May 20, 2014


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  For any difficulties with online purchases, please call 1-800-838-3006.





Saturday, October 20th, 8pm, $15/$20: Fiddlers Four

This year’s fiddlers’ showcase has been assembled by acknowledged virtuoso Geoff Seitz, and we are greatly impressed! Geoff himself, who began playing music at 8 years old, was from a musical family: his father played mandolin and fiddle. Geoff, as he says in his understated biography, has “won a few” fiddle contests, and acts as a judge in others. His choices this year for our listening enjoyment, include Irish fiddler Andrew O’Brien, who grew up in Dublin in a large musical family, hearing and playing with the cream of musicians in that very musical city. Although the necessity for work has limited his performances, Andrew still finds time to teach at the St Louis School for Irish Arts.

Next on the program is Vesta Johnson, born in 1922 in Linn County, Missouri. She learned her fiddling from local musicians, having no radio or phonograph when she was growing up, and her style of playing is the nearest thing Missourians have to the original local sound. Still active as a performer and teacher, Vesta is a recognized authority on Missouri fiddling and tunes.  To round out the group and provide yet another facet to this versatile instrument, we have bluegrass and country swing virtuoso Bo Chaloupek!  Bo arrived in St Louis in 1983 from Pilsen, Czech Republic already accomplished in country fiddling (which he had learned as a child from GI radio and Radio Free Europe) and upon arrival here has played all over Texas, Oklahoma, and Missouri with many different musicians and bands.


Wednesday, October 24th, $20/$25, Songbird Cafe:

The Burney Sisters

Kip Loui and JJ Loui

Brian Henneman


Friday, October 26th, 8pm, $15/$20: Open the Door for Three

Open the Door for Three is a high-octane, laughing-out-loud trio of Irish musicians: Kieran O’Hare (uilleann pipes, flute, whistle), Liz Knowles (fiddle), and Pat Broaders (bouzouki, vocals).  For years they’ve mined tune books, collections, and recordings to find old and new tunes and new and old songs to form the backbone of their repertoire.  They season it with Liz’s compositions, harmonies, and arrangements; Kieran’s encyclopedic knowledge of tunes and the uilleann piping tradition; and Pat’s rhythmic bedrock bouzouki and world-class singing. Join us in welcoming them back to the Focal Point!

Saturday, October 27th, 8pm, $15/$20: Dennis Stroughmatt et l’Esprit Creole

In the heart of North America is a story that remains to be told, the story of the French creoles who founded the Illinois country over three hundred years ago along the Wabash and Mississippi River corridors.  Today they remain with their songs, stories and language, and one music group continues to carry the torch of this enduring culture: Dennis Stroughmatt et l’Esprit Creole. It’s an old-time country stringband with an exotic twist: fiddle-driven songs and tunes you ALMOST know… a great night with brilliant music!

Thursday, November 1st, 7:30pm, $15/$20: Frankie Gavin, Tommy McCarthy & Louise Costello

All-Ireland flute and fiddle champion Frankie Gavin has played and recorded with Andy Irvine, The Rolling Stones, Elvis Costello, Stéphane Grappelli, Earl Scruggs, Yehudi Menhuin, Frankie Goes to Hollywood,as well as with some of the great contemporary players & singers of traditional Irish music. In 2010 became reputedly the fastest fiddle-player in the world, with an entry in the Guinness Book of Records. The name Frankie Gavin is also synonymous with De Dannan the globally renowned band he founded in the mid-1970s. He is joined on this occasion by Tommy McCarthy & Louise Costello. Tommy (fiddle), was born in London to Irish parents, so grew up listening to traditional music & playing with all of the legendary Irish players who were living in London, including: Máirtín Byrnes, Raymond Roland, Roger Sherlock, Danny Meehan, Paddy Taylor & Bobby Casey.  Louise (banjo) from Galway, played with her father Denny & local fiddlers: Joe Morris & Jim O’Brien, flute player Joe Collins & friend Paddy Hession. In her late teens she broadened her musical horizons & became part of Galway’s vibrant session scene. It was there that her banjo playing was influenced by Charlie Piggott.

