A Folk Alliance Member Organization

Acoustic Renaissance Concerts
11 West Maple Street
Hinsdale, Illinois 60521
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Schedule - 2022/2023 Season

All in person shows begin at 7pm. Masks recommended (but optional).
Call 630/941-7797 for all tickets.

Saturday, February 18, 2023 — Mark Dvorak and Mean Mary .

Tickets: $20

"Funny, passionate, intimate and unforgettable" Old Town School of Folk Music, Chicago IL. At ease, on guitar and five string banjo. It was through the mentorship of old-time string musician Don Buedel, that Dvorak was first able to master the claw hammer stroke.

In 2005, Dvorak went into the studio to record "Every Step of the Way," a personal breakthrough project which featured ten original songs. Released by Waterbug, "Every Step of the Way" was well-received and established Dvorak as a song writer. 2008's "What a Wonderful World," also released by Waterbug, was a fifty-seven minute compilation of material from Dvorak's earlier CDs. The project was aimed for family audiences and also included a newly recorded, four song collaboration with Chicago's Sons of the Never Wrong.

Also in 2008, Dvorak received the Woodstock Folk Festival's Lifetime Achievement Award for his work as a performer, song writer, teacher and folk historian. In the spring of 2010, Dvorak began planning his next recording with producer John Abbey of King Size Sound Lab. The next year, Waterbug released "Time Ain't Got Nothin' on Me," to date Dvorak's most successful recording project. "Time" received steady airplay and rose to number fourteen on the Folk DJ chart. The disc featured twelve Dvorak originals and a Chicago all-star cast of singers and instrumentalists. He has also recorded "Let Love Go On" and "Back Home".

Mean Mary (James) produces music, produces videos (her YouTube videos have received over 15 million visits), tours extensively across the US and overseas, is co-writing a novel trilogy about the music world, and is an endorsing artist for Deering Banjos. The Deerings have named her their Goodtime Ambassador.

Mary plays 11 instruments and has recorded 16 albums, her newest being "Cold". There is not room here to tell the whole life story of Mean Mary, but if you would like to hear more of it, listen to her music-it is all readily available.

Mary James (born March 22, 1980), known by the stage name Mean Mary, is an American singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, novelist, producer and YouTube personality. She has been described as having "the unique ability to mix together a variety of musical styles, which can appeal to a wide audience" and her childhood has been described as "a nomadic life that could have been plucked from an adventure novel." (Wikipedia)

Saturday, March 4, 2023 — Gina Forsyth and Heather Styka .

Tickets: $20

New Orleans-based Gina Forsyth is an award-winning singer/songwriter, who is known for her wizardry on fiddle and guitar. With an alto as unique as it is soulful, unpretentious songs that cut straight to the heart, and a wicked sense of humor, her live performances are legend. Considered one of the best Cajun fiddlers in Louisiana (no small feat), Gina is in demand from other great Louisiana musicians to play club gigs and festivals, some of the same talent that backs her up when she plays as Gina Forsyth and Friends.

Rheta Grimsley Johnson of Daily Journal probably sums up Gina best, "If you've ever wondered what happened to the gutsy folk singers who used to roam the earth with their instrument and protest, check out Gina Forsyth. In the tradition of Guthrie, Dylan and Prine she is writing and singing, not just fiddling while America burns."

She's an Entertainer: As noted by Dan Willging in Offbeat Magazine, "She's hilarious commenting on her native, beloved South ("Sweet & Sunny South") when she sings, 'We love our musicians and our fascist politicians,' then questions the South's provincial view on gay rights."

Just some of her festival and club gigs: New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, Folk Alliance International, Rocky Mountain Folks Festival, Kerrville Folk Festival, Falcon Ridge Folk Festival, Tipitina's, The Living Room, Rockwood Music Hall.

The Press Loves Her: Glowing reviews include "Promised Land" is an album no folk music lover should pass up."

Well-written tunes, crisp production and instrumentation framing a message of reminiscences form a performer who does it as well as it can be done.
- John McClure of Victory Music

She's an Award-winner Emerging Songwriter Winner - Napa Valley Music Festival; People's Choice Winner Folk - Offbeat Magazine, New Orleans; Best Singer/Songwriter - Offbeat Magazine, New Orleans; New Folk Finalist - Rocky Mountain Folks Festival; Emerging Artist - Falcon Ridge Folk Festival (2015).

Chicago songwriter Heather Styka cuts to the truth with gutsy vulnerability. With a heartfelt croon that brings to mind Billie Holiday or Patsy Cline, Styka combines the lyrical intricacy of folk with a catchy melodic pop sensibility and the grit of classic country in songs that are smart and disarming.

