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Announcing . . . Fall 2015 Opener

Dar Williams
She's back! One of contemporary folk's favorite singer-songwriters and the first artist ever to sell out the May Memorial sanctuary opens the fall season.

Friday, September 25, 2015
(note special fourth Friday schedule)
8 p.m. / $25

Member price: $20 (see members link below)

May Memorial Unitarian Universalist Society
3800 East Genesee St, Syracuse, N.Y.

Artists' website / YouTube clip


"Dar Williams may be the best female singer/songwriter in America today." - Stereo-type

One of the most acclaimed and evocative artists of her generation, Dar Williams crafts tunes that resonate with passion and integrity. Known for her lyrical phrasing and intuitive observations, Williams writes from personal experience. Throughout her career, Williams has employed a reporter’s keen eye and a fiction writer’s feel for nuance in the act of confronting what she’s described as “the big picture of how people approach life.” Selling nearly a million albums to date, NPR’s World Café has lauded her “smart and serious songs with her trademark wit,” while TimeOut NY praised her as an artist who “pushes at (folk-genre’s) boundaries, both lyrically and musically.” She has been named as one the most influential singer-songwriters of her time by Rolling Stone, Spin, and Paste magazines.

Williams’ growth as a person over her career has gone hand-in-hand with her evolution as an artist. Raised in Chappaqua, NY, and educated at Wesleyan University, Williams grew up on classical, folk-rock and disco music. She spent 10 years living in the thriving artistic community of Northampton, Mass., where she began to make the rounds on the coffeehouse circuit. Joan Baez, an early fan of her music, took Williams out on the road and recorded several of her songs. In 1995, two years after self-releasing The Honesty Room, she signed with Razor & Tie Entertainment, beginning a long and mutually beneficial relationship. She released seven studio albums with Razor & Tie, including The Beauty of the Rain (2003), My Better Self (2005) and In the Time of Gods (2012).

"A new generation of pop-folk enthusiasts lauds her as one of the genre's central figures." - Paste Magazine

In the past few years, Williams has been involved in a wide range of different efforts and projects: teaching a course titled “Music Movements in a Capitalist Democracy” at her alma mater, Wesleyan University; working with children at several summer camps; leading songwriting workshops; getting involved with the workings of her village; and writing a book about the ways she’s seen towns becoming more independent and prosperous over her twenty years of touring. In addition, in the face of dramatic transformations in the music industry, she is releasing Emerald on her own after choosing to part ways with Razor & Tie, her label for almost twenty years. Every new album from Dar Williams has represented her thoughts and feelings about both her own life and larger forces in the world. But Emerald marks a particularly dramatic confluence between her experiences and broader contemporary culture—and what it means to be a songwriter at this moment in history.

"Seasons change, but Williams remains both ambitious and pleasingly plain-spoken... And importantly, she seems more at ease than ever." - Rolling Stone

Dar Williams: Advance Tickets thru PayPal
Please read Advance Ticket Policy to learn how it works, and for other advance options. Note: You do not have to have a PayPal account to use PayPal; charge to your credit card.

(MEMBERS ONLY: click for discount)

Songwriter Woodshed
A meeting of and for local songwriters . . . more info / Facebook page / e-mail list. Next Meeting: Wed., Aug. 5

Beer Belly DeliThanks to the Beer Belly Deli

. . . for providing meals for our visiting performers. The Beer Belly is a fun little Brooklyn-style gastro-pub on Westcott Street (in the former Seven Rays location). They have great ambience, an eclectic menu, reasonable prices, and (last we heard) a Monday night old-time music jam. Please stop by, have some sweet-potato tots and eggplant "wings," and tell them you appreciate their helping Folkus. > website

(Tickets on sale soon)

All shows listed below at . . .
May Memorial Unitarian Universalist Society
3800 East Genesee St, Syracuse, N.Y.

Mouths of Babes
This tender tomboy and rough-and-tumble lady come together to melt hearts and shake souls.

Friday, October 9, 2015
(note special second Friday schedule)
8 p.m. / $15

Member price: $12

Mouths of Babes' sound is equal parts celebration and blues, folk and soul — an invitation to love this life, to sing your sob story and end it with a smile. These two songwriters light up the stage — juggling harmonies, guitar, bass, foot percussion, cajon, banjo, harmonica, and ukulele from song to song, inviting the audience to join the choir, and engaging listeners with sentiments that range from heartfelt to hilarious.

Artists' website

Jay Ungar and Molly Mason
The heart and soul of American roots music with a well-loved repertoire of original tunes.

Friday, October 23, 2015
(note special fourth Friday schedule)
8 p.m. / $20

Member price: $17

A Jay Ungar and Molly Mason concert appeals to everyone. Their versatility and stylistic depth lets them move from bluegrass to blues, folk and acoustic jazz with equal ease. There are timeless renditions of hard-driving Appalachian melodies, Cajun and Celtic fiddle tunes, stirring Civil War classics, sassy songs from the golden age of swing and country, stunning waltzes, and moving original works. With their comfortable sense of fun and their love of music, they make each concert a musical journey - sometimes spanning two continents and two centuries.

