Showcase Artist Series

Dirk Hamilton will perform at Maryland Hall on Wednesday, November 14 at 7:30 pm. Opening for Hamilton is five time WAMMIE nominated singer-songwriter, Georgie Jessup. Tickets are $15; $10 for Maryland Hall members.
*Patrons will receive free popcorn and one complimentary glass of wine per paid ticket beginning at 7 pm.* Beer and wine will be available for purchase during the evening.
 
 

Dirk Hamilton is a classic case of "woulda, shoulda, coulda". Hailed in the 70's as a true poet/troubadour, his songwriting and singing were unique enough to make him standout from the singer-songwriter du jour, with a quirky style that was fresh and totally original. His voice was often compared to Van Morrison’s, and his performances and music were praised by respected publications like Rolling Stone and the LA Times.

His first album, "You Can Sing on the Left or Bark on the Right," was released on ABC records in 1976. Produced by Gary Katz, who at the time was working with Steely Dan, and would later work with local legend Root Boy Slim, it was an excellent album that showcased his eclectic style as a writer, and was fairly well-received by the critics. His next album, "Alias," I would pair him with guitarist Don Evans, whose distinctive guitar sound would help shape and define Hamilton’s sound for the rest of the decade. In 1977, he released "Meet Me at the Crux," an album that is considered to be one of his finest works, and by many, myself included, a minor masterpiece. Rolling Stone magazine called it an "overlooked gem," among other things. He finished out the 70's with "Thug of Love," another excellent album full of well-crafted songs that would cement his legacy as the best singer-songwriter nobody ever heard of. Then he basically walked away from the "busyness," as he calls it. After laying low for much of the 80's, he returned to recording in the 90's, and since that time has recorded and released some of the best music of his career. Hamilton's latest album is called "Solo Mono" and it is his first truly solo acoustic record. Just guitar, vocals, and Dirk laying his soul on the line.

Although there was promise never realized, there are absolutely no regrets on his part. He told me "I feel good about how things have transpired for me so far. I've stayed alive in the largest sense, and I've never stopped living and growing as an artist and a man. I'm more alive than ever, I'm approaching "wise", and have never been better as an artist".

That’s more evident than on Dirk’s latest release “Solo Mono,” a stripped down, back to his roots record that has Hamilton in peak form as a singer/songwriter and guitarist. And while some of his contemporaries have gone on to greater success, it’s not all about the “busyness” for Dirk; it’s about the craft and what people derive from his music.

Dirk is making a rare trip to the East coast and will be making an appearance at Maryland Hall on Wednesday Nov 14th. He will be performing songs from "Solo Mono" as well as dipping into his extensive back catalogue for classics like "Billboard on the Moon" and "Meet Me at the Crux." If you missed Hamilton the first time around, meaning 35 years ago now is the perfect opportunity to see what all the fuss was about. I promise it’ll be worth your while.

-- Michael Macey, Box Office Coordinator

Writing a blog sounds easy. Just sit down and put pen to paper, fingers to laptop. But not so fast, Ernest Hemingway. It takes some talent to pull that off. Talent is something solo fiddler Casey Driessen, appearing at Maryland Hall on Wednesday October 24, has in abundance. The Berklee School of Music graduate is a combination of talent, enthusiasm and creativity and quickly established himself as a sought after band mate and accompanist with people like Steve Earle, Abigail Washburn, Tim O’Brien and Béla Fleck.

It was in the middle of a Béla Fleck & The Flecktones set at the 2011 Telluride Bluegrass Festival that I first encountered Driessen, as Bela Fleck's roadie, as in the guy who runs back and forth, behind and occasionally on the stage waiting on the star. But then Fleck brought him out to sit in on fiddle and the crowd rose to its collective feet as he brought the house down:

He followed that up with a singular performance at Telluride’s Elks Park where he proved that listening to a fiddle, solo, for 45 minutes, could be a transforming experience.

Much like Futureman does with the Drumitar in the Flecktones, Driessen’s “Singularity Tour” makes heavy use of the latest in electronic wizardry by way of loop machines and pedal boards that would make Hendrix jealous. Using his creative muscle he builds songs from scratch using only his fiddle, his imagination, his enthusiasm and the power of the pedal. And within that context he creates a unique blend of traditional bluegrass, jazz, pop and rock that you will not see anywhere else. Talent like this might suggest some special upbringing, a dedication started before he could walk or a pedigree a mile long. But in speaking to him for this blog he revealed that it wasn’t quite that easy.

