Caramoor’s daylong American Roots Music Festival returns this year on Saturday,June 25, headlined by three Americana artists on the verge of stardom: Hurray for the Riff Raff combines elements of doo-wop, blues and honky tonk in songs that are “effortlessly catchy, [and] shift beautifully from sorrowful to ebullient” (New Yorker); audience favorite John Fullbright returns to Caramoor with his intimate and gripping song-writing and playing, joining “the lineage of terse Southwestern songwriters like Townes Van Zandt and Guy Clark” (New York Times); and Sara Watkins, who played a sold-out show with Sarah Jarosz and Aoife O’Donovan last year as the band I’m With Her, brings her new band and new material to Caramoor for a special sneak preview. Other events include Richard Thompson on July 1; Ben FoldswithyMusic in concert on July 15; and Larry Campbell and Teresa Williams returning to Caramoor on July 30 with special guest Marco Benevento.
Caramoor’s summer season, this year running from June 18 to August 7, comprises seven weeks of orchestral, chamber, jazz, roots and family concerts, as well as opera, multi-ethnic dance, young artist showcases and sound art, all in a magnificent outdoor setting just one hour’s drive from Manhattan. With folk, country, bluegrass, gospel, blues, Creole, string band, old time, and everything in between, the eclectic American Roots Music Festival takes place throughout the day at multiple locations around the 90-acre Westchester estate, which is filled with historic gardens and architectural treasures. With concert ticket raffles, food and drink, special activities for kids, and much more, the festival offers the ideal opportunity to explore Caramoor with picnics packed and ears open.
American Roots Music Festival
Building on a tradition of legendary headliners, from Lucinda Williams, Rosanne Cash, and Del McCoury to David Bromberg and David Grisman, Caramoor’s American Roots Music Festival will have not one but three headline acts this summer, all of them critical favorites on the verge of stardom. As Maggi Landau, Artistic Director of Roots Music at Caramoor, says:
“We’re trying something a little different with the Roots Fest this year. We received some really great feedback from festival goers about the things they love at Caramoor: hanging out with friends, meeting new people, no overcrowding, the natural elements of our grounds, great food and drink choices. But the most significant thing they told us was they especially loved the opportunity to hear and discover roots-based artists who were largely unknown to them.”
“So we decided to build the Roots Fest around that notion. And after a year of scouting and listening and researching, we are proud to present three headline artists who are rising stars on the national roots music scene, together with a number of really interesting artists from different parts of the country who are now breaking out of their regional areas and starting to build a larger presence.”
Hurray for the Riff Raff is the “nom de band” of Alynda Lee Segarra, a 28-year-old of Puerto Rican descent who grew up in the Bronx. She hitchhiked her way to the West coast at 17, roamed the South and finally settled in New Orleans, internalizing the blues, doo-wop and honky tonk elements of her signature style along the way. Hurray for the Riff Raff’s breakthrough album, Small Town Heroes on ATO Records, was praised for putting a “fresh and wily spin on old sounds and ideas” (Pitchfork), and highlights Segarra’s special reverence for the Big Easy, with lyrics that speak to very modern concerns. Rolling Stone noted at its release that the album had “roots-music geeks on red-alert,” continuing: “Filled with fingerpicking, fiddling, blues harp, clogging and Segarra’s potently understated vocals, it palpitates folk music’s ancient heart but interrogates it, too.”
An American singer-songwriter from Bearden, Oklahoma and a former member of the both the Red Dirt band Turnpike Troubadours and the Mike McClure Band, John Fullbright got his start at the legendary Blue Door listening room in Oklahoma City. It was there that he recorded a live album, 2009’s Live at the Blue Door, and found his base, opening for many other writers including fellow Oklahomans Kevin Welch and Jimmy Webb. His 2012 studio debut, From the Ground Up, received a Grammy nomination for Americana Album of the Year, and later that year he won ASCAP’s Harold Adamson Award for lyric writing. In 2014, he released the critically acclaimed Songs, and, since then, has relentlessly toured all over America and around the world.
