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.
Mollie O’Brien and Rich Moore
Wednesday, November 7, 2018
Mollie O'Brien and her husband, guitarist Rich Moore, have for nearly 30 years quietly made it their mission to find, mine and reinvent other artists' songs. They are geniuses at the craft of interpretation in the way that great singers, since the beginning of popular American music, have made the songs of their era their own. As songwriters they add their own tunes to the canon of American roots music they inhabit and show us they’re completely at home with their musical selves. Grammy winner Mollie has long been known as a singer who doesn’t recognize a lot of musical boundaries, and audiences love her fluid ability to make herself at home in any genre while never sacrificing the essence of the song she tackles. She is a singer at the very top of her game who’s not afraid to take risks both vocally and in the material she chooses. Rich, while known to produce some of the funniest onstage running commentary, is also a powerhouse guitar player who can keep up with O’Brien’s twists and turns from blues to traditional folk to jazz to rock and roll. He creates a band with just his guitar and, as a result, theirs is an equal partnership.
Optional pre-concert fixed price dinner served at 6 PM. Menu: Shepherd’s Pie served with mushroom shallot gravy and crusty French bread. Mixed greens topped with apple, toasted walnuts, blue cheese and maple mustard dressing. Apple cake a la mode.
Wednesday, December 5, 2018
The Chicago Tribune calls Robbie Fulks “…a masterly, …multifaceted songwriter…who can belt out hip-shaking, honky tonk, honeydew pop and chilling little ballads…with an unrivaled skill and spirt. So good, he’s scary.” Fulks is prodigiously talented, with the soul of a country singer and the mind of a vaudevillian. Widely regarded as one of the most gifted songwriters to ever ply the trade, he can sing the kids ditty “Eggs” and Merle Haggard’s “Sing a Sad Song” back to back and mean them both. Lost in the deserved accolades for being a fabulously unique, clever and heartfelt writer is the fact that he’s also one of the best guitarists around, who can whip it out in honky-tonk, country, bluegrass, power pop or whatever strikes his whimsy at the time. Born in York, Pennsylvania, Robbie grew up in a half-dozen towns in southeast Pennsylvania, the North Carolina Piedmont and the Blue Ridge area of Virginia. He attended Columbia College in New York City before dropping out to focus on the Greenwich Village songwriter scene.
In the mid-1980’s Fulks moved to Chicago and joined Greg Cahill’s Special Consensus Bluegrass Band, with whom he made one record in 1989. Since then he has gone on to create a multifarious career in music. He has been a staff instructor in guitar and ensemble at Old Town School of Folk Music, worked on Nashville’s Music Row as a staff songwriter, and has made multiple appearances on WSM’s “Grand Ole Opry”, NPR’s “Fresh Air”, PBS’s” Austin City Limits”, NBC’s “Today”, “Late Night with Conan O’Brien” and “30 Rock.”
Optional pre-concert fixed price dinner served at 6 PM. Menu: Citrus Cranberry glazed Cornish game hens stuffed with spinach, wild rice and Brie cheese and served with balsamic glazed brussels sprouts. Mixed greens topped with roasted butternut squash, pumpkin seeds, black pepper Bellavitano cheese and sherry vinaigrette. Peppermint cheesecake
For more than 30 years, Johnsmith has been sharing his music across America and abroad. He has become a favorite at festivals, clubs, and house concerts. In addition to being a Kerrville New Folk Winner, he has released eight solo albums, leads musical tours to Ireland, teaches songwriting, and has worked in Nashville as a staff songwriter. With his faded jeans, twinkly blue eyes and his infectious smile, John immediately connects with audiences.
Dan Sebranek is a renowned singer, songwriter and musician who started his musical career at the age of 14 with musical roots in bluegrass and rock and roll. He has shared the stage with Johnsmith, Michael Martin Murphey, Hans Mayer, Bill Miller, John Prine, Perry Jordan (Heartsfield) along with Pure Prairie League. Dan performs each year in Ireland and regularly tours his home state of Wisconsin as well as Florida (Siesta Key / Key Largo) and Colorado as a solo performer, with Johnsmith and in the String Ties Bluegrass Band. Dan has five successful recordings including previous works with Johnsmith.
Optional pre-concert fixed price dinner served at 6 PM. Menu: Chicken and dumplings served with roasted red peppers, wilted kale, and spinach in a saffron broth. Cobb salad topped with hard-boiled eggs, tomatoes, avocado and red wine vinaigrette. Flourless chocolate cake.
Wednesday, March 27, 2019
Anyone who meets singer-songwriter Susan Gibson will know immediately that her family is a core foundation in everything she does, from the songs she writes to the tour routes she takes. Whether it’s hearing her stories from the stage at one of hundreds of live shows around the country each year or sitting in on a songwriting workshop with her, you will hear Susan speak of her family. It’s her mom Nancy Gibson who inspired the title tract of Susan’s latest EP, “Remember Who You Are.” Susan says, “My mom said that her mom always used to tell her and her sisters, “Remember who you are" every time they left the house. Susan would find it in notes in her lunchbox “and written halfway into journals that I hadn’t written in yet. She would write notes to us on banana peels with a toothpick and the words would turn brown – like reverse invisible ink. She was an awesome mom. We were lucky to have her as our constant.”
A song that Susan penned at her parents’ kitchen table while in college has been a cornerstone of her career as a performing musician and songwriter. “Wide Open Spaces” was written as a college kid’s cry for independence, but after the Dixie Chicks made it the title track of their 1998 debut, Gibson’s song has been woven into the family stories of countless people setting off on their own.
One of Gibson’s roads lately has taken her down a road that is once again influence by her Mom, a beloved 3rd grade teacher in Amarillo, Texas. Gibson has added songwriting workshops and one-on-one coaching sessions to her touring schedule.
Optional pre-concert fixed price dinner served at 6 PM. Menu: Lamb stew with roasted root vegetables, butternut squash and fingerling potatoes. Wedge salad topped with radishes, red onions, cherry tomatoes, crispy bacon and Roth Kase buttermilk blue cheese dressing. Chocolate Mint Cake.
Wednesday, May 1, 2019
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.”
They’ll be heading into the studio at the end of 2018 to record their sophomore project with Nashville-based Ben Surratt at the board and guitar virtuoso Bryan Sutton producing. Paul Schiminger, President of The IBMA says, “What I and so many others love about Mile Twelve is their musicianship, material, and energy. Their sound is fresh and innovative yet rooted in a solid foundation of bluegrass. They move easily among traditional bluegrass classics, terrific original material, and interpretations of pop music classics, while knocking you over with their strong instrumentals and harmonies.” Tim O’Brien calls them “a group to watch in the coming decade.”
Optional pre-concert fixed price dinner served at 6 PM. Menu: Louisiana Jambalaya with chicken, shrimp and andouille sausage served over basmati rice. Mixed microgreens, herbs, asparagus and peas tossed in a lemon vinaigrette. Pecan Pie.
The White Gull Concert Series Turns 35
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 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, 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.
The concerts are held approximately once a month, November through April, beginning at 8 pm, after an optional dinner served at 6 pm.