DOORS OPEN 1/2 HOUR BEFORE SHOWTIME
Effective Saturday March 19, 2022
Update to COVID-19 Mitigation Practices at the Focal Point
Beginning Saturday, March 19th, 2022, The Focal Point will no longer require proof of COVID-19 vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test. Patrons will also not be required to wear a mask during the performance.
There may be future shows where masks or vaccination/negative test will be required at the request of the performer. This will be clearly noted on our website and all social media platforms when the event is advertised.
We will also continue to follow the St. Louis County Health Department guidelines and will update our practices accordingly.
Thank you for your continued support for The Focal Point. We are very grateful for our patrons, performers, and volunteers for all they have done over the past 2 years.
In 1967, gifted teenage singer-songwriter, John Batdorf, broke free from his Middle American upbringing and ventured to Los Angeles, crammed in a Lincoln Continental with six of his friends, to pursue his musical aspirations. Four decades later, the dream machine is long gone, but John is still on the path, navigating the curves of his musical journey with aplomb.
Along the way, John’s gotten to work with many of the cornerstone figures of the music business as an artist, garnered cult status as a classic folk-rock singer-songwriter, and reinvented himself as a successful film and TV composer, session vocalist, and inspirational musician in the substance recovery community. In the last decade, he’s returned to being an artist: reinvigorated not only by revisiting his canon classics, but by writing fresh, broadly resonate music on par with his beloved back catalog.
Donna Herula is a blues, folk and Americana singer, songwriter and resonator guitar player and a Chicago Blues Hall of Fame inductee. Her critically acclaimed album “Bang at the Door” (original and traditional blues and Americana) was nominated for best Acoustic Blues Album by the Blues Blast Music Awards in July 2021.
“Herula delivers a set that is powerful, passionate, and a great listen. The originals here draw from personal experience, giving them a level of power not found in much of the current blues scene.” – Bill Wilson, Reflections in Blue
Her music ranges from acoustic blues, gospel, jazz, ragtime, the electric Chicago Blues style to New Orleans, country and folk. She tips the hat to traditional blues while creating a fresh, contemporary perspective on blues and roots music.
She will be playing at the Focal Point with her trio including Marc Edelstein on upright bass (who was the founding member of the bluegrass band Special Consensus) and Tony Wittrock on guitar, mandolin and banjo guitar.
Joe Mullins and The Radio Ramblers are seen by tens of thousands of bluegrass fans every year and since 2013 have become regular guests on the historic Grand Ole Opry. In addition to band leader duties, Joe Mullins is an award-winning radio broadcaster who can be heard daily across the globe via Real Roots Radio and is also host of the syndicated radio program Front Porch Fellowship currently on over 200 radio stations worldwide. Most recently, he produced the IBMA’s Album of the Year, Industrial Strength Bluegrass for Smithsonian Folkways Recordings. Joe Mullins & The Radio Ramblers have generated an in-demand following on the national scene, allowing them to be one of today’s most heralded torch-bearers in mainstream bluegrass and gospel music.
The Radio Ramblers are: Joe Mullins on banjo and vocals; “Jumpin” Jason Barie on fiddle; Adam McIntosh on guitar and vocals; “Rockin” Randy Barnes on upright bass; and Jeff Parker on mandolin.
Raw Earth has been playing world music to promote peace, harmony and good times for over 15 years. There have been numerous configurations and traditional sounds have been twisted, bent, fused and reinterpreted to give listeners a taste of the old world but always with the flavor of our American melting pot. They pride themselves in being the region’s only band to take listeners on a world tour of sound from Cairo to Clarksdale, to the Serengeti with reaches into Celtic realms. Their percussionists have played together for over 10 years and offer a rich heartbeat for people to enjoy a live pulse rarely encountered in our modern day virtual lives. As they like to say, “take a trip to the canyons of your soul, you will be experienced”.
