note), Chris Grabau (Magnolia Summer, Cave States), Steve Carosello (Love Experts, Palaver), and Michael Ludwig (pedal steel). Could there be more additions? Possibly. After all, this is the time of year for surprises.
Expect to hear songs exploring the magic, the love, the joy, and yes, the heartbreak of the Yuletide season. With neither a trace of ironic distance nor a hint of cash-counting cynicism, Rough Shop and friends embrace the concept of Christmas music as something every bit as complex and emotionally rich as any other kind of song. Because of the success of past shows, we have added a third matinee show which will be taking place on Sunday at 2PM. Here is the chance to kick off the holiday season in grand Yuletide style!
***Make Sure to Purchase tickets for the correct day***
Friday, December 8th, 8pm
Advance Tickets for FRIDAY have sold out. There will be a small block of tickets that will be made available when the doors open at 7:30.
Saturday, December 9th, 8pm
Advance Tickets for SATURDAY have sold out. There will be a small block of tickets that will be made available when the doors open at 7:30.
Sunday, December 10th, 2pm
Friday, December 15th, 8pm, $15/$20: Farshid Soltanshahi, Dave Black, and Sandy Weltman Holiday Show
Versatile is the key word here; these gentlemen can play anything. As for this concert, it could be jazz — it could be klezmer. It could be exotic Middle Eastern. You might even hear a few old-time country licks. It could be a blend of all this and more, in the hands of these three masters. Musicians’ musicians, all three, here to school and delight us.
Saturday, December 16th, 8pm, $10/$15: Jake’s Leg Annual Acoustic Christmas Dance Party
Jake’s Legs’ annual appearance on our stage has become a Focal Point tradition. Spanning the generations, Jake’s Leg has been performing the music of The Grateful Dead for 41 years. (That s only 11-ish years less than the Dead played Dead themselves!) This will be an acoustic performance. ALSO, the show will likely not be the perfectly silent listening experience we are known for, however, we promise that it will be great fun for all. Dancing recommended but not required.
Friday, December 22nd, 8pm, $10/$15: Diesel Island Christmas(ish) Show
Diesel Island has been bringing their rock-infused take on classic country music going on 15 years now. Featuring Brian Henneman from the Bottle Rockets as well as Kip Loui, Richard Tralles, Carl Pandolfi and Spencer Marquart, the quartet will feature original songs from their debut CD as well as crowd favorites and a few holiday classics. A family friendly show, but no one will ask if you spiked the egg nog. Bring yer dancing shoes!
Saturday, December 23rd, 8pm, $10/$15: Cree Rider Family Band’s Annual Christmas Hangover Featuring special guest: Misisipi Mike Wolf
St. Louis’ own Cree Rider Family Band stays true to its own instincts to create a modern honky-tonk country sound that is rooted in tradition, but firmly planted in the here and now. Vocals and harmony are a focus, but the full band expertly complements each song. Known for their energetic and engaging live shows, the Cree Rider Family Band has been called a subversive country band that wears its heart on its sleeve.
The Cree Rider Family Band will be joined by Cree’s long-time friend and collaborator Misisipi Mike Wolf. Born on the gulf coast of Mississippi, but now hailing from San Francisco, CA, Misisipi Mike is a songwriter in the vein of John Prine and Merle Haggard. His music has been featured on nationally broadcast radio and television and he has been twice voted as “Best Singer/Songwriter” by readers of the San Francisco Bay Guardian.
Friday, December 29th, 8pm, $10/$15: T.J. Müller Banjo Revue
Join T.J. Müller and his cohort of banjo players for an evening of fun, upbeat music. You will hear all your favorite Great American Songbook classics, with some seasonal Christmas tunes thrown in for good measure! The band will showcase some of St. Louis top jazz banjo players as well as the great accompaniment of tuba and stride piano. Reminiscent of the music of Gaslight Square, Your Father’s Moustache and Shakey’s Pizza, it’s guaranteed to leave you with a smile!
