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Singer/Songwriter Showcase

The New Jersey Folk Festival’s
Annual Singer-Songwriter Showcase

Deadline for submission of applications is DECEMBER 15th, 2011

 

2011 Winners

Loretta Hagen

Loretta HagenLoretta Hagen is a New Jersey based singer-songwriter who has been writing and performing music that earns rave reviews for her rich vocals and poignant songwriting. Her music mixes folk, country, rock and blues, fueled by the influences of many of the folk artists to whom she grew up listening. Growing up, Loretta enjoyed the privilege of being exposed to many musical genres that helped shape and create the music she has been writing and performing throughout her career. Joined by her husband, guitarist Gary Hagen, and background vocalist Sara Gallmann, performances at venues across the Northeast include Music At the Mission, Outpost in The Burbs, The Mainstage, Minstrel Coffee House, Mayo Center for the Performing Arts, and many more, sharing the stage with national artists including Roger McGuinn, Steve Forbert, John Gorka, Honathan Edwards, Hohnny Winter, Ellis Paul, Richie Havens, Ollabell, Gin Blossoms, The Kennedys, Gretchen Wilson, as well as headlining her own shows, making a lasting connection audiences and building a loyal fan base. Following her critically acclaimed CD, Something More, co-produced by Pat McInerney (Nancy Griffith) Loretta recorded her latest release Sundown Till Dawn, a CD consisting of 12 self-penned songs that is receiving high marks by reviewers, radio DJs and listeners and being aired on radio stations around the country.

Phil Henry

Phil HenryPhil Henry is an award-winning singer-songwriter and music educator in Rutland, Vermont. He sings original, contemporary folk songs in coffeehouses, festivals, and house concerts across the Northeast. He has showcased on national stages such as the Kerrville Folk Festival and the Falcon Ridge Folk Festival, and has won top honors in songwriting contests at the Susquehanna Music and Arts Festival and Vermont’s SolarFest. He has opened for folk notables such as Vance Gilbert, Rachel Bissex, and Cliff Eberhardt. Phil is accompanied today by Lake George singer-songwriter and percussionist Gary Moon. Phil’s new CD, Robots and Romance, is a collection of twelve “short films” in song, inspired by the dramatic stories found at drive-in movie theaters. Each song takes the perspective of a different character in a compelling personal narrative – a desperate man attempts a bank robbery, an amateur radio DJ holds his community together during Hurricane Katrina, or a group of miners struggle to survive in a cave-in.

Caroline Jones

Caroline Jones Caroline Jones is a New York City-based singer, songwriter, guitarist and producer. Trained classically by Andy Anselmo, Founder of New York’s The Signer’s Forum, Caroline began singing opera arias, cabaret standards and show tunes at age nine. Under the management of Tommy Mottola and Chris Apostle, she began recording her original songs with producer Chris Toland at Sony and Avatar studios in New York as a student at The Professional Children’s School. In 2008, Caroline began monthly trips to Nashville, where she recorded with talents such as Laura and James Stroud, Anthony Smith, Greg Barnhill, Jaren Johnston, John Randall, Dale Dodson, Stephony Smith, Lisa Carver and Shelly Fairchild. Caroline performs throughout the New York area at venues such as Julliard, Madison Square Garden, the New York Comedy Club, Lincoln Center, New World Stages, Bar East, Canisius College, The National Underground, The Bitter End, Space 43, Arlene’s Grocery, The Living Room, Googie’s Lounge and Bowery Wine Co. In recent months, she showcased at the Millennium Music Conference and the Singer/Songwriter of Cape May Festival. In January 2011, Caroline released her debut album, Fallen Flower to iTunes, eMusic, Thumbplay, Napster, Spotify, Amazon, and Bandcamp.