Songbird Cafe is pleased to present live music with a show on Wednesday 5/25/22 with all Nashville songwriters. You will hear the songs and stories without the barroom noise. This listening experience presents the artists surrounded by the audience. Beer & wine available. Always a unique combination of artists!! This month features:
Here is praise from a recent audience member: “The warmth of the music, talent and emotion spread over the entire room made it the perfect place to be on a cold winters night”
For the Sake of the Song:
A Tribute to
Guy Clark and Townes Van Zandt
Featuring the Lowery Brothers and Kevin Buckley
Friday, May 27th
$15 Advance (+$1 service fee)
Mainstays of the St. Louis folk scene, Dan and Nate Lowery weave together the threads of American music with dedication and enthusiasm. Through their harmonies and masterful guitar work, they’ve created a musical tapestry that both honors tradition and feels entirely their own. Born into a large family from Dallas, TX, Dan and Nate were exposed to traditional music at a young age. Some of their earliest memories are of their father playing Doc Watson songs on his Martin D-35 guitar. Before long they had instruments of their own and were diving headlong into the rich catalog of American music. From the hard-hitting bluegrass of Bill Monroe to the mournful songs of Hank Williams, the brothers cut their teeth on the framework of Folk and Country music. As teenagers, Dan and Nate discovered the music of Texas musicians Guy Clark and Townes Van Zandt. They were immediately entranced by their masterful songwriting and incorporation of different traditional music styles. It was at once fresh and utterly timeless. That sound has been a guiding light for the brothers, who are determined to remain true to themselves while staying grounded in the traditional styles of their youth.
Kevin Buckley is a St. Louis based multi-instrumentalist, side man, bandleader (grace basement) and a longtime collaborator of the Lowery brothers. Earlier this year he released his solo fiddle album, Big Spring, to critical acclaim.
The Burney Sisters, comprised of sisters Olivia-16, Emma-13, and recently joined 11-year-old sister Bella , create music with a maturity and emotional intelligence that belies their age. Olivia and Emma write keen and knowing songs while arranging for multiple instruments and structuring unique and resonant harmonies. The result—personal and penetrating music that both connects with and captivates the listener. Their soul nurturing sibling harmonies and tunes are reminiscent of The Avett Brothers, First Aid Kit, Indigo Girls, The Staves, and Joseph.
Focal Point Duos Series Featuring Dave Black & Roger Netherton
Friday, June 3rd
$15 Advance (+$1 service fee)
Focal Point Duos is a new series that we’ve cooked up here at The Focal Point. There is such a rich heritage of music in St. Louis and yet for some reason the young and the senior musicians are rarely in cahoots and in many cases have never met, even when they’re performing in the same genre. Our goal is to change that. With each showcase we will be inviting two very talented musicians, one who’s been around the block and another who’s just making round the first corner, to share our stage for the night and see what happens. It could be amazing or it could be dramatic. Maybe both. One thing’s for sure, it will be fun!
Dave Black, one of St.Louis’ top tier Jazz guitarists has worked with many artists from a wide range of genres including Jazz, Blues, Rock, Country, Bluegrass and Folk. He has worked with various notables including Richard ‘Groove’ Holmes, Bucky Pizzerelli, David Liebman, Fareed Haque, Little Anthony & The Imperials and The Drifters. Dave keeps himself busy working as a freelancer in the St. Louis area performing and recording with many local artists.
Roger Netherton, a phenomenal young fiddler, is a folk, old-time, swing, and jazz multi-instrumentalist active in the St. Louis area. He found his musical beginning on violin at age 11 playing in local old-time jam sessions and over time developed a powerful, energetic fiddle style with which he won first place in the prestigious Old Time Fiddle Championship at the Walnut Valley Festival of Winfield, Kansas. His music can be heard in listening rooms, dance halls, festival and concert stages and restaurants. He is an active member of swing trio the Triplets of Grubville, swing quartet the Hot Club of St. Louis, multi-genre duo Cambia, old-time quartet The Short List, contra dance band duo Roger Wilco, old-time trio Roger and the Nethertones, folk quartet Run Down Boots and The New Soles, and various other projects.
