Category Archives: 2015-2016 season

Thank You (2015-2016)

Thank you to everyone for helping to make our sixth season such a rousing success!  When we began Carroll Cafe, we never could have imagined the amazing richness of the experience—the fabulously gifted musicians, storytellers and dancers who would grace our stage; the spirited audiences who would show up to pack our house on the second Fridays; and the unique feeling of joy and deep camaraderie which would permeate the air whenever we’d come together to celebrate live performance.

We are thrilled beyond words with what has blossomed over these years.  We have many more exciting nights planned for our seventh year and we will keep you posted as plans firm up for our 2016-2017 Carroll Cafe season!

Joe Uehlein & the U-Liners were originally scheduled to close out our season on June 17.  We have had to postpone that show for now–and are delighted to report that Joe and Co. will release their new CD Sweet Lorain at the Carroll Cafe on Friday October 14!

A big thanks to our volunteers for all of their dedication.  And a special thanks to you, for coming out and supporting live music!

In the meantime, we invite you to continue to support live roots music and the musicians who make it.

A special shout-out to one of the hidden gems in our area—Common Ground on the Hill in Westminster, MD.   Common Ground is only a little over an hour from Silver Spring.  It has been spreading the gospel of folk and roots music, dance and the traditional arts for 22 years, through through the annual Roots Music & Arts Festival, July 9 and 10, and the week-long Traditions Weeks workshops Traditions Week 1: June 26 – July 1 and Traditions Week 2: July 3 – July 8. Read more below and check it out for yourself—you’ll really be glad you did!

See you in the fall.

Jesse Palidofsky
Glen Yakushiji
Sandra Miller
Deborah Sokolove
Denise Leclair
Marcia Sprague

Common Ground on the Hill’s Roots Music & Arts Festival
International superstar José Feliciano (9 Grammy awards, over 45 gold & platinum albums, hits include “Feliz Navidad”) headlines Saturday at this weekend-long festival. Blues Hall of Famer & Grammy nominee Professor Louie & the Crowmatix with the Maryland Rock of Ages Horns headlines on Sunday. Americana, bluegrass, blues, Celtic, old-time, Native American, Middle Eastern music & more! 3 stages, food, camping, beer/wine garden featuring Union Craft Brewery, juried arts & crafts, children’s area. At the Carroll County Farm Museum, 500 S. Center Street, Westminster, MD  21157

The Festival is held in tandem with the 22nd annual week-long Common Ground on the Hill Traditions Weeks held at McDaniel College in Westminster, MD, attracting participants of all ages from around the world.  Musical offerings are a virtual potpourri of ethnic genres, including Blues, Folk, Bluegrass, Native American, Latino, Celtic, Appalachian Old-Time Music & Dance, Black Gospel, African Drumming & Dance, Storytelling, Poetry, Performance Art, Juried Arts & Crafts, Ethnic Foods, a Family World Village, and more! Traditions Weeks info at

Celtic and Beyond

May 13, 2016


cassie and maggie mcdonaldCassie and Maggie MacDonald

Cassie and Maggie are two young sisters who are astonishingly charismatic and high-energy performers of their own unique hybrid of Celtic Roots music.  Born to a family with a rich musical heritage and raised in Nova Scotia, a province steeped in musical culture and traditions, Cassie and Maggie are turning heads wherever they go. And the music community has taken note;   Canadian Folk Music Award nominees for “Young Performers of the Year”, East Coast Music Award nominees for Traditional Album and double Music Nova Scotia Award nominees for New Artist and Roots Album of the year, their accolades and awards speak of a young duo that is turning heads wherever they go.    

LILT — Keith Carr and Tina Eck

LILT Keith Carr-Tina Eck photo copyright Michael G. Stewart068
LILT Keith Carr-Tina Eck photo copyright Michael G. Stewart068

Lilt– a duo consisting of Tina Eck on flute and whistle and Keith Carr on bouzouki and banjo–met in the Washington DC Irish session scene and found that “flute and zouk” were a good instrumental match for what they love to play: traditional dance music from Ireland. Jigs and reels, polkas and hornpipes, the occasional slow air or vocal number. Lilt loves and tries to capture the essentials of Irish traditional music: boundless energy, wildness and melancholy.  LILT will be joined by step dancer Kate Bole from the Culkin School of Irish dance

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Shirleta Settles

April 8, 2016

shirleta settles

A native Washingtonian, Shirleta Settles is known as “Not Just a Voice, but an Entertainer!” Not just a voice because her performances are not limited to only music.

