Thursday, February 29

Cliff Eberhardt, Friction Farm, Mike Laureano & Violet Bell at ACMA listening room

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The Americana Community Music Association is Fort Myers home for original Americana music. The ACMA provides a venue for local and touring artists, many are award winning performers in the Americana/folk community. All shows are in a quiet, intimate setting and every show is a meet and greet with the artists. The headliners are touring “under the wire, should be famous” musicians. Each show has a local songwriter that performs at a professional level open for the headliner.
Cliff Eberhardt returns to the local ACMA stage on Saturday, Oct. 5, and Louise Mosrie opens. Cliff Eberhardt may have come up on the same ’80s East Coast singer/songwriter scene as Shawn Colvin, Lucy Kaplansky, John Gorka, et al, but even from the beginning he had rock & roll — and even pop — aspirations. His early albums found him leaning toward Springsteen-esque heartland rock and almost John Waite-ish balladry as much as the folkish approach of his aforementioned peers, and his rough-edged voice and hook-centric songwriting made it all work. The further into his career he gets, however, the more he concentrates on spare, acoustic-based settings and slow, soulful ballads. Call it “maturity,” “evolution,” or “back to basics,” the important thing is that he can pull it off a hell of a lot more convincingly than some straight-up rocker for whom the acoustic troubadour mode is an unprecedented step.
On this, the eighth album of a recording career that began in 1990, the 50 something songwriter furthers the organic, as-close-to-live-as-possible approach of his preceding release, The High Above and the Down Below, sounding completely at ease in this mode. Sometimes, as on “Have a Little Heart” and a remake of “The Long Road,” the title track from his ’90 debut album, Eberhardt lays into a big, bold pop melody that wouldn’t sound out of place being belted out by an American Idol contestant (that’s not a pejorative statement). But for the most part, his gritty, soul-soaked voice leans comfortably into more low-key constructions.
Louise Mosrie grew up in the small town just outside of Nashville on a farm with British parents and several siblings – riding horses, writing poetry and singing with the radio. After college in Knoxville, she “borrowed” her brother’s Sears guitar, bought a simple chord book and started writing songs. The early material was mostly acoustic pop as she tried to channel her English roots while listening to “Everything But the Girl” and “The Sundays.”
Fast forward a few years, a move back to Nashville and some deep soul searching, Louise began writing songs about the South – what she knew and where she grew up. In 2008, she began working on a new album eventually to be called “Home” because she’d come full circle in her “voice” as a writer. The album was a mix of bluegrass, country and folk and as she weaved in lush stories and songs about southern life. With those songs, she entered some song contests connected to festivals and ended up winning top awards at Kerrville Folk Festival, Wildflower Festival, Telluride Bluegrass Festival and Falcon Ridge Folk Festival. “Home” debuted at #1 on the Folk DJ charts in January 2010 and went on to be one of the most played albums that year for that chart.
The ACMA welcomes back Friction Farm on Oct. 12. No strangers to the ACMA stage, Friction Farm brings new songs and new stories from their many miles on the road. Modern-folk duo Friction Farm is a husband and wife team of traveling troubadours. Aidan Quinn and Christine Stay combine storytelling, social commentary and humor to create songs of everyday life, local heroes, and quirky observations. From ballads to anthems each song is filled with harmony and hope.
Friction Farm’s lyrically rich, harmony-driven songs have earned them spots as Kerrville New Folk Finalists and Falcon Ridge Emerging Artists. They are winners of the South Florida Folk Festival songwriter competition and have performed as official showcase artists at the Southeast, Southwest, and Northeast Regional Folk Alliance Conferences. Performing internationally and throughout the US, Friction Farm feels at home on the road and on stage. Audiences lean into their stories, laugh at their humor, are inspired to do a little good in the world, and sing along once in a while.”
ACMA member Paul Phillips opens the Oct. 12 show.
Mike Laureano will play the ACMA stage on Oct. 19, and Keith Parker will open that night. Laureano hails from Fall River, MA, an old mill-town infamous for its axe wielding resident Lizzie Borden and famous for its chow mein sandwiches and pork pies. A passionate performer, Mike’s songs are visceral and evocative. He is a winner of both the 2017 Wildflower, TX, songwriting contest, the 2016 Woody Guthrie songwriting contest as well as a 2016 Kerrville New Folk, TX finalist and a 2018 Falcon Ridge Folk festival “emerging artist.” He has released four albums to date.
The ACMA welcomes Violet Bell on Oct. 26. Violet Bell weaves roots, soul, psychedelic, and classical music into a wild soundscape. On stage and in the studio, the North Carolina duo of Lizzy Ross (guitar, banjo, vocals) and Omar Ruiz-Lopez (violin, viola, cello, guitar, mandolin, vocals) share magnetic chemistry. The two have traveled far since forming in 2016, building a steadily growing fanbase on the road and honing the fiery intimacy of their live show.
Violet Bell cut their debut LP Honey in My Heart with Jason Richmond (Avett Brothers, Steep Canyon Rangers, Nneena Freelon, Dom Flemons, Bombadil). The songs were recorded largely live in single takes, and you can feel it. Without isolation, click tracks, or vocal tuning, this music is real and full of life. Violet Bell was an official Americanafest 2018 showcasing artist and is a 2019-2020 touring artist with the US State Department’s American Music Abroad program.
Mary Dahl and Carolyn Stanley will open the Oct. 26 show.
YouTube any of these artists and be prepared to be impressed by the talent that is available to you all year round for a cost of $15 donation. The ACMA is a non-sectarian not for profit organization. Most concerts are held at All Faiths Congregation located at 2756 McGregor Blvd. in Fort Myers. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. all shows start at 7 pm. For more information visit www.americanacma.org

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