January 5, 2008




ur second annual showcase of exciting new artists that are emerging onto the folk scene featured Jud Caswell and Chris O'Brien playing together on our stage. They alternated and performed a wide range of songs that displayed their superb song-writing talents, in addition to their vocal and instrumental skills.

singer - songwriter - guitarist

Jud Caswell ud Caswell lives where the two Maines meet: where ex-hippies play cribbage with fishermen and a kind of rural poetry is salted with Yankee gumption. He grew up on a little farm in Morrill, Maine, picking carrots and milking goats; listening to records by Cat Stevens and the Beatles, reading Mark Twain and Kahlil Gibran. A multi-instrumentalist from an early age, he wandered through jazz bands, orchestras and medieval ensembles before finding his home on the acoustic guitar.

eralded by Sing Out! magazine as "one of the leading singer-songwriters on the current scene," Jud has won eight nationally recognized songwriting contests, including the Dave Carter Memorial, Boston Folk Festival, and Kerrville New Folk contests. His song "Blackberry Time" is being taught in the songwriting curriculum at the Berklee College of Music in Boston. Jud is currently supporting the release of his latest CD, Blackberry Time, released in 2007.

e were very pleased tonight to revel in the eloquent lyrics and smooth voice of this exciting new talent.

Praises for his performances:

  • "Maine's Jud Caswell is one of those expert, multigifted folk singers who are surprisingly unknown outside their home territory. Caswell's guitar playing is elegant, his voice both personable and tuneful, his songs neatly crafted, his sound imbued with warm energy."
      Boston Herald

  • "Jud is a marvelous writer. He astonished me at Kerrville with a perfect song, 'Blackberry Time.' I use it as an example in my Berklee lyric writing classes."
      Pat Pattison

  • "Clever, well-groomed lyrics, percussive guitar playing and a powerful yet tender voice ... reminded me of Ellis Paul in intensely personal songs that offer slices of life and lovely imagery ... "
      Dirty Linen


  Link to his songs on Jud's MySpace page  

      or go to his web site:

melifluous vocals - talented lyricist

CHRIS O'BRIEN oston based singer/songwriter Chris O'Brien is an artist on the rise. Since the release of his CD Lighthouse, Chris has caught the attention of many. He was chosen from a pool of nearly 1,000 contestants to appear on Garrison Keillor's "Prairie Home Companion" in the "People in Their Twenties" talent contest, he was one of Falcon Ridge Folk Festival's Emerging Artists, and also was a finalist in the Mountain Stage New Song competition. In addition to all that, Chris appeared at a Farm Aid event and a big benefit show for the ABC show "Extreme Makeover Home Edition" for a deserving family in Vermont.

hris O’Brien’s debut CD, “Lighthouse”, produced by O’Brien, Austin Nevins and Ethan Baird, was recorded at Glowdog studios in Georgetown, MA. It features some of the finest musicians in the Boston area. Guitarist Austin Nevins (Deb Talen, Edie Carey), Zack Hickman (Josh Ritter) on Bass, John Sands (Aimee Mann, Lori McKenna) on Drums, Sam Kassirer (Josh Ritter) on piano and keyboards and Singer/Songwriters Antje Duvekot and Frank Marotta Jr providing backing vocals, bring this record to life and fully expose the depth of O’Brien’s songwriting.

hris first took to the guitar after seeing Shawn Colvin and the Indigo Girls in concert when he was twelve. Struck by his passion to learn the guitar, family friend Dar Williams sat down with Chris and taught him to play some of his first chords. He grew up surrounded by music and musicians. Chris was raised on a steady diet of Joni Mitchell, Bob Dylan and Paul Simon. Influenced by Martin Sexton, David Gray, Richard Shindell and, of course, Dar Williams, he began crafting his own songs at the age of 14.

e has said "As a writer, I wasn't sure of myself, yet I'm getting more compliments on my writing than anything else. A lot of my songs are about moving on, transition, change, relationships. People say, 'I've just moved or changed my life and your CD was my soundtrack.' I can tell you about the albums that were like stamps on my life passport. To hear that one of my own songs is serving that purpose is powerful."

CHRIS O'BRIEN e has shared the stage with such artists as David Wilcox, Brian Webb, Meg Hutchinson, Antje Duvekot, Vance Gilbert, Mark Erelli, Ryan Montbleau, Rachael Davis, Anne Heaton, Jess Klein, Gregory Douglass, Jake Armerding and many others.

t our show tonight our audience experienced live the literate lyrics and mellow tones of this exciting new talent.

Praises for his performances:

  • "Chris O’Brien picks up where Richard Thompson, John Gorka and Martin Sexton leave off; a young writer with his eyes on gentle, melodic horizons and matter of the soul."
      Club Passim

  • "As a music fan, I live for those moments when I hear a performer for the first time and detect unmistakable magic. It happened with Shawn Colvin in 1989 and Patty Griffin in 1996. Last summer, O'Brien caught my ear – he's an uncommonly talented lyricist, with a voice that feels comfortable and familiar at first listen. If you only have time for one show this weekend, this is it."
      Michael Witthaus, Eagle Times

  • " ... it seems only natural that O’Brien’s full length debut sounds so finely crafted."
      Jarrod Annis


  Link to his songs on Chris's MySpace page 

      or go to his web site:

Opening for Jud and Chris tonight were our featured open mike performers:

  • Ira Perlman IRA PERLMAN

  • Gary Schoenberger GARY SCHOENBERGER

  • Andy Romanoff ANDY ROMANOFF

  •   ... and Ed Mocko ED MOCKO

  • Our host tonight was Ira Perlman.

    If you weren't here tonight, you missed yet another of the very best programs of the year ...