All our ticket prices are discounted 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 for evening shows, and 10AM on the day of the concert for Matinee shows, at brownpapertickets.com. For any difficulties with online purchases, please call 1-800-838-3006.
DOORS OPEN 30 MINUTES PRIOR TO EACH SHOWTIME
Friday, November 22nd, 8pm, $10/15: Focal Point Friends of Traditional Jazz, Blues & Ragtime Present: The Rum Drum Ramblers Return
The backward-glancing trio Rum Drum Ramblers is most commonly thought of as a blues band, and certainly, the young men in the group seek to revive a certain strand of acoustic, prewar blues music. But after listening to its second album, Mean Scene, one could argue that the Ramblers is a soul band; just listen for a few minutes to guitarist and singer Mat Wilson’s sweet, husky voice and feel the easy rhythm of the best early R&B singers. Or perhaps it’s best to describe it as a country act: there’s so much twang-bangin and swift-pickin’ on “Nothin’ New” that Buck Owens is probably tipping his ten-gallon hat to these fellows from the great beyond. But then, terming the Rum Drum Ramblers as country (or blues or soul) would ignore the jazzy underpinnings that Joey Glynn pumps out of his sonorous upright bass and the forceful blowing of its guest horn players. Better yet to put genre tags aside and let the Ramblers interpretation of American folk idioms fan you like a humid breeze.
The Ramblers don’t mind if a little sawdust gets mixed in with their whiskey, and that looseness spreads a freewheeling flavor over the dozen tracks on Mean Scene. Trash-can percussion and second-line horns adorn the lazy shuffle of “Get Behind the Wheel,” and the electric fuzz of “All the Little Days” proves that the band doesn’t play it straight even when plugged in. In fact, the only constant across these songs is that Wilson’s intuitive guitar playing — bluesy, jazzy, soulful and twangy — is tough to pin down. He’s a stylist who has ingested decades worth of popular (and unpopular) music, and he and his equally flexible bandmates spit these influences back out in familiar but thrilling fashion.
Saturday, November 23rd, 8pm & Sunday November 24th, 2pm (MATINEE), $10/15: The Road Apples Ride Again
Thayne Bradford, John Jump, Bob Breidenbach, Fred Gumear, 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 23rd, 8pm
Advance tickets to this event have sold out. We will be putting in extra seating and WILL BE MAKING A BLOCK OF TICKETS AVAILABLE AT THE DOOR. Door tickets will be sold on a first-come-first-served basis when the doors open at 7:30. For any additional information please feel free to call the focal point 314-328-4810.
Sunday, November 24th, 2 pm (MATINEE)
Wednesday, November 27th, 7:30pm (Doors 6:45), $25/30: Songbird Cafe
The Burney Sisters
Sheena Persons and Sheila Rochelle (AKA Missouri Mile)
Friday, November 29th, 8pm, $10/15: Focal Point Friends of Traditional Jazz, Blues & Ragtime Present: Annie & The Fur Trappers Vinyl Release Party
Annie and the Fur Trappers is a St. Louis traditional jazz and blues band which formed in 2016. The band includes clarinet, trumpet, trombone, tuba, banjo, guitar, piano, washboard, and saxophone. Annie and the Fur Trappers is dedicated to performing and preserving the music of the 1920s and 30s today. The band plays traditional jazz, delta blues, ragtime, and swing music. Their version of “Delta Bound” was selected to be displayed at the Mississippi Arts and Entertainment Experience in Meridian, Mississippi. Annie and the Fur Trapper’s original song “You Break It, you Buy It” was selected for the St. Louis Blues Society’s 17 in 17 compilation album. Annie and the Fur Trappers have performed at a variety of music festivals including the Big Muddy Blues Festival, The Whitaker Jazz festival The Apple Butter Festival, HONK!TX, Musikfest, The Cherokee Street Jazz Crawl, and The Rosebud Cafe Music Festival, to name a few.
The band is excited to be celebrating the release of their second studio album, Muskrat Ramble, on vinyl. The album was recorded, mixed, and mastered by Paul Niehaus IV at Blue Lotus Studios. The album includes a number of blues, traditional jazz, and swing favorites. The vinyl was pressed by Standard Vinyl.
Saturday, November 30th, 8pm, $10/15: The Gordons & The Dust Covers
We, Gary and Roberta Gordon formed our mission in 2011 when our friend and neighbor Vic Hamer came to our music store selling African jewelry. There was no turning back when we saw the tears in his eyes. “Give Me Water Lord” is a tiny totally non-profit organization with only 6 board members who are self-appointed servants of humanity. There is absolutely no middle man, any and all kind donations of directly to drill water wells in desperate areas in Kenya. Drilling can exceed 300 feet through granite with average cost of $25,000.00 for drill bits, casing, pump and protective well house. Vic Hamer personally oversees the drilling to insure no funding is misused. “Give Me Water Lord” was recognized by the Federal government to be tax exempt and through kind donations we have drilled wells in Kasarani (2012), Kisumu (2013), Kitengela (2014) and Kima (2016).
