2022 in Review

Wow, the year certainly went by fast!

Music venues started opening again, and it was great to see live performances this past year by Mark Dvorak, Michael Johnathon, Dennis Warner and many more.

April 2022 was the SongFarmer Gathering in Renfro Valley, Kentucky, where WoodSongs was inducted into the Kentucky Music Hall of Fame and Museum. 

Loretta at the Woodsongs exhibit at the Ky Music Hall of Fame
Loretta at a section of the Woodsongs display at the Kentucky Music Hall of Fame and Museum, 2022.

October 2022 was the first FARM (Folk Alliance Region Midwest) Conference since 2019. It was so great to host the Uncorked late-night showcase for three nights and to see everyone again.  This year it was held in the Naperville/Lisle, IL area, so it was close to home.

uncorked flyer

Foundation is a local neighborhood restaurant; the third Thursday of each month is a Sing for Your Supper event hosted by Chicago Acoustic Underground and Michael Teach. It was a fun night in December listening to Mark Dvorak and Donna Adler and sharing a booth with Sue Fink. 

I published two books in 2022… The Troubadour in June and SwanSong in November. These follow my first Book The Interview that was published in 2021. These are the three stories I started writing 20 plus years ago and I am pleased to share them. If you are interested in reading them, please email writelor@aol.com to order!

3 books by Loretta Sawyer

Looking forward to 2023

Michael Johnathon is releasing his 20th Studio album Garden of Silence.

Mark Dvorak continues to add to his community arts performance schedule.

Loretta Sawyer Acoustic Arts is pleased to be doing the promotion of Minnesota singer-songwriter Dennis Warner’s community and children’s performances in South Africa this March.  It all started with a song that led to a children’s book.  When Warner was driving home to Minnesota after a concert in Illinois, the words to the song started to evolve. The song, “Beads on One String”, will take Dennis and a team throughout South Africa this March to perform 18-20 concerts.

“On the way home to Minnesota I wrote the song that would change my life,” Dennis explains. “’Beads on One String’ was written after I visualized a beaded necklace where every bead is a different size, shape, and color but all held together by one string. This image is how I see us all around the world; we are all different sizes, shapes, and colors. I started writing it as a cultural diversity song, with the importance placed on the beads and how their individual differences are what make them (us) great. And I believe that’s true, but struggled to make it an interesting song. So I changed directions and went 180 degrees the other way with it. Instead, I focused on the things we have in common with each other and NOT our differences. The song was now about the importance of the string that keeps the beautiful beads together on the necklace. ‘Beads on One String’ soon became a children’s book that is being used throughout the U.S. and beyond in bully prevention/positive behavior curriculums in elementary schools.”
Here’s a link to the song: Beads on One String

So, that’s the update here.  I wish you all a happy, healthy and musical 2023!

In closing I would like to share with you the quote that opens my third book SwanSong…

Love is patient, love is kind. It is not jealous, is not pompous, it is not inflated, it is not rude, it does not seek its own interests, it is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury, it does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth.

                                      -From the first Letter of Saint Paul to the Corinthians

Love, Lo 

Loretta with Mark Dvorak
Loretta and Mark Dvorak, 2022.

Wrapping Up and Looking Forward

Greetings! It’s certainly has been another challenging year for all of us. Music venues and events gradually started to open, with safety precautions and smaller audiences, while most are still preferring live-stream/zoom options. 

My first live music event in more than 18 months was September 30th near Lexington, Kentucky for Billy Dean at The Castle.  It was an outside tented venue on the grounds of the boutique hotel. I first met Billy Dean about 20 years ago when I was doing media for Country Thunder in Wisconsin . At this event, I worked his merch table and at the end of the night showed him the money!

Lo and Billy Dean
Loretta with Billy Dean in Kentucky, October 2021

The next event October 9th  was  Chris Vallillo, who performed at the Acorn Coffeehouse’s new location at the Euclid Avenue United Methodist Church in Oak  Park, IL. Dona Benkert and her volunteers have been presenting the Acorn Coffeehouse since 2014. 

Michael Johnathon made a concert stop at Acorn Coffeehouse on November 13. Michael released his new CD The Painter which has been receiving high praise from international reviews. Michael also published his 5th book, WoodSongs 5. Michael recently became the latest recipient of the Mentor Award, presented by Tomorrow’s Bluegrass Stars, a non-profit organization that supports young aspiring bluegrass musicians through encouragement, excitement, promotion, and awareness for them to preserve yesterday’s bluegrass music for tomorrow. The organization’s president, Larry Smith, surprised Johnathon and his crew during the broadcast taping of the WoodSongs Old-Time Radio Hour on Monday, Nov. 29 at Lexington’s Lyric Theater, which featured an entire lineup of young, aspiring musicians and performers. 

Dennis Warner came in from Minnesota on Nov. 19 for a night at the Two Way Street Coffee House in Downers Grove. He performed songs from his music catalog, including his new release Pilot Me

Mark Dvorak released a 4 song EP called December Songs. Each donation to Music & Potlucks will receive a download. The EP was also offered digitally to DJs. The full CD will be available in 2022. 

December 21 was Songwriters in the Round at Fitzgerald’s in Berwyn, IL. The songs of Jenny Bienemann, D. Anson Brody, and Mark Dvorak were presented. Three varieties of folk music.  Great to hear Mark perform two of his original December Songs tracks, “December Waltz” and  “Under Mistletoe.” It was great to visit these venues and see friends present their songs in person again.  

2021 brought the publishing of my first book, The Interview. Two hundred copies are now in circulation and I thank all of you for your interest and comments! My second book The Troubadour is in editing, and I am currently finishing the third, Swansong

As of this note, the Pandemic numbers are rising and looks like we may have a rocky start to 2022. Stay safe! May you enjoy the blessings of peace, health and happiness in the New Year!  


Springing Ahead

It has been a busy couple months around here.

April 1 was the renewal date for Loretta Sawyer Agency… licensed, bonded, and insured for another year. 

April 1 was also my 1st Pfizer vaccination shot.  Except for a sore arm the next day, no side effects. 

April 2 the Big Brown Truck (UPS) delivered 9 boxes (250 copies) of my book The Interview: A Story of Love, Loss & the Power of a Song. I finally got to hold the book in my hand!  It was a long journey for this book to become a reality and I share my writing and music adventure in the Author’s Note pages in the back of the book. Michael Johnathon designed the cover; it is an actual picture of his guitar. And Mark Dvorak performs the original song from the book, “Your Special Love,” in the promotional video.  

April 22, Earth Day! This was also the day of my second Pfizer shot. It was such a great feeling. Energized, felt like I want to go out for a run- and as most of you know, walking can be challenging for me sometimes! Then a few hours later there was a calm mellow feeling. Getting vaccinated is a step to getting back to normal- getting back to the live music.  

May 13 I made my first road trip to Lexington, KY in a year. When I arrived in Lexington, 7 hours and 400 miles later, I did my first zoom interview about The Interview with Rik Palieri for his upcoming Music Showcase program. It was odd being on the other side of the table, being the one interviewed. Thanks, Rik, for making it fun. A link to the broadcast will be posted here and on my Facebook page when it is available 

A link to buy the book will be available on this site very soon, as will a Facebook page for the book. Meanwhile, if you would like a copy of The Interview email me at  writelor@aol.com.
Follow this page and my personal Facebook page for more updates!