Jon Brooks, with Fred Gillen, Jr.
- Common Ground Coffeehouse at the First Unitarian Society of Westchester, Hastings-on-Hudson NY
TICKETS FOR THIS SHOW ARE NO LONGER AVAILABLE IN ADVANCE BUT WILL BE AVAILABLE AT THE DOOR ON A FIRST-COME BASIS.
Ian Fitzgerald was reared in a small Massachusetts town; resides now in a different small Massachusetts town; and lived in Rhode Island for a spell in between. Regardless of where he's been, Ian has maintained a lifelong passion for music which has only grown in the decade that he has been writing songs and playing them for audiences throughout New England and up and down the east coast. In that time, Ian's compelling lyrics and indelible melodies have won him first place in the Boston Folk Festival Songwriting Contest (for the song "Lillian") and earned him a spot in the Emerging Artist Showcase at the Falcon Ridge Folk Festival and a Quad Showcase performance at the 2013 Northeast Regional Folk Alliance (NERFA) Conference. In their review of his latest album, No Time To Be Tender , Performer Magazine called Ian "a polished songsmith who is high atop a field of great artists breaking through to festival and folk concerts throughout the States." That breakthrough continues as Ian tours in support of that record, including upcoming performances at the NXNE Festival and the kickoff show for this year's Newport Folk Festival, All Newport's Eve.
Born and raised in central New York, in a house at the end of a long dirt road, J.R. started dabbling in music when he was six and his mother mandated that he take piano lessons. A self-taught guitar and banjo player, J.R.’s fondness for old gospel hymns, bluesmen like Son House and R.L. Burnside, and artists like The Carter Family and Tom Waits, helped shape his sound, which has been described as “haunting stomp blues tempered with a touch of honey.”
J.R. pulls from a constellation of sensory experiences “the smell of being in an apple orchard first thing in the morning, the sound of boots on old wood floorboards, the feeling of falling asleep to the hum of a fan in the summer, early autumn in the country” that inspire and inform his music. With a musical style that adeptly toes the line between folky and sorrowful lullabies to dirty, grainy, blues-influenced songs, J.R.’s voice communicates a level of intimacy and passion that carries with it a quiet sense of loss, yearning, and wanting. Performing on stage with a kick drum, high-hat, and guitar/banjo (as well as the occasional harmonica and kazoo) J.R.’s live shows are visually impressive – a powerful and dynamic display that showcases his musical and emotional range. His songs speak of sorrow and hope, a longing for home, and, he says, “The more unsavory desires and wants in your life – those demons and devils that haunt you.”
Common Ground Community Concerts is a grassroots music production and event planning organization based in Westchester County NY. For the past 13 years, Common Ground has produced its flagship Common Ground Coffeehouse series, sponsored by (and hosted by) The First Unitarian Society of Westchester, in Hastings-on-Hudson NY.