The Life and Times of the Great Lead Belly in Rockford February 20

ROCKFORD IL – Rockford actor and singer David Causey and folk artist and writer Mark Dvorak of Riverside IL, will present “The Life and Times of the Great Lead Belly” on Saturday, February 20, at 7:00 pm. The performance will take place at Spring Creek UCC, 4500 Spring Creek Road, Rockford.

“David and Mark presented their Lead Belly show last year in Rockford,” said Concerts on the Creek music director Ron Holm. “It was a hit, and we thought naturally to bring them back for a Black History month presentation.”

“Lead Belly is an essential American artist,” said Steve Jones, president of the Rockford Blues Society, which is sponsoring the show as an arts-in-education presentation in four Rockford public schools. “Our ‘Blues in the Schools’ program has served thousands of students, and our goal is to help reconnect young people with our shared musical heritage.”

The show was adapted from a script developed by Dvorak in the early 1990s after he sought out and found the grave of Huddie Ledbetter, better known as “Lead Belly,” outside the small town of Mooringsport, Louisiana, in the in northwest part of the state.

Dvorak distilled his notes into a script which was produced into an audio documentary by WDCB 90.9 fm, Glen Ellyn IL. The show, “Lead Belly’s Legacy” aired in one hundred sixty cities and in 1993 earned Dvorak a Peter Lisagor for Journalism.

Along with Woody Guthrie, Huddie Ledbetter is regarded as one of the great American folk song composers and performers. Born in the late 1800s, Lead Belly was a song collector, an animated entertainer and a crack musician. Although he never achieved great success as a performer and recording artist in his lifetime, his songs and legend are inherently woven into the fabric of American folklore and folk music.

The evening will conclude with a folk sing-along and hootenanny. Admission to the concert is free, but a donation of $10 is suggested. For information on Concerts at the Creek phone 815 979 1949 or visit

Remembering Pete Seeger-A special concert

Des Moines, IA -The passion, purpose and spirit of Pete Seeger and American Folk Music are alive and well in Spook Handy’s “Remembering Pete Seeger” World Tour and concert. Spook Handy will be presenting this special concert for the Progressive Voices Concert Series on Saturday, February 13, 2016 at 7:30pm. The concert is held at The First Unitarian Church, 1800 Bell Avenue, Des Moines, IA 50315. Tickets are $20 in advance/$25 at the door.

Spook Handy performed alongside Pete Seeger at festivals and concerts more than 50 times from 2003-2013. He learned firsthand many of Pete’s songs and the stories behind them. Now, Spook is on a three year “Remembering Pete Seeger” World Tour bringing these songs and stories and Pete’s message to all 50 U.S states, all 11 Canadian provinces, and many other countries (as well as all 21 New Jersey counties). He can be heard at theaters, arts centers, libraries, universities, churches and anywhere else people gather to celebrate Pete’s life and legacy. His new CD “Pete,Woody and Me-Volume 1 is due out by Spring 2016.

Spook was named Best Folk Artist by Upstage Magazine, Gannett New Jersey, The Courier News, The Home News and He has written for theater and film and his original songs have charted as high as #6 on the International Folk Radio Charts.

Spook says, “I’ve always felt that an individual can leave a positive mark on the world.  I also eventually came to realize that I could make a difference through music.  Pete showed me that it’s not just the content of a song that makes the difference.  It’s the humanity and the interaction you have with people through both writing and performing your music.  That’s what touches people most.  Pete knew how to make an audience feel comfortable, get involved in the conversation, and be part of the collective experience.”

Here comes 2016: A Post from Lo

Thank you to all the artists, venues, DJs, music organizations and media that I have had the honor to work with during the past year. By working together we continue to share the songs of musicians hearts to the listening audience.

Looking forward to 2016… LSA will be sending many new CDs out to radio, working with the WoodSongs Front Porch Association/WoodSongs in the Schools, booking Michael Johnathon for the SongFarmer tour, hosting showcase rooms at SERFA and FARM conferences, and supplying publicity/promotion for concerts and events. Stay tuned by visiting

I wish you love, peace, joy, success and good health! Happy New Year!