In 2014 we also began a “Dairy Cow Project” buying a pregnant cow giving to a school who cares for the cow. The school can use the milk and also sell it to cover school fees for orphans or handicapped children. The calf when born is then given to another school. A children’s feeding program was started in 2015 where 250 children receive one meal a day. There are countless orphans. Some parents simply cannot care for them and give them to orphanages. In 2015 a “School Sponsorship Program” was started to pay school fees for 23 children since that time. We provide corn shellers, inoculate cattle and help anyone in our path when on well drilling missions. Everyone in Kenya is in need but we can help many with clean water. Please help us drill our next 2 wells in Narok and Ambosela in the next 2 years hopefully.
Sincerely, Gary and Roberta Gordon
Influenced by the great music of their era, this husband and wife duo were baptized by bluegrass music and have made wonderful folk music ever since. Accompanied by Gary’s tasteful Gallagher guitar and dobro Roberta plays the American born Appalachian Autoharp. With many recordings to their credit since 1976 harmony singing is their signature.
The Dust Covers:
With the tempo of a train, the chill of its breeze, and the rumble of its momentum this locomotive of a of a band summons the excitement and energy of early blues and old-time. On the life long journey of finding and sharing, not only the intersection but, the road shared by these two genres The Dust Covers harken to sounds pre-recorded music. Their ruckus resonators and gentle touch weave splendidly through their vocals and harmonies.
Sunday, December 1st, 7:30pm, $15/20: Focal Point Friends of Traditional Jazz, Blues & Ragtime Present: Todd Albright
Todd Albright is a country blues twelve-string guitar player and vocalist based in Detroit, Michigan. Grounded in the pre-war era of the blues tradition (1880-1939), Todd is a mindful purveyor of blues history. His repertoire upholds musical pillars such as Blind Willie McTell, George Carter, Blind Lemon Jefferson, and Leadbelly. His life’s work continues the distinguished tradition of the very roots of American music as told by the African-American musicians who created it.
Todd’s vigorous, gritty, and soulful performances are accompanied by stories of the masters and a deep intuitive sense of respect for craft, providing audiences with a meaningful experience while creating a transcendent moment. One of the top blues guitarists in the world, Todd is the only contemporary twelve-string player in his genre.
Todd began playing the blues while still a teenager, some twenty-five years ago. Initially, he was drawn to the sound of the finger-picked style and has since immersed himself in the foundational music and narratives of American culture. Over the years, Todd has shared the stage with artists such as Roy Book Binder, Charlie Parr, Paul Geremia, and Dakota Dave Hull.
Todd’s first full-length LP, Fourth Floor Visitor, was released by Jett Plastic Recordings out of Detroit, Michigan in 2017. His latest album, Detroit Twelve String: Blues & Rags, is out now on Third Man Records (2017).
Friday, December 6th, 8pm, Saturday, December 7th, 8pm & Sunday December 8th, 2pm (MATINEE), $12/15: Rough Shop 16th Annual Christmas Extravaganza
This year marks the sixteenth year that Rough Shop will be at the Focal Point to offer up their take on the holiday season. Find out why these shows have become an annual tradition for so many. It’s all there – the wonder, the longing, the joy, the beauty, the feeling of loneliness for some, the celebration. It all comes through in the original songs by Rough Shop and the wide array of Christmas and holiday songs by other artists that they select to play. Of course, a celebration of this scale is too immense for the five-member Rough Shop to pull off on their own which is why they bring in singers and players from other St. Louis bands to join the Yuletide festivities. More will be added but joining us will be Auset Sarno (Auset Music Project), Chris Grabau (Cave States, Magnolia Summer) with his daughter Avery joining in for her third Extravaganza appearance, Merv Schrock (Ransom Note), Michael Ludwig (pedal steel), and making her first Extravaganza appearance, Jenny Bosworth who is none other than Rough Shop member Jon Parsons’s sister. Blow molds galore! Lights aplenty! Christmas and holiday music of the highest order! Santa sanctioned!
