White Gull Inn folk concerts feature contemporary and traditional folk artists from all over the country, who perform in an intimate and acoustic setting in the White Gull dining room. The concerts are held approximately once a month in winter, usually on Wednesday nights. Each 8 PM concert is preceded by an optional 6 PM dinner, featuring a special selection by the chef, which varies each month. Call the front desk at (920) 868-3517 to make reservations for the concerts, concert dinners, lodging, or for more information.
Wednesday, November 20, 2019
One of the Midwest’s most prolific and passionate songwriters, May Erlewine has a gift for writing songs of substance that feel both fresh and soulfully familiar. Her ability to emotionally engage with an audience has earned her a dedicated following far beyond her Michigan roots.
Raised in a home full of art and music, Erlewine began writing songs at a very young age. As a teenager she hitchhiked across the country, honing her skills as a performer and absorbing the kind of stories and landscapes that would inform her music. In the following years, Erlewine would perform in every kind of venue imaginable, from street corners to festival stages to the live airwaves of A Prairie Home Companion.
Erlewine draws from a wide variety of influences to create her sound. Lyrically, her songs are rooted in hard-wrought wisdom, joy and sorrow, simplicity, and stories from her own everyday experiences. Musically, these messages are wrapped up in traditional folk roots, Americana, old-time country swing, soul, and even rock and pop sensibilities.
With a long list of full-length albums, two EPs, and numerous collaborations, Erlewine’s catalog is proof of her creative power. Her work has been spotlighted by Rolling Stone and NBC’s The Voice. National acts who have covered her songs include Greensky Bluegrass, Railroad Earth, Sawyer Fredericks (Season 8 winner of The Voice), Joshua Davis (Season 8 finalist of The Voice), Lindsay Lou & The Flatbellys, and others.
Optional pre-concert fixed price dinner served at 6 PM. Menu: Santa Fe Stew, cornbread, spinach and pear salad, brown butter pumpkin cake for dessert
The Special Consensus
Wednesday, December 4, 2019
Perhaps you were lucky enough to catch the Grammy nominated bluegrass band the Special Consensus at their recent Door Community Auditorium concert, or maybe you are kicking yourself for missing it. But whether you were there or not, you won’t want to miss this superb bluegrass group in the intimate setting of the White Gull dining room, where they have been selling out to enthusiastic audiences in biennual concerts for more than a decade. This is bluegrass in a classic vein, but with more than enough modern sensibilities to attract every ear in this now pleasantly fractionating genre. The vocals are spotless, the playing as shiny as a newly minted penny, and music like this is the reason people come to love bluegrass… Special Consensus approaches this hallowed American musical form with boundless energy and an aesthetic reverence that tickles the ribs, tugs at the heart, and puts a restless two-step in boots and bare feet. Founded in 1975 by banjo player Greg Cahill, the band includes Rick Faris, guitar and vocals, Dan Eubanks, bass and vocals and Door County resident Nick Dumas, mandolin and vocals.
Optional pre-concert fixed price dinner served at 6 PM. Menu: Beef Bourguignon over mashed Yukon golds, French Bread, Arugula, fennel and orange salad with citrus vinaigrette; Cranberry pie for dessert.
Wednesday, January 8, 2020
After a nine-year absence, the White Gull Inn is delighted to welcome back Joshua Davis. A prolific songwriter, Joshua Davis was already a heavily touring/recording artist both as a single and with his previous band Steppin’ In It, (featured in the White Gull concert series in 2007 and 2010) when he got a call from NBC’s “The Voice” in 2015.
Unfamiliar with the show, he initially rejected the inquiry, but the producers were persistent. After being convinced by his wife and allowed to skip the auditions, Davis signed up for an incredible six months in the national TV spotlight. A Top 3 finalist that season, Davis went on to sing high profile duets with Sheryl Crow and Adam Levine and became the first artist to sing an original on the show.
Davis has shared the stage with a “Who’s Who” of American folk music icons such as Pete Seeger, Arlo Guthrie, Greg Brown and Abigail Washburn. His most recent full-length album The Way Back Home mixes his rough-n-tumble grit with an undeniable Midwesterner’s charm for a soaring vocal performance backed by his deft acoustic guitar.
Optional pre-concert fixed price dinner served at 6 PM. Menu: Hunter Style Chicken with parsley buttered potatoes, kale salad with cranberries, pecans and cider vinaigrette, Door County Apple Cake for dessert
Thursday, January 30, 2020
Back by popular demand after a sellout concert at the White Gull last May! It is a commitment to avoid what is easy and predictable that fuels Mile Twelve’s continued march forward. The winners of the International Bluegrass Musician Association (IBMA)’s 2017 Momentum award were nominated for 2018 Emerging Artist of the year, and they show no signs of slowing. Their debut full-length album Onwards, produced by Stephen Mougin, was met with critical acclaim and earned the band time at the top of the bluegrass charts as well as an IBMA nomination for 2018 Instrumental Recorded Performance of the Year. John Lawless of Bluegrass Today says, “The Boston-based group has been making noise in bluegrass with their virtuosic approach to the music, clever songwriting and arrangements, a nose-to-the-grindstone attitude, and a youthful energy that appeals to all age groups. All of that shows on their new release, Onwards.” Please note that this is a Thursday night concert.