During her performances she has the innate ability to connect and include her audiences of all ages, whether singing, storytelling, drama, spoken word, staff development or as a recording artist.  Her experience as a Bandleader and lead vocalist for a 10 piece variety band, Marquise for 15 years has given her the ability to share her talent in a variety of venues and genres (R&B, Jazz, Blues, Pop, and Gospel. .

She has traveled nationally and internationally sharing her gift of music and storytelling from festivals, schools, and political arenas as well as private engagements.  Shirleta has been featured on FOX 5 News as an outstanding vocalist/entertainer.

Tret Fure CD Release Concert, with Lynn Hollyfield and Roy Barber opening

Tret FureMarch 11 2016
TRET FURE, a CD Release  Concert 

Women’s music pioneer Tret Fure’s musical journey has a unique trajectory.  She started out as vocalist/guitarist with Spencer Davis; Lowell George of Little Feat produced her first solo recording; and she opened for bands like Yes, Poco and J. Geils.  In the 1980’s Tret left the pop music world and, over time, became a highly influential and well-loved figure in the women’s music movement.  She worked as a duo with Cris Williamson throughout the 90’–they released 3 CDs together and appeared at venues like Carnegie Hall.   Tret has garnered the prestigious Jane Schliessman Award for Outstanding Contributions to Women’s Music and was voted “Pride In The Arts Favorite Female/Lesbian Musician” in 2009.   She is president of Local 1000, the Traveling Musicians Union of the American Federation of Musicians.  Her latest CD is entitled, “Rembrandt Afternoons.”

lynn hollyfield
Lynn Hollyfield
roy barber
Roy Barber

Opening for Tret will be two distinctive D.C. area songwriters: 

WAMMIE award winner  Lynn Hollyfield. Hear Lynn at

and D.C. playwright/composer/director Roy Barber. Meet Roy at

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Victoria Vox and the Unified Jazz Ensemble

February 12, 2016 • 7:30 p.m.


victoria voxVictoria Vox is a ukulele-playing award winning songwriter with an infectious pop-folk-jazz style.   Vox also has received praise for her ‘invisible’ instrument: The Mouth Trumpet, blowing her own horn on the Jay Leno Show.   She has been artist in residence at Strathmore hall and tours in Europe, New Zealand, Australia, Canada and across the U.S.   Her 9th album, “When the Night Unravels” was released in January 2015.   

unified jazz ensemble
vibraphonist Mike Noonan, bassist John Pineda, trumpeter Tim Stanley, and Dominic Smith on drums

We’re delighted that for this appearance at Carroll Café, Victoria will be joined by the UNIFIED JAZZ ENSEMBLE, featuring vibraphonist Mike Noonan, bassist John Pineda, trumpeter Tim Stanley, and Dominic Smith on drums.

An undercurrent of toughness, a beautiful voice, great melodies and loads of charm make her unique folk/pop music impossible to resist.  – Vintage Guitar Magazine

Vox’s soulful-ukulele shatters all preconceived (and ill-informed) notions about ukuleles and their underrated capabilities as an instrument. – WhatWeekly

Bumper Jacksons 

January 8 2016
Bumper Jacksons

find Bumper Jacksons on the web at

Bumper JacksonsThe Bumper Jacksons are a big, fat party. Hot and sweet, their traditonal  jazz and pre-war country repertoire paints America’s story from New Orleans’ brothels to Appalachian hollers. Unafraid to scrape together new sounds from forgotten 78’s, the Bumper Jacksons boldly and elegantly balance paying homage to the traditions while fashioning their own unique, DIY style.  They headline at the Birchmere and tour nationally.   We loved hearing Jess and Chris last year with the Sligo Creek Stompers and we are delighted that they’re back this year at Carroll Cafe with the BJ’s!

Click Here to Make a Reservation

A Feast for the Ears

December 11, 2015

Our holiday gift for you–three world-class acts for the price of one!   This promises to be a a soulful and electrifying evening.

photo of Siobhan Quinn and Michael BowersSIOABHAN QUINN and MICHAEL BOWERS

 Gracious and gritty songs brimming with seamless harmonies. Excellent music finely crafted with precision, emotion and beauty. This is Siobhan Quinn and Michael Bowers. They never produce the same performance twice and there is a focus and continuity in their shows that leaves you with little doubt that these two are truly partners. Siobhan brings the audience directly to the emotional center of each song and entrances you with her vocals. Michael draws you in with his warmth, humor, and makes observations of life with a wry twist. Together Siobhan and Michael paint dynamic and colorful stories with rich original, contemporary and traditional music.

