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
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Friday, March 3rd, 8pm, $10/$15: The Blue Eyed Bettys
Based out of New York City, harmony-driven string band The Blue Eyed Bettys met in Sarasota, Florida in 2014. The players are Daniel Emond on banjo, Sarah Hund (originally from St. Louis) on fiddle, and Ben Mackel on guitar, and as for their vocals, these three sound as if they were born harmonizing. Their material ranges from old-time country to close-harmony Americana, and the vibe is swingy, almost barbershoppy. Come and enjoy a treat for all who good singing!
Artists’ website: Blue Eyed Bettys
Tom Hall has been undisputed occupant of first chair in every band hes played in, whether its the Geyer Street Sheiks, River City Rhythm, The Illusions, The Fighting Molly McGuires, or any of the others. Of course, the respect he now enjoys didn’t just fall into his lap; in the twenty-plus years he’s been a working professional, Tom’s paid his dues with interest, playing on street corners, festivals, bars, and concerts across the continent, Ireland and Europe. Tom’s music was originally based on blues mentors Mississippi John Hurt, Robert Johnson, Blind Blake, and Rev. Gary Davis, to name only a few. He has since broadened his repertoire to include eclectic fingerstyle guitar, clawhammer banjo, and Irish tenor banjo alongside his mastery of resophonic guitar. Tom’s playing has brought him acclaim from appearances on National Public Radio’s “Good Evening America” with Noah Adams to the stages he’s shared with The Neville Brothers, Count Basie, Lightin’ Hopkins, Albert King, Guy Clark, and many others. His annual appearance at the Focal Point as part of our Guitar Heroes Showcase (with Dave Black and Brian Curran) is becoming a tradition it its own right.
Originally from Middletown, CT, Ethan Leinwand has spent time living in New Orleans and Brooklyn, NY. He moved to St. Louis in the summer of 2014, after a short visit convinced him that, with its thriving blues community and storied music history – particularly on the piano – St. Louis was the ideal place to live and work. In addition to performing solo, he plays in multiple projects including The Bottlesnakes (a piano/guitar duo with Nick Pence), The St. Louis Steady Grinders (with vocalist Miss Jubilee), and his band from NYC, Chickentown. He also performs regularly with Mat Wilson and with Miss Jubilee and The Humdingers.
The two together bring an extraordinary wealth of talent, expertise, and insight to the music they make together. Take advantage of this rare opportunity to hear them in a listening-room setting!
It’s easy to take Diesel Island for granted, to forget that it’s still one of the strongest purveyors of classic country music in town. Led by veteran singer Kip Loui and the Bottle Rockets’ Brian Henneman, also featuring Richard Tralles, Carl Pandolfi and Spencer Marquart, Diesel Island now finds a home and gigs in a catch-as-catch-can fashion. Nobody plays the great songs of ’60s and ’70s country music from Waylon to Merle to Buck to all outlaw points in between quite like these veterans.
Saturday, March 11th, 8pm, $15/$20: Carl Sonny Leyland
Carl Sonny Leyland was first captivated by boogie woogie at the age of fifteen in his native England. Within three months he would be performing in public, and shortly afterward would become a member of a respected local group “The Bob Pearce Blues Band.” Initially influenced by boogie woogie greats Albert Ammons, Pete Johnson & Meade ‘Lux’ Lewis, Leyland went on to fully explore the piano blues genre, becoming an authority on early & obscure styles such as those played by Cow Cow Davenport, Little Brother Montgomery, Montana Taylor, and Speckled Red, to name a few. He came to the U.S. in the 1980s, first to New Orleans, and later to southern California. He’s played with Anson Funderburgh & the Rockets, Big Sandy & His Flyrite Boys, and the Carl Sonny Leyland Trio (with with drummer Hal Smith and bassist Marty Eggers) has recorded seven CDs. Whether playing solo or with his trio, Leyland’s playing displays an infectious spontaneity, providing plenty of surprises for the listener. While he possesses the necessary vocabulary to pay tribute to the greats of old, he refuses to be limit himself to this and prefers to let each performance be an opportunity to say something new.