Friday, December 6th, 8pm
Saturday, December 7th, 8pm
Sunday, December 8th, 2 pm (MATINEE)
Friday, December 13th, 8pm, $15/20: Dave Black & Sandy Weltman 3rd Annual Holiday Show
If you’re a native of St. Louis, you may recognize the name Dave Black as one of the area’s most versatile and sought after guitarists, having performed and recorded with artists/groups such as Javier Mendoza (Latin), Joe Mancuso (Jazz vocalist), Bach to the Future (Prog Rock/Fusion), Amanda Raye (Country), Sadie Hawkins Day (Old Time Folk) Dangerous Kitchen (Rock/Funk), Sessions Big Band (Big BandJazz) and Farshid Etniko(Latin/Gypsy Jazz). Dave is also quite accomplished as a solo guitarist, adding yet another thread to Dave’s musical fabric of many colors. Dave is also an adjunct professor at Webster University where he teaches Jazz Guitar and Jazz Ensemble.
Harmonica virtuoso Sandy Weltman’s talents are diverse to say the least. While at home in the jazz realm, he is equally skilled in blues, Celtic, Klezmer, Latin and more. Sandy learned much of his harmonica styling while under the tutelage of harmonica wizard Howard (Flecktones) Levy. Sandy is equally skilled on a number of other instruments including the ukulele for which he had employed and develop an alternate tuning scheme, conducive for for ballads and other solo work. Sandy has performed with Howard Levy, Richard Hayman, Brewer & Shipley, Bela Fleck, Taj Mahal and many others.
Saturday, December 14th, 8pm, $12/15: Jake’s Leg 8th Annual Holliday Show
Jake’s Leg’s annual appearance on our stage has become a Focal Point tradition. Spanning the generations, Jakes Leg has been performing the music of The Grateful Dead for 42 years. (Thats 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 20th, 8pm, $10/15: The Joe Park Trio Plays The Music of Wes Montgomery
Joe Park has become a regular at the Focal Point over the last few years. Park hosts the Annual Django Guitar Summit each August where he brings together some of St. Louis’ finest guitarists to perform together in the style of the great Django Reinhardt. This December The Joe Park Trio will be paying tribute to another iconic jazz guitarist: Wes Montgomery. Universally acknowledged as one of the greatest guitarists in the history of Jazz, Montgomery virtually defined modern jazz guitar in the 1950s and 60s. The Joe Park Trio is: Joe Park on guitar, Guy Cantonwine on bass, Drew Weiss on drums.
Saturday, December 21st, 2pm (MATINEE) & 8pm (EVENING), $10/15: The Wee Heavies Christmas Show
The Wee Heavies are delighted to return to the “bunker of civilization” known as the Focal Point for what is quickly becoming a holiday tradition. This year they are performing two shows on the same day; a matinee and an evening performance. They will be singing some of their fan favorites, as well as new seasonal favorites such as Sleigh Ride MacLennan and will be expanding their offering of seasonal selections for these special holiday performances. The members of this mostly acapella vocal band (Jay Harkey, Peter Merideth, Steve Neale and Aaron Schiltz) are expert purveyors of their own homegrown brand of acapella harmony. While their music is rooted in the traditional music of Scotland, Ireland, England and America; the group explores many divergent musical paths. They will take you on a musical journey into relatively uncharted waters of underrepresented genres such as punkapella…so, if by some chance you haven’t heard the Heavies before, expect the unexpected!
Saturday, December 21st, 2 pm (MATINEE)
Saturday, December 21st, 8pm (EVENING)
Friday, December 27th, 8pm, $12/15: T.J Muller and his Musical Cowboys: A tribute to the Kings of Western Swing
Join T.J Muller and a gang of familiar faces as he pays tribute to the kings of western swing. The ensemble will perform vintage western swing from the 1930’s-50’s, including songs by Milton Brown, Bob Wills, Tex Williams and more! The band will honor St. Louis’ Local KMOX hillbilly musicians and play many of your favorite western swing classics!
Saturday, December 28th, 8pm, $12/15: An Evening with Ryan Koenig: Releasing the Focal Point Recordings Volume 2: Ryan Koenig & The Goldenrods
Howdy folks, it’s Ryan Koenig here and it’s that time again… the last Saturday of the year is approaching.
2019 has been another long haul on the road of life. First the “end of an era” as Matt Meyer put it, and then the start of a new one. I’m still seeing how far I can go, sometimes wishing I hadn’t gone so far and often longing to go a bit farther. Remembering to look back along the road of life is often easy to forget, and a lot has changed. New friends, new music, a new lifestyle and thus a new mindset.