The Sapsuckers write and perform original country music that blends humor, heartache, and honkytonk.
Featuring lead vocalist Nikki Grossman (fiddle, vocals, guitar) and anchored in the songwriting team of Grossman and Joe Hart (guitar, vocals, mandolin), the band’s style ranges from hillbilly roots to Nashville pop, while their engaging performance style has earned a growing fanbase in the Midwest and beyond.
Formed as an acoustic duo in 2013, the couple began performing with a backing band in 2019, and is currently booking shows in both configurations.
Their fourth studio album will be released in 2022. Recorded at Native Sound Recordings in Saint Louis and co-produced by Ryan Koenig (Pokey LaFarge, Rum Drum Ramblers, The Goldenrods), the new record features the expanded lineup of the band.
The duo has recorded three albums: “Don’t Think About Tomorrow Tonight” (2018) was launched at an official SXSW showcase, where they earned a standing ovation, as well as numerous Midwest tour dates. The album was co-produced by John Wood (Richard and Linda Thompson, Cat Stevens, Incredible String Band). The Sapsucker’s video for the song “Fools Were Made to be Broken” was premiered by Radio Heartland on Minnesota Public Radio, The Current. “Ocooch Mountain Home,” (2015), received high praise from the likes of fROOTS, Bluegrass Today, and Country Music People UK. “Speaking of Music” (2013) captures the old-timey roots of the band.
Grossman and Hart live with their daughter on a rural homestead in Southwestern Wisconsin. Frequently on the road, they work with steady bands based in St. Louis and Minneapolis.
Colm Broderick (County Carlow, Ireland) and Patrick Finley (Atlanta, Georgia) have created a wonderful partnership in Irish traditional music. Colm is a multiple All-Ireland champion piper and was selected by Na Píobairí Uilleann as the inheritor of Liam Ó Floinn’s pipes, on Liam’s death in 2018. Having recently been awarded the Gold medal at the Seán O’Riada Bonn Oir competition in Baile Mhuirne, Co. Cork, Colm was invited to a private reception in Áras an Uachtaráin hosted by the President of Ireland, Michael D Higgins. While here Colm performed a private concert for the president.
Patrick, a multiple All-Ireland champion fiddler, plays with a unique style with influences from Sligo and Clare music. Patrick began playing the fiddle at the age of four, joining the Atlanta Irish Music School, and eventually studying with Sligo fiddler Oisín Mac Diarmada. Patrick is also an experienced music teacher, having co-founded the Phoenix School of Irish Arts in Atlanta, teaching Irish music on a variety of instruments.
Together, they focus on creating a refreshingly traditional style of music on the pipes and fiddle.
Nearly Summer Solstice Acoustic Dance Party
Saturday, June 18th
$20 Advance (+$1 service fee)
With Jake’s Leg’s annual acoustic Winter holiday appearance on our stage being such a success and all around good time, we’ve decided to expand the tradition to include an annual early Summer show!
Spanning the generations, Jake’s Leg has been performing the music of The Grateful Dead for 45 years. (That’s only 11-ish years less than the Dead played Dead themselves!) This will be an acoustic performance exploring the folkier roots of the Grateful Dead. 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. Seating limited as we leave plenty of dance floor open.
Master Irish Uilleann piper and co-founder of the incomparable Bothy Band, Paddy Keenan is unique. He comes from a travelling family steeped in traditional music. Paddy took up the pipes at the age of ten, playing his first major concert at the Gaiety Theatre in Dublin when he was only 14. Paddy’s flowing, open-fingered style of playing can be traced directly from the style of such great travelling pipers as Johnny Doran; both Paddy’s father and grandfather played in the same style. His own style is highly influenced by his father’s tutelage.
In his late teens Paddy fell in love with Jazz, Blues & and early Rock and Roll (as many did at the time) and left his home of Ireland for England and greater Europe, where he managed to not only learn the music but also incorporate these new found influences into a truly original and unlikely style for the Uilleann Pipes. Still heavily traditional but effected by techniques unknown to his predecessors.