Friday, November 2nd, 8pm, $15/$20: Michael Smith

One of the most captivating songwriters in the folk arena, celebrated musician Michael Peter Smith has toured the United States and Canada for nearly five decades. He creates new work on a constant basis, and music’s finest performers record his songs. His song “The Dutchman,” a signature piece for the late Liam Clancy and for the late Steve Goodman, and still recorded by dozens of others, is considered a classic. Michael’s latest CD “Songwriting,” reveals the inner workings of his songwriting process, tells stories: from first song and first guitar, to the inspiration for (and secret source) of his best known song, “The Dutchman,” and performs this, and other songs, with distinctive Smithesque style.

Michael has appeared at The Focal Point more than a dozen times over the years, and his performances here have always been a special treat for all who attend. Come see why.

Saturday, November 3rd, 8pm, $15/$20: Focal Point Friends of Old-time Music present: The Volo Boggtrotters

An old-time string band based in the Chicago area, the Volo Bogtrotters played songs and tunes from the string bands of the 1920s and fiddle music from the Midwest, as well as from other new and traditional sources. The band was together from about 1984 to around 2002 and during that period made four recordings on the Marimac Label. They played at many music festivals and traditional dance venues and were known for their driving twin fiddle sound and old songs gleaned from 78 rpm recordings. Six members of the band have recently united again (2011) to play occasional dances and festivals.

Friday, November 9th, 8pm, $10/$15: Auntie Em and the Tornadoes

Songwriter and St. Louis native Emily Higgins returns home from her home in the Missouri Ozarks for her latest Focal Point performance, this time with her full band, Auntie Em and the Tornadoes. The tornadoes are three original members of the Undergrass Boys: Bo Brown, Rick Davidson and George Horne. The band presents a playlist of Emily’s Folk-Americana originals, most of them featured on her four all-original albums: Singing River, The House at the End of the Road, On the Square and most recently, a commissioned collection, 91 Acres. She’ll even throw in a couple of newer tunes. Sitting in with the band on steel guitar will be Emily’s brother, John Higgins.

Like her current collection of acoustic country folk, this 11-song record captures the sound and atmosphere of the Ozarks perfectly. Each song chronicles a different story from the 91-acre property that serves as the inspiration for the album. One moment you’re following along as Higgins goes morel hunting, and then you’re enjoying the view from Lovers’ Ledge.

-Ettie Berneking – 417 Magazine – Review of 91 Acres (Jan 8, 2016)

The House at the End of the Road, from Emily Higgins: The purity of folk.

Ed Peaco – Springfield News-Leader (Jan 8, 2016)

Auntie Em and the Tornadoes on Facebook:

Saturday, November 10th, 8pm, $15/$20: Andrew Finn Magill & Dave Curley

Dave Curley is one of Ireland’s leading multi-instrumentalists and vocalists and a champion step dancer. Hailing from Co. Galway on the west coast of Ireland, Curley has brought his wealth of talents to the largest of stages in North America and Western Europe. He has performed at the prestigious Ryman auditorium in Nashville, Tennessee, recorded with Grammy award winners Ron Block, Jeff Taylor, and Buddy Greene, and toured with Grammy award winners Moya Brennan of Clannad and Ross Holmes of Mumford and Sons. For ten years, Curley has worked with the award-winning traditional super group, SLIDE, headlining North America’s largest Irish festivals.

Multi-instrumentalist, All-Ireland fiddle finalist, and Ropeadope Recording artist Andrew “Finn the fiddler” Magill has watched his career surge ever since the 2016 release of his two-disc concept album Roots & Branches (Roots debuted at #46 on the Folk DJ charts). Raised at The Swannanoa Gathering, Magill has learned and carved out a name for himself in Irish, American, and Brazilian music, collaborating with everyone from Rising Appalachia to John Doyle. He has toured five continents and self-released four albums in everything from traditional Irish music to African fusion. Curley & Magill bring together a wealth of genres and instruments into this exciting new musical collaboration of Irish tunes and songs.