Justin Levinson

Justin LevinsonJustin Levinson is a singer/songwriter based in Burlington, Vermont. Frequently playing two nights-a-week locally, Justin also books a rigorous set of out-of-state tour dates. Even with the often grueling schedule, Justin finds happiness in making a living doing what he loves. With previous releases 1175 Boylston and Bury Your Love, Justin has already made a name for himself on college radio, attracting the attention of WacBiz, with whom he has signed a licensing contract, and On That Note Entertainment, who manages Justin’s college bookings. In 2007, Justin won the ASCAPLUS award and was a finalist in the USA Songwriting Competition. He won the title of Best New Male Artist from the 2008 International Acoustic Music Awards. He’s shared the stage with Apollo Sunshine, Matt Wertz, Chris Barron, Will Dailey, ZOX, The Grand Archives, and Anais Mitchell. Justin has also appeared on CN8’s “Backstage with Barry Nolan,” NECN’s “Good Morning Live,” WCAX’s “Late Night Saturday with Tim Kavanagh,” and Plum TV’s “The Morning Noon & Night Show.”

Collin Rocker

Colin RockerCollin Rocker was born in New Brunswick, New Jersey, and raised on the border of Hunterdon and Somerset County, Collin Rocker’s story is rooted in his surroundings. Between the time Collin began writing music and playing stringed instruments at the age of eleven through early on in high school, he had performed with groups of friends from town in original bands at many well-known venues around the tri-state area. Ever since, this young poet has been composing and performing his own material alongside an array of traditional Piedmont fingerpicking. In February of 2010, Collin entered the studio with producer Jack Petruzzelli (Joan Osborne/Patti Smith Group/The Fab Faux) and backing musicians such as Kristina Train (Blue Note Records) and Rich Hinman (Roseanne Cash) in Albrightsville, Pennsylvania to record Collin’s debut album Milkbox Love, Jukebox Blood, & Other American Favorites. Since releasing the record, Collin has performed alongside national acts such as Jorma Kaukonen (Hot Tuna), Rory Block, and The New Riders of The Purple Sage on a number of legendary stages.

Jean Rohe

Jean Rohe TrioJean Rohe sings multi-lingual original music of the Americas, North and South. Together with her genre-bending, Jean brings the full breadth of her stylistic attractions to bear, exploring the intersections of American folk music, jazz, Brazilian and Afro-Peruvian dance traditions. Her beautiful voice and captivating stage presence won her the audience favorite award at the Montreux Jazz Festival in 2006 and the music from her debut record, Lead Me Home, brings her accolades from audiences and critics wherever she performs. Jean began her musical career at the age of eight with her family folk band. She was raised in the nurturing international musical community of the New Jersey Folk Project and since then has gone on to explore international musical traditions, especially those of Brazil. It is not unusual to see her and her band in a downtown jazz club inviting the audience to sing boisterous choruses. Likewise, one might easily hear her perform intricately crafted arrangements and improvisations at an outdoor folk festival. She has performed with the Billboard-charting alt-country group Calexico and appears regularly in duet with Liam Robinson as Robinson and Rohe, playing traditional American and Irish folk music. She has been heard on New York public radio as part of the Wordless Music Series and co-wrote and performed the music for the feature film “Noise.”

 

Singer-Songwriter Judges

Dave Ambrosy

Dave Ambrosy has been a local television producer, cameraman and editor for Channel 3, East Brunswick, New Jersey for the past 25 years. Dave is also a drummer who has backed many well-known bluesmen including Otis Rush, Frankie Lee and Sonny Rhodes. Currently, Dave is recording and performing at clubs and festivals with The VooDUDES.

Eddie Konczal

Eddie Konczal is a Unit Computing Manager for the School of Arts and Sciences at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. He is also a keyboardist and composer, and won an ASCAPLUS Award for his instrumental album Edification (2008). Eddie lives in New Jersey with his wife, Laura, their dog, Mikey, and their cats, Charlotte and Sophie.

Richard Skelly

Richard Skelly is a music journalist whose stories and reviews have often appeared in Goldmine, Sing Out!, Folk Roots, Roots World, Guitar World Acoustic, The Independent Music Producer’s Journal, Y’all, and he is a writer for the music sections of The Asbury Park Press and U.S. 1 Newspaper. He is also a contributor to several books, including the All Music Guides to blues, jazz and rock, and has been the host and producer of “The Low Budget Blues Program” on Thursday nights on WRSU (88.7FM) since 1981. His other areas of journalistic expertise include golf, real estate, and the environment.

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