Mad. Sq. Music: The Studio Series Lineup!


Madison Square Park Conservancy is delighted to present the 2012 Mad. Sq. Music: The Studio Series. Mad. Sq. Music, in collaboration with The Baisley Powell Elebash Fund, presents The Studio Series to promote and foster a legacy of American music through free, live music performances on Saturday afternoons. Set against the fall foliage of Madison Square Park, the intimate Studio Series atmosphere creates a beautiful space for artists to share the tradition of their craft. Join us every Saturday from September 15 – October 6 at 3pm. Some seating and cafe tables are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Concertgoers can enjoy food offerings from acclaimed chef Zakary Pelaccio and his team at Fatty Crew (Fatty Crab and Fatty Cue) throughout the season. All shows are rain or shine.

The Lineup:

September 15 —   Jim Lauderdale | The Honeycutters

September 22 — Rory Block | Heritage Blues Trio

September 29 — Vance Gilbert | Caleb Hawley

October 6 — The Deadly Gentlemen | The Vespers

More artist information below. Madison Square Park is located between Fifth and Madison Avenues, from 23rd St to 26th St. Thanks to Mad. Sq. Music: The Studio Series sponsors: Kew Management, Zwicker Electric Co, Inc., WFUV 90.7FM, Fatty Crew, NYCulture, NYSCA, New York City Department of Parks and Recreation,  Time Out New York, and Ace Hotel. A special thanks to The Studio Series presenting sponsor: The Baisley Powell Elebash Fund.

The Studio Series 2012 Performers

September 15

Jim Lauderdale | 4pm

Jim Lauderdale is a multi-talented performer and songwriter, with successes in both country and bluegrass music. His roots stem from the Carolinas, yet his career has taken him all over the United States and abroad, making him an international recording artist with an ever-growing fan base.   Jim won “Artist of the Year” and “Song of the Year” at the first “Honors and Awards Show” held by the Americana Music Association in 2002.   Lauderdale has six Grammy nominations and has won two Grammy Awards. Jim’s musical influences include the legendary Dr. Ralph Stanley and George Jones. These influences and his unique sense of melody and lyric help forge a sound that is truly his own. His current release, “Patchwork River” (his second collaboration with Grateful Dead lyricist, Robert Hunter) is currently on the Americana radio charts.


The Honeycutters | 3pm

The Honeycutters are, at the heart, the musical collaboration of singer/songwriter Amanda Platt and Lead Guitarist/ Producer Peter James. Amanda Platt has been hailed as “one of the best songwriters coming out of WNC (Western North Carolina) these days” by WNCW programming director Martin Anderson, and her voice has been described as “perfectly unadorned” and “recklessly beautiful”.  While their sound has drawn comparisons to such artists as Gram Parsons and Emmylou Harris or Gillian Welch and David Rawlings, Platt and James produce a refreshingly unique blend of Americana music that is comfortingly familiar while being entirely original.


September 22

Rory Block | 4pm

Rory Block comes to the stage with more than twenty highly acclaimed releases under her belt and five Blues Music Awards. Block has staked her claim to be one of America’s top acoustic blues women, an interpreter of the great Delta blues singers, a slide guitarist par excellence, and also a talented songwriter on her own account. Born and raised in Manhattan by a family that had bohemian leanings, she spent her formative years hanging out with musicians like Peter Rowan, John Sebastian, and Geoff Muldaur before picking up the guitar at the age of ten. Her record debut came two years later, backing her father on The Elektra String Band Project, a concept album. She has recorded with some of the biggest names in the music industry including Stevie Wonder, Bonnie Raitt, Taj Mahal, Keb Mo, Mary Chapin Carpenter and countless others.   “Today she is widely regarded as the top female interpreter and authority on traditional country blues worldwide.” (The Blues Foundation)

Heritage Blues Trio | 3pm

This group is an inspiring testament to the enduring power, possibilities and boundless beauty of African-American music. Junior Mack is a self-taught and gifted vocalist and guitarist; Bill Sims Jr. a vocalist and multi-instrumentalist and an internationally respected master of blues; and sister Chaney Sims has a voice steeped in field hollers, work songs, spirituals, blues, soul and R&B. The grit of low-down country and urban blues to the bold brass of New Orleans; the hand clapping, hustle and bustle of gospel to fiery postmodern, jazz-infused horn arrangements; the haunting cries of work songs to pulsating drums that reach back to the roots of it all if you are lucky enough to hear the Heritage Blues Orchestra, you’ll experience this and more. “Elegant, fabulous and refreshing!” (Taj Mahal)


September 29

Vance Gilbert | 4pm

With ten critically acclaimed albums, Vance Gilbert continues to refine his unlikely union of humor, virtuosity, and the unexpected. Vance Gilbert burst onto the singer/songwriter scene in the early 90’s when the buzz spread through the folk clubs of Boston about an ex-multicultural arts teacher who was knocking them dead at open mics. “With the voice of an angel, the wit of a devil, and the guitar playing of a god, it was enough to earn him rarity: an encore for an opener” wrote the Fort Worth Star-Telegram in its review of a show from that tour. Gilbert’s three albums for the Rounder/Philo label — Edgewise (1994), Fugitives (1995), and Shaking Off Gravity (1998) — are all essential additions to the American singer-songwriter collection. With guests as vaired as Tuck and Patti, Jonatha Brooke, Patty Larkin, Vinx, and Jane Siberry, all three albums found significant niches on NAC (New Adult Contemporary) and Non-Commercial A3 radio.


Caleb Hawley | 3pm

From his ability to write intricate lyrics with cutting-edge chords to his lightening fast licks and ear for taste and style, there is absolutely nothing average about this shaggy-haired, blue-eyed, multi-faceted musician. Receiving top honors in the prestigious New York Songwriters Circle Contest (2008 and 2009), the John Lennon Songwriting Contest (2009), the Telluride Festival (2010), the Falcon Ridge Folk Festival (2010), and Rocky Mountain Folks Fest (2011) for his songwriting, he also has a voice to place him in the final fifty on the 2011 American Idol Season. While lyrically influenced by observational writers such as Randy Newman and Tom Waits, Hawley is also well known for his outstanding vocal capacity and range. The humble performer captivates audiences with soothing folk tunes in the same manner as James Taylor, and with the next breath blows them away with his powerhouse of soul, likened to that of Stevie Wonder.


October 6

The Deadly Gentlemen   | 4pm

Led by Greg Liszt, acclaimed Crooked Still banjo player, and originally formed as an experimental spoken word bluegrass band, this wildly innovative group has evolved into master purveyors of epic folk and grasscore. The Deadly Gentlemen use nonstop orchestration of somewhat unconventional vocals, with everybody in the band doing everything they can. Expect a lot of three-part harmony singing, group shouting, really dense rhymes and an almost rap-like phrasing. Rounding out The Deadly Gentlemen with Liszt is Stash Wyslouch, guitar and vocals; Mike Barnett, fiddle and vocals; Dominick Leslie, mandolin and vocals; and Sam Grisman, double bass and vocals. Their versatile songs can be described as a kind of a rock n’ roll feel, despite the acoustic bluegrass instrumentation with a splash of the punk or hardcore mentality.


The Vespers | 3pm

The Vespers are one of those lucky young bands who are becoming a word of mouth sensation though they’ve only quietly self-released one record. With two sisters on lead vocals and two brothers filling out the sound, the foursome are distinguished by an arsenal of instruments and the kind of harmony only siblings can create. They have toured from Boston to Austin, hitting everything from festivals to college campuses in between. On “The Fourth Wall”, out April 3rd, they create infectious folk-pop with both the buoyancy of youth and deeper spiritual themes.   They believe “folk and roots music tend to draw from spiritual themes. We don’t run away from our faith when writing, because that’s where our hearts are planted.”