Kirsten Maxwell, above, and Matt Nakoa, below, perform Saturday night at the latest in a series of Earth Room Concerts.
While local folk music artists have occasionally been able to get face-to-face with audiences at annual festivals, coffeehouses and libraries, there just hasn’t been a consistent venue for national folk performers to ply their trade among the rock clubs, cover-band bars and theater-size stages of eastern Monmouth County.
That is, until the folks at Lincroft’s Unitarian Universalist Congregation initiated their series of Earth Room Concerts.
Matt Nakoa performs “You Are My Moonshine.”
Nearing one full trip around the sun since its inaugural event in April, 2016, the Earth Room series has offered an intimate setting in which to appreciate the talents of touring and recording acts (internationally renowned husband-wife duo the Kennedys; acclaimed sister act the Nields; former Dave Carter partner Tracy Grammer) without the drink minimums, open-air distractions or chatter and clatter of a busy food and beverage establishment doing its thing.
This Saturday evening, the Earth Room does its thing once again, when the UUC welcomes the internationally touring singer/songwriter Matt Nakoa.
Scheduled for 7:30 p.m., it’s a set that finds the native of upstate New York — an artist who’s played venues ranging from the Obama White House to India — demonstrating the stuff that’s seen him line ’em up outside the door of his regular Saturday night city haunt, Brandy’s Piano Bar.
Expect selections from his two albums, Light In The Dark (2012) and A Dozen Other Loves (2014), as well as more recently crafted songs that have helped score the wise-beyond-his-young-years Nakoa a big win at Kerrville Folk Festival’s prestigious New Folk Competition.
Expect a similarly surprising level of mature songcraft and musicianship from the evening’s opening act, 24-year-old Long islander Kirsten Maxwell. A performer who lives the indie ethic to the “max,” the self-taught guitarist recently attained a fundraising goal for the imminent drop of a new EP recording, a follow-up to her self-released 2015 album Crimson, and a project that builds on the momentum generated by her second-place finish in the Emerging Artist competition at this past summer’s Falcon Ridge Folk Festival.
Tickets to the Saturday concert are available online here ($15 adult, $7.50 children age 12 and under) or at the door ($20 adult, $10 children age 12 and under).
The Earth Room Concerts series continues with scheduled appearances by Toronto duo the Young Novelists (April 8; with opening set by Brad Yoder and Jason Rafalak), and Celtic-tinged songsmith/painter Joe Crookston (May 6; with opener Mike Agranoff).