NC is rich in its music traditions. Come see and hear some of NC’s own singer-songwriters entertain you with their original stories and songs. All performers will be sharing the stage at once, trading off songs and joining in with each in an impromptu night of music and fun. This year’s performers are:
Greensboro singer/songwriter Laurelyn Dossett’s songs have been recorded by Grammy-winning artists such as Levon Helm and Rhiannon Giddens. Laurelyn is the 2012 recipient of the Betty Cone Medal of Arts and the 2004 winner of the Chris Austin songwriting contest at Merlefest. Her song cycle, The Gathering: A Winter’s Tale in Six Songs, was commissioned by and premiered with the North Carolina Symphony in November 2011. She is currently working a new play-with-music with playwright Mike Wiley, premiering at Playmaker’s in April of 2018.
Molly McGinn is an award-winning journalist, musician, and multi-media story teller based in Greensboro. She takes a journalistic approach to songwriting, blending history and myth in projects such as “Postcards From the Swamp,” inspired by The Great Dismal Swamp in North Carolina. She recently released “The Worry & The Joy” with the Alt-Americana band Wurlitzer Prize and has performed from the Outer Banks with The North Carolina Symphony to the Boulder Theater in Colorado. Molly’s parents live in Cary and love to drive her around the city’s beautiful downtown area.
Kirk Ridge’s music has been featured on NPR’s Car Talk, Belfast’s Celtic Roots Radio, and London’s Deep Grooves Radio. Kirk’s head-turning lyrics have been published in American Songwriter Magazine, he has written music for numerous Cary Playwrights Forum productions, and he has led songwriters seminars for many years. Kirk is a Board member of the NC Songwriters Co-op, Performance Director for Durham CenterFest, produces songwriters stages at many NC events, and hosts the “Pass the Hat” live local music radio show on WHUP every Friday.
“Jon Shain brings a finger-picked folk sound that sparkles like fine crystal with similar delicacy and scintillation.” – Chris Parker, Independent Weekly, Durham, NC. Jon is a veteran singer-songwriter and an internationally touring artist. A recent finalist at the International Blues Challenge, Shain keeps the Piedmont Blues alive while incorporating its traditional elements into his own modern approach – mixing in narrative songs with bluegrass, swing, and ragtime flavors, as well. His latest album is a joint effort with frequent Prairie Home Companion guest, Joe Newberry.
Since migrating to North Carolina from Boston in 2000, FJ Ventre has played with many of the NC’s finest, including the Bennys, Wes Collins, Wyatt Easterling, Mary Johnson Rockers, The Chris Stamey Group, and his own band The Swang Brothers. His virtuosity in country, rockabilly and blues makes FJ a sought after sideman in the studio and on stage. He is currently collaborating on an album project with old friend and long-time musical cohort Jon Shain.