Love, Lo

The Karl Shiflett & Big Country Show sign with Patuxent Music

Groesbeck, TX- The Karl Shiflett & Big Country Show recently signed a recording contract with Patuxent Music out of Rockville, Maryland. The long established label is owned and operated by Bluegrass musician and sound engineer Tom Mindte. The band is excited about the label and the new recording. “It’s a real pleasure to record and work with a top notch professional sound engineer like Tom Mindte. He has a real interest and passion for the music and the musicians and it’s evident in every recording he produces.”

The band spent the days of December 14th thru the 17th, 2015 in the studio laying down tracks for the new recording. The new project will be titled “SHO-NUFF COUNTRY” and will take up where KSBC’s last project left off as a continued collection of tunes Karl heard and learned while growing up in Texas in the 1960’s.  The project feature’s material from unforgettable country artists like Hank Williams, Bob Wills, Don Gibson, Hank Thompson, George Jones, Bill Monroe, The Carter Family and many others. The new project will also include a previously unrecorded song written by the late and great Monroe Fields.

Karl sings seven classic country numbers on the new CD (in high fashion) proving once again how bluegrass and classic country music go hand in hand. A highlight of the new project features four vocal numbers by fiddler Billy Hurt and banjo player Brennen Ernst. Two of the numbers are duets and feature some powerful twin fiddling by Billy Hurt and special guest fiddler Casey Driscoll. One number features a trio consisting of Billy Hurt, Brennen Ernst and Tom Mindte, while the last of the four songs features a solo by Billy Hurt with vocal calls from the entire band. Four instrumentals were recorded. A 1930’s swing number featuring Billy Hurt on fiddle and Brennen Ernst on guitar. In addition an Ole-time fiddle number featuring the twin fiddling of Billy Hurt and guest fiddler Casey Driscoll. Brennen Ernst shines on a band favorite banjo number, while Justin Harrison renders a straight forward bluegrass mandolin instrumental.  All in all an impressive 15 track collection of material performed in top notch fashion.

A release date has not been set as of yet but the new project is expected to be available by mid to late spring. Karl and the band are excited as they feel it is their best recording to date. Karl sums it up like this: “This band without a doubt is the most versatile edition of the KSBC Show I have ever worked with. As a group we are playing music that is dear to our hearts for we all share a deep love, respect and passion for bluegrass and old time country music. When I listen to what we laid down, I think about our musical heroes, and the various styles that developed during the Golden Age of Country Music. Each style distinctively different yet each influencing and overlapping the other.  I take great pride in presenting and showcasing a band that has the ability, knowledge and talent to present such a broad spectrum of musical styles. If you’re a fan of bluegrass, ole-time fiddling, western swing, honky-tonk and classic country our new CD “SHO-NUFF COUNTRY” is custom made for you.”  

Chris Vallillo’s Oh Freedom! Songs of the Civil Rights Movement being sent to radio via Loretta Sawyer Acoustic Arts for January 2016 release

Chris Vallillo’s new CD Oh Freedom! Songs of the Civil Rights Movement is being sent to radio via Loretta Sawyer Acoustic Arts as a January 2016 release.

The story of the Civil Rights Movement has been described as one of the
greatest singing movements that this country has ever experienced. From
the Freedom Riders to the the jails of Montgomery, Alabama, to Parchman
Prison and all the way to Washington DC, both old and new “Freedom Songs”
would become the backbone of the nonviolent civil disobedience movement
lead by Dr Martin Luther King and countless others.

In 2014, award winning roots musician and folklorist Chris Vallillo
created the show Oh Freedom! featuring 11 of the pivotal songs that
inspired and sustained this landmark movement. This recording captures the
music of that show.

Vallillo’s multi-instrumentalist talents are at the heart of the
recording; a rich blend of roots based acoustic and electric guitars and
slide guitars, mandolin and bass beautifully performed on his extensive
collection of vintage instruments. He’s joined by Grammy nominated
percussionist Rocky Maffit, who also lends his distinctive R & B vocals to
Vallillo’s own resonant baritone bringing these songs to life in a way
that respects the tradition, but doesn’t feel stuck in the past.