Artists' website

The Young Novelists
Through their rich but rustic sound, this Toronto roots-rock duo delivers a dose of honesty in audible form.

Friday, November 6, 2015
8 p.m. / $15

Member price: $12

Simon & Garfunkel meets Johnny and June; this Canadian duo is the driving force behind the critically acclaimed Toronto folk-rock band The Young Novelists. Known for their deft songwriting and gorgeous harmonies, they have toured across Canada and the United States as a duo and with their band in support of their latest album “made us strangers”. Relying on their shared passion for storytelling, the husband and wife duo sing songs about small towns, redemption, love, and loss.

Artists' website

Ann Armstrong & Steve Hughes
If you haven’t caught their act, you’re way behind the times in keeping up with the Texas blues scene.

Friday, November 20, 2015
8 p.m. / $15

Member price: $12

Armstrong's powerful vocals accompanied by her stellar guitar work, including a shredding slide guitar, and Hughes' masterful harmonica and flute provide a spicy picadillo. Armstrong is right up there with the great musical exports of Texas! She plays guitar sometimes sweetly, sometimes prickly as an Ocotillo cactus, sings like a steam-powered nightingale and writes songs from a depth of experience. Her constant companion and musical partner Steve Hughes spices up the proceedings with fine harmonica and flute work.

Artists' website

Sloan Wainwright Band
A long-time popular Syracuse favorite returns to present songs of the holiday season.

Friday, December 11, 2015
(note special second Friday schedule)
8 p.m. / $20

Member price: $17

Make merry this holiday with one of folk music's most passionate singers, as Sloan Wainwright brings her festive seasonal show to Syracuse. The evening will be a jubilant, uplifting celebration of the season and the upcoming new year. There will be laughs and good spirits, reflections and inspirations, all held together by Wainwright's distinctive music style and rich contralto.

Artists' website

VolunteersVolunteer with Folkus

Help staff a show. Help manage Folkus. And join a community of Central New Yorkers who love great acoustic music. For info, e-mail

Other Ways to Help

Bring Baked Goods to a Show! The snack counter at Folkus shows features a mixture of store-bought and homemade goodies, but of course everyone prefers the homemade stuff! If you're a baker, next time you come to a show, bring a plate of cookies, brownies or such. Thanks.

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About Folkus

General Comments. Tell us what you think. Send us ideas. Ask us how it all works. . . . E-mail

Ticket Queries. Questions about ticket purchases for upcoming shows (or about tickets already purchased) . . . E-mail

Urgent Problems. If you have needs unanswerable by e-mail, call Steve at 315 638 4740. But please exhaust website and e-mail options first. And do NOT call May Memorial UU Society, as they merely host but otherwise have no role in our programming. Thank you.

To learn more about us, visit
this page: About Folkus

The Venues
May Memorial UU Society
First and third Friday of the month
All shows at 8 pm (doors open at 7:30)
3800 East Genesee St., Syracuse / how to get there
(Please do NOT call May with questions; see above.)

Westcott Community Center
Second Saturday of the month
All shows at 8 pm
Corner of Euclid Ave. and Westcott St., a half-mile east of SU / website / how to get there

Ticket Policy
New PayPal Deadline: Noon Day-of-Show. See Ticket Policy

Advance sale tickets through PayPal and other methods. (Don't have a PayPal account? You can still use PayPal to make a credit card purchase.) More info here.

Note: If you have questions about a show at May Memorial, please do NOT call May. Review Ticket Policy and, if necessary, select from the Comments / Questions options above.

Elsewhere in the Region

Melissa Clark & John Keller • Kellish Farms • Sa 8/1 • website

Friends of Folkus

Bill Knowlton's Bluegrass Ramble. Bill's bluegrass radio show (and associated events) date back almost as far as Bill Monroe himself! / website

CNY Bluegrass Association. Folk music's mountain-bred second cousin / website

"Common Threads." Folk music on the radio. / website

Guitar League. Talk and workshops about your ax. Meeting monthly / website

Irish Sessions. A great, ongoing jam of Celtic and old-timey types. Every Sunday / website

Kellish Farms. This Pompey Center farm has been converted into a music center, featuring concerts and jams of folk, bluegrass, and country types / website / Syracuse Post-Standard article

Oswego Music HallOswego Music Hall. One of upstate New York's most venerable music venues, in a beautiful location to boot! / website

Syracuse Community Choir. Songs of peace and social justice / website

Syracuse Country Dancers. Contra dances and the like / website

Join the CNY Friends of Folk listserv. For info: website

Photos & Video
Taken and posted by Larry Hoyt. Thanks, Larry!

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