Sara Watkins spent most of her younger years, nearly two decades in all, as singer and fiddler for the Grammy Award-winning bluegrass-folk hybrid band Nickel Creek, a trio she started performing in when she was a mere eight years old, alongside her guitarist brother, Sean, and mandolinist Chris Thile. (Thile was also eight at the time, and Sean was an elderly twelve.) Venturing out on her own was a leap into the unknown, but validation soon came: in the words of the BBC, “Watkins’ time in the spotlight is a triumph with her agile playing and the kind of voice that gives your goose bumps the shivers.” After a self-titled Nonesuch debut in 2009, she spent two years on the road fronting her own band – stopping at the Telluride Bluegrass Festival, the Newport Folk Festival, and Glasgow’s Celtic Connection, among many other venues – and then returned to Los Angeles to record her second Nonesuch disc, Sun Midnight Sun. In addition to collaborating with Jarosz and O’Donovan (as the band I’m With Her) and a recent reunion album and tour with Nickel Creek, she has also been co-hosting the Watkins Family Hour with her brother Sean and a variety of musical guests for the last nine years at L.A.’s eclectic club Largo whenever the two manage to be in town at the same time.
The “up-and-comers” theme of this summer’s festival carries through the entire day of programming, featuring young talents across the spectrum of Americana music. These include: Austin’s High Plains Jamboree, who create “a beautiful tapestry of homespun lyrics, instrumentation, and high lonesome harmonies” (Jenni Finlay, Eight 30 Records); progressive Philly bluegrass band Man About a Horse, which includes some of the best pickers in the Northeast; Dennis Stroughmatt et l’Esprit Creole, bridging Canadian and Louisiana Cajun styles; banjo duo The Lowest Pair, whose debut release, 36¢ on Team Love Records, was hailed as “the first great release of 2014” (In Your Speakers); Hudson Valley “high-octane Americana” (WFUV) sextet Spuyten Duyvil; Silver City Bound (formerly The Amigos), whose 2014 album, Diner in the Sky, won Best Americana Music Album at the Independent Music Awards; Hastings-on-Hudson-based folk troubadour Matt Turk, a favorite from last year’s festival; and Texas-bred, Cape Cod “washashore” Monica Rizzio, a fiddler and guitar player whose folk roots blend with an outlaw country sound.
A special addition to the programming this year is a collaboration with the Northeast Regional Folk Alliance (NERFA), which will present a program called Young Folk, featuring Lula Wiles, Eric Lee and Eliza Paltauf. This “in-the-round” session, as Maggi Landau says, “spotlights three talented young folk artists who are new to the scene, and provides performance experience and feedback for them as they develop their music careers.”
The festival also includes The Social Music Hour, an all-ages sing-along and a play-along session, free activities for children (including the Caramoor Scavenger Hunt), and tours of Rosen House for both children and adults. Two ticketing options allow visitors to experience either the entire range of activities throughout the day – including the evening headline performance – or to enjoy only the daytime activities and performances. WFUV, 90.7FM, is the media sponsor of Caramoor’s American Roots Music Festival.
Richard Thompson, Ben Folds with yMusic, and Larry Campbell & Teresa Williams
After the daylong festival, the Americana offerings at Caramoor continue with a July 1 concert by Richard Thompson in the lovely outdoor space of the Spanish Courtyard. An early pioneer of folk-rock music, Thompson is one of the world’s most critically-acclaimed songwriters and was chosen by Rolling Stone for their list of the top 20 guitar players of all time. Also in the Spanish Courtyard, at the end of the month (July 30), the married duo comprising award-winning multi-instrumentalist Larry Campbell and power-house vocalist Teresa Williams returns to Caramoor for a concert packed full of influences as various as Delta blues, gospel, Alabama soul, Nashville country, traditional folk, and classic rock. Their special guest and collaborator, Marco Benevento, a pianist, songwriter and producer known for his work in the New York experimental rock and jazz scene, adds a contemporary counterpoint to the mix. In between these two concerts, on July 15, Ben Folds with yMusic perform in the superb acoustics of the Venetian Theater. The six New York musicians who make up yMusic, flourishing in the overlap between the pop and classical worlds, collaborated with pop music polymath and iconoclast Folds on his recent album, So There, which “extends a career-long flirtation with modern orchestral composition to its logical next step” (NPR). As Folds himself says, it is “the world of classical music from whence all our ideas of composition grew.”