With liner notes that tell the story of the movement and the history of
the songs, this is a timely recording perfect for Martin Luther King Day
or Black History Month.


Follow the Drinkin’ Gourd
Halleluia I’m Travelin’
We Shall Not Be Moved
Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody (Turn Me Around)
If You Miss Me at the Back of the Bus
Oh Freedom!
Birmingham Sunday
Keep Your Eyes on the Prize
Wade in the Water
This Little Light of Mine
We Shall Overcome

Solar panel benefit concert to feature folk legend Mark Dvorak and Rockford songwriter Emily Hurd

Rockford IL – Chicago troubadour Mark Dvorak will headline a ten act cast of northern Illinois musicians and performers who will gather for a concert to benefit Just Goods Fair Trade Marketplace in Rockford. The event will take place at Spring Creek United Church of Christ, 4500 Spring Road on Sunday, November 8, from 3:00 PM until 6:15 PM. The concert is free and open to the public, but donations will be accepted. The Illinois Energy Council will match $2 for every $1 donated.

Just Goods is Rockford’s non-for-profit fair trade store, started by Rockford Urban Ministries in 2006. The organization promotes ecologically and socially responsible commercial trade, offering merchandise from twenty-five different countries around the globe. Just Goods’ Listening Room presents acoustic music each Friday evening.

Proceeds earned at the November 8 event will go towards the purchase of solar panels for the 201 Seventh Street building which houses Just Goods in the Midtown District. The building is owned by Lee and Char Schreiner of Rockford.

“I know of no people who have given more generously and effectively to our community than Lee and Char,” said Ron Holm, who is a local singer, musician and music director for Just Goods. “We’re thrilled with the response we’ve had so far,” he said. “I wish there was time and space to present everyone who offered to donate their performance. It will be a momentous gathering and a musical high point. The solar panels will save Just Goods a significant amount on their yearly energy bill. We’re especially thrilled to be able to give something back,” he said.

Along with Dvorak and Hurd, the concert will also feature local jazz sensation Dorothy Paige-Turner, performances by her Readers Theatre, Ron Holm & Jannie Nelson performing as Trinadora, folk artist Lee Murdock, harmonica wizard Justin Gates, guitarist Macyn Taylor, and Bruce Wallace of Truman’s Ridge. The program will conclude with a sing along hootenanny led by Dvorak.

For more information call Spring Creek Church at 815-877-2576 or organizer Ron Holm at 815-979-1949. Visit Spring Creek UCC at Visit Just Goods at

Vallillo Presents Songs of the Civil Rights Movement at Chicago Public Libraries

Chicago,IL -Songcatcher and songwriter Chris Vallillo presents his special program “Oh Freedom, Songs of the Civil Rights Movement”  at the following Chicago Public Libraries. The program is free.

  • West Belmont Public Library- Saturday Nov 7th- 2pm- 3104 N. Narragansett Ave. ,Chicago, IL 60634. Phone 312-746-5142.
  • Henry Legler Public Library-Monday Nov 9th-6pm-115 S. Pulaski Rd., Chicago, IL 60624. Phone 312-746-7730.
  • Chicago Lawn Public Library-Tuesday, Nov 10th-6PM-6120 S. Kedzie Ave., Chicago, IL  60629. Phone 312-747-0639.
  • Jeffrey Manor Public Library-Thursday Nov 12th-4PM-2401 E. 100th St., Chicago, IL  60617. Phone 312-747-6479.

The Civil Rights Movement has been described as one of the greatest singing movements that this country has experienced.  From “We Shall Overcome” to “This Little Light of Mine,” music played a vital role in that historic struggle both as an inspirational rallying point and as a way to spread the message of equality and justice.

From the Freedom Riders, to the the jails of Montgomery Alabama, and Parchman Prison, all the way to Washington DC,  both old and new songs of the era spoke of the yearning for equal rights, the struggle and the determination to win freedom.  They engaged and energized the movement and became the backbone of the nonviolent civil disobedience movement led by Dr. King and others.   Music was a huge part of the process both locally and nationally.

