Category Archives: Michael Johnathon

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!



Summer of Music Wrap-up

Mark Dvorak sings an original song, ”I Hate to See the Summer Go”

Summer certainly speeds by fast! It’s been a time of outdoor art fairs, festivals and events… and some fine indoor things too:


Michael Johnathon in performance

Michael Johnathon in performance

Loretta Sawyer Acoustic Arts had a great time hosting the Uncorked room at SERFA (Southeast Region Folk Alliance Conference) May 16 & 17 in Chattanooga, TN. Then we took a short road trip to Atlanta for Mark Dvorak’s performance May 18 at the Atlanta Area Friends of Folk Music. At Fiddler’s Green Concert Series, Mark reconnected with Frank Hamilton, and it was a special night of music!

Michael Johnathon returned to Illinois the end of May for performances at Two Way Street Coffee House in Downers Grove, IL and Concerts on the Creek in Rockford, IL.  Michael is touting his new releases of Dazed + Confuzed, The Songs of Rural America, and his WoodSongs 4 book. 


There was a night of blues and Americana at Wishbone North in Chicago on June 21 with Mark Dvorak, Donna Herula and Jon Shain.

Mark Dvorak by concert poster

Mark Dvorak at Fiddler’s Green Concert Series

A trip to Kentucky took Mark Dvorak to Lexington on June 27 for two performances for the wonderful folks of Sayre Christian Village.  June 29, we headed to Batesville Indiana for Mark Dvorak’s afternoon workshop and evening concert for the Batesville Library.


July 11 was the annual Island in the City Festival where my favorite Chicago festival band 7th Heaven performs each year.



Loretta with Colista Ledford

Loretta with Colista Ledford in Winchester, Kentucky

July 24 was another road trip to Kentucky. I had a meeting in a castle in Versailles, Ky and enjoyed a lovely lunch with Colista Ledford in Winchester, KY, then headed to London, KY and met up with the Higher Vision Band at the Pickin for the Kids Festival! It was great to catch up with Ronnie, Rob, Dedria, Kelly, and Steve.


Mark Dvorak (with Manuel Adduci on bass) returned to Concerts on the Creek in Rockford, IL on August 10th. The duo Last Acre opened the evening of music.

Michael Johnathon returned to the Hickory Ridge concert series in Lewiston, Illinois on August 17, and that is a story for the record books that only Michael can tell you!

Higher Vision in concert

Higher Vision in concert

Mark Dvorak returned to Mather’s Café in Chicago on Friday, August 23. Thanks to Our Village and Nadig newspapers for picking up the press release. It landed in four newspaper editions!

Now that August is here, planning is being done for the FARM (Folk Alliance Region Midwest) Conference in Grand Rapids, MI October 24-27. LSAA will be hosting the Uncorked room for three nights, and the schedule is already full! Loretta Sawyer Acoustic Arts is also a Gold Sponsor for FARM 2019!

Meanwhile, I’ve been catching up on some movies. I especially like the ones that are music-related… Bohemian Rhapsody (Queen), Rocketman (Elton John), Yesterday (The Beatles), and Blinded by the Light (Bruce Springsteen).

So that is the update here at Loretta Sawyer Acoustic Arts.

Enjoy the rest of the summer days ahead.



Mark Dvorak dancing with little girl

Mark Dvorak two-stepping in Batesville

Springing Ahead…

The beginning of a New Year starts with reviewing artists’ schedules and pitching for fill-in dates. Sending out Press Releases to media to promote a concert and community event is always ongoing. Check out my Facebook page for more up to date info on shows I am promoting!

Loretta Sawyer Acoustic Arts will be hosting the Uncorked showcase room at the SERFA (South East Region Folk Alliance) Conference in Chattanooga, TN May 16 & 17. Stay tuned for the schedule of amazing artists I will be presenting at this conference.

Mark Dvorak continues to have a full schedule which he balances between traveling to concerts, teaching, and performing for many community events. Loretta Sawyer Acoustic Arts provides press releases for his various performances and works on connecting him with new music venues to fill out his tour schedule.

Michael Johnathon has released two new projects, Dazed & Confuzed and Songs of Rural America. “The Statue” music video, a song about hate, violence and the symbols of racism in America, with Lesson plans available is from the Dazed & Confuzed: 21st Century Folksinger album. The Songs of Rural America album was recorded live with the Ohio Valley Symphony orchestra and debuted as a TV event on RFD-TV on February 22nd.

Keep Springing ahead!



Folk Alliance Region Midwest (FARM) Conference friends….WOW…what a weekend Oct 25-28!