This year I’ve been making many recording appearances including LeAnn Fisher’s “Better Off Alone”, Opera Bell Band’s “Bell-Slide” and The Native Sons’ “Fringe”. The main portion of this annual Focal Point show will be the two bands I’ve recorded the most with: The New Missouri Fox Hunters followed by Ryan Koenig and the Goldenrods. The New Missouri Fox Hunters’ record is finished and will come out in 2020. Ryan Koenig and the Goldenrods’ “The Focal Point Recordings Vol. 2” is finished and comes out on this night! Recorded right here at the Focal Point by Eric Stein, photos taken at the Focal Point by Nate Burrell, mastered by Kit Hamon with art/design by Goldenrod Jessica Adkins. I couldn’t be happier about such an all star group of friends!
Then we’ll be breaking the curfew again this year, and for the third set a strange new band will appear from the dry mist of a burgundy velvet dream…
Saturday, January 3rd, 8pm, $12/15: Keltic Reign
Description coming soon!
Saturday, January 10th, 8pm, $12/15: Jack Grelle’s Third Annual Evening of Songs
Description coming soon!
Saturday, January 11th, 8pm, $10/15: Bottlesnakes
In the late 1920s thru 30s, the most popular instrumentation for recorded blues was piano and guitar. For a decade this was top selling stuff, and thousands upon thousands of records were made. Today, this tradition, which was deeply embedded in St. Louis blues, has all but been forgotten. The Bottlesnakes, a St. Louis-based piano/guitar duo, are proud to draw on this tradition. Their repertoire consists of originals, low-down blues, raucous stomps, boogies, and ragged good-time hokum. In their high energy performances, The Bottlesnakes work to discover and rediscover the endless possibilities of rhythmic and melodic interplay between the piano and guitar. The Bottle Snakes are Nick Pence (guitar) and Ethan Leinwand Piano.
Wednesday & Thursday, February, 26th & 27th 7:30pm, $30/35: Lunasa
We, at The Focal Point, highly suggest that you do not miss this opportunity to hear, listen-to and see Lunasa up close and personal . Kick off the coming of Spring (as well as St.Pat’s season) with a traditional BANG! There are only 110 seats and there isn’t a single bad spot in the house. Get tickets as soon as you read this. Because they will be gone in a blink of an eye .
Lúnasa is composed of Kevin Crawford (flutes, low whistles and tin whistles), Trevor Hutchinson (double bass), Ed Boyd (guitar), Seán Smyth (fiddle and low whistle) and Cillian Vallely (uilleann pipes and low whistle).
The band is internationally acknowledged as being the finest traditional Irish instrumental outfit of recent times. They are renowned for their stunning shows honed by superb musicianship and a constant touring cycle. They have performed over 1,500 shows across 36 countries since they formed in 1997. Lunasa has appeared at internationally renowned venues such as The Hollywood Bowl, National Concert Hall (Dublin), Sydney Opera House and Moscow International House of Music. They have been invited to appear at the White House.
Their inventive arrangements and bass driven grooves have steered Irish acoustic music into surprising new territory. The recordings have been hailed as some of the best and most important world music albums anywhere, while their blend of intelligence, innovation, virtuosity, and passion has brought them to the forefront of Celtic music.
Of the band, legendary Irish fiddler Kevin Burke says, “Maintaining the unique, intimate qualities of a musical tradition while at the same time meeting and fulfilling the demands of the contemporary music world is a difficult juxtaposition to achieve, yet Lúnasa have managed to accomplish exactly that.”
Wednesday, February 26th, 7:30 pm
Thursday, February 27th, 7:30 pm
Coming in 2019:
January, 3rd: Keltic Reign
January, 10th: Jack Grelle
January, 11th: Bottlesnakes
January, 17th: Missouri Breaks
January, 18th: Bob Bovee*
January, 24th: Sam Golden
January, 31st: Beth Bombara
February, 1st: Tommy Halloran
February, 2nd: Willi Carlisle
February, 8th: Focal Point Benefit
February 14th: The Chimps Valentines Day Show
February 15th: Switchback FULL 5 PIECE BAND (Album Release Show)
February 21st: Joe Park & The Hot Club of St. Louis**
March 6th: Riverbend Bluegrass*
March 14th: Eileen Gannon & Eimear Arkins Annual St. Patrick’s Day Show
March 20th: Nick Gusman
March 28th: Spencer and Rains*
April 4th: Buddy Mondlock
April 17th: Dana Cooper
April 19th: John McCutcheon!
April 24-26: 22nd Annual Tionol
May 15th: Manus McGuire
May 23rd: Colon Sphinctor Band Reunion Show
July 25th: 7th Annual Guitar Summit
August 7th: Greg Silsby & Mike Zanger
August 28th: 3rd Annual Django Guitar Summit – Joe Park and Friends**
December 26th: An Evening with Ryan Koenig: Releasing the Focal Point Recordings Volume 3
*Presented by Focal Point Friends of Old-time Music
**Presented by Focal Point Friends of Traditional Jazz, Blues & Ragtime