Optional pre-concert fixed price dinner served at 6 PM. Menu: Shepherd’s Pie, mandarin and apple salad with orange poppy seed dressing; Carrot cake for dessert.
April Verch Band
Wednesday, February 26, 2020
While April Verch is perhaps best known for playing traditional fiddle styles from her native Ottawa Valley, Canada, her performances extend into old-time American and Appalachian styles and beyond, for a well-rounded tour-de-force of North Americana sounds. Verch tours with world-class musicians as a trio, featuring acoustic guitar, bass and clawhammer banjo in addition to Verch’s vocals, fiddle and foot percussion.
One might suspect a performer with as many talents as Verch would pause to take a breath, or need to somewhat compartmentalize her skills during a live performance. But on stage, Verch is almost superhuman, flawlessly intertwining and overlapping different performative elements. She stepdances while fiddling. She sings while step dancing. Sometimes she sings, steps and fiddles all at once, with apparent ease and precision. Verch is - as they say - a triple threat in performance, her live show a beautiful companion to her music: versatile, robust, and masterfully executed.
Optional pre-concert fixed price dinner served at 6 PM. Menu: Coq au Vin served over mashed Yukon golds, salad of winter greens with fennel, with classic French green salad, steamed chocolate pudding for dessert.
Jeff Black Wednesday, April 1, 2020 Tickets: $25
Boston’s WUMB listeners voted Jeff Black as one of the top 100 most important folk artists of the last 25 years. Black’s song has eared Grammy recognition, radio chart-topping stats and number BMI awards. Although flying below the radar as a performer himself, he has been recognized by NPR as a musical pioneer in the digital age. His flagship podcast “Black Tuesdays” circa 2005-2007 are classic imprints on the format and his catalog of critically acclaimed albums continues to grow. Composing music for film and television, his credits include numerous indie-film soundtracks and a repertoire of songs cut by artists as diverse as Alison Krauss & Union Station, Waylon Jennings, Blackhawk, Dierks Bentley, Jon Randall, John Oates, Jerry Douglas and Sam Bush. Black has forged a reputation as a true folk troubadour entertaining audience globally for over three decades. A master songwriter and performer in the tradition of the great storytellers, his passionate, soul driven live performances of songs from his vast catalog are not to be missed.
Optional pre-concert fixed price dinner served at 6 PM. Menu: Ragu alla Bolognese, focaccia, spring green salad with Italian vinaigrette, Tiramisu for dessert.
Kyshona Wednesday, April 29, 2020 Tickets: $25
Kyshona began her career as a music therapist, working in mental health hospitals and correctional facilities, writing music with her patients and using music to redirect behaviors and emotions. Kyshona soon found the need to write music independently to help her process her daily experiences with her clients. Audiences often find a common thread of overcoming, hope and empowerment in her songwriting and storytelling as she uses her emotional intelligence to create her unique bluesy and soulful style of music.
Sharing the stage with Michael McDonald, Wynonna Judd and The Big Noise amongst others has seen Kyshona receive several accolades including being named one of CMT Edge’s Top 5 Roots Artists to watch in 2015, featuring on NPR’s World Cafe Nashville Sessions and her previous single, ‘Waking Light’ featuring on major network ABC’s show, Conviction. Kyshona continues to donate her time to youth empowerment programs in her community and performing for the incarcerated.
Optional pre-concert fixed price dinner served at 6 PM. Menu: Chicken pot pie, All Things green salad, rhubarb torte for dessert.
The White Gull Concert Series Turns 36
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 175 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 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 35 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, Dan Sebranek, Clay Riness, Tom Pease, Louise Taylor, Christopher Shaw and Bridget Ball, Mark Dvorak, Priscilla Herdman, Claudia Schmidt, Moe Dixon, Susan Smentek, Heartwood, 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, Jake Armerding, Tim Grimm, Mipso, 10 String Symphony, Robbie Fulks, The String Ties, Molly Tuttle Band, Scott Cook, Ruth Moody Band, Robinson & Rohe, Harmonious Wail, Claire Lynch Band, Freddy & Francine, Susan Gibson, Mile Twelve.
The concerts are held approximately once a month, November through April, beginning at 8 pm, after an optional dinner served at 6 pm.