Siobhan Quinn and Michael Bowers make for a powerful combination. On “Dreamers, Lovers & Outlaws” they bring us the best in contemporary folk music, and through their arrangements and performances they will mesmerize you.  — Nicky Rossiter, Ireland   

In “Dreamers, Lovers and Outlaws,” Siobhan Quinn and Michael Bowers have crafted a wonderful musical experience. Whether they’re singing the inspirational, comforting “Let It Come” or the story of “Valentino’s Ghost,” their voices take the music and lyrics and shape them, bringing the songs to life.

The original material is outstanding, refreshing, innovative–where else can you hear the town of Port Jervis being used within a song? The CD also includes several cover tunes, carefully selected to fit in “naturally” with the rest of the collection. But Quinn and Bowers have a way of making these songs their own, arranging, cajoling a tone from the lyrics, immersing themselves into the meaning of the songs. This CD is indeed a treat–worth the wait! — Wanda Fischer  WAMC-FM Northeast Public Radio  Albany, NY

photo of Lea holding a guitarLEA

“A great voice singing great songs.” That is the simplest way to introduce you to LEA’s music. While she often draws comparisons to other female phenoms like Tracy Chapman, Joni Mitchell and Ani DiFranco, LEA’s sound seamlessly blends gospel, jazz, country and R&B into her own style. — SoulFolk

Having shared the stage with luminaries including Odetta, Mavis Staples, Dar Williams and Anthony Hamilton, LEA is consistently acknowledged by the Washington Area Music Association* as one of the region’s best vocalists, songwriters and recording artists. Lea is a graduate of the prestigious Artist-in-Residence program at The Music Center at Strathmore in Bethesda, MD. 

LEA’s latest recording, the crowd-funded and highly-anticipated “Let You In,” is a collection of songs the artists hopes will cultivate greater compassion for femininity. LEA’s stunning vocals and award winning songwriting are supported by rich instru mentation, featuring the wizardry of Howard Levy (of Bela Fleck and the Flecktones) on harmonica.

photo of Joy IkeJOY IKE

Born to Nigerian immigrants, Joy Ike’s music, voice, and writing has drawn comparisons to female musicians such as Corinne Bailey Rae, Regina Spektor, Norah Jones, and Fiona Apple, but her percussive piano-playing and soaring vocals give homage to her African upbringing. “Some of my earliest memories involve sitting in the living room with my family singing Nigerian choruses and finding ways to harmonize with my father’s booming voice and my mother’s soprano harmonies,” Ike says of her formative years.

Leaving her career as a publicist in 2008, Ike has since played hundreds of shows across the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, and Midwest. She has had the opportunity to share the stage and open for Jeffrey Gaines, Cody Chestnutt, Tyrone Wells, Najee, Allen Toussaint, and Ken Whitely & The Levy Sisters to name a few.  A write-up on NPR’s All Things Considered says “The depth of subjects she tackles in her poetic lyrics are perfectly complemented by a unique blend of neo-soul, with just the right dash of pop…a truly compelling act to watch in person, with the ability to create an intimate setting in locations big and small.” A segment on NPR’s World Cafe (December 2013) featured Ike as one of Pennsylvania’s up-and-coming artists

Bob Franke/Claudia Schmidt


This will be a rare and amazing double-bill with two fabulous songwriters!  Both Bob and Claudia are master performers–seamlessly interweaving stories and songs that mesmerize, touching your soul and your funnybone.

photo of Bob Franke smiling and playing guitarBOB FRANKE
Click here to find him on Facebook

Bob Franke is one of our finest songwriters.   His songs like “Hard Love”, “For Real”, “Beggars To God” and “The Great Storm Is Over” have been covered by a wide variety of performers:  from Peter, Paul and Mary, Kathy Mattea, and June Tabor, to Kim and Reggie Harris,  John McCutcheon, David Wilcox and Tony Rice.   Bob combines a courageous artistic vision with a great sense of humor,  a probing intellect with a deep and informed spirituality.  

photo of Claudia SchmidtCLAUDIA SCHMIDT

Claudia is a Carroll Café favorite, returning for her third visit.  The San Francisco Bay Guardian said: “Schmidt’s shows are a lot like falling in love. You never know what’s going to happen next, chances are it’s going to be wonderful, every moment is burned into your memory and you know you’ll never be the same again.” More succinctly, Garrison Keilor said “when Claudia sings a song, it stays sung”

FIRST Friday November 6, 2015 • 7:30 p.m. 

Reservations are highly recommended, as many shows sell out.

to make a reservation, click here