3 February 2017
Aaron Nathans & Michael G. Ronstadt open
On February 3 Bob Franke opens the me&thee winter season as the first act of the coffeehouse’s Folk Legacy Month — celebrating its 47th anniversary of presenting the best acoustic music around. Franke has certainly made a name for himself in the world of acoustic and folk music. Franke (rhymes with “Yankee”) performs concerts that are warm, thoughtful, humorous and enlightening, accompanying his gorgeous baritone voice on guitar and National Steel guitar. ¶ Aaron Nathans and Michael G. Ronstadt open the show.
Concert starts at 8:00 pm
What better praise could one receive than to have veteran folk singer, Tom Paxton, say this: “It’s about Bob Franke’s integrity. I always think of Bob as if Emerson and Thoreau had picked up acoustic guitars and gotten into songwriting. There’s touches of Mark Twain and Buddy Holly in there, too.” Franke’s career as a singer-songwriter began in the mid 1960s when he was a student at the University of Michigan. He was one of the first people to perform at the famous Ark Coffeehouse. He moved to Cambridge after graduation and the rest is a wonderful addition to Boston folk music history.
Franke’s songwriting skills have become well-known among the folk community. Peter, Paul and Mary, David Wilcox, Garnet Rogers, and June Tabor among others have all performed Bob’s songs. These songs are simply captivating: they are complex and reveal Bob’s warm-hearted spirituality. When listening to his very personal lyrics, you often feel like you’re eavesdropping on a private conversation or reading his personal diaries. Franke’s songs are nothing short of inspirational. It’s easy to see why fans continue to enjoy and appreciate this local troubadour so much. As Noel Paul Stookey says: “There is an affection for Bob’s work that is really palpable. It’s like everybody thinks that they’re the one who discovered him — and they’re all right! People know he has given them something rare and powerful, real and uncompromising. I have felt a lot of power in the appreciation people have for him.”
Photo by Susan Wilson
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Our opening act, Aaron Nathans and Michael G. Ronstadt — both successful musicians in their own right — blend smart, bittersweet songwriting and virtuosic cello into an intriguing and exciting musical collaboration. Michael hails from music royalty. The nephew of Linda Ronstadt, Michael carries on the music traditions of his family, performing over 200 nights a year with various projects.
Aaron was a 2011 Kerrville Folk Finalist, and has opened for Lucy Kaplansky, Tracy Grammer, Vance Gilbert and The Kennedys. His voice is low and sweet and his songs tell stories. On working with Michael, Aaron says, “It’s been a revelation, both in his talent and his prowess in the studio. I describe what we do as ‘Folko Ono meets Yo-Yo Ma’. Michael is all about chemistry and that makes it easy to play music with him. Together, we are creative and expressive, with a dash of silly. I’ve heard it’s a lot of fun to watch.”
Folk Legacy Month at the me&thee coffeehouse is supported in part by a grant from the Marblehead Cultural Council, a local agency which is supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.
- Bob Franke writes the kind of songs that will still be sung a hundred years from now. Christine Lavin, songwriter
- I always think of Bob as if Emerson and Thoreau had picked up acoustic guitars and gotten into songwriting. There’s touches of Mark Twain and Buddy Holly in there, too. Tom Paxton
- I believe that [Bob Franke’s] ‘Hard Love’ is one of the best songs written between 1950 and 2000 – and that includes Dylan and Joni. Rich Warren, host of WFMT’s Midnight Special
- There is an affection for Bob’s work that is really palpable. It’s like everybody thinks that they’re the one who discovered him — and they’re all right! People know he has given them something rare and powerful, real and uncompromising. I have felt a lot of power in the appreciation people have for him. Noel Paul Stookey, of Peter, Paul and Mary
- . . .
- Nathans and Ronstadt are cashmere. Music you would want to get closer to and not be overwhelmed by. The well-thought-out approaches here are smooth with poignant tales filled with sincerity. Like many Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, and Tom Waits songs, these tunes can linger in your ears and follow you into bed where you will be looking up at the ceiling with your eyes closed in the dark and the melodies still partying into your sleep. John Apice, No Depression review
- This is an engaging, warm and intimate collaboration between songwriter Aaron Nathans and songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Michael G. Ronstadt. . . . Throughout the songs are stirring and they leave you thinking. A thoroughly satisfying and stimulating effort. Michael Tearson, Sing Out! Magazine review
- This new CD from Aaron Nathans and Michael G. Ronstadt, Crooked Fiddle, deserves your attention. Michael and Aaron have teamed up to create a powerful work of art that I guarantee will move you. Ron Olesko, WFDU’s “Traditions.”
- Crooked Fiddle debuted in September 2014 to #12 on the Folk DJ charts, with the first single, “Old Joe’s Chair,” debuting at #10. It continues to garner radio airplay on multiple formats worldwide.
- Crooked Fiddle was among the favorite CD’s of 2014 by DJ’s Wanda Fischer (WAMC), Joe Psoneck (Radio Nowhere), John Rumsey (KVMR) and WWSP’s Acoustic Revival.