FOCAL POINT OUTDOOR CONCERT SERIES
This one will be a study in collaboration! Three musicians, each talented to the point of brilliance, each sought after throughout the St Louis music scene for their humility, generosity and willingness to share and enhance the overall sound!
Dave Black has worked with many artists from a wide range of musical genres that includes 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. Plus, Dave keeps himself busy working as a freelancer in the St. Louis area, performing and recording with many local artists.
Sandy Weltman is a professional musician and educator. He is established as one of the leading pioneers on harmonica and appears on dozens of national recordings. Sandy’s musical skills allow him to cover an unusually wide range of musical genres including jazz, blues, bluegrass, Celtic and Middle Eastern.
Born in Iran in 1966, Farshid Soltanshahi started playing guitar at the age of 16. Later, Farshid turned to his native Persian music, especially the setar (a Persian lute). where they recorded their debut CD. Here in St Louis he normally performs with his trio, Farshid Etniko, playing mainly Latin jazz and middle eastern melodies.
The Ill-Mo Boys – Geoff Seitz on fiddle and vocals, Curtis Buckhannon on mandolin and vocals, and Jim Nelson on guitar and vocals – officially got together in summer of 1985 and played their distinctive brand of old-time country music for square dances and concerts at festivals, clubs, and music camps coast to coast across the country for 20 years. Just a few of the festivals and smaller venues at which they have performed – Indiana Fiddlers Gathering (Battleground, IN), Wanna Dance Uptown (Seattle, WA), Minnesota Bluegrass and Old-Time Music Festival (Zimmerman, MN), Hiawatha Traditional Music Festival (Marquette, MI), Wheatland Traditional Music Festival (Remus, MI), Augusta Heritage Center (Elkins, WV), and Arrow Rock Folk Festival (Arrow Rock, MO) David Adler Cultural Center (Libertyville, IL), Missouri History Museum (St. Louis, MO), Focal Point (Maplewood, MO).
The band’s instrumentation – fiddle, mandolin, and guitar – gives it a sound that is somewhat unique among contemporary old-time string bands and allows a lot of room for musical maneuvering. As their name indicates, the Ill-Mo Boys gathered much of their material in the surrounding region, though they never felt particularly limited by either geographic or musical boundaries. In addition to the Missouri fiddle tunes that have won Geoff Seitz many a prize in fiddle contests across the country, the Ill-Mos play mandolin rags, blues, and early country songs learned from old recordings and old friends. This will be an evening of good times and good music.
Nick is a dynamic musician and artisan. He is best known for his part in bands such as The Bottlesnakes, The Dust Covers, New Missouri Fox Hunters, and occasionally Miss Jubilee. He is also known for his witty songwriting, unique guitar playing, and musical sense of humor. This is going to be a very special evening of music! Nick will be playing new and old original music and on top of this his family will be joining him. This is a rare opportunity to see all of the Pence boys together! When he plays with his brother, Nathan, a wholesome sense of family, funk, and folk join together. His father, Jerry, is the source of music in the house and sings soulfully and joyously. With Nelson on the drums this family band blends and bends genres into a unique sound that only comes from blood. Join Nick, Nelson, Nathan and Jerry, as they let you into their living room for an evening.
P.S. Nick will also be celebrating his 30th birthday on this day!
Although Greg Blake was born and raised in the hills of West Virginia and will always be an Appalachian mountaineer through and through, most of his life has been spent living and working in Midwest cowtown of Kansas City – yes, on both sides of the State Line. After graduating from high school in West Virginia, Greg left the hills and hollows to pursue a calling to train for the ministry in the Kansas City area. He attended bible college in Overland Park, KS where he met his wife. They both pursued further education and careers, and raised a family for twenty-five years in America’s breadbasket before moving to Colorado in 2007.
The Blake family spent 10 years in Colorado before deciding to move back to the Kansas City area. Greg built a solid reputation and loyal fan base in the Midwestern states while living there. He was a member of the Bluegrass Missourians for nearly fifteen years, helping them to secure multiple awards from the Society for the Preservation of Bluegrass Music in America (SPBGMA), as well as establishing himself as one of the Midwest’s premier vocalists (twice nominated for SPBGMA’s Traditional Male Vocalist of the Year) and guitarists (an amazing five consecutive awards as Guitarist of the Year and nine nominations AND a Kansas State Flatpicking championship to boot).
When Greg returned in 2017, the Midwest fans were wondering if his world travels as a professional musician would leave any room and time for him to perform at “home”… They were thrilled when he put together a band consisting of former Bluegrass Missourian band mates Grant Cochran and Brian McCarty, and one of Missouri’s finest Scruggs-style banjo players Todd Davis. And from time to time, fiery lady fiddler and singer from Iowa, Annie Savage, joins the boys to perform at long-running Kansas, Missouri, Iowa and Arkansas festivals and venues. This is a Midwest band with a traditional, Midwest flavor performing primarily for Midwest audiences, but invitations are already coming from many different places outside the familiar plains and rolling hills of the Midwest for what this band has to offer. If you’re vacationing across plains of Kansas, or the rolling hills of Missouri & Arkansas, or you happen to find yourself staring at miles of corn fields in Iowa and its “festival season”, there’s a good chance that you’ll hear this local favorite with a world-wide appeal.
Robin and Linda met in 1971 and quickly realized that they made beautiful music together. The duo started writing their own songs and by 1975, they recorded their first album, the self-titled, “Robin and Linda Williams” on Flashlight Records in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Around the same time, the husband and wife team met Garrison Keillor in Minnesota. As Robin and Linda’s website states: “They made their first appearance on a little radio show just getting off the ground called “A Prairie Home Companion” and their rich relationship with
that icon of American broadcasting has continued for four decades.”
With a rich career spanning four decades, Virginia-based duo Robin & Linda Williams have made it their mission to perform the music that they love, a robust blend of bluegrass, folk, old-time and acoustic country that combines wryly observant lyrics with a wide-ranging
melodicism. Today some might call it “Americana,” but these two revered music masters were living and breathing this elixir 20 years before that term was turned into a radio format.
Their stirring concerts have earned them a huge body of fans over the years. But as gifted songwriters Robin and Linda have earned an even rarer honor — the devotion and deep respect of their musical peers. Their songs have endured and been recorded by the likes of Emmylou
Harris, Tom T. Hall, George Hamilton IV, Tim & Mollie O’Brien, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Kathy Mattea, and The Seldom Scene. As live performers they are second to none, keeping a busy tour schedule and also guesting on A Prairie Home Companion, which they’ve appeared on since the public radio show’s early days (they’re also featured in the A Prairie Home Companion film).
Outdoor Concert Series Finale
with Balkan wonder group
Saturday, October 2nd
$25 Advance (+$1 service fee)
Hailed as a band with “galactic ambitions” by The New Orleans Advocate, Blato Zlato is a powerhouse of accomplished players from Europe and the United States with a collective goal to produce meaningful cultural and musical bridges between old world and new. The band puts a modern Louisiana twist on traditional music from the Balkans and Eastern Europe, with a particular focus on Bulgarian dance music and arresting, improvisational arrangements. Odd time signatures, modal melodies, and soaring, swirling three part female harmonies in combination with layers of a full instrumental ensemble work together to create an unforgettable sound!
We here at FocalPoint are so very excited to host and present what will be our first large international touring band in nearly a year and a half. We think these five ladies and one gentleman are absolutely amazing and expect that you will too.
*Presented by Focal Point Friends of Old-time Music
**Presented by Focal Point Friends of Traditional Jazz, Blues & Ragtime