Common Fence Music announces spring concert schedule

PORTSMOUTH, R.I. — Common Fence Music announces its spring 2017 concert schedule season, the organization’s 24th season and the first to be curated by its new artistic director, Erin Young.

Running Saturday March 4 through Saturday, May 13, the season features veteran folk musicians and favorites of the Common Fence Music (CFM) community, as well as national and international performing artists that are new to the CFM stage.

All performances take place at the Common Fence Point Hall, 933 Anthony Road, Portsmouth. Shows begin at 8 p.m., with doors opening at 7 p.m.

Tickets for performances may be purchased in advance by visiting and searching Common Fence Music. They may also be purchased at the door.

Saturday, March 4

Opening the season on Saturday, March 4, is “American Songster” DOM FLEMONS. A modern-day scholar, educator and interpreter of American old-time folk music traditions, Dom gained recognition as a founding member of the Grammy award-winning African-American string band the Carolina Chocolate Drops.

As a solo artist, Dom explores creative ways to perform traditional folk music genres for 21st-century audiences. Playing banjo, guitar, harmonica, fife, bones, bass drum, snare and quills, in addition to singing, and drawing from such styles as ragtime, southern spiritual and jug band, Dom has brought his unique take on roots music to such venues as the Newport Folk Festival, Bonaroo and the Grand Old Opry. This will be Dom’s first time performing at CFM.

 Saturday, March 11

Continuing in the old-time tradition, on Saturday, March 11, 2017, roots music masters JAY UNGAR and MOLLY MASON will return to CFM for the first time since 2008. With Jay on fiddle and Molly on acoustic guitar and piano, the duo has a repertoire that spans 19th-century folk and Appalachian tunes, country, Cajun, Celtic and even orchestral music. Though famous for their master classes and workshops at the Ashokan Center in Woodstock, NY, Jay and Molly are best known for their performance of Jay’s Emmy-nominated composition, “Ashokan Farewell”, which was featured in Ken Burns’ PBS documentary series The Civil War. The duo has recorded soundtracks for a variety of other Ken Burns projects and television shows, performed for two sitting presidents, and guest-starred on Garrison Keillor’s A Prairie Home Companion.

Saturday, April 1

This season is the first to feature the CFM BEST OF NEW ENGLAND mini-series which highlights the talents of high caliber folk music artists from the five New England states. The first in the mini-series to perform on Saturday, April 1, 2017 is the Cambridge, MA-based roots music ensemble SESSION AMERICANA with special guest LAURA CORTESE. While each of the five members of Session Americana is skilled and reputable on their own, as a group they bring an energy and raucousness rarely seen in live folk music. Modeling their performances on community-centric Irish seisiúns, the group performs a combination of original work and American roots classics, covering everything from blues to ballads, folk rock to country. Joined by fiddler/vocalist Laura Cortese (of Laura Cortese and the Dance Cards), this all-star lineup is guaranteed to wow the audience with their first show at CFM.

Saturday, April 22

Turning the focus to singer-songwriters for the second half of the season, veteran performer JOHN GORKA will take the stage on Saturday, April 22, 2017. With a career spanning three decades, John is a master of wordplay, skillfully interweaving story, poetry and song. He demonstrates an effortless ability to shift between humor and beauty, wooing audiences with his rich baritone and versatility on piano and guitar. A long-time friend of CFM, John continues to build a following of loyal and affectionate fans with his understated stage presence and memorable melodies.

Saturday, April 29 

On Saturday, April 29, 2017, LUCY KAPLANSKY will give her first performance at CFM. Melding folk, country, pop and rock, Lucy has been an iconic voice of the folk music scene since the 1990’s renaissance. Her smooth delivery of highly emotive original songs and classic tunes has brought her success both as a solo artist and member of Billboard-charting supergroups Red Horse (with Eliza Gilkyson and John Gorka) and Cry Cry Cry (with Dar Williams and Richard Shindell). With one of the most in-demand voices of the industry, Lucy brings a thoughtfulness, power and charm to every performance. 

Saturday, May 13

Also new to the CFM stage and performing on Saturday, May 13, as part of the CFM BEST OF NEW ENGLAND mini-series is Boston singer-songwriter MARK ERELLI. A skilled and artful guitarist and vocalist, Mark is a wonderful example of how the modern-day folk artist can translate the age-old tradition of storytelling into a mindful and relevant art form for newer audiences. With a talent for verse reminiscent of such seasoned songsmiths as Paul Simon, Jackson Brown and Bob Dylan, his songs are timeless, uncomplicated and honest. His critically-acclaimed 2016 release For a Song displays “craft and class”, and a compelling emotional depth that captures the listener. Mark will undoubtedly bring a beautiful end to the Spring 2017 Season.

All the events of Common Fence Music’s Spring 2017 Season are part of the CFM Picnic Series. Concert-goers are invited to bring food and beverages to enjoy during the performances. Seasonal soups, homemade refreshments and soft-drinks will also be available for purchase. The hall is fully accessible.

Common Fence Music is a non-profit arts organization that was founded in 1993 with the mission to make folk, roots and world music performances and educational activities accessible to Aquidneck Island communities. For more information about Common Fence Music, please visit, or call (401)683-5085.

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