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Music by the River

Date: May 26, 2016

The Riverfront Concert Series returns to Chestertown just in time for summer.

A highlight of summer, the annual Riverfront Concert Series features family-friendly, free musical entertainment. The 2016 series, sponsored by Washington College’s C.V. Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience, kicks-off on Thursday evening June 9th with post-boogie, hillbilly rock’n’roll from the High & Wides The series continues on June 23 with bluegrass sensation Charm City Junction, and on July 7 with Grammy winning folk duo Al Petteway and Amy White, plus folk-rock singer/songwriter SONiA of disappear fear.

All concerts begin at 6:30 p.m. on the Custom House lawn, 101 South Water Street, Chestertown. The concerts are free—and so are the lemonade and cookies. Bring your own picnic, blankets and chairs and enjoy a magical musical evening with friends, family, and neighbors on the shores of the Chester River. In case of inclement weather, performers will take the stage at Washington College’s Hynson Pavilion, located next to Wilmer Park. 

This summer’s lineup includes a band, a duo, and a solo performer, reflecting America’s diverse musical heritage from Appalachian folk music to contemporary bluegrass and Americana acoustic music. Starr Center program manager and Riverfront Concert Series host Michael Buckley will provide brief commentary and some cultural context at each performance. A 20-year veteran of the music world, Buckley’s eclectic weekly radio program, Sunday mornings from 7-10 am on Annapolis-based WRNR, 103.1 FM (streaming live at wrnr.com), includes the popular interview series “Voices of the Chesapeake Bay.” 

June 9 – The High and Wides (featuring Marc Dykeman on guitar & vocals, Sam Guthridge on mandolin/banjo/vocals and Mike Buccino on bass)

Go back to an era when the genres of bluegrass, country, swing, blues, and rock were still unsettled, a time when jazz groups had banjos and country bands had horns. Bluegrass bands ventured into rockabilly and every country group had a boogie song. If that sound had continued on its own you’d have The High and Wides. Sam Guthridge (banjo/mandolin) and Marc Dykeman (guitar), veterans of the bluegrass band, Chester River Runoff, joined with friend and upright bass player, Mike Buccino, to develop a rhythmic style somewhere between Western Swing and early Rockabilly overlaid by harmonies in the vein of vocal duos like the Delmore and Louvin Brothers. Nate Grower, also a member of Chester River Runoff as well as the David Bromberg Band, rounds out the four piece with a mean fiddle chop and singing leads.  “The sound is a compelling blend of emotions that combines the nostalgic twinge of old-time folk, the laid back drive of western swing, and the raw energy of rockabilly,” says Dykeman.

June 23 - Charm City Junction (bluegrass)

With the release of their debut album in 2015, Charm City Junction put a new spin on old-time music, carrying on the torch of fast-picking bluegrass and toe-tapping Celtic music. Featuring fiddle, claw hammer banjo, the button accordion and upright bass, this quartet isn’t afraid to take roots music to new places - but always with an eye on tradition. “These sensational, not-to-be-missed young players represent the next wave of brilliant bluegrass talent,” raves Buckley.

July 7 – SONiA of disappear fear (folk music)


SONiA of disappear fear has been widely recognized as one of the most dynamic acts in folk rock, winning over fans with her energetic, conscience-driven music. SONiA promises to deliver what she has always done best: powerful songs that challenge injustice, performed with passion and hope. The Grammy nominated SONiA has won the GLAMA (Gay and Lesbian American Music Awards) for Female Artist of the year, as well as several GLAAD and Out Music Awards. An international touring artist, she received the Coin of Honor for her Humanitarian Songwriting by the United States Army. She just released her eighteenth album, “LiVE at MAXiMAL,” recorded in concert in Germany. “SONiA is a true believer in what Pete Seeger has referred to as “the power of song,” explains Buckley. “She’s traveled the world singing about the social issues of our time, with a message of love and peace.”

For more information, visit starrcenter.washcoll.edu or contact Michael Buckley,  410-810-7156. Additional support for the 2016 Riverfront Concert Series provided by Yerkes Construction, the Washington College Student Events Board (SEB), and the Kent County Arts Council.

Last modified on Jun. 24th, 2016 at 10:16am by Jean Wortman.