Saturday Feb 24th, 2024 @ 08:00 PM

Roland Kushner & Kray Van Kirk – Folk Guitar & Singer-Songwriter Harmonies

Paid
Ticket Price: $22.50 ADVANCE | $27.50 DAY OF SHOW

seperator

Embark on an enchanting musical journey with two remarkable folk artists, Roland Kushner and Kray Van Kirk. These seasoned performers bring a wealth of passion, storytelling prowess, and a commitment to preserving the soulful melodies that define their craft. Roland Kushner, a dedicated advocate for “No Song Left Behind,” has spent decades shaping the folk music scene, seamlessly blending his love for the music community and with academic pursuits. On the other hand, Kray Van Kirk, a fine finger-style guitarist with a precise baritone, weaves captivating tales that transcend traditional singer-songwriter narratives. Join us for an evening filled with heart-touching melodies and compelling stories, as these two exceptional artists grace the stage with their unique musical tapestries.

Roland Kushner

Roland Kushner

Roland Kushner, with a lifelong passion for folk music, has dedicated decades to promoting, directing, and broadcasting, driven by the desire to preserve and share the songs that have left a lasting impact on him. As a singer and performer, Roland’s mission is defined by “No Song Left Behind” – a call to action to discover and give voice to the great tunes from the past. From his roots in Ottawa, Canada, to his current role as a Professor of Business at Muhlenberg College in Allentown, PA, Roland’s journey has been marked by a dedication to the arts in the community, on stage and in academia.

In 1998, Roland’s writing journey began with the “Steel Festival,” a tribute to Bethlehem’s steel industry, inspiring songs reflecting the lives of steelworkers. This creative endeavor led to the release of the album “527” in 2000, featuring original songs, including contributions to a tribute CD for Steve Goodman. Collaborating with friends like Michael London and the Saturday Night Coyotes, Roland’s musical endeavors have spanned various stages, from Godfrey Daniels to Selkie Theatre’s productions. Beyond performing, Roland’s involvement in arts organizations and boards, such as Musikfest and Sing Out!, underscores his commitment to fostering cultural richness in the Lehigh Valley. Whether on stage or in the classroom, “No Song Left Behind” remains at the core of Roland’s artistic and educational pursuits.

In 2024, Roland brings the “No Song Left Behind” trio to Godfreys, featuring Lee Daniels on guitar and Steve Foreman on bass, with originals and songs from Ian Tyson to Madonna to Archie Fisher to Silvio Dante.

Visit his website: https://music.rjkushner.bergbuilds.domains

Kray Van Kirk

The room was almost empty after Van Kirk’s show at the Fringe Festival in Edinburgh, Scotland. A man with shirt-sleeves rolled up in the August heat walked over to him and stood hesitantly for a moment before thrusting out his hand.

“I use to sing for my wife in the evenings, but she has dementia now and doesn’t remember me. That song about the lost lovers and the dance hall…”

He stopped for a moment before his Scottish reserve reasserted itself.

“I really liked that one.”

A fine finger-style guitarist with a precise baritone, Van Kirk has a Ph.D. from the University of Alaska. After five years of living in his van and playing music across the US and Canada, he thought that a career in the sciences might be a bit more secure than playing music for a living, especially as a single parent. Eventually, however, he realized that he liked writing songs more than statistical models, and he put aside his computer, picked up his guitar, and set out again.

He’s not your average crying-in-your-coffee singer-songwriter. “We are driven by myth and the seasons of the heart” he says. “Science comes later. We need new stories and new myths for a very complex 21st century so that everyone, absolutely everyone, regardless of creed, color, gender, sexuality or anything else, can listen and look and see themselves on the Hero’s Quest.

Thus his songs: Thunderbird resurrects the Phoenix in an empty desert diner somewhere in the American Southwest (yes, the Phoenix drives a Thunderbird), The Queen of Elfland plucks Thomas the Rhymer from the English-Scottish border in 1250 and drops him, along with the Queen, into a subway car, and The Midnight Commander has an insane old man leading the city of New York to take up arms (and underwear) against hatred.

Of this charming, Quixotic, and decidedly eclectic performer, the Borderline Folk Club in New York wrote “it is what every singer-songwriter should aspire to.

Visit his website: krayvankirk.com

Martin Guitar
WDIY
Working Dog Press
Pennsylvania Council of the Arts