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Doors open 11:30 a.m.

2016 Blue Sky Folk Festival Performers
with Emcee Matt Watroba

Matt Watroba

Matt Watroba

Performance Noon–1:00

Matt Watroba sings songs that you will feel and remember for a long time. You will love his music, you will love the journey that his music takes you on, and you will love the place that his music takes you to.

Many know Matt here as former producer/announcer at Previously he was known as the voice of folk music in Michigan for his 20-year stint at WDET–Detroit Public Radio.

Matt Watroba has come in contact with many aspects of folk music and culture, shaping a repertoire and presentation that is unique on stages across the state and country. He has shared the stage with some of our greatest performers, including Pete Seeger, Tom Paxton, Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, Arlo Guthrie, Christine Lavin, Peter Yarrow, and Richard Thompson. Add Matt's own special brand of humor and you are in for a most entertaining day.


Hal Walker and Friends

Hal Walker

Performance 1:30–2:30

Hal Walker
Hal Walker's songs are “soaring compositions of life and love, always set in the big spiritual picture and the passion that makes our journey worthwhile." - Jon Gindick

This year Hal Walker's friends join him on stage, celebrating the release of a new CD, Life Wonderful.

Hal Walker grew up in Kent, Ohio blowing the harmonica along the banks of the Cuyahoga River. With a soaring baritone voice, he sings soul-searching songs that celebrate community, diversity and the creative process. He is truly one of a kind. His warm, passionate style engages audiences of all ages.

As a teaching artist, Hal Walker enjoys ongoing collaborations with Ohio arts organizations. He is on the roster of artists of the Ohio Arts Council Arts Learning program and The Center for Arts Inspired Learning (CAL). Also, for over 20 years, Hal has been the music director of the Unitarian-Universalist church of Kent.


Cats on Holiday

Cats on Holiday

Performance 3:00–4:00

Cats On Holiday
is a Roots-based, Swamp Pop band with their own special blend of Texas and Louisiana inspired Blues, Rock, Roots & Zydeco – infused with healthy doses of original songs and poetry about urban life.

“Cleveland swamp/roots rockers Cats on Holiday are known for their ability to get a party started and get people up on their feet and dancing.”

Members of Cats on Holiday are Denis DeVito (vocals, button box, guitar), Paul Kompier (guitar, vocals), Dillon DeVito (base, vocals) and Jeffrey Bowen (congas, percussion, poetry).

This band has been pleasing crowds from bar rooms to outdoor festivals and concerts, from upstate New York to northern Ohio to the Lake Erie islands, for nearly 20 years.  

"You worked hard this week, so come on down and dance some!"


Thor Platter

Thor Platter

Performance 4:30–5:30

Thor Platter
Alt-country, newgrass, adopted Cleveland . . . “Americana roots rock and soulful good vibes” --Scene Magazine

For singer-songwriter Thor Platter, being a working folk-roots musician in this gritty Rust Belt town affords him the kind of creative freedom few artists enjoy. A native western New Yorker, he has grown roots in Cleve-town.

Thor Platter on guitar will be joined at the Blue Sky by banjo & multi-instrumentalist extraordinaire Paul Kovac (Boy=Girl, Hillbilly Idol, Clear Fork Bluegrass) and bassist Paul Lewis (Matt Stillwell, Jim Lauderdale, Steve Holy).

Thor's music is driven by whatever his instincts tell him make sense. "I write out lyrics to create some sort of structure, but I'm not putting music to them right away," he says. "I'm not forcing something to work if it doesn't make sense. Then I have more freedom as to what style my songs evolve into--if I want to do them in a bluegrass style, or a more rock or blues thing, they fit."

"That's what's nice about Americana--it encompasses many sounds and styles, from many different eras," Platter says. "Above all, it should just be good music to your ears."


Hey Mavis

Hey Mavis

Performance 6:00–7:00

Hey Mavis
is a charming—and serious—banjo-driven sound… adds up to rocking Appalachian music from Akron, Ohio...

Hey Mavis was born in 2009 as part of the Cuyahoga Valley National Park artist-in-residence program.
The group has methodically ramped-up touring efforts, moving from humble porch concerts in the Cuyahoga Valley to recent appearances at Telluride Bluegrass Festival, NPR’s Mountain Stage, NPR's Whad'ya Know? and seven consecutive sell-out concerts in their hometown of Akron Ohio.

Laurie Michelle Caner (vocals, banjo, songwriting) is a homeschooling mom, a songwriter, and Ms. May in the 2015 Banjo Babes Calendar. She has been hailed as a role model for mothers who strive to honor their own artistic vision while continuing to raise a healthy family. Laurie’s songwriting tells the story of life, weaving a musical tapestry that speaks the truth of love, life and the human condition.

Eddie Caner (violin, viola profunda) can soar beautifully over Laurie’s vocals or play a raucous, dirgy groove. He was once labeled by legendary music critic Jane Scott as “the most versatile musician on the planet.” 

Bryan Thomas (bass) is a versatile and nationally well-respected musician. His playing is a wonderful body-rhythm-bass conversation, accented by his homemade “Chank-o-matic 6000,” a vintage tambourine affixed to a stand and pedal.

Anthony Taddeo is a drummer, composer and Out of the Drawer Percussion (ODP) performing artist. Anthony has performed with a wide variety of artists from all genres, including Tony & Grammy winner Steve Kazee.

Kevin Johnson spent five years traveling the continents playing music on various international cruise ship lines. He currently teaches and gigs in Northeast Ohio primarily on upright and electric bass.


Low Lily

Low Lily

Performance 7:30–9:00

Low Lily
“An incredible knack for putting a little pop twist on a traditional folk/Americana sound... it’s a blend that works beautifully.” --Popmatters

The string and vocal trio Low Lily (formerly Annalivia) explores the roots and branches of American folk music with traditional influences and modern inspiration that weaves together a unique brand of acoustic music.

Liz Simmons (vocals and guitar) Flynn Cohen (vocals, guitar, and mandolin) and Lissa Schneckenburger (vocals and fiddle) are masterful players with deep relationships to traditional music styles ranging from bluegrass, to Irish, Scottish, New England, and Old Time Appalachian sounds.  When you combine this with stellar composition skills and inventive arrangements you get music that is rooted yet contemporary.

Liz Simmons grew up listening to her mother sing traditional songs from Ireland, Scotland, England and America, as well as the New Orleans brass music her father plays. She also performs with the all-women group EVA, who can be seen onstage regularly alongside Livingston Taylor, Tom Chapin and Melanie.

Flynn Cohen has performed all over the world with many notable acts in traditional and contemporary acoustic music. He can be seen on concert and festival stages with legendary Irish Accordion player John Whelan, modern bluegrass band Tony Watt & Southeast Expressway, and in his own solo project.

Lissa Schneckenburger grew up in Maine as an active member of the folk community where she learned to play at the feet of some of the most venerable musicians in New England. She has played all over the world, including appearances in Russia, Holland, Belgium, Sweden, Denmark and Canada.

Double-bassist Corey DiMario is one of the most sought after accompanists in the acoustic
music scene. He has performed at major festivals and concert venues across North America,
Europe and Australia.


Archive of previous years' performers...

INFO  440-417-2796

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