Sunday, November 11th, Time 2pm, $12/$15: T.J. Muller’s Armistice Day Concert (Remembering the music of The First World War)

Join T.J. Muller, accompanied by the St. Louis Ticklers (Christopher Parrish/Piano, Jon Weiss/ Tuba, Sam Golden/ Violin) as they mark the Centennial of Armistice day (Nov 11th 1918) with a concert featuring the music of the First World War and the 19teens. The ensemble will play pop hits, sing-alongs, instrumental rags and novelty numbers of the era whilst reflecting on how music can be used as a tool for both remembrance, and lifting our spirits when times seem bleak.

Friday, November 16th, 8pm, $15/$20: Séamus Begley, Oisín Mac Diarmada & Sam Harvey

Expect sparks to fly when West Kerry accordionist and singer Séamus Begley joins forces with Sligo fiddler Oisín Mac Diarmada and Californian dancer/pianist Samantha Harvey.  Séamus Begley is the quintessential Irish musician, an eager storyteller known for his sharp wit and famous for pumping out tune after tune at all night sessions with an energy that is sometimes alarming.  Fiddler Oisín Mac Diarmada, founder of noted group Téada, has been described by The Irish Echo’s Earle Hitchner as “one of the most gifted and creative traditional fiddlers playing today”.  Providing masterful accompaniment on piano, Samantha Harvey, originally from Ventura, California and now living in Sligo, is also an award-winning step dancer. Samantha’s energetic dance and musical performances on stage has seen her become an increasingly prominent touring performer and teacher.

Saturday, November 17th, 8pm, Price $12/$15: Brian Curran & Eric McSpadden

As one of the early acts to play the newly opened Beale on Broadway, Eric McSpadden & Brian Curran played acoustic blues every Thursday night, while Bennie Smith at the Broadway Oyster Bar and Oliver Sain at BB’s Jazz, Blues & Soups completed the “Blues Triangle”. Brian, then in his early twenties, and Eric, an already well-known and seasoned musician, formed a unique musical partnership. While each performance was deeply rooted in traditional blues, they were never afraid to explore other styles and genres, including rock and country. The Focal Point is excited to see these two great musicians get together once again to bring their love of music to our stage. Sit back and listen to Eric & Brian perform some favorites from their over 15 year history!

Friday, November 23rd: $15/$20: Ben Bedford: Album Release Show

Join us at the Focal Point for the release of Ben Bedford’s 5th studio album!
Ben, Darwin the Cat, and The Hermit’s Spyglass:

“Out on the rise, west of the town, where the tall Needlegrass burns to the ground. We sit inside, together apart, and a window of light shines in the dark.”

So begins Ben’s and Darwin the Cat’s day in the little old farmhouse (“The Hermitage”) on the edge of the Illinois prairie. And so too begins The Hermit’s Spyglass, Ben’s 5th studio album. The recording is a small, quiet musical meandering over earth and under sky with Ben and Darwin at the center of the story. We hear the raggedy star-dogs harmonize in the gloom and feel the frost melt from the Locust branches as the sun rises above the horizon. We smell the early morning coffee as the Larkspur springs and the Buffalo Grass sways. We watch the little falcon dive with flashes of green and purple. We meet Ben and Darwin’s neighbors in the eastern pasture: Festus the Mule and Sassy the horse. We contemplate the golden green of the March prairie sun and the power of an imminent thunderstorm. We sit peacefully while Darwin swishes his tail and talks to the sparrows through the window as quiet reigns on the green hill. So….Come kids of all ages. Come wonder-seekers and question-askers. Join us. Sit and ponder. See as far as you can see.

The Hermit’s Spyglass is a solo vocal/guitar album. Come here it in it’s entirety at The Focal Point.


November 24th & 25th: $12/$15: The Road Apples Ride Again

John Jump, Bob Breidenbach, Thayne Bradford, and Ed Cabanas, original members of the early Road Apples, ride again for TWO shows this November! Join them for an evening and an afternoon of original and Americana roots music.  These accomplished musicians each perform with a number of different groups and are among the most well-known and respected in the area.  Expect to hear a lot of great music and enjoy the camaraderie of these long-time friends.