After growing up in the Chicago suburbs, Styka moved to the city to studying creative writing, meanwhile honing her song craft among Chicago's long-standing folk community. "Chicago has such a rich musical history, especially with places like the Old Town School of Folk Music," Styka explains. "I was definitely steeped in that tradition." Her 2011 release "Lifeboats for Atlantis" brought her to national attention, hitting #3 on the FOLK-DJ charts. Styka's honest, image-heavy songs have garnered her a number of awards, including being a New Folk Finalist at the Kerrville Folk Festival (2015, 2017) and official showcases at Folk Alliance International, NERFA, SWRFA, and FARM.

Live, Heather Styka comes off as something like Leonard Cohen crossed with Patsy Cline. Armed with a guileless, unvarnished delivery, she's equal parts wordsmith and entertainer. Styka's energetic shows feel as intimate and candid as late night conversation, peppered with a quirky sense of humor and confessional storytelling.

Heather Styka was the first place winner in the Big Top Chautauqua Songwriting Competition, and then second place in the Great Lakes Songwriting Contest. A two-time finalist at the Kerrville Folk Festival, she continues to earn accolades...and most recently, an advanced degree! She wins admirers by rendering the beauty and hardship in life into song, somehow making us all feel like we're in it together.

Saturday, April 1, 2023 — Anne Hills with special guest James Curley .

Tickets: $20

"Anne Hills is such an exquisite singer that it's understandable that people might be swept up in the pure beauty of her voice and thereby overlook her writing. That would be a mistake. For me, Anne's writing, in songs like "Follow That Road" and many others, is as direct, melodic and deep as any work being done today. She is quite simply one of my absolute favorite songwriters." - Tom Paxton

As a singer, actress, writer, and musician Anne Hills has continuously built a reputation of merit. During her career, she has received numerous honors and awards including, most recently, the 2019 Woodstock Folk Festival Lifetime Achievement Award.

Anne has been a long time audience favorite at Acoustic Renaissance Concerts!

James Curley began writing songs in the mid 1970s in his native Philadelphia, influenced mainly by trips to the Philadelphia Folk Festival and to local clubs like The Main Point, Grendel's Lair and others. He appeared as a solo songwriter back then, opening locally for other artists of the day, including Artie Traum and Lou London.

Leaving Philadelphia, James played in Denver, Boulder, Eugene and other areas and eventually wound up in Houston, where he was heavily influenced by the Texas songwriter scene there at the time. Moving to Austin in 1979, he immersed himself deeper in the local songwriting scene and performed in venues there until moving to Chicago several years later.

Taking a hiatus from music from 1987 until 1997 to raise a family and start a small business, James took up songwriting with earnest again, and released his first CD - "Tom's Cafe" - in 2002, Several tracks continue to get modest airplay on indie, folk and college radio stations, as well as having been synced to film and cable television shows.

In 2007, James released his 2nd CD - "Manufactured Meaning"...Several songs from the record, especially Lay Down Big Easy - a lament for the post-Katrina reality of New Orleans. 2013 saw the release of "There Used To Be a Train". Produced and arranged by John Abbey and featuring some of Chicago's best Folk/Americana musicians as well as support from the groups Sons of The Never Wrong and 2-Bit Palomino.

Saturday, May 6, 2023 — Shawna Caspi and Dan Weber .

Tickets: $20

Toronto-based singer-songwriter Shawna Caspi takes her time crafting lyrics that are poetic and meaningful, often using unusual rhymes and surprising turns of phrase. She spent years on the road playing solo shows at festivals and in concert halls, train cars, backyards, and living rooms, supporting her warm, clear voice with intricate fingerstyle guitar accompaniment, and drawing energy from shifting landscapes and long drives through Canada and the United States.

After taking a break from the road to rest, reflect, and write, Shawna returns with her fifth album, Hurricane Coming, a collection of raw, deeply personal songs set against a backdrop of colourful cinematic soundscapes. Shawna also created a series of abstract paintings inspired by the songs on the album, seamlessly combining her work as a musician and visual artist.

Dan Weber is an award winning songwriter who has been described as "reminiscent of early John Prine" by Fatea Magazine and legendary Folk troubadour Ramblin' Jack Elliott said "I love Dan's songs and he tells really good stories."

During the long pandemic Dan was hard at work on his new CD, The Way the River Goes, and it's finally here!

2022 2023 Season at a Glance: (All shows $20 per ticket)

September 17 2022: Jonas Friddle Trio

October 8 2022: Ellis Delaney with special guest Emily White

November 19 2022: Windborne

December 17 2022: Jennifer Cutting's Ocean Celtic Quartet

January 7 2023: Peter Mulvey

February 18 2023: Mark Dvorak and Mean Mary co-bill

March 4 2023: Gina Forsyth and Heather Styka co-bill

April 1 2023: Anne Hills with special guest James Curley

May 6 2023: Dan Weber and Shawna Caspi co-bill

Details on these shows are all below:

Season tickets at $160

Printable ticket order form, just click and print!

Season brochure, click and print!

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