In fact, after his parents started him on Suzuki violin at age 6, he didn’t immediately take to the rigors of practicing (what 6 year old does). “I was heavily bribed,” he calmly says. “My dad would tell me in order to earn money to get mom a present for Mothers Day or her birthday or such, he would pay me a few bucks to practice. That’s how I was cajoled into putting some time into it.” That morphed later into being bribed with baseball cards, his other passion at the time. “Eventually I started to realize I was actually getting better. That began to motivate me more than the bribes,” His dad’s own part time career as a musician (pedal steel & banjo) and his artist mom’s creative juices led them on weekend family camping trips to bluegrass and music festivals where Driessen was immersed in the music of fiddles, guitars, banjos and dobro’s. After high school he met master fiddler and Grammy winner Matt Glaser (Ken Burns’ “Civil War”) at a fiddle camp. As head of the string department at Berklee, Glaser encouraged him to enroll and Driessen did. He still points to him as one of his most influential mentors. After graduating Driessen went straight to Nashville where he began his professional career first working with Steve Earle during his stripped down acoustic period. That quickly led him to work with an array of bluegrass and acoustic music heavyweights and a fruitful collaboration with Bela Fleck.

Since then he’s traveled the world performing with Béla Fleck, Tim O’Brien , Lee Ann Womack, Jim Lauderdale, The Duhks, Zac Brown Band and Chris Thile. He’s recorded with John Mayer, Jerry Douglas, Blue Merle and on the Grammy winning soundtrack for the Johnny Cash biopic “Walk The Line.” In 2006 he toured China and Tibet with The Sparrow Quartet as a founding member with Béla Fleck, Abigail Washburn, and Ben Sollee of which he said, “We seemed to be the audience's first introduction to American music. They were so polite they didn’t clap during the performance and we had to explain to them it was OK to applaud after solos and songs." His experiences led them back for three more tours.

As a rising star he continues to push the limits of his instrument explaining, “My style has developed over time in bits and pieces as I look for new boundaries to break with the fiddle. I'm currently working on new collaborations between percussion and fiddle called “Fiddlesticks” where I get together for a few days with a drummer or percussionist and we write, arrange and record some unconventional angles, reinterpret cover tunes and go beyond the traditional limits of the fiddle.” In his “Colorfools” trio project he works with acoustic bass and a drummer/percussionist.

If you want to get a sense of Driessen’s intensively creative output, just visit his website where you are ushered Inside The Mind Of Casey Driessen, as the title suggests. I thanked him for not using his photo page to put up the obligatory stage shots. Rather, you'll find beautiful, unrelated photographs that he takes in his spare time on the road. It's his way of relaxing and exploring yet another aspect of his creative mind. In a nod to traveling musicians everywhere he even adds a set of photos devoted to the dressing room bathrooms he's visited. If you've spent any time on the road you'll recognize this less glamorous point of view. Driessen is a road warrior who balances his burgeoning career with a family and home in Nashville. His travels regularly take him from the classical, jazz and bluegrass world of The Sparrow Quartet and Bela Fleck and the Flecktones, to the up tempo, modern country of the Zac Brown Band. And when he's not on the road he's in the studio working on his video lessons series. His latest CD titled “OOG” is an adventure in sonic playfulness. It's not a fiddle record, it's a musical stew to warm your soul.

When I asked him what people can expect at his show at Maryland Hall on October 24, he said he wanted people to understand that, “It’s only me up there, recording loops and playing them back live along with the acoustic fiddle woven in, exploring everything from originals to traditional tunes redone, to covers and sonic landscapes.” I will add that you will not be disappointed. In fact, once he launches into his loops and percussive machinations surrounding the intro to Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean” you'll never hear the fiddle the same way again.

Grammy-nominated fiddler Casey Driessen's Singularity Tour will stop at Maryland Hall on Wednesday, October 24 at 7:30 pm. Tickets are $15; $10 for Maryland Hall members.

The Showcase Artist Series at Maryland Hall presents unique performances from the world of jazz, folk, bluegrass, classical, film and pop. New to the series this year, MHCA has added bar service featuring beer, wine and sodas available for sale starting at 7:00pm. Each ticket holder is entitled to one free drink with their ticket stub. Come early and meet and greet the artists prior to their performance.

