The Americana Community Music Association is Fort Myers home for original Americana music, is back in full swing for January with eight shows this month. Four will be at the ACMA listening room at the All Faiths Congregation on McGregor Boulevard in Fort Myers. The other four shows are free and will be on the road: Songwriters at Sunset at Lovers Key State Park Jan. 2, Songwriters at South County Library in Estero Jan. 11; Songwriters on the Plaza in downtown Fort Myers Jan. 14; and Songwriters at Captiva Library Jan. 29.
Shows at the ACMA listening room in January:
The ACMA is pleased to welcome back Roy Schneider and Kim Mayfield to open the 2020 music season as The Reckless Saints on Jan. 4. There’s a special story behind the connection with them and the ACMA. Beyond that they always bring a wonderful vibe and special music to the stage. This year brings Tom Cahill to the stage as one of the Saints. Here’s a bit about the band.
Troubadour and formerly syndicated cartoonist Roy Schneider has developed a devoted fan base for his flavor of Americana music since 2008, through international radio airplay and consistent touring with life-and-stage partner Kim Mayfield. Known in festival circles as the Reckless Saints, Schneider and Mayfield have brought their musical blend of the gritty, fun, soulful and sweet to delighted audiences across the USA and abroad, exploring and expanding their musical horizons with every performance.
Schneider’s songs have earned praise in the Grassy Hill Kerrville New Folk Competition (TX), Telluride Blues & Brews Acoustic Blues competition (CO), and Falcon Ridge Folk Festival Emerging Artist showcase (NY). The duo has performed official showcases at Folk Alliance conferences in New York, Austin TX and Asheville NC. Other notable venues include Nashville’s Bluebird Cafe, Northern England’s MAD Fest, and season 5 of NBC’s The Voice. Opening is The Pearl Street Band, Fort Myers Beach favorite original band.
Malcolm Holcombe hits the ACMA stage on Jan. 11, and Roy Schneider opens. This show has a special pricing of $20. On the North Carolina side of the Southern Appalachians, the land still retains its secrets.
It’s a place of paradoxes, where poverty is handed down from one hardscrabble generation to the next in towns passed over by the New South progress that gives a city like Asheville its bourgeois charm. It’s a resilient pocket of wilderness where a small band of Cherokee once disappeared into the misty hollers to wait out the white man’s ire, back in the deep woods where old growth timber blocks out the sunlight and compass needles sometimes spin crazily and the trappings of civilization give way to things beyond human understanding.
On the cusp of releasing his 13th studio album — “Come Hell or High Water,” singer-songwriter Malcolm Holcombe is a both a part of and apart from those Blue Ridge hills, a Southern folk golem brought to life by the deeper mysteries that give these hills so much of their folklore.
His songs belong in the same Western North Carolina echelon of mysteries like the Brown Mountain Lights or the ghostly apparitions along Helen’s Bridge or the phantom choir of Roan Mountain — things that surpass conventional explanation but summon forth a combination of awe and primal longing, an ache to understand the great questions of the human condition.
The ACMA welcomes Kyshona on Friday, Jan. 17 with special guest Shannon Labrie. For a singer-songwriter, there’s no more basic function than getting onstage and getting something personal off your chest. The therapeutic qualities of the experience have seduced countless confessional composers, some of whom make known that they hold unfiltered expression as their highest artistic aim.
Kyshona Armstrong started out enabling others to enjoy the healing properties of songwriting, and keeping her thoughts to herself. When you’re a music therapist to incarcerated and institutionalized adults and school children with emotional behavior disorders, artistic considerations aren’t even on the table.
Armstrong had focused on oboe at the University of Georgia — that and steel drums, which she played in the college’s Hawaiian-shirt-sporting ensemble, Tropical Breeze. But since neither instrument was all that well suited to coaxing patients into musical self-expression, she got into singing, playing acoustic guitar and songwriting.
Lara Herscovitch comes to the ACMA stage for the first time on Jan. 25. The Dunn Deal will open that night. Lara Herscovitch is a modern American songwriter-poet-performer gem, creating masterful contemporary folk with blues, pop and jazz influences. Former Connecticut State Troubadour, she writes, sings and leads with authenticity, integrity, humor and heart, delivering performances that inspire, inform, uplift and entertain. Sound Waves Magazine described her music as “expertly written prose… songwriting at its best… good for your ears AND your soul.” Delivered with a voice Performer Magazine called “clear and smooth like expensive liquor.”
Acoustic Live in New York City added, “She possesses not only a huge reservoir of musical talent and a voice with a bell-like clarity, but a keen sense of global concern and a fierce intellect… It might seem too good to be true, but true it is.”
Singer songwriters circle are held every Sunday from 2 – 4 p.m. at All Faiths Unitarian Congregation. The circle is for acoustic songwriters of all levels. Songs and experiences are shared in a non-judgmental, casual atmosphere. No membership required. All are welcome to come and play or just to listen.
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., and all shows start at 7 p.m. For more information visit www.americanacma.org
ACMA GOES ON THE ROAD: See related articles on pages 54 and 64 of the January issue of Happenings Magazine.