Friday, March 17th, 8pm, Price: $10/$15: St. Patrick’s Day Celebration: Eileen Gannon, Eimear Arkins, & Conor Arkins
Eileen Gannon, a St. Louis native, is one of the top Irish harp players in the world. She has won numerous accolades including the highly coveted Senior Harp title at Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann. Eileen has toured and performed all over the world and is a regular tutor at international festivals like the Catskills Irish Arts Week. Eimear Arkins, an award winning singer and fiddle player from County Clare, has been living in Missouri for the last number of years. She holds 11 Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann titles across a variety of competition categories and has toured extensively throughout Europe, Canada and North America with a number of bands and organizations including the all-female super group Cherish the Ladies. In 2015, both Eimear and Eileen represented Ireland at World Expo in Milan, Italy where they promoted Irish culture and the expression of Irish culture worldwide with St. Louis Irish Arts. The newest addition to the St. Louis Irish music scene is Conor Arkins, Eimear’s brother. Conor is a member of the National Folk Orchestra of Ireland and is an accomplished piano, fiddle, flute and saxophone player with solo and group Fleadh Cheoil titles to boast. Together they will perform a selection of toe-tapping dance tunes, melancholy sean-nós songs, haunting harp melodies and jazzy saxophone renditions of Irish classics. A feast for the ears, this St. Patrick’s Day.
Saturday, March 18th, 8pm, Price: $10/$15: St. Louis Osuwa Taiko
Part dance, part athletic demonstration, but mostly percussion-centered music, Taiko is a traditional Japanese musical form. Modeled after Grandmaster Daihachi Oguchi’s original Osuwa Daiko, St. Louis Osuwa Taiko was founded here by Oguchi-sensei himself thirty years ago on a visit from Suwa, Japan, and is one of only a few Taiko groups in the Midwest. The group performs an eclectic mix of traditional and original Taiko, featuring flute and violin as well as percussion; they’re most notable as a permanent feature of the annual Japanese Festival at the Missouri Botanical Garden, where they amaze and delight thousands every year. In October 2015, they opened for the nationally-touring On Ensemble here at The Focal Point, and appeared as headliners last summer, just prior to the release of their latest CD, Misotose. We couldn’t be more pleased to welcome them back!
Wednesday, March 22nd, 8pm, $15/$18: Songbird Cafe:
Featuring (in the round):
Doors 6:45 Show 7:30
Thursday, March 23rd, 7pm, Price: $15/$20: Charlie King
Charlie King is a a folksinger and activist. He was born and raised in Brockton, Massachusetts in 1947 and cites the folk music revival of the 1960s, the American Civil Rights movement and the Vietnam War era as his as musical influences. Charlie King has released a dozen solo albums since 1976. He has also released three albums with the touring ensemble Bright Morning Star, and numerous compilation albums with other artists. Charlie’s performance will be a special Presentation:
COPPER! World War One And the War on Labor.
100 years ago U.S. history changed dramatically as the Government entered the European War and the Corporations executed their war on Labor. The Progressive Era had seen Labor’s star in ascendance. With the coming of World War I and the organized assault of powerful corporations this tide was reversed in 1917. The battle was primarily carried out in the Western mining regions, especially the copper mines of Montana and Arizona, sparked by the tragic North Butte mining disaster and culminating in the infamous Bisbee Deportation. Heroism and tragedy, agitation and lynching, solidarity and the copper collar – it’s an adventurous story, told in historical narratives, powerpoint images and songs. It casts a bright light on the oppression that marks our history.The second half of the evening will be in concert format, old songs and new, focusing on the work we do and our struggles for justice.
*****Note This Show Begins At 7PM*****
Friday, March 24th, 8pm, Price: $10/$15: Rum Drum Ramblers
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 its whiskey, and that looseness spreads a freewheeling flavor over the dozen tracks on 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, March 25th, 8pm, Price: $10/$15: Joe Mancuso & Dave Black
Noted music journalist Scott Yanow put it this way…
“Singer Joe Mancuso and guitarist Dave Black often perform as a duo in the St. Louis area. Mancuso has a very appealing voice, always sings in-tune, is an expert at perfectly placing his notes for maximum effect, and swings up a storm. He improvises without losing sight of the melody or the lyrics.
Dave Black is the perfect accompanist for him, for the guitarist provides basslines on the medium-tempo tunes and sophisticated chords. Very much an orchestra by himself, Black is also a fine soloist who makes the absence of a bass and drums practically unnoticeable.”
Friday, March 31st, 8pm, Price: $10/$15: Calvin Street Band
The Calvin Street Band blends folk, blues, jazz, and gypsy swing, seasons it with a sprinkling of roots, and serves it up in a toe-tappin’ style. The group formed on a crisp autumn day when guitarists Robert Wallace and David Neely were jamming in their front yard in Columbia, Missouri. They soon added Gregory Gortmaker on upright bass and Dave Godsey on harmonica. To top off the mix, in came St. Louis’ very own Roger Netherton, an award-winning fiddle player. Their original repertoire, often whimsical and heartwarming, draws on life as can only be found in mid-Missouri, from the legendary Burr Oak on the Katy Trail to the heart of Columbia’s District.