Saturday, November 24th, 8pm

Sunday, November 25th, 2pm (Matinee)

Friday, November 30th, 8pm, Ticket price $15/20: Acoustik Element Presents ‘Crazy Ass Guitars’ featuring: Aaron Burlbaw & Sean Canan

Guitarist Aaron Burlbaw of Acoustik Element and Sean Canan of Falling Fences & Voodoo Players team together to bring you an unforgettable night of acoustic guitars with unexpected twist.  Using unconventional techniques, these fine guitarists are bringing out all the fancy guitar tricks…(aka. Beer bottles slides, effects, guitar battles, and more! ) to play an evening of classics with a Latin Vibe.  Expect the unexpected in an evening of ‘ Crazy Ass Guitars’.  Aaron Burlbaw, ‘Crazy Ass’ Guitar’, Sean Canan, ‘Crazy Ass’ Guitar, Brian May, Drums, and Tim Duggan, Bass.

Saturday, December 1st, 8pm, $12/$15: The Joe Park Trio: Album Release Show

Jazz guitarist Joe Park and his band celebrate the release of their first album, “Out of Nowhere”. On this collection of standards, the trio tips their hat to their favorite guitarists of the 1940’s and ‘50’s such as Django Reinhardt, Les Paul, and Barney Kessel. The trio will perform the songs from “Out of Nowhere” along with some of their other favorites for a memorable night of music you won’t want to miss!

Friday, Saturday & Sunday, December 7th-9th, Ticket price TBA: Rough Shop 16th Annual Christmas Extravaganza

Christmas comes but once a year, and theres 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 14 years. A mixture of holiday classics, obscurities and delightful originals are performed by the bands 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 for the second year, which will be taking place on Sunday at 2PM. Here is the chance to kick off the holiday season in grand Yuletide style!

Friday, December 7th, 8pm:

Saturday, December 8th, 8pm:

Sunday, December 9th, 2pm (Matinee):

Friday, December 14th, 8pm, $15/$20: Farshid Soltanshahi, Dave Black & Sandy Weltman: Second Annual 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 15th, 8pm, $12/$15: Jakes’ Leg 6th Annual Holiday 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 21st, 8pm, $12/$15: Tommy Halloran

Description coming soon.

Saturday, December 22nd, 8pm, Ticket price $12/$15: The Wee Heavies

Description coming soon.

Friday, December 28th, 8pm, Ticket price TBA: TJ Muller

Description coming soon.

Saturday, December 29th, 8pm, $12/$15: An Evening with Ryan Koenig: Releasing Focal Point Recordings Vol  1

Description coming soon.

January 2019 & Beyond:



January 4th: Keltic Reign (Friday Evening Show)

January 11th: Second Annual Evening of Songs with Jack Grelle

January 12th: Focal Point Semi-Annual Benefit Show: The Missouri Rounder/The Dust Covers

January 25th: Willi Carlisle*

January 26th: Auset Music Project


February 1st: Beppe Gambetta

February 2nd: WirePilots

February 8th: New Missouri Fox Hunters

February 13th: T’Monde*

February 15th: Chimps Valentines Day Show

February 22nd: Bob Bovee*

February 23rd: The Baker Family


March 2nd: Switchback

March 8th: St. Louis Piano Summit: Ethan Leinwand / Christopher Parrish / Chase Garrett

March 9th: Andrew Calhoun

March 12th/13th: Dervish

March 16th/17th St. Patricks Day Celebration Eileen Gannon/Eimear Arkins

March 15th: The Vogts Sisters

March 22nd: Mound City Slickers*

March 28th: Tempest

March 29th: Frank Lee & Alliw Burbrink*


April 5th: Boney Goat Band*

April 6th: Buddy Mondlock

April 11th: John McCutcheon

April 12th:-14th St. Louis Tionol

April 19th: Muriel Anderson

April 29th: Christopher Parrish- 2nd Annual Duke Ellington Birthday Show


May 10th: Spencer Bohren

May 11th: Dennis Stroughmatt Band: Tribute to Ray Price and His Cherokee Cowboys

May 18th: Missouri Rounders


September 6th: Pappy with a Hatchet


October 11th: John Batdorf


December 28th: An Evening with Ryan Koenig


*Presented by Focal Point Friends of Old-time Music

**2018 Focal Point Traditional & World Jazz Series

… and many more!

Concert series sponsored in part by: