31 Years of White Gull Inn Winter Concerts
Wed., Dec. 10, 2014
Special Consensus, a bluegrass group founded in 1975 by banjo player Greg Cahill, has recently been on a tear – garnering a Grammy nomination in 2012 and winning two International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) awards in October, 2014. The band has appeared on The Nashville Network “Fire On The Mountain” show, toured for three seasons as 4/5 of the cast in the musical Cotton Patch Gospel (music and lyrics by Harry Chapin), and released seventeen recordings. In November 2003, The Special Consensus received a standing ovation after the first band performance on the Grand Ole Opry at Nashville’s historic Ryman Auditorium. International tours have brought The Special Consensus to the United Kingdom, Canada, Europe, Ireland and South America. Their recording, “Scratch Gravel Road,” was released by Compass Records in March 2012 and was nominated for the Best Bluegrass Album GRAMMY Award. Compass Records released the seventeenth band recording “Country Boy: A Bluegrass Tribute to John Denver” in March, 2014. Two songs on this recording received International Bluegrass Music Association awards in 2014: “Thank God I’m A Country Boy” received the Instrumental Recorded Performance of the Year Award and “Wild Montana Skies” received the Recorded Event of the Year Award.
An optional pre-concert fixed price dinner will be served at 6 PM. Walnut chicken with Pomegranate Sauce, wild rice, green salad with fennel, orange and citrus vinaigrette. Cranberry Pie ala mode for dessert. $20.95
Wednesday, January 21, 2015
The Boston Globe calls singer-songwriter Jake Armerding “the most gifted and promising songwriter to emerge from the Boston folk scene in years.” Now living in the Twin Cities, Jake started Suzuki violin lessons as a 5-year-old, continued with classical violin lessons in high school while he absorbed fiddling from his bluegrasser father. At 13, he joined the bluegrass band Northern Lights on fiddle and recorded three albums with them during his high school and college years. H soon turned his attention to songwriting and recorded his first CD, Caged Bird, while at Wheaton College (IL). In 2003, Nashville independent label Compass released Jake Armerding, a collection of folk-pop songs written over a year living in Music City. The Washington Post lauded Armerding’s instrumental skills as “remarkable," while the Boston Globe heralded him “a master at bending boundaries…his real achievement has been to break the conventions that define country music.” Armerding, who recently logged his thousandth performance, has shared the stage with Bela Fleck, Nickel Creek and Josh Ritter.
Optional fixed price dinner served at 6 PM: White Gull meatloaf, mashed root vegetables, caramelized carrot or Brussels sprouts, spinach salad with pear, blue cheese and sherry vinaigrette. $20.95
Wed., February 18, 2015
Michael Johnson is a classically trained guitarist, an off-Broadway actor and an ex-member of the Chad Mitchell Trio. He also penned and recorded two #1 Country hits, a #1 Pop hit and a #1 R& B song. His voice immediately identifies him as the man who sings “Bluer than Blue,”, “Give Me Wings” That’s that” and “This Night Won’t Last Forever”. Singing playing, writing and recording (including with John Denver as a member of the Chad Mitchell Trio) are the only things he has ever done. Having studied guitar in Barcelona, Michael has a unique and distinctive style which is an integral part of his performances. Because of his diverse talents and background, he has always been an artist that defies categorization. Throughout his long career, Johnson has continued to turn out honest songs of depth and emotion beautifully rendered in his smooth baritone. Optional fixed price dinner served at 6 PM: Jambalaya with shrimp, chicken and sausage over basmati rice, served with corn bread, and a salad of greens, apples and lemon vinaigrette. Coconut cream pie for dessert. $20.95
Wed., March 25, 2015
If your idea of a folk singer/songwriter concert is a bunch of people clapping politely after songs, and then sitting quietly while the performer says things like "This next song is about ...” well, you've never seen a Cheryl Wheeler concert before.
Cheryl's concerts are more like what you would find at a comedy club than expect to find at a folk music concert. She will tell a story that has you rolling in the aisles, and then sing a song that leaves you wiping tears from your eyes. She will talk about some serious current event, and then sing a song that will have you howling with laughter. Her entire concert is an emotional roller coaster.
Her set list is usually a crumpled piece of paper with a bunch of song titles. After each song, she'll look at the list and decide what to do next. If somebody calls out a request, and her guitar is in the right key, she might try it, even if she hasn't done it in a while. If she just finished writing a song, she will usually try it out in front of the next audience. If she has two sets back to back, she almost never does the same (or even similar) group of songs.
Cheryl, who has performed twice before at the White Gull to sell out houses, is very respected as a songwriter by her peers, which can be seen by how many of them record her songs. Her songs have been covered by artists as diverse as Dan Seals, Peter Paul and Mary, Kenny Loggins, Garth Brooks, Suzy Boggus, Melanie, Bette Midler, Maura O'Connell, Sylvia, Kathy Mattea, and Holly Near
Optional fixed price dinner served at 6 PM: Guinness braised short ribs, horse radish scented mashed potatoes, braised cabbage, green salad with roasted beets, chevre, walnuts and red wine vinaigrette. Carrot Cake for dessert $20.95
Jonathan Byrd, Sally Barris
Wed., April 15, 2015
An award winning songwriter and accomplished guitarist, Jonathan Byrd has appeared on television shows, live radio and nearly 200 live dates per year (including the White Gull in 2009) since beginning a full time singing career in 2000. Jonathan is a magical live performer, “a songwriter of exceptional talent…with the stark storytelling of the finest traditional balladeers,” according to Sing Out Magazine. One critic in Austin called Jonathan “the Alison Krauss of the male gender” for his soaring neo-traditional sounds.
A native of Chapel Hill, North Carolina, Jonathan grew up singing in the Southern Baptist Church, where his father preached and his mother played piano. One of his first songs was “Velma”, a murder ballad based on the true story of Velma Barfield, the last woman to be executed in North Carolina (in 1984) and the murderer of Jonathan’s own grandfather. As Byrd evolves as a contemporary artist of increasing influence, his traditional roots are evident in his simple, poetic storytelling and classic flat-pick guitar style.
Sally Barris is an A-list Nashville songwriter who has had songs covered by artists as Kathy Mattea, Martina McBride and Lee Ann Womack. Her song “Let the Wind Chase You,” recorded by Trisha Yearwood and Keith Urban, received a Grammy nomination for vocal collaboration in 2009. While her writing credits mightily impress, fans and peers are most captivated by her bright sprit and expressive mountain soprano. When she is not touring solo (or in concert with Jonathan Byrd) Sally performs in the Waymores (who were featured at the White Gull in 2010. In the last two years, the Minnesota native has performed Mountain Stage, New Bedford Summer Fest, Wildflower Arts & Music Festival and the Kerrville Folk Festival.
0ptional fixed price dinner served at 6 PM: Coq au Vin, buttered baby red potatoes, salad of greens and herb vinaigrette. French Bread. Spinach salad with pear, walnuts and warm cider bacon vinaigrette. French bread. Orange Crunch cake for dessert. $20.95
The White Gull Concert Series Turns 31
In 1983, on a cold November evening, a small group of Door County visitors and residents gathered at a local inn, enjoying the first of what has become a popular tradition: monthly winter folk concerts. During this time, more than 100 talented folk singers and songwriters from all over the country have performed at the White Gull Inn.
The concerts were conceived by the Innkeeper Andy Coulson, a banjo player himself and lover of traditional and contemporary folk music. Coulson was frustrated by the lack of live entertainment during the long quiet Door County winters. The first concerts were loosely based on the "house concert" concept, in which traveling folk musicians, often on tight budgets and in need of work, are invited into the homes of fans along the route of their travels. The fans provide the musician with food and lodging in return for a concert to a small group of friends, often right in their living rooms. A collection at the door goes to the artist to help defray expenses.
The house concert circuit has provided work and travel expenses for generations of singers and brought folk music to many rural areas that are too small to otherwise provide such entertainment. "I wasn't sure who would come to a concert on a weekday in winter in Fish Creek," Coulson recalls thinking in the beginning. "But we had plenty of room and board , and figured that we had nothing to lose. At the very least, we'd have some quality folk music in Fish Creek."
In the beginning, it was not easy finding artists willing to come so far for such a small turnout. However, as word got around, more and more musicians decided that a "working holiday" in the quiet beauty of the Door Peninsula was worth the trek to the north country. The series has gradually been able to attract in more and more well known performers, such as Anne Hills, Chris Smither, Tom Paxton and Cheryl Wheeler, many of whom normally play in much larger halls.
The pre-concert dinners, now almost as popular as the concerts, were added in recent years at the request of local residents. White Gull chefs responded by offering an optional fixed price dinner, served at 6 pm for each concert.
Concert tickets are $16.00-$20.00 and can be purchased at the door, although most concerts are sold out, so advance ticket purchase and reservations for the pre-concert dinners are recommended. You may purchase tickets at the White Gull front desk, or you can do it by phone, using a credit card.
Folk Musicians Previously Featured at the White Gull
Musicians who have appeared in the White Gull folk concert series in the 29 seasons since its inception in 1983: Tom Paxton, Cheryl Wheeler, John McCuen, Bob Gibson, John McCutcheon, Chris Smither, Michael Smith, Bill Miller, Fred Alley, Vance Gilbert, Neal & Leandra, Lou and Peter Berryman, Michael Johnson, Garnet Rogers, Pat Donohue, Laurie Lewis and Tom Rozum, Joel Mabus, David Mallett, Suzzy and Maggie Roche, Cindy Mangsen and Steve Gillette, Bill Staines, Buddy Mondlock, Bryan Bowers, Peter Keane, Mark Dvorak, Anne Hills, Willy Porter, Michael Miles, Bob Bovee and Gail Heil, Jim Hurst and Missy Raines, Dave Moore, Cathie Ryan, Small Potatoes, Matt Watroba, Peter Mayer, Kenny White, Natalia Zukerman, Eric Lewis, Tommy Burroughs, Andy Ratliff, Hans Christian, David Roth, Brooks Williams, Steppin In It with Rachel Davis, James Keelaghan, Chuck Pyle, L. J. Booth, Johnsmith, Clay Riness, Tom Pease, Louise Taylor, Christopher Shaw and Bridget Ball, Mark Dvorak, Priscilla Herdman, Claudia Schmidt, Moe Dixon, Susan Smentek, Cosy Sheridan, Becky Schlegel, Don Stiernberg, Victoria Vox, Wil Maring and Robert Bowlin, Michael Johnathon, May Erlewine and Seth Bernard, Peter Mulvey, Jonathan Byrd, Jerry Rau, The Special Consensus, Phil Passen and Highland Road, Antje Duvekot, the Waymores, the Honey Dewdrops, David Wilcox, The Steel Wheels, Lindsay Lou & the Flatbellys, Paul Cebar, Dayna Kurtz, Kelly Joe Phelps, Count This Penny, Carolyn Martin, the Stray Birds, Molly O'Brien and Rich Moore, Nora Jane Struthers and the Party Line, Rita Hosking, Red Molly.
The concerts are held approximately once a month, November through April, beginning at 8 pm, after an optional dinner served at 6 pm.