In a show created to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the civil rights movement, award winning Illinois folksinger Chris Vallillo performs pivotal songs from the music that inspired and sustained this landmark movement.  Intermixed with the music, Vallillo presents first hand accounts of the historic struggle and discusses the impact of music to our nation’s most important social cause.

Vallillo, a former archaeologist turned self taught folk musician, documented the last of the pre-radio generation of Western Illinois in the 1980s for the Library of Congress, drawing both material and inspiration for his own songs from their music.   Along with fingerstyle and flatpicked guitar, Vallillo is best known for his unique bottleneck slide guitar playing.  His 2008 CD Abraham Lincoln in Song charted at #10 on Billboard’s Bluegrass Album Charts.


A Look at What’s Happening at LSA This Fall!

Mark Dvorak has an original song titled “I Hate to See the Summer Go.” How true that is… summer sped by so fast. Enjoyed many outdoor festivals and concerts in the Chicago area and beyond.

The WoodSongs Front Porch Association SongFarmer Gathering was held Sept 25 & 26 at The Museum of Appalachia in Tennessee. The schedule was adapted due to rain but did not decrease the enjoyment by all who attended. The Creative Board of Directors is already making plans for next year at a new location.

Two new CDs headed to radio via Loretta Sawyer Acoustic Arts:
East Dakota Waltz by Briar Road & Spice of Life by Dan Zahn & Kate Moretti… airplay already happening in IL, NY, NJ,MI, TX and NH.

Loretta Sawyer Acoustic Arts is hosting the “Uncorked” showcase room at the Folk Alliance Region Midwest Conference (FARM) in Iowa City, IA Oct 22-24. Presenting twenty-two artists.

More new CD releases, wonderful shows being booked and publicized, and new literary projects coming soon!

Stay Tuned….


FARM Conference Oct 22-24, Iowa City, IA

FARM Conference Oct 22-24, Iowa City, IA

The Wisconsin Singer Songwriter Series Welcomes Great Lakes Duo with Special Guest Chuck Mitchell

Mequon, WI – The Wisconsin Singer Songwriter Series welcomes Great Lakes duo Patty Stevenson & Craig Siemsen with special guest Chuck Mitchell on Saturday October 17, 2015. The concert will be held at the Unitarian Church North, 13800 N. Port Washington Rd., Mequon, WI  7:30 pm (doors 7pm). Ticket price $16/Advance, $20/Door. Visit the website at Concert Line 262-457-4399.

Seasoned performers, Patty Stevenson and Craig Siemsen tour as a duo around the Great Lakes region and beyond. Patty & Craig had individual music careers, when they met in the mid 1980’s while performing at a folk music festival. For many years the couple maintained solo careers, even after they married. Eventually, with the prodding of wise friends, they agreed to perform one show as a duo. The rest, as they say, is history. Today they continue to create and record original songs as well as their own variations on timeless pieces that often span the ages of creativity in sound.

… (their) live shows are an entertaining and inspiring experience!”

               ~ Lilli Kuzma, Folk Festival, WDCB

Paint Me A Picture, Patty Stevenson and Craig Siemsen’s new CD features audience favorites written by Patty and Craig, as well as a few tunes from some of their favorite songwriters including Larry Penn, Kate Wolf, Brett Kemnitz and AP Carter.

Paint Me a Picture was a four time “Rich’s Picks” from Rich Warren’s Midnight Special on WFMT – Chicago!

He has been called a renaissance man; Chuck Mitchell‘s one-man show combines his seasoned skills as an actor, singer and guitarist with a selection of delightful material.  He sings cabaret songs by Brecht and Weil — “Mack the Knife” and “The Bilbao Song” — and whimsical songs by Flanders & Swann — “The Gnu” and “Have Some Madeira, M’dear.”  He roves the room singing “Freeborn Man” by Ewan McColl, or “Necessity” from Finian’s Rainbow.  He weaves poetry by Robert Frost and T.S. Eliot into his shows.

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.