Once Returning to Ireland Some years later, Paddy began playing around Dublin with singer / pianist 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!
Paddy is widely regarded globally to be among the best and most influential of all Uilleann pipers . The Focal Point is so very thankful for our long friendship. We are always delighted to have him and are endlessly grateful that he has chosen us as his favorite Midwestern stop!
This year he will be accompanied by St.Louis’ very own traditional Irish instrumentalist, songwriter, sound engineer and all around man about town, John Bolduan on guitar and tenor banjo.
The Mound City Slickers are one of St. Louis, Missouri’s finest old-time string bands. They bring to the stage their vast repertoire of fiddle tunes, ragtime numbers, songs and good humor. These guys are guaranteed to get your feet tapping and put a smile on your face.
The Mound City Slickers are: Sean Belt on ukulele and vocals, Lindell Blackford on fiddle, Keith (“Mr. Bluegrass”) Dudding on guitar, mandolin and vocals, Rich (“The Old Professer”) Egan on piano, and Rich Hibbs on banjo and vocals.
The music of John C. Van Orman & Adam Helwin blends textures and texts of antique and modern soundscapes, familiar enough to be warm and welcoming, adequately exotic to be fresh and surprising. Two singers accompanying themselves on guitars, harmonium, concertina, hurdy-gurdy, and other instruments, they share traditional and contemporary songs of a world populated by cowboys, sailors, hobos, and many sorts of lovers.
Their most recent album was largely inspired by the Driftless Area of Wisconsin, Van Orman & Helwin’s eponymous CD celebrates the local and the traditional. Featuring music gathered by Dodgeville song collector Helene Stratman-Thomas, the album highlights songs and tunes which resonate with the hills, streams, and big skies of our home.
Compton & Newberry: A Return to the Roots of Bluegrass*
Wednesday, July 27th
$20 Advance (+$1 service fee)
TICKETS COMING SOON
Mike Compton and Joe Newberry mine one of the more neglected segments of country music history: the period during the ‘30s and ’40s when brother duet music was transitioning into what is known today as bluegrass. Both masters of the bedrock instruments of old-time music, they collaborate with a vision that is both modern and ageless. As virtuosos of old-time mandolin, banjo, and guitar, they dig deep into early country music and blues. Given their seemingly limitless library of brother duets, audiences can expect to hear their favorite tunes along with traditional instrumentals, mother ballads, and award-reaping originals. Their combined pedigree has enabled them to reach millions of people, including the more than four million regular listeners of A Prairie Home Companion and also the devoted fans of the Grammy Award-winning O Brother, Where Art Thou and Cold Mountain soundtracks.
Corrina Rose Logston
& Jeremy Stephens
aka The Stephens Brothers
Sunday, July 31st
$15 Advance (+$1 service fee)
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 and Jeremy perform the ballads of bygone days with a haunting authenticity that belies their age, yet they 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 have strong individual musical pedigrees. Jeremy, an award winning banjo player from south central Virginia, has worked with the Lilly Brothers, played guitar and sang the legendary gospel, group, the Chuck Wagon Gang, and played a variety of instruments on the TV show Ray Stevens’ Nashville. He is a true student of old-time, bluegrass, and country music and has won banjo contests all across the country. Corrina, a champion contest fiddle player from southwestern Illinois, has worked as fiddler and singer with a number of tradition-based bluegrass performers, including David Peterson & 1946, Chris Henry & the Hardcore Grass, and Jim Lauderdale.
Drawn together by their mutual love of 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 blend and harmony have led to them being dubbed “The Stephens Brothers,” when in fact these only-children are only “kin” through their marriage to one another.
When not touring as a duo, the two can be found performing with their critically-acclaimed bluegrass band High Fidelity or working on the Grand Ole Opry with Jesse McReynolds and the Virginia Boys. They currently reside in Nashville, Tennessee.
*Presented by Focal Point Friends of Old-time Music
**Presented by Focal Point Friends of Traditional Jazz, Blues & Ragtime