Photo by Jack Grelle
Saturday, December 30th, 8pm, $10/$15: An Evening with Ryan Koenig
To say that Ryan Koenig loves country music is not enough. Whether he is on the road with his full-time gig as a multi-instrumentalist with Pokey LaFarge or at home inside western themed trinket-covered walls of his St. Louis bungalow, you will most likely find him affectionately immersed in the genre’s fashion, history, and culture. Koenig’s recently released album, Two Different Worlds, is an expression of his love of country music as well as a reflection of the deep understanding and appreciation he has for even the smallest piece of the country music puzzle. But Koenig could never stand to be two-dimensional. He is a charismatic artist with depth and an unmistakable voice that has been honed by years of study and life experience. His songs touch upon gentrification, mortality and the dichotomy of romance and violence, which are interspersed throughout classic country tales of heartbreak and longing. Ryan will be joined by several guest musicians including Nick Pence, Kellie Everett, Mat Wilson, Joey Glynn, and several other surprise guests. Please join us in welcoming Ryan Koenig to his debut performance in the listening room.
Friday, January 5th, 8pm, $10/$15: Keltic Reign with opening set by The Laws Sisters
On the first weekend of last year, St. Louis’s own, Keltic Reign, played to a packed house, and it was most definitely a very fun way to ‘kick’ in the New Year, Celtic style! Sisters, Holly and Ashby Laws will once again shine on their own with the first set before being joined by the the rest of the band. Band leader and mom to the girls, Mitzi MacDonald will bring you songs from her native homeland of Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, as well as songs from Ireland and Scotland. Singer and multi-instrumentalist Randy Getz and the rest of the band, will make sure your toes are tapping! Sit back and enjoy, and Let the New Year Begin!!
Sunday, January 7th, 2pm and 8pm, $10/$10: Guitar Heroes (Brian Curran, Tom Hall & Dave Black) CD release!
St. Louis is rich in master guitarists, all of whom seem to know each other and to trade knowledge, insights, and hot licks; here are some of the best! After four iterations of the Focal Point’s annual Guitar Heroes Showcase, these three know each other better than most. Each of them has a distinctive style — you’ll hear raggy, bluesy, honky-tonk ranging into country, swing, jazz, and traditional world tunes — but they know how to work off each other to make great music together, and they always inspire each other to greater heights (that’s a nice way of saying they like to show off for each other). Maybe that’s why this time, they’re coming with the new CD that we at the Focal Point have been waiting for!
Friday, January 12th, 8pm, $10/$15: Jack Grelle: An Evening of Songs
Jack’s willingness to travel around genre-lines is a testament to the urgency and restlessness of his artistry. This rambling spirit has brought him to over 13 countries and 3 continents with a tour schedule that averages 150 shows a year. He has shared the stage with Joe Ely, Billy Joe Shaver, Chris Stapleton, and Pokey Lafarge. LaFarge, who has personally invited Grelle to open shows on numerous occasions, referred to Jack as a “Midwestern poet” and “a timeless Renaissance man.” Jack has also enjoyed the opportunity to sit in with Dale Watson and his Lonestars.
Jack’s songs range in topic from celebrating the life of his recently-deceased grandmother to romance in South America, and he shows an integrity and courage that mirror his punk rock upbringing by tackling such topics as freedom in femininity and the tragedy of police killings that plague the African-American community. Jack is a strong, idealistic artist who does not accept limitations. These qualities recently led him to step outside of his normal role as he assembled a backing band to tour the Midwest with Lavender Country, the music of Patrick Haggerty, a life-long gay rights activist who made the world’s first gay country album. Grelle’s drive continually leads him to new challenges, and he consistently exceeds expectations. Jack last appeared at The Focal Point in 2015 when he shared the stage with Ryan Koenig when opening for The Yellow-Bellied Sap Suckers. We are thrilled to welcome Jack for his debut solo performance in our listening room.
Saturday, January 13th, 8pm, $10/$15 Salt of the Earth
A roots group with a straightforward and unassuming style, a sound that is stripped down to its core, and songs that come straight from within. Salt of the Earth features Lynne’s songwriting, which aims to chew on life in a heartfelt way, and spans the genres of pop, folk and blues. Sit back and listen to the music. Thats all there is.
Friday, January 19th, 8pm, $10/$15: Focal Point Friends of Old-time Music Present: Bob Bovee
Bob Bovee is a kindred soul: No one handles old-time cowboy and humorous songs better than him. His vocals are hauntingly rough. His guitar and harmonica are as good as you will ever hear. Whether performing in concert, playing for a barn dance, or on a recording, Bob leaves you wanting more.
Saturday, January 20th, 8pm, $10/$15: The Buckhannon Brothers
Dennis and Curtis Buckhannon became hooked on old time music so long ago that neither of them can remember exactly how it happened. Old-time music is not just what they play: it’s a part of who they are.