Saturday, April 1st, 8pm, $15/$20: Buddy Mondlock
Buddy Mondlock writes songs. He does it so well that some great songwriters have recorded his songs on their own albums. Guy Clark, Nanci Griffith and Janis Ian, to name just a few. He’s not going to pin your ears back with those songs. He’s going to draw you into his world. Where a single snowflake follows the trajectory of a relationship, where you get your pocket picked by a Roman cat, where you might swim over the edge of the world if you’re not careful and where dreams that don’t come true still count. We recommend this one.
Friday, April 7th, 8pm, $10/$15: BAJA — debut performance!
Brad Sarno and Auset Sarno are the driving force behind Auset Music Project. John Wendland and Andy Ploof are the principal songwriters for The Wilhelms and Rough Shop. For months now, the four of them have talked about collaborating together to see what musical surprises can come out of this pairing of two musical duos. As this goes to print, the four have not yet had a rehearsal together. In short, this will be as much as about musical discovery for them as it will be for attendees of this show. Focal Point will be presenting this collaboration, BAJA, for their debut performance. We’re not sure what to expect other than that it will be an acoustic and electric blend of instruments including, at times, guitar, bass, dobro, mandolin, pedal steel, harmonica and whatever else grips them and that material will include originals and carefully-chosen covers. We would tell you more if we knew more but it promises to be an evening of special entertainment!
Saturday, April 8th, 8pm, $10/$15: Jeremy Stephens & Corrina Rose Logston
Corrina Rose Logston and Jeremy Stephens are a duo heavily steeped in the sounds of traditional bluegrass and early country music. From heart songs and brother duets of the early Grand Ole Opry era to lively bluegrass tunes and their own original material, their show is sure to keep you entertained. Corrina & Jeremy perform the ballads of bygone days with a haunting authenticity in spite of their young age, yet simultaneously breathe new life into the old songs. Their performance blends past and present in a compelling combination of familiar and unique.
Both Corrina and Jeremy are well-accomplished in their own rights. Jeremy, born and raised in south central Virginia, has worked as guitarist and singer for the world famous gospel group The Chuck Wagon Gang, as a multi-instrumentalist on the television show Ray Stevens’ Nashville, and most recently as banjo player and singer with Jesse McReynolds & the Virginia Boys. He is a true student of old-time, bluegrass, and country music and has won banjo contests all across the country. Corrina, originally from southwestern Illinois, has worked as fiddler and singer with a who’s who of today’s traditional-based bluegrass performers, including David Peterson & 1946, Jesse McReynolds & the Virginia Boys, Chris Henry & the Hardcore Grass, and Jim Lauderdale. She is a graduate of Belmont University and has won numerous contests in fiddling and singing as well.
Drawn together by their mutual love for duets, especially the lesser known names in traditional bluegrass and hillbilly music, Corrina and Jeremy have been likened to Reno & Smiley, the Louvin Brothers, and Lulu Belle & Scotty. Their vocal blending and harmony has led many listeners to remark that they must be related. In fact, Corrina and Jeremy are both only-children who are only “kin” by their marriage to one another. They currently reside in Nashville, Tennessee.
Together they bring a colorful palate of diverse musical styles with a heart-warming delivery that is sure to delight.
Sunday, April 9th, 7pm, Price TBA: Foggy Memory Boys
Foggy Memory Boys perform traditional bluegrass as well as newgrass–everything from original, blues and acoustic jazz to fire-breathing Bluegrass. Jason Scroggins on Guitar, Cecil Tinnon on mandolin, Will Miskall on bass, and Mark Raborn on banjo.. Their roots are in traditional bluegrass; they have individually performed with, traveled with, and recorded with some of the greatest names associated with that genre, and their playing clearly echoes those influences. Special guests: Gary Hunt, Dustin Greer, Kris Shewmake, Matt McGibany, and Andy Navaro.
*****Note This Show Begins At 7PM*****
Friday, April 14th, 8pm, $10/$15: The Peoples
They’re Back!! Dynamic Duo Jack and Tracey Semelsberger, a.k.a, The People’s have been riding high since the release of their debut album “ Songs From the Chicken Shack”. Many cuts from the record enjoying airplay on various KDHX shows. This year will feature new additions on bass in the form of Red Jones and his thundering doghouse and on Dobro with the slick sliding of Stephen Clark. Also joining Jack and Tracey will be the nimble fingered and tasty Russell Rench on mandolin. This years performance will feature old favorites and a bunch of brand new unreleased material. This groups show ranges from hysterical to sublime and from beautiful to frenzied. These guys will not disappoint, don’t miss out!