A detailed events listing of Caramoor American Roots concerts appears below, and more information is available at www.caramoor.org.
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For more than 70 years, Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts has been a leading destination for music lovers. Comprising a Mediterranean revival villa on 90 acres of gardens and serene woodlands in Westchester County, NY, the estate is just 40 miles north of Manhattan. Summer concerts take place in two outdoor theaters – the 1,508-seat, acoustically superb Venetian Theater, and the more intimate, romantic 470-seat Spanish Courtyard – as well as in the picturesque gardens, which include a Sense Circle for the visually impaired, Sunken Garden, Butterfly Garden, Tapestry Hedge, and Iris and Peony Garden. Audiences are invited to come early to explore the grounds, tour the historic Rosen House, enjoy a relaxing Sunday afternoon tea, or unwind with a pre-concert picnic. Click here for a short video history of Caramoor and the Rosen House.
In addition to the summer season, Caramoor presents concerts all year round in the magnificent Rosen House Music Room. Through an impressive range of education programs, Caramoor serves more than 66,000 students in the New York metropolitan area, besides boasting an array of highly successful mentorship programs designed for young professionals who have completed their conservatory training. Over the past 20 years, alumni from these programs have become leaders of the next classical generation, whose accomplishments include winning a MacArthur Fellowship, becoming first violinist of the Juilliard String Quartet, and appointment as the Concertmaster of the New York Philharmonic.
Getting to Caramoor
Getting to Caramoor is simple by car, train or public transportation. All parking is free and close to the performance areas. Handicapped parking is also free and readily available.
By car from New York City, take the Henry Hudson Parkway north to the Saw Mill River Parkway north to I-684 north to Exit 6. Go east on Route 35 to the traffic light (.3 mile). Turn right onto Route 22 south, and travel 1.9 miles to the junction of Girdle Ridge Road where there is a green Caramoor sign. At the junction, veer left and make a quick right onto Girdle Ridge Road. Continue on Girdle Ridge Road 0.5 miles to the Caramoor gates on the right. Approximate drive time is one hour.
By train from Grand Central Station, take the Harlem Division Line of the Metro North Railroad heading to Southeast, and exit at Katonah. Caramoor is a 3.5-mile drive from the Katonah station, where taxi service is always available and shuttle service is available for the American Roots Music and Jazz Festivals. For current information, check the Metro North schedule.
For the opera performances, Caramoor offers ticketed, round-trip transportation from NYC on the Caramoor Coach, a luxury air-conditioned coach traveling from Grand Central/Lexington Ave to Caramoor’s front door and back. To learn more, contact the Box Office.
Caramoor: upcoming American Roots performances
Sat, June 25 – All DayAmerican Roots Music Festival
Day Ticket: $25 / Full Festival Tickets (includes evening performance): $30, $40, $50, $60, $70, $95, $100
Multiple Locations (daytime) / Venetian Theater (evening)
Venetian Theater Evening Artists
Hurray for the Riff Raff
Sara Watkins / High Plains Jamboree / Man About A Horse / Dennis Stroughmatt et l’Esprit Creole /
The Lowest Pair / Spuyten Duyvil / Silver City Bound / Matt Turk / Monica Rizzio /
NERFA presents Young Folk featuring Lula Wiles, Eric Lee, Eliza Paltauf / The Social Music Hour
Fri, July 1 at 8pm [SOLD OUT]Richard Thompson
Tickets: $46, $60, $78, $100
Wait List is available (Call our Box Office at 914.232.1252)
Fri, July 15 at 8pmBen Folds with yMusic
Tickets: $30, $40, $50, $60, $70, $80, $90, $100, $110
Sat, July 30 at 8pmLarry Campbell & Teresa Williams With special guest, Marco Benevento
Tickets: $40, $50, $60, $70
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All concerts made possible, in part, by ArtsWestchester with
funds from the Westchester County Government.
All concerts made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.
The 2016 Bel Canto Young Artists program is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.
© 21C Media Group, May 2016