As the Folkus Project’s autumn season progresses, the acts heat up and diversify impressively. The lineup has already been stellar, with concerts by Dar Williams on Sept. 25, Mouth of Babes on Oct. 9 and the Oct. 25 gig with Jay Ungar and Molly Mason.
Although the season has already touched themes spanning historical to modern, sophisticated to raw, it’s still only warming up. Upcoming shows take place Fridays at May Memorial Unitarian Universalist Society, 3800 E. Genesee St. Tickets range from $15 to $25. More information is available at www.folkus.org.
The Young Novelists (Friday, Nov. 6). With their rich and rustic sound, this Toronto-based group brings truth to the microphone. Although the visiting duo represents a larger formation, the power of two is apparent as Graydon James and Laura Spink will bring their powerful songwriting and haunting harmonies to the stage. Currently touring to promote their latest release, Made Us Strangers, the husband-and-wife duo will touch topics spanning small towns to loss and redemption. The group is also celebrating James’ honor as the 2015 recipient of the Ontario Arts Council’s Colleen Peterson Songwriting Award for the song “Couldn’t Be Any Worse.” For details, visit www.theyoungnovelists.com.
Ann Armstrong and Steve Hughes (Nov. 20). Hailing from the heart of Texas, the blues runs strong in this duo’s blood. Armstrong’s powerhouse vocals are mixed with precise guitar work, including a mean slide, while Hughes’ contributions on harmonica and flute make for a unique combination. Channeling the old soul blues of the past, Armstrong leads with conviction both in instrumentation and voice, while Hughes complements expertly on tracks such as “Lucky Charm.” Tunes range from sweet to steamrolling, sometimes within a single song. For information, visit www.ann-armstrong.com.
Sloan Wainwright (Dec. 11). Returning to the Folkus stage, this time Wainwright will bring songs for the holiday season. Wainwright has seven original albums to her name which span pop to jazz to blues. Her voice hits warm and smoky, full and smooth, and her songs communicate universal feelings with ease, such as “When I Walk Away” from her 2006 CD Life Grows Back. www.sloanwainwright.com.
In addition to the Folkus Project’s Friday shows, the organization also works with the Westcott Community Center, 826 Euclid Ave., to bring additional talent to the venue on Saturdays, such as the Oct. 10 performance with Irish-born sisters Alison and Zoe. The talent still to come showcases some of the best musicmakers from Central New York. Tickets range from $10 to $15.
The Ruddy Well Band (Nov. 14). This two-time Syracuse Area Music Award (Sammy)-winning group is known for their energy and harmonies, providing music for audiences to stomp, clap and sing along. “Change of Course” and “Building a Fire” have received praise for the group’s mix of folk, pop, bluegrass and country. www.ruddywellband.com.
Karen Savoca and Pete Heitzman (Dec. 12). Although this duo is known throughout the country, they still call Central New York home. The musical partners of more than 20 years have won numerous Sammy awards and continue to complement each other on stage. From simple ballads to powerful layered works of art, they’ve won awards spanning Best Folk Rock Group to Best Songwriter to Record of the Year. www.KarenSavoca.com.