by Doug Hill
The Norman Transcript
NORMAN — The Winter Wind Concert Series is gearing up for a 10-performance season, with this season’s schedule remarkable for its quality and artistic diversity.
“We’re excited to be bringing back some old favorites and also some new faces,” Performing Arts Studio’s Nancy McClellan said. “It will be first Winter Wind performances for Anne and Pete Sibley and Red Molly.”
The concerts are an intimate listening room atmosphere with generally good acoustics and usually mature audiences who come to hear the performance.
The occasional BNSF locomotive barreling by just yards away has been incorporated into more than one artist’s show with a mimicking harmonica riff or percussive salute. Music is typically of the singer/songwriter variety and includes different styles and genres.
The first concert of the season was hosted Oct. 6 with Ari Hest and his guitar. Hest comes from a musical family and performing is his destiny. Passion is in his voice.
“No matter what I’m doing, aside from sleeping, there’s a soundtrack to it,” he said. “It’s a blessing and a curse, as it drives some people in my life nuts occasionally, but it’s how I’ve been and always will be.”
· Oct. 19 — Kevin Welch plays Winter Wind’s lone Saturday evening show. He’s closely associated with Oklahoma, Texas and Nashville, Tenn.
Welch’s picture could be next to the definition of “red dirt” in Webster’s. His songs have been recorded by top tier country music stars and he tours the globe playing for a fan base developed over nearly four decades.
· Nov. 3 — Audrey Auld will disabuse you of the notion that old school country music with twang-ified accent and sentimental lyrics is dead. Listen to her “I’d Leave Me Too” and you’ll get goose bumps, shout hallelujah and pour a jelly jar full of brown liquor to celebrate. She hails from Hobart, not the one in Kiowa County, the one in Tasmania, Australia.
· Nov. 24 — Red Molly is a NY-based Americana trio comprised of Laurie MacAllister, Abbie Gardner and Molly Venter. They all play guitar and sing tight 3-part harmony that’s finer than frog’s hair. They’re sweethearts of festivals near and far.
“Light in the Sky” is the name of their new disc.
“It could be about the sun, the stars, or looking forward to a bright future,” Venter said. “We’re having so much fun as a band right now. We’re excited to see what happens next.”
· Dec. 28 — Jimmy LaFave is a loving disciple of Woody Guthrie. He cut his teeth in the Stillwater music scene and his soulful, plaintive vocals are inimitable. He’s one of our finest living red dirt singer/songwriters.
· Jan. 5 — Carrie Newcomer is an Americana folk singer with a world vision. She’s known for her humanitarian initiatives in places such as Kenya and India as much as for her gentle lilting vocals. In 2003 her sterling composition “I Should Have Known Better” helped snag Nickel Creek a Best Contemporary Folk Album Grammy as part of LP “This Side.”
· Jan. 26 — Anne and Pete Sibley are a married couple from Jackson, Wyo. They play a precious flavor of heartfelt bluegrass. They’ve only been playing out in this project for five years and don’t sound as if they’re chained to the genre’s conventions.
· Feb. 16 — Peter Mayer is the closest of this season’s Winter Wind line-up to being the archetype coffee house-style folk singer. His songs tell stories and his comforting voice sounds like someone’s wise dad or a hip minister.
· March 2 — Mark Erelli works constantly as a sideman with other musicians. He’s a vocal stylist with unusual phrasing and peculiar tonality. Erelli’s released a dozen LPs since 1999, most on the Signature Sounds label.
· March 30 — Beppe Gambetta is the unlikely combination of being a native and current resident Genovese who plays American roots music. It’s been called a fusion of USA country and various permutations of European folk music. Gambetta is a guitar flat picker who does an abundance of impressively ornate selections without lyrics.
The Winter Wind Concert Series recently released its 10-performance slate for the next five month period.
All shows will be at the Performing Arts Studio in Norman’s downtown arts district at the Santa Fe Depot, 200 S. Jones Ave.
Depending on the artist, tickets are $15-$20 and purchase information is available by calling 405-307-9320.
Audience seating is limited and shows often sell-out in advance.
Performances traditionally begin at 7 p.m. Complimentary refreshments are served before shows and during any intermissions.