Tom Fridrich,Director of Performing Arts, MHCA

 

MHCA Presents: Dan Zanes

Sunday, September 30, 2012 | 3 pm

$28/$23 MCHA members/$18 Child (10 & under) and Senior (65+)

Dan Zanes Website

Dan Zanes has two things that set him apart from everyone else. First, he makes homemade family music and encourages similar behaviors in friends and neighbors. Second, he is the guy that sings along with anyone, anywhere. This Grammy Award winner for Best Musical Album for Children will take the stage on Sunday, September 30 at 3 pm.

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On Screen/In Person: “Runaway” – Amit Ashraf

Tuesday, October 16, 2012 | 7 pm

$10/$7 MCHA members

"Runaway" Trailer

In Amit Ashraf’s first feature film, “Runaway,” the crowded city of Dhaka is the perfect hiding place for men seeking to disappear. Babu has made it his life mission to find these runaways and return them to their families and rural villages. But Akbar is a man with powerful connections and a race against time begins as Babu tries to return him home before his pursuer catches up.

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Showcase Artist Series: Casey Driessen

Wednesday, October 24, 2012 | 7:30 pm

$15/$10 MCHA members

Casey Driessen Website

With limitless energy and spontaneity, The Singularity Tour kicks off in the summer of 2012, putting Casey Driessen’s unique creative vision center stage. The setup is simple: One man, one fiddle, one pedal board. Mixing his signature percussive fiddle style with digital loops and effects, the Grammy-nominated fiddler will build each show layer by layer in real time in front of the audience. The result is a one of a kind experience that pushes the boundaries of musical genres and styles.

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MHCA Presents: Chris Isaak

Tuesday, November 13, 2012 | 7:30 pm

$78/$73 MCHA members

Chris Isaak Website

As a child spinning his parents 45s in their Stockton, California home, Chris Isaak has been obsessed with the glory days of Memphis' Sun Studio and the visionary artists who got their starts there—including Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Roy Orbison, Carl Perkins and Jerry Lee Lewis—all of them discovered and nurtured by the late, great Sun Records founder Sam Phillips. Now, at long last, Isaak has acted on this lifelong obsession, magically recapturing the transformative hepcat brilliance of the classic sides cut by these greats at Sun with Phillips during the mid-'50s, while also getting down to the heart and soul of his own deeply rooted musical identity. "Beyond the Sun", Isaak's first Vanguard Records release, is truly a labor of love. Nominated Grammy singer-songwriter, American rock musician Chris Isaak will perform live at Maryland Hall on Tuesday, November 13.

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Showcase Artist Series: Dirk Hamilton

(Georgie Jessup opening)

Wednesday, November 14, 2012 | 7:30 pm

$15/$10 MCHA members

Dirk Hamilton Website

Singer-songwriter Dirk Hamilton picked up a guitar as a youth and was writing songs and playing live performances by the time he was in high school. He moved to Los Angeles in the late 70s and recorded four critically acclaimed albums: two while at ABC Records, and two while at Elektra/Asylum Records. A poet and musician known for his uniquely intelligent lyrics and passionate performance style, Hamilton creates music that can't be pigeon-holed into one genre or another, so indie rock, alt-rock, roots music, americana and folk-rock are often used. For his lyrics and performance style he is most often compared to Dylan, Van Morrison, and John Hiatt.

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On Screen/In Person: “Dislecksia: The Movie” – Harvey Hubbell

Thursday, November 15, 2012 | 7 pm

$10/$7 MCHA members

"Dislecksia: The Movie" Trailer

The light-hearted documentary “Dislecksia: The Movie” chronicles dyslexic director Harvey Hubbell V’s journey across the United States to learn more about a condition affecting 35 million Americans. Along the way he discovers that scientists are close to unlocking its secrets. The film gives dyslexics and their families hope as well as a crash course in how to keep smiling.

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Showcase Artist Series: Rob Levit Holiday Show

Wednesday, December 12, 2012 | 7:30 pm

$15/$10 MCHA members

Rob Levit Website

Get in the holiday spirit with noted area musician Rob Levit and talented local performers for an enjoyable assortment of holiday music and carols.

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WAE Presents: Israeli Vocalist and Band

Monday, December 17, 2012 | 7 pm

FREE

World Artists Experiences Website

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Showcase Artist Series: Jayme Stone

Wednesday, January 9, 2013 | 7:30 pm

$15/$10 MCHA members

Jayme Stone Website

Two-time Juno-winning banjoist Jayme Stone makes music inspired by folk traditions from around the world. His latest album, Room of Wonders, explores music from Norway, Sweden, Bulgaria, Brazil, Italy and North America. The repertoire includes a movement from Bach’s French Suite, a Moorish sword-fighting dance and Stone’s lush, edgy originals.

