Church House Concerts
2009 was our last season...
Below you'll find a list of our final shows.
March 28
Danny Schmidt

April 24
Lissa Schneckenberger

May 2
Ember Swift

May 22
All-Star NYC Jam!

That's all
Danny Schmidt Saturday, March 28, 2009 at 7:00pm

Strangely, I initially found myself tempted to describe Danny Schmidt's skills as a songwriter and performer with metaphors of aggression and domination. "He is relentlessly brilliant. His songs will beat you over the head with the weight of their profundity. He will stagger you with his words, stun you with his delivery, and pound you with..." etc..

All of which seemed ridiculously inappropriate, given Danny's overwhelming (there it is again) aura of peace. Thankfully, acclaimed songwriter Jeffrey Foucalt gave me some cover when he said of Danny:

Danny Schmidt in performance
"Everything about the man is gentle, except his capacity for insight, which is crushing."

So there it is, the underlying contradiction. The iron hand in the velvet glove. The 150 proof in the Red Zinger tea with a soymilk splash. The devastating artist, disguised as an average hippie slacker.

To see what I mean, watch the video below.

Just as his songs seem like gushing streams of words, so the comments about him seem to pour forth like spring-fed rivers. Here are a few of the more interesting descriptions, all of which we hope you recognized if you joined us at Danny's show here in March.

Here's a comment, there's a comment, everywhere a comment comment... And don't miss this one.

Lissa Schneckenberger Friday, April 24, 2009 at 7:00pm

Let's get spontaneous!

With almost no notice, Lissa Schneckenberger will arrive for a performance of her sweet and accomplished singing and fiddle-playing, bringing with her Bethany Waickman on guitar and Chris Stevens on accordion.

Schneckenburger's most recent release, Song is the first in a pair of CDs dedicated to reintroducing some wonderful but largely forgotten repertoire from New England's rich musical heritage. Her fiddling is uplifting and lively and her singing gentle and evocative. Both in concert and in the studio she is regularly accompanied by some of the country's best musicians. Recently she has been closely studying the roots of the Downeast traditional music that she first heard as a young girl.

This will be the "folkest" of our last few shows, with this music being fully acoustic (though amplified for the room).

Lissa Schneckenberger

To get a quick taste of Lissa's style, listen to the video below. It's too dark to see much, but you ought to hear it just fine.

LENTIC (the new project by Ember Swift) Saturday, May 2, 2009 at 7:00pm

World traveler Ember Swift returns to the Church House with her new musical project after a lengthy visit to China.

Her new work Lentic  reflects her recent far-Eastern experiences, and a change of pace, as Lentic means "of or related to or living in still waters," the opposite of the literal meaning of her given name (fire and speed).

Lentic is a new direction  electronic music meets folk  and is a sonic representation of two countries: China and Canada. This "folktronic" project is both organic and cutting-edge in its integration of traditional acoustic sounds with the beats and grooves of electronica. Lentic features Chinese instrumentation -- specifically the guzheng, and lyrics in both Mandarin and English, and embodies the collision between East and West, ancient and modern.

"When I first went to China in April of 2007, I knew I had been there before. Few experiences are as powerful as past-life memories. It washed over me as gently and matter-of-factly as light envelops morning, leaving me forever changed..."

Lentic is the latest project for this busy independent artist, as Ember has been producing albums and touring nationally and internationally since 1996 and has released nine albums and one DVD project through her own record label, Few ll Ignite Sound. Having toured North America, Australia, New Caledonia and now China, Ember has always relished exploring new territories. With Lentic, Ember hopes to enable more understanding of the Chinese culture by Western listeners and increased understanding of Western culture by Chinese listeners. After all, she says, "we're all in this rapidly changing world together."

Ember Swift in China
photo © Luna Zhang, Beijing, China
Ann Klein and Friends Friday, May 22, 2009 at 7:00pm

Ann Klein
Rich Mercurio
Tabitha Fair
Rob Arthur
Will Lee

Our final show promises to be one of our most exciting ever, with an all-star cast of top players.

Guitarist, mandolinist, singer and composer Ann Klein rocked the house last June when she brought a hot little band of top-shelf New York City based players to back her up as she delivered a muscular set of original tunes. This year she's upped the ante, the body count, and the name recognition.

Rich Mercurio is too busy keeping the beat for an A-list of today's top performers to keep track of his credits list. He has recorded and/or performed with artists including Enrique Iglesias, Jewel, Chris Whitley, Vitamin C, Jonatha Brooke, Michael Bolton, and Ronan Tynan. Appearances include The Tonight Show,  The Late Show  and Late Night with Conan O Brian. 

Tabitha Fair has the kind of voice that causes bands to form and other singers to keep practicing. With a midwest church music background, industry dues paid in Nashville, and a fast-growing reputation as one of the City's strongest demo and backing vocalists, she has worked with a list of artists too long to include here -- surf her MySpace page for a full roster and enough samples to start your chills flowing.

Rob Arthur is another first-call player, providing soulful keyboards and vocals for some of today's most visible professional musicians, including Leann Rimes, Billy Joel, Sting, Peter Frampton, Joan Osborne... hey, it's not name-dropping if it's all true, is it?

And then, of course, there's Grammy Award-winning Will Lee, whose credits are so ridiculously long and impressive I'll just say that when you've been the bass player for the David Letterman Late Show Band for too many years to count, you do in fact end up playing with EVERYone.

It will be a very hot night in Haddam when Ann and her friends take over the Church House stage.