Saturday, April 15th, 8pm, $15/$20: Michael Peter Smith
One of the most captivating songwriters in the folk arena, celebrated artist 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 upcoming CD will feature songs inspired by Moby-Dick. Michael has appeared at The Focal Point a dozen times over the years, and his performances here have always been a special treat for all who attend. Come see why.
Friday, April 21st, 8pm, $10/$15: The Missouri Breaks
Join Missouri Breaks for an evening of bluegrass and beyond. Missouri Breaks combines hard-driving bluegrass with elements of rock, jazz, blues, and folk. The band’s tight vocal harmonies, solid grooves, and inventive improvisation make for a highly enjoyable musical experience. Missouri Breaks is: Mike Aehle, banjo and vocals, Joel Ferber, mandolin and vocals, Joey Ferber, guitar and vocals, and Glenn Meyers, bass.
Saturday, April 22nd, 8pm, $20/$25: Paddy Keenan & Friends
Paddy Keenan, Master Irish piper, co-founder of the incomparable Bothy Band, Paddy Keenan is unique. He comes from a Travelling family steeped in traditional music; both Paddys father and grandfather were uilleann pipers. Paddy himself took up the pipes at the age of ten, playing his first major concert at the Gaiety Theatre, Dublin, when he was 14. Paddys flowing, open-fingered style of playing can be traced directly from the style of such great Travelling pipers as Johnny Doran; both Paddys father and grandfather played in the same style. Although often compared to Doran, Paddy was 19 or 20 when he first heard a tape of Dorans playing; his own style is a direct result of his fathers tutelage and influence. At 17, having fallen in love with the blues, Paddy left Ireland for England and Europe, where he played blues and rock. Returning to Ireland after a few years, he began playing around Dublin with singer/keyboardist Triona Ni Dhomhnaill and her brother, singer/guitarist Micheal O Dhomhnaill. Thus was born one of the most influential Irish bands of the 1970s, The Bothy Band. Bothy Band-mate Donal Lunny once described Paddy as the Jimi Hendrix of the pipes; more recently, due to his genius for improvisation and counter-melody, he has been compared to jazz great John Coltrane. Paddy is an old friend of The Focal Point. We are always delighted to have him and are endlessly grateful that hes chosen us as his favorite Midwest stop!
Sunday, April 23rd, 7pm, Price $10/$15: Rémi Brannón
Description coming soon.
*****Note This Show Begins At 7PM*****
April 28th/29th/30th, 7pm, Price $10/$15: St. Louis Tionól
Details coming soon.
Saturday, July 29th, 8pm, $35/$40: An Evening with Chris Smither
A profound songwriter, Chris Smither draws deeply from the blues, American folk music, modern poets, and philosophers. Reviewers continue to praise his dazzling guitar work, gravelly voice and songwriting. Chris Smither grew up in New Orleans where he first started playing music as a child. Honing a synthesis of folk and blues for 50 years, Chris Smither is truly an American original. As Acoustic Guitar magazine wrote, Smither sings about “the big things life, love, loss in a penetrating and poetic yet unpretentious way.”
May & Beyond:
May 5th: Richard Smith
May 6th: THE Tom Hall
May 7th: The Missouri Rounders (2pm show)
May 13th: Brad Leftwich & Linda Higginbotham
May 19th: John Batdorf
May 20th: Dennis Stroughmatt- Ray Rice Tribute Show
May 26th: sidexside Percussion Duo
June 3rd: Sleepy Rubies
June 10th: The Yellow-Bellied Sapsuckers
June 16th: The Western Satellites
June 23rd: Masillajta
June 30th: Kevin Buckley
July 7th: The Mighty Pines
July 8th: Augusta Bottoms Consort
July 14th: Eric Taylor
July 15th: Sadie Hawkins Day
July 21: Clarke Buehling
July 29th: Chris Smither
August 4th: Finnegan’s Wake
August 12th: Randle Chowning
August 25th: Kevin Bilcheck Band
August 26th: Gas Light Squares
September 1st: Tommy Halloran’s Guerrilla Swing
September 16th: Andy Cohen
September 22: Ben Bedford
September 23: Gloria Attoun (CD Release)
October 6th: Sean Tyrrell
October 7th: Brian McNeill
October 14th: Fiddlers Four (Colin Blair, Thayne Bradford, Kevin Buckley, Geoff Seitz)
October 27th: Greg Klyma & Bill Poss
November 10th: Open the Door for Three
December 8th/9th: Roughshop Holiday Party
December 16th: Jake’s Leg Holiday Show
December 22: Kip Loui