Stone thrives on unexpected inspiration: Japanese poetry, Brazilian literature, instruments he found while traveling in remote Malian villages. He finds it with influences as diverse as Anouar Brahem, Bill Frisell, and Toumani Diabaté. His Juno Award-winning albums, most notably Africa to Appalachia, both defy and honor the banjo’s long role in the world’s music, turning historical connections into compelling music.

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MHCA Presents: Peking Acrobats

Thursday, February 7, 2013 | 7 pm

$27/$15 MCHA members and children

Peking Acrobats Website

The Peking Acrobats, a troupe of China's most gifted tumblers, contortionists, jugglers, cyclists, and gymnasts complemented by live musicians playing traditional Chinese instruments will bring their 2,000-year-old tradition of acrobatics to North America for an extensive tour of North America.

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On Screen/In Person: “Cafeteria Man” – Richard Chisholm

Tuesday, February 19, 2013 | 7 pm

$10/$7 MCHA members

"Cafeteria Man" Trailer

“Cafeteria Man” tells the true story of rebel chef Tony Geraci and his mission to radically reform the way kids eat at our nation’s schools. It’s about overhauling a dysfunctional system. It’s about what’s possible when citizens come together and what it takes, and who it takes, to make solutions happen.

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MHCA Presents: Footworks Percussive Dance – “Steps & Stripes”

Friday, March 8, 2013 | 8 pm

$25/$20 MCHA members and children

Footworks Website

”Steps & Stripes” was conceived when The Baltimore Office of Promotion and the Arts commissioned Footworks to create a piece to commemorate The Star Spangled Banner’s 200th anniversary and perform it for the 50th annual Americans for the Arts conference in Baltimore in June of 2010. Robert L. Lynch, President of Americans for the Arts, wrote that it was a “rousing and patriotic performance” and that the audience “loved the portrayal of our American history and its many threads through dance. [It was] a deeply moving and entertaining piece that resonated with us all.”

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On Screen/In Person: “Abel Raises Cain” – Jenny Abel

Tuesday, March 12, 2013 | 7 pm

$10/$7 MCHA members

"Abel Raises Cain" Trailer

In “Abel Raises Cain”, the filmmaker provides an unprecedented glimpse into the life and extraordinary career of her father, Alan Abel, the notorious media prankster who has made a name for himself several times over with a series of elaborate hoaxes and schemes, all of which were designed to provoke, amuse and make people question everything that they see, hear or read.

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Showcase Artist Series: The Farewell Drifters

Wednesday, March 13, 2013 | 7:30 pm

$15/$10 MCHA members

The Farewell Drifters Website

Rising out of Nashville’s thriving independent music scene, the Farewell Drifters are an alt-folk band known for their 60’s era-inspired harmonies and adventurous musical energy. They have crafted a seamless blend of intellectual psychedelic pop with melodic songs that openly explore the brightest and darkest corners of life with raw intensity. The Farewell Drifters’ latest album, Echo Boom, has been met with critical praise and finds them growing from young men into thinking men and establishing their considerable place in this world.

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Showcase Artist Series: “Music in Art” – Joe Dickey

Wednesday, April 17, 2013 | 7:30 pm

$15/$10 MCHA members

After jamming together for two decades, friends Joe Dickey and Henry and Cindy Whitesel took their music to the streets, and Crabgrass made its debut at a street festival in Annapolis in 1993. From there, the band played at gallery openings in the local area, retirement homes, and street festivals. When the washtub bass player retired in 2001, Tim Bowen joined the band. The band has been playing regularly at the famous 49 West Restaurant and Café in downtown Annapolis since 2000. They bring their special blend of harmonies and instrumentation to traditional and contemporary bluegrass, gospel, folk, and country music. On display will be a collection of woodturning pieces by Joe Dickey.

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On Screen/In Person: “What We Need Is The Impossible” – Sam Green

Tuesday, April 23, 2013 | 7 pm

$10/$7 MCHA members

“What We Need Is The Impossible!” gathers together an evening length program of short films by Academy Award nominee Sam Green. The eclectic mix of documentaries range from a portrait of the world’s largest shopping mall in China to an elegy for Meredith Hunter, the young man killed by Hells Angels at the notorious 1969 Altamont concert, to an exploration of the little- known universal language of Esperanto.

To purchse tickets, visit our website www.marylandhall.org or click here.

 

 

 

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