2015 Kickin' Country Festival


4th Annual

Kickin' Country Eclectic Music

        Festival and Food Drive 

                         November 6-8

Artists in Partnership, Inc. and the Long Beach Public Library present the 4th Annual Kickin' Country Music Festival and Food Drive for the Food and Friendship Inn  at the Long Beach Public Library and other venues, from Friday, November 6th through Sunday, November 8th. The Long Beach Public Library is located at 111 West Park Avenue, Long Beach, N.Y. (516) 432-7201.

Join us at the long Beach Public Library for live Country, "Alt" Country, Americana and Bluegrass music with a special focus on the Piedmont Country Blues. Scheduled groups include: The M.S.G. Acoustic Blues Trio, Piedmont Bluz, Demolition String Band Duo, Jack Grace Band, Katie Mitchell Band, Marc Berger and RIDE, Vienna Carroll & Keith Johnston, Sean Kershaw and New Jack Ramblers,  Melody Allegra Band  and Clogging and Flatfooting dancer, Megan Downes with "City Stompers"

All events are free, but we ask that participants bring non-perishable food and personal care items for our Long Beach Food and Friendship Inn Food Drive to benefit local homeless/hungry citizens.

Please contact us at aip4arts@