I need to thank Smitty, Annie, the board members and volunteers who worked so hard to give us a fabulous weekend of music and friends. Thanks to all the artists who played in the Uncorked showcase hosted by Loretta Sawyer Acoustic Arts… you filled the room to the max each night. Special thanks to Mark Dvorak… It would not be Uncorked without him… He also brought $11 Supper to the FARM family table  What a fun trio. Thanks to those who stopped by the Uncorked room to listen…venues, DJs, friends,.. I am grateful for your support.

Mark dvorak uncorked

Mark Dvorak in a packed Uncorked Showcase room

mark dvorak listening party

Mark Dvorak listening party in Uncorked showcase room

michael johnathon uncorked

Michael Johnathon in Uncorked showcase room


LSA Hosts Uncorked Showcase at FARM Conference This Weekend

Loretta Sawyer Acoustic Arts is hosting the Uncorked showcase room at Folk Alliance
Region Midwest (FARM) in Grand Rapids, Michigan on Oct 25-27.
We are looking forward to presenting these talented artists!
Loretta Sawyer Acoustic Arts is a Gold Sponsor for FARM and will be hosting the
welcoming reception on Thursday afternoon of the conference. On Friday evening
Uncorked will be hosting a Pizza/Listening Party, presenting Mark Dvorak’s new CD
Brand New Wings. 
Hope to see you there!

Uncorked Showcase 2018

Uncorked Showcase Room 115

showcase room schedule

Uncorked Showcase 2018 Schedule

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!


Springing Ahead

Well it is quite busy here for Loretta Sawyer Acoustic Arts and for me personally…

WoodSongs/Loretta Sawyer Acoustic Arts was at Folk Alliance International Kansas City, MO
February 15-18th. Thanks to all who stopped by the trade show booth… artists, presenters, DJs. Great meeting you all!

Loretta at FAI 2017

Loretta at FAI 2017

Friday Feb 24th, Brian Ashley Jones was at Uncommon Ground/Devon-Chicago, Saturday Feb 25th brought the music of Tony Bennett at the Mercury Theater. I completed proofreading the new WoodSongs III book for Michael Johnathon, and it had me laughing and crying!

Thursday March 2nd  was my graduation class performance at the Old Town School of Folk Music… yes, I have been taking guitar lessons, now that I have the new Martin guitar I wanted to try it out. So I started again with Guitar 1 at OTS, it was a small class and we all had it going on, of course my instructor (Mark Dvorak) always has it going on. The class gave me structure and incentive and I am looking forward to the next session. I am sorry that there is not a picture or video of the event. They even had lights and microphones! I now have a deeper respect for those of you who make your life/living on the stage!

March 4th was the Annual Paul Seiwert Foundation Benefit for Children with Cancer. David Noll was at Two Way Street Coffee House in Downers Grove, Friday March 10th. Met David at the Folk Alliance Conference Region Midwest where he introduced his new CD Serenade to a Life.

Mark Dvorak filled the Acorn Coffeehouse at the Burning Bush Art Gallery in Wheaton, IL this past Saturday.  A very nice place for art and music.

Michael Johnathon returns to the Hickory Ridge Concert Series in Lewistown, IL this Saturday March 18.

Mark Dvorak will be a showcase artist at the Illinois Library Association Reaching Forward Conference in Rosemont, IL May 5th.  LSAA is doing a special promotion of this
to Illinois libraries.  You can find more information about this and Mark’s complete schedule at

There are a couple of wonderful community music events being planned as fund-raisers for non-profit organizations.  Stayed tuned for more information!

Looking forward to Spring!

Happy New Year

Happy New Year! A new year brings new bookings and promotion.

Loretta Sawyer Agency has been working on adding more shows to Michael Johnathon‘s schedule for 2017 and beyond.

Mark Dvorak continues to have a full schedule which he balances between traveling to concerts, teaching, and performing for library and senior events. Loretta Sawyer Acoustic Arts provides press releases for his various performances. The Old Town School of Folk Music in Chicago recently recognized Mark Dvorak with the Distinguished Teachers Award.

Chris Vallillo is busy with his program O’Freedom! Songs of the Civil Rights Movement which he is performing at libraries and historical museums.

The Folk Alliance International Conference is Feb 15-19 in Kansas City, MO. WoodSongs/Loretta Sawyer Acoustic Arts will be having a trade show booth there Feb 16-18 from 11am-3pm. Stop by and visit! Pick up CD samples, information on the WoodSongs Front Porch Association, and become a SongFarmer.  WoodSongs Coffeehouses and SongFarmer Clubs are sprouting up all over the country… folks are gathering to play music and sing songs!

