Category Archives: books

Happy New Year!

In the New Year… Loretta Sawyer Acoustic Arts will be working with various artists on press releases and promotion for concerts and special events and will provide select and custom CD distribution of new releases to folk radio.

Mark Dvorak will be releasing his new CD Let Love Go On in February 2020. The new release of great new material includes original songs by Mark and the song “Parade of Fools, Downtown” written by WVPE Folk DJ Al Kniola.

Michael Johnathon will be releasing his new CD Legacy in March 2020. The title song is described as being “The American Pie of the 21st Century,” It is an epic, original, 9-minute rocking journey through the world of music from Pete Seeger to Josh White, Joni Mitchell to the Kingston Trio, Dylan to Denver and more, in the context of a collapsing record business that all artists must struggle with. Legacy is an album of “derivatives”… original songs, original lyrics, original chord patterns but written and recorded to remind you of another song.

A big step forward for me was having Michael Johnathon read my book manuscript The Interview. He describes it as “a draft of a very fine new book in a music setting; the plot is very well thought out.” My goal was to have a novel published and many years ago I started writing for music magazines and newspapers covering music artists and events. I read in one of those “how to get published” books that it was good to have some sort of published work. I wrote lots of articles throughout the years. The novel idea was put aside. It was during several interviews with performers and attending different music events that I realized there was a need for publicity and promotion.

I then started Loretta Sawyer Agency/ Acoustic Arts. Aside from doing the publicity and promotion, one of my favorite things is going to Folk Alliance Regional Conferences and presenting artists in my late-night Uncorked showcase.

2020 marks the 25th anniversary of my first published article. So it would be epic for 2020 to be the year of my first published book. Will work on it 😉

I wish you much music, love and good health in 2020!



Springing Ahead

Spring finally came to Chicago, been enjoying some very nice weather here. Planted flowers and tomatoes on the deck at LSAA Headquarters.

First adventure of the season is the SERFA (South East Region Folk Alliance) Conference May 17-20. Loretta Sawyer Acoustic Arts is hosting the Uncorked showcase room on Thursday and Friday Nights. Here is the schedule:

10:40  Rich Eilbert
11:00 Escaping Pavement
11:20 Wayne Greene
11:40 Amelia Sweet Bluebird
12:00 Mark Dvorak
12:40 Friction Farm
1:00  Claudia Nygaard
1: 20 Steven Pelland
1:40  Loretta’s Last Call

10:40  Special Guest
11:00 Tret Fure
11:20  Jane Godfrey
11:40 Heather Styka
12:00 Mark Dvorak
12:40 Brian Ashley Jones
1:00  Noah Zacharin
1: 20 Eric Lambert
1:40  Loretta’s Last Call

Mark Dvorak continues to balance his full schedule with concerts, teaching and working on two new projects. Visit his website for more information and performance dates.

There is always something new with Michael Johnathon. He just completed his first children’s book, Mousie HiWay : The Adventures of Banjo Mouse. The book and CD introduces bluegrass music and acoustic instruments to kids 3-12 years old.  Fully illustrated with a story based on the song “Mousie HiWay,” it takes kids on a musical journey through the Appalachian Mountains as Banjo Mouse forms the Mousie HiWay Band.

There is also The Songs of Rural American performance Saturday Oct 6, 2018 at the historic Ariel Opera House in Gallipolis, OH.  This concert will be recorded for public radio and filmed for public television. Be part of the excitement and in the theatre audience! This is a fully orchestrated concert presenting the spirit, tradition and songs of rural America. Visit Michael’s website or call (740) 446-2787  for more info.

The 2018 Gathering of SongFarmers member conference will be in historic Berea, Kentucky at the wonderful Berea Arena Theatre on Big Hill Road, right off I-75 south of Lexington. Great hotels, camping, cafes, music shoppes and hiking are all around! The conference will be full of workshops, song circles and musical fellowship. SongFarmers members get TWO FREE TICKETS to attend both days!

Happy Spring!


Chicago folk masters to perform in Park Forest on January 11

PARK FOREST IL – The Unitarian Universalist Community Church welcomes Chicago folk music masters Eddie Holstein and Mark Dvorak to the Edgar’s Place stage, 70 Sycamore Drive,  on Saturday, January 11 at 8:00 pm. General admission is $15.

Eddie Holstein is back on the performing circuit after recuperating from a medical procedure. Along with his brother Fred, Steve Goodman, John Prine and Bonnie Koloc, Eddie helped define the Chicago folk scene of the 1970s. His bluesy guitar style, engaging storytelling and original songs are the hallmarks of a distinguished performing career that has spanned five decades. His most well-known song, “Jazzman,” has been recorded by a number of artists including Pure Prairie League and Tom Rush.

Mark Dvorak’s name has become synonymous with Chicago folk music. In 2012 WFMT fm 98.7 Midnight Special host named him “Chicago’s official troubadour,” a sobriquet first given to Old Town School of Folk Music founder Win Stracke, and later to Fred Holstein, an early mentor to Dvorak. His songwriting has been called “wondrous,” and “profound.” His performance “an elegant balancing act of the traditional, the original and the powerful.” The Chicago Tribune calls him “masterful,” while SING OUT! magazine says, “Dvorak shines!” His 2011 Waterbug release, Time Ain’t Got Nothin’ On Me, received national airplay and rose to number 14 on the Cashbox Roots Music Report. In 2013, Dvorak published his first book of essays and poems, “Bowling for Christmas and Other Tales from the Road.”

For more information phone 708 481 5339. Visit the Unitarian Universalist Community Church of Park Forest on the web at Visit Eddie Holstein’s page at and visit Mark Dvorak at


Folk Musician Mark Dvorak Releases New Book “Bowling for Christmas & Other Tales From The Road”

CHICAGO IL – Folk musician Mark Dvorak will perform songs and read from his new book, Bowling for Christmas & Other Tales from the Road, in a special appearance on Tuesday, December 10 at The Grafton Pub, 4530 N. Lincoln Avenue. The program begins at 9:30 pm with music from Waiting for Nellie, an acoustic trio made up of Old Town School of Folk Music members Mike Alberts, Sarah Ball and Louis Mitchell.

“For a long time now, I’ve been a scribbler of words,” said the singer about his new project. “Over the years, my wayward process of scribbling and editing, rereading and listening, has yielded this humble collection. I’m excited to be able to finally present some of my stories in printed form.”

The twenty-one essays and three poems are varied in style and subject matter, and depict an intimate and reflective look back on a life spent as a traveling musician.

Dvorak writes about searching for the grave of Louisiana-born folk and blues singer Lead Belly, and takes readers backstage at the Philadelphia Folk Festival for a jam session with the late John Hartford. He reminisces about a youthful cross-country motorcycle trip, and reflects on hearing the news of tenor Luciano Pavarotti’s death while repairing his banjo. He reports on his tour of Finland and locates the tunnel in West Virginia where the legend of John Henry, the steel-drivin’ man was born. The book culminates with the touching short story “Bowling for Christmas.”

“Mark is a natural storyteller,” said Mike Alberts, who is hosting the evening as part of his One MIke Stand acoustic series at The Grafton Pub. “He really has a gift for descriptive writing. He takes you ‘there.’ We’re really looking forward to hearing him sing and read a few of his stories.”

To date, Dvorak has released sixteen albums of traditional and original music, including Waterbug’s acclaimed Time Ain’t Got Nothin’ On Me. He has won awards for children’s music, journalism, and was honored in 2008 with the Woodstock Folk Festival Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2013, he received the FARM Lantern Bearer Award from Folk Alliance International.

The Chicago Tribune has called him “masterful,” and the Fox Valley Folk Festival describes him as “a living archive of song and style.” In 2012, WFMT Midnight Special host Rich Warren named Dvorak “Chicago’s official troubadour.”

Admission to the evening is free. Books and CDs will be available for purchase and signing. Phone The Grafton at 773-271-9000 or visit For more information visit Mark Dvorak on the web at

Media contact:
Loretta Sawyer
Loretta Sawyer Promotions

Japanese Author/Educator Releases Book on Thoreau, Education and Nature

Henry D. Thoreau: His Educational Philosophy and Observation of Nature is the new book by Japanese Author Michiko Ono.

This literary work is the result of much research and comprehensive, detailed analysis of Thoreau’s writings.  Ms. Ono’s research revealed that Thoreau’s thought could be interpreted as unique educational philosophy, a correlation between nature and education.

Henry David Thoreau lived on the shores of Walden Pond, in Concord, Massachusetts for two years and two months from 1845 to 1847.  Collecting his thoughts and observations into journal notes that would become his famous literary work “Walden”.

Michiko Ono is associate professor of English at Iwate Medical University. She obtained her Ph.D. in American Literature from Tohoku University. As an AFS student she studied in California for one year during her high school days. She has been studying on Henry David Thoreau and is a member of the Board of Directors of The Thoreau Society of Japan. She has published many papers on Thoreau, and three are included in the books of academic works published by The Society in 1999, 2004 and 2012. Also, she translated Kenji Miyazawa’s stories into English and published two books in 2002.

For more information contact Loretta Sawyer Promotions,