In 1973, Curtis and Dennis formed an old-time string band called Cousin Curtis and the Cash Rebates. They had five pickers (fiddle, bass, mandolin, guitar and banjo) and frequently played for square dances and local establishments. The Cash Rebates are still playing today and although the membership has gone through several permutations, Curtis and Dennis remain at the center of the band. Since the late 1980’s, Curtis also plays with the Ill-Mo Boys.
Today, the Buckhannon Brothers perform in St. Louis as well as around east central Missouri and southern Illinois for square and line dances. They teach and call old-time square dances as well. The brothers perform at numerous old-time national music festivals, and have been instrumental (pun intended) in several projects dedicated to the preservation of old-time string band music, such as field recordings produced by the Missouri Friends of the Folk Arts (University of Missouri at Columbia archives). Their talents as old-time musicians have been preserved for posterity on recordings archived in the Library of Congress and their recordings have been used as authentic auditory complements to two historical documentaries!
Little River Stomp, a marvelous CD recording of instrumental mandolin and guitar renditions of fairly obscure old-time tunes was recorded to help preserve an important element of American folk music: a fitting project for two brothers dedicated to performing traditional music together.
Friday, January 26th, 8pm, $15/$20: St. Louis Piano Summit: Ethan Leinwand, Christopher Parrish, and Chase Garrett
Ethan Leinwand is a St. Louis-based barrelhouse blues pianist and preservationist. A student of the music’s rich history and varied regional styles, Ethan presents personal interpretations of many of the great (and forgotten) old-time masters. He specializes in St. Louis pre-war piano blues, Texas barrelhouse, Deep South barrelhouse, early Chicago boogie-woogie, and good-time hokum stride. His influences include: Jimmy Yancey, Henry Brown, Little Brother Montgomery, Peetie Wheatstraw, Aaron ‘Pinetop’ Sparks, Albert Ammons, Black Bob, Cooney Vaughn, Professor Longhair, and Carl Sonny Leyland. Originally from Middletown, CT, Ethan has spent time living in New Orleans and Brooklyn. He moved to St. Louis in the summer of 2014, and, connecting with the city’s thriving blues community and its deep piano blues heritage, he quickly became a mainstay. In addition to his solo work, Ethan plays in multiple projects including Miss Jubilee, The Bottlesnakes, and The St. Louis Steady Grinders. He’s become a regular at the Focal Point, and it’s always a pleasure to see him! More at http://www.ethanleinwand.com/
Christopher Parrish first visited St. Louis this past June to play at the Second Annual St. Louis Piano Festival. By the end of September, he’d moved here permanently and had been featured in the Riverfront Times’ “Best of St. Louis 2017” issue as “Best St. Louis Story.” Since his move from Indianapolis, St. Louis has warmly embraced what he has to offer both as a lively interpreter of traditional ragtime and blues piano and as an exciting improvisational player covering a broad range of styles. Both contemplative and witty – sometimes simultaneously – his playing routinely quotes from a variety of musical genres, including a generous sampling of classical themes, and always rewards close listening. In addition to his solo playing, his other projects include The St. Louis Ticklers and an occasional role in Annie and the Fur Trappers. The Focal Point is delighted to welcome him for his first appearance on our stage – we hope the first of many! More at https://www.facebook.com/CParrishMusic/
Chase Garrett, voted “Best Local Act” in Iowa City, IA by the Daily Iowan in 2011, began playing piano professionally at age seventeen and within a few years was performing at blues and boogie-woogie festivals across the U.S. and Europe. Having been heavily influenced by artists such as Oscar Peterson, Erroll Garner, Otis Spann, and Meade “Lux” Lewis, his style has grown into an infectious and diverse mix of boogie woogie, blues, swing, and stride that is sure to satisfy any audience. Chase has dedicated himself to the piano not only as a pianist, but also as a technician, an instructor, an event organizer, and a producer. He has brought world-class pianists to the Englert Theatre in Iowa City, IA for his annual Blues & Boogie Woogie Piano Stomp concert series and has taught master classes and piano performance at colleges, blues weeks, and swing camps across the U.S. Audiences can expect to hear a mixture of Chicago blues and boogie woogie, Kansas City Swing, and some Classic Jazz from New York City. Chase currently resides in St. Louis, MO. Please join us in welcoming him to the Focal Point! More at http://chasegarrett.com/
Saturday, January 27th, 8pm, $10/$15: Auset Music Project
Auset Sarno and her Music Project have been celebrating her birthday with The Focal Point for quite a few years now. It is always phenomenal and we’re sure that 2018 will be no exception. Great songwriting, a few choice covers, superb musicianship on pedal steel guitar, bass, drums, 6 string guitar & perfect vocals, a wide variety of special guests and birthday cake for all.
