Folk singer Joe Crookston takes the mic at the Unitarian Meetinghouse this Saturday at the latest in the slate of Earth Room Concerts.
A little more than a year since sounding its first note in spring 2016, the Earth Room Concert Series at Lincroft’s Unitarian Universalist Congregation has established itself as a successful and genuinely “alternative” outpost in the midst of a big music-mad backyard.
Even as other area towns and venues have made a name for themselves as go-to places for classical music, jazz, blues, bluegrass and rock, the organizers of the Earth Room series sensed something of a deficit when it came to connecting folk music fans with national/international touring acts — the kind who often couldn’t stake out a place to play, other than the odd summertime festival.
This Saturday evening, the UUC’s West Front Street meetinghouse hosts the last scheduled event in the inaugural slate of concerts, a doubleheader that pairs Celtic-tinged songsmith/painter Joe Crookston with Jersey-bred musician and humorist Mike Agranoff.
Set for 7:30 p.m., it’s a first local exposure for Crookston, the Ohio-born recording artist who’s made a name for himself through a tireless international tour schedule, a deep affinity for the crossroads of Irish and American culture, and a peer-approved reputation that’s seen his original songs adapted as traditional harp instrumentals and short films.
Opening is Boonton resident Agranoff, an accomplished fingerstyle guitarist (and occasional wielder of the concertina) whose encyclopedic song-bank and regular forays into comedy have seen the self-described “singer-songfinder” run a gamut that includes “a song of heart-stopping emotional impact, a Scott Joplin piano rag, an acapella Irish patter song sung to the melody of a mile-a-minute fiddle tune, a riveting recitation in the style of Robert Service, and some of the most horrible parodies ever perpetrated on an unsuspecting audience.”
Tickets for Saturday’s show 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). After a summer recess, the Earth Room Concerts series resumes September 16 with Toronto-based singer-guitarist Shawna Caspi and klezmer violinist Efrat Schapira.