The following was submitted by me & thee coffeehouse:
On Friday, May 4, the me and thee welcomes Bill Staines and Bob Franke to our stage. A season is certainly complete with these two favorites making an appearance. Bill has appeared on our stage every single year over our 42 years of existence. Bob Franke has also been a favorite of Marblehead audiences since he ran Saturday Night in Marblehead for a number of years. Doors open at 7:30 PM for this 8:00 PM show at the me&thee coffeehouse which is located at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Marblehead at 28 Mugford Street.
For more than forty years, Bill Staines has traveled back and forth across North America, singing his songs and delighting audiences at festivals, folksong societies, colleges, concerts, clubs, and coffeehouses. A New England native, Bill became involved with the Boston-Cambridge folk scene in the 1960's and for a time, emceed the Sunday Hootenanny at the legendary Club 47 in Cambridge. Bill quickly became a popular performer in the Boston area. From the time in 1971 when a reviewer from the Boston Phoenix stated that he was "simply Boston's best performer," Bill has continually appeared on folk music radio listener polls as one of the top all time favorite folk artists. Now, well into his fifth decade as a folk performer, he has gained an international reputation as a gifted songwriter and performer. Singing mostly his own songs, he has become one of the most popular and durable singers on the folk music scene today, performing nearly 200 concerts a year and driving over 65,000 miles annually. In 1975, Bill won National Yodeling Championship in Kerrville Texas. Another important recognition was given to him in 2007. Presented by the Boston Area Coffeehouse Association, The Jerry Christen Award recognized Bill's contribution to New England folk music. Currently, Bill has recorded 26 albums. His songs have been recorded by many artists including Peter, Paul, and Mary, Tommy Makem and Liam Clancy, The Highwaymen, Mason Williams, Grandpa Jones, Jerry Jeff Walker, Nanci Griffith, Glen Yarborough and others. His song, “All God's Critters,” has been released as a children's book with illustrations by Caldecott honor-winning artist, Kadir Nelson. "Folk music is rich in the human spirit and experience. I've always wanted to bring something of value to people through my songs." With these thoughts, Bill continues to drive the highways and back roads of the country year after year, bringing his music to listeners, young and old.
Bob Franke began his career as a singer-songwriter in 1965 while a student at the University of Michigan. He was one of the first people to perform at the now famous Ark Coffeehouse in Ann Arbor. Upon graduation in 1969 with an A.B. in English Literature, he moved to Cambridge, Massachusetts, and has since made New England his home. Bob's songs are considered classics, fueled by his deep faith and the real-life lessons taught him by his 30-odd years of playing everywhere from concert halls to street corners. Bob has appeared in concert at coffeehouses, colleges, festivals, bars, streets, homes and churches in 33 states, four Canadian provinces and England. His concerts have appeared in lists of the top five musical events of the year chosen by critics in the Boston and San Francisco Bay areas. In 1990, he was nominated as an Outstanding Folk Act by the Boston Music Awards. When he isn't writing or touring, Bob leads workshops in songwriting at music festivals and music camps, workshops described by the participants as "transcendent." In August of 1990 Bob wrote a set of songs for a ballet of "The Velveteen Rabbit," commissioned by the ODC Dance Company of San Francisco. He has composed three cantatas and a number of hymns for the Church of St. Andrew in Marblehead, MA. The Songs of Bob Franke, a songbook produced by the Folk Project, was released in 1992. He wrote a Harvest Cantata for the Marblehead Eco-Farm in 1996. The song "Hard Love" figures prominently in Ellen Wittlinger’s young adult novel of the same name. As Tom Paxton says, "It's his 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."
Tickets for the performance by Bill Staines and Bob Franke are $20 in advance and $23 at the door. Tickets are available online at www.meanthee.org and can be purchased in person in Marblehead at either the Spirit of ’76 Bookstore or the Arnould Gallery As at all me & thee coffeehouse events, refreshments are available, including homemade pastries, coffee, and teas. The me & thee has a handicapped-accessible entrance and an accessible bathroom, is a smoke-free environment, and is easily reached by MBTA bus. The me & thee is the oldest continually running acoustic coffeehouse in New England, and probably the country. The me & thee has been and will always be a volunteer, non-profit organization sponsored by the Unitarian Universalist Church of Marblehead. For information and directions, call 781-631-8987 or check the website www.meandthee.org.