Friday, February 2nd, 8pm, $10/$15: An Evening of Bebop with the Dave Stone Group with special Guest Eric Slaughter
Dave Stone has been a stalwart of the Saint Louis improvisational music scene for over 25 years. Primarily a tenor saxophonist, Dave has also played guitar and other reed instruments with many local bands, and in multiple musical genres. Revered in both the STL jazz and the free improv circles, Dave has been an under-appreciated Saint Louis icon since the early 1990’s.
The Dave Stone Trio has had a long-standing Friday night residency at Mangia Italiano since 1997, surviving through 4 different owners. Their gig begins every Friday at 11:30pm, so this concert is a rare chance to hear his trio at an earlier time. This will be the first bebop / post-bop show in the Focal Point’s 43-year history, so you won’t want to miss a night of music inspired by Charlie Parker, John Coltrane, Wayne Shorter, and Sonny Rollins.
Special guest Eric Slaughter is a high-energy guitarist, experienced nationally and internationally in jazz/rock/funk/pop and more. This will be a homecoming of sorts, Eric played with the Dave Stone Trio regularly in the late 1990’s.
Thursday, February 15th, 7pm, $15/$20: Dónal Clancy
Dónal Clancy is regarded as one of Ireland’s finest guitarists. He is the son of the world-renowned singer Liam Clancy of The Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem and has since the death of his father focused his attention on the family repertoire of songs that he grew up with, while keeping the Clancy tradition alive with his solo performances. In 2006 he released his first solo guitar album Close To Home, which The Boston Globe dubbed “a sweet masterpiece of melodic grace and riveting groove”. In 2009 Dónal returned to live in Ireland with his wife Mary and their three children and in 2014, to much critical acclaim, he released Songs of a Roving Blade. The Irish Post awarded the album five stars, calling it folk singing at its best and a smashing album that should help to ensure these songs will never be lost.
“Dónal Clancy is a consummate Celtic guitarist with a voice sympathetic to a range of different song cultures and with a sense of musical arrangement true to the great classical Irish tradition.” – Archie Fisher
Dónal Clancy’s new CD is a classic recording of a man and a guitar, great material beautifully played and sung. – Martin Simpson
***Note 7pm Start Time***
Friday, February 16th, 8pm, $20/$25: Switchback!
For over two decades, Brian FitzGerald and Martin McCormack, known as Switchback, have entertained crowds with their unique American Roots ~ Celtic Soul blend of music. Brian and Marty play an exciting mix of mandolin, guitar, and bass. Their harmonies have won them comparisons to famous duos, such as the Louvin Brothers, the Everly Brothers, and Simon and Garfunkel. Their Celtic music is authentically Irish, with equal respect for traditional and modern artists and styles.
Saturday, February 24th, 8pm, $10/$15: The Gaslight Squares
The Gaslight Squares are a relatively new group to St. Louis, but as their name suggests, they link themselves to a great history of St. Louis traditional jazz. The band is led by British cornet player T. J. Muller, accompanied by native St. Louisans Jacob Alspach (banjo), Jon Weiss (tuba) and Matt Sellers (piano). The band perform with regularity around St. Louis, playing traditional jazz tunes both easily recognized and obscure. Come celebrate the passing down of a music played in St. Louis since its earliest days, and dance to some great old melodies.
April 12th & 13th: $25/$30: Legendary British Folk Revivalist, Martin Carthy -Solo- (Opening set Eimear Arkins)
Martin Carthy (MBE) is an English folk singer and guitarist who has remained one of the most influential figures in British traditional music, inspiring contemporaries such as Bob Dylan and Paul Simon, and later artists such as Richard Thompson, since he emerged as a young musician in the early days of the folk revival.
If the English folk revival of the 1960s had a single “father” and guiding spirit, then Martin Carthy was it. Carthy’s influence transcends his abilities, formidable though those are — apart from being one of the most talented acoustic guitarists, mandolinists, and general multi-instrumentalists working the folk scene in the 1960s through today, he’s also a powerful singer with no pretensions or affectations, and is an even more prodigious arranger and editor, with an excellent ear for traditional compositions. In particular, he is as much a scholar as a performer, and frequently goes back to the notes and notebooks of folk song collectors such as Percy Grainger, scouring them for fragments that could be made whole in performance — no “second hander,” he uses the earliest known transcriptions and recordings of many of the oldest folk songs known in England as his sources, and works from there. By 1966, at the time he was cutting his first two albums, Carthy was already an influence on Bob Dylan and Paul Simon, and by the end of the 1960s was de facto mentor to virtually every serious aspiring folk musician in England. At least three major English folk-rock bands, Fairport Convention, Steeleye Span, and the Albion Band, were formed either directly or indirectly with his help and influence.
Martin is an old, dear friend of the Focal Point family and patrons alike. It has been far too long since he’s been able to make it back the midwestern United States. We are all very excited, humbled, and reminiscent about his return! Furthermore, it’s no accident that Martin’s visit nearly coincides with long-time Focal Point proprietors Eric and Judy Stein’s 50th wedding anniversary! If it weren’t for Eric and Judy, it is quite possible that our little theater and arts center would not exist. After its founding in 1975 by Bill and Janet Boyer (former owners of Music Folk in Webster Groves, MO), the Focal Point was handed down to a short succession of directors. In 1983 it was picked up by long-time fan and supporter of the traditional arts, Judy Stein, who ran the artistic side while her husband Eric took the technical aspects. Together, and with the help of a few friends, they expanded and grew the Focal Point into a world-class folk music destination, bringing in such acts as Martin Carthy, Dave Swarbrick, Doc Watson, Norman Blake, Dave Van Ronk, and John Renbourn, to name but few. In 2011, Judy took a semi-retirement from the venue and passed it to a new group of friends, but stays active as a part time volunteer and advisor while Eric Stein remains our head sound engineer and can still be found at the mixing board from time to time. With these concerts, we are celebrating not only the Focal Point’s long, rich history but the couple who made us what we are today.
Eimear Arkins comes from a small village on the West Coast of Ireland called Ruan in County Clare but she has been living in Missouri for the last number of years. She is an award winning musician, singer and dancer with eleven Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann titles to her credit. Eimear has toured extensively with the international music organization Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann on concert tours throughout Ireland, Britain, North America and Canada. For the past six summers, Eimear has performed with the internationally renowned show Brú Ború and was part of the troupe that represented Ireland at World Expo 2010 in Shanghai. In August 2015, she traveled to World Expo in Milan with St. Louis Irish Arts where she promoted not only Irish culture but the expression of Irish culture worldwide.
Eimear has toured and performed throughout the US and in Ireland with Cherish the Ladies, Téada, The Nashville Celts and The Paul Brock Band. Eimear has been a regular teacher at St Louis Irish Arts since 2011 and has given workshops at festivals all over the world including Catskills Irish Arts Week, New York; Viljandi Pärimusmuusika Festival, Estonia; St Louis Tionól; Canadian Celtic Celebration, Canada and Festival Interceltique de Lorient, France.
Thursday, April 12th, 7pm
Friday, April 13th, 8pm
March 18: Will Soll and the Youngers of Zion (matinee)
July 28th: Guitar Heroes: Dave Black, Brian Curran, Tom Hall
February 2018 & Beyond:
February 2: An Evening of Bebop with the Dave Stone Group
February 3: Missouri Rounders
February 10: Kay Brothers
February 16: Switchback
February 17: Kevin Burke
February 23: Frank Lee & Allie Burbrink*
March 2: River Bend*
March 3: The Road Apples (Saturday Evening Show)
March 4: The Road Apples (Sunday Matinee 2:00)
March 10: Buddy Mondlock
March 16: St. Louis Steady Grinders
March 17: St Patrick’s Day Celebration with Eileen Gannon and Eimear Arkins (2 shows 3pm & 8pm)
March 18: Will Soll and the Youngers of Zion (matinee)
March 23: Andrew Calhoun
March 24: Michael Smith
March 31: Roger Netherton & Teddy Breihan
April 7: Willi Carlisle*
April 12: Martin Carthy (Opening set Eimear Arkins)
April 13: Martin Carthy (Opening set Eimear Arkins)
April 20-22: 21st Annual St. Louis Tionól
April 28: Tempest
April 29: Duke Ellington’s 119th Birthday Concert – Christopher Parrish
May 5: Dick Hensold
May 11: The Western Satellites
May 12: Calvin Street Band
May 18: Dennis Stroughmatt – Tribute to Ray Price and His Cherokee Cowboys
July 28th: Guitar Heroes: Dave Black, Brian Curran, Tom Hall
December 15: Jake’s Leg
*Presented by Focal Point Friends of Old-time Music