I have signs on my desk that say PEACE and LOVE… and that is what I wish you!


Summer 2016

I Hate to See the Summer Go is an original song by Chicago Troubadour Mark Dvorak, and it’s all too true. Summer has been speeding by… so here’s some news to catch up on from Loretta Sawyer Acoustic Arts…

Last weekend I was on the road… driving two lane Wisconsin highways with corn fields and farms for scenery,  to two special music events…The Shawano Folk Music Festival in Shawano, WI, and then on to The Black Hawk Folk Society concert series in Mt. Morris, WI.  Both are wonderful community music events. Thanks to Black Hawk Folk Society for hosting Michael Johnathon; it was truly a special night.

Michael Johnathon has released two new CDs… SongFarmer (recorded on an iPhone) and The Dream which will be making its debut to radio for International Day of Peace  (Peace Day) on September 21.

I am honored to be a creative board member for the WoodSongs Front Porch Association. The annual gathering will be held at Shaker Village near Lexington,  Kentucky September 23-24. For more information visit

Loretta Sawyer Acoustic Arts hosted a private showcase room at the SERFA in North Carolina Conference this past May thanks to all the artists who were part of the schedule; especially Brian Ashley Jones and Brad Cole for bringing their fan clubs and filling the room and to Freebo for closing out the room with a special jam. Next conference is FARM (Folk Alliance Region Midwest) in October in Iowa City, IA where the Uncorked showcase will be going for three nights. Looking forward to presenting exceptional talent!

Loretta Sawyer Promotions has sent the following CDs to radio, thanks to the DJs for the airplay.

Eric Lambert- 75 A Bow to Bob
Dave Rudolf – Let It Roll
Dave Rudolf- All Folked Up Vol. 3
Lambert & Walz-Self Titled
Curtis & Loretta – When There’s Good To Be Done
Rob McNurlin – The Gospel Guitar
Rob McNurlin – Blue Nashville Guitar
Common Thread – A Bushel & A Peck

On a personal note, my biggest news is that I bought a new guitar… A Martin 000 with a spruce top.  Not a high-end model but I never knew a guitar could feel so good. Looking forward to the songs I will bring out of it.

Enjoy the rest of the summer days and warm starry nights…

See you on Facebook:



Michael Johnathon introduces the Martin Michael Johnathon model 0000-28s “WoodSongs Quad” guitar at special September Performances

Sept 11 – Rockford, IL- Just Goods Concert Series welcomes singer/songwriter Michael Johnathon on Friday September 11, 2015 at 7PM.  Just Goods is located at 201 7th Street, Rockford, IL  815-965-8903. Donations.

SEPT 12 Lupus, MO- Lupus General Store Music Series welcomes singer/songwriter Michael Johnathon on Saturday September 12, 2015 at 7:30PM  Lupus General Store is located on Main Street, Lupus MO.  $10  660-849-2217.

Sept 18- Warwick, NY -9 am Michael Jonathon will be Jon Stein’s special guest on WTBQ Hootenanny Café.

Sept 18-Princeton, NJ- The Princeton Folk Music Society welcomes singer/songwriter Michael Johnathon on Friday September 18, 2015. The concert will be held at The Christ Congregation Church, 50 Walnut Lane, in Princeton, NJ. 8:15 pm Ticket prices: $15 (members) $20 (non-members), $10 Students, $5 for Children under 12.

Folksinger Michael Johnathon has a long-standing career in acoustic arts, as a songwriter, playwright of Walden: The Ballad of Thoreau,  creator of the opera Woody: For the People, and as the host of the live audience broadcast of the WoodSongs Old Time Radio Hour with a radio audience with over two million listeners each week on 500 public radio stations, public television coast-to-coast, the BlueHighways TV Network on DISH, plus American Forces Radio Network in 173 nations.   In addition to his album, books, concerts and other projects the Martin Guitar Company recently introduced the Michael Johnathon model 0000-28s “WoodSongs Quad” guitar.

Growing up in New York, Michael Johnathon was Pete Seeger’s neighbor. Now settled in the foothills of Appalachia, the Kentucky-based songwriter is a prolific artist with ten released albums, two published books and several national projects. His play Walden: The Ballad of Thoreau has been performed over 8,000 times in 42 countries. A tree-hugger at heart, he performed two thousand Earth Concerts at schools and colleges, plus benefits for the homeless, farm families, and shelters helping battered women and children. In all, he sang to over two million people in one four-year stretch. Billboard Magazine headlined him as an “UnSung Hero.” He has been featured on CNN, TNN, CMT, AP, Headline News, NPR, Bravo and the BBC.