Roots of Annapolis feat. Neil Harpe, Cory Seznec, Eleanor Ellis, Jay Summerour and Max Ochs

Neil Harpe

Neil Harpe has been an active performer all of his adult life and is an accomplished guitarist, performing at many venues. Neil has performed for the Chesapeake Bay Blues Festival, Herndon Blues Festival, Smithsonian Associates, Hirshhorn Museum (in conjunction with Black History Month), Washington Folk Festival, Takoma Park Folk Festival, Northern Virginia Folk Festival, Quiet Waters Park and the D.C. Blues Festival. He recorded an LP entitled "Neil Harpe", for Adelphi Records in 1972. Harpe recently released a solo CD of all new material. Along with longtime musical partners Rick Franklin and Rick Usilton, he has also released two albums of blues and "hokum" ragtime duets.

Neil has amassed a sizeable collection of “Stella” guitars and has written a book about them. Made between 1900 and 1939, they were the guitars of choice for such blues performers as Charley Patton, Willie Brown and Lead Belly. He has a website devoted to buying, selling and purveying information about these instruments and in 2005 he published “the Stella Guitars Book.”

Cory Seznec

Corentin “Cory” Seznec is a Franco-American musician splitting time between Addis Ababa, Paris, and Annapolis, Maryland. A multicultural household, extensive travels and musical encounters, and a passion for history exposed Cory to sounds from around the world, helping him to develop his own distinct style that reflects his broad interests. Cory focuses on fingerstyle guitar, clawhammer banjo, voice, harmonica, and an array of other stringed instruments. He maintains a music blog called Cocoringo’s Circadian Sounds.

Eleanor Ellis

ELEANOR ELLIS has performed at clubs, festivals and concerts in the United States, Canada and Europe. She has also traveled and played with the late gospel street singer Flora Molton and bluesman Archie Edwards, and sometimes accompanied Delta Blues great Eugene Powell. She is a founding member of the DC Blues Society and the Archie Edwards Blues Heritage Foundation, has written about the blues for several publications, and is producer and editor of the video documentary Blues Houseparty, which features well-known Piedmont blues musicians such as John Jackson, John Cephas, and Archie Edwards. She also worked at the Archive of New Orleans Jazz at Tulane University in New Orleans, and at the New Orleans Jazz Museum.

Her recordings include Comin' a Time on the Patuxent label, Backyard Blues, a CD of solo blues guitar and vocals; Preaching in That Wilderness on the Riverlark label with Bill Ellis and Andy Cohen; appearances on several anthologies, including the 25th Anniversary Kent State Folk Festival collection, Sisterfire: Music by Women, and Archie's Barbershop Blues, released by the Archie Edwards Blues Heritage Foundation; and two recordings with Flora Molton, I Want to Be Ready to Hear God When He Calls, on Mrs. Molton's own Lively Stone label, and Flora Molton, recorded for Radio France.

Jay Summerour

Harmonica player Jay Summerour has been involved with music for well over 40 years. Beginning his musical education on the trumpet at age 7, Summerour learned the harmonica from his grandfather Smack Martin. Largely self-taught, Summerour picked up bits and pieces from folks he ran into, folks like Sonny Terry, James Cotton and Magic Dick.

During the late 1960s and early 1970s, Summerour took the traditional harmonica into the popular arena, joining the Starland Vocal Band and playing with Nils Lofgren and his band Grin. Four of the Starland Vocal Band’s records went gold during Summerour’s tenure.

Max Ochs

Max Ochs is a fingerstyle acoustic guitarist and folklorist who recorded for Takoma Records among other labels. His family moved to Annapolis, Maryland in 1945, where Ochs spent his adolescence. His friendship and association with guitarist John Fahey led to many music collaborations, including that of Mississippi John Hurt who spent weeks teaching Ochs older picking styles.

After attending high school in Annapolis, Ochs studied at the University of Maryland, College Park where he became friends with Ed Denson in a creative writing class. Denson, along with John Fahey, went on to form Takoma Records in Berkeley, California in 1963. Without a degree, Ochs left University of Maryland and moved to New York City where he lived from 1961 to 1965. During his time in New York, he collaborated with Buzzy Linhart and was a founding member of the folk-raga group, the Seventh Sons. After leaving New York and heading west in 1965, Ochs was invited to appear with fellow University of Maryland student and fingerstyle guitarist Robbie Basho, as well as John Fahey and Harry Taussig on a Takoma Records release titled Contemporary Guitar. The LP presents a collection of fingerstyle guitar songs often performed in a subtle and sometimes improvised manner. His later CD, Letter to the Editor was received with critical acclaim on Ochs returned to College Park and received his degree in 1970.

Now based in Severna Park, Maryland, Ochs continues to perform, write and record songs in an early folk and blues tradition. He was the curator of the folk music series at 333 Coffeehouse in Annapolis for over a decade.



Join us for an evening of locally grown, globally talented musicians for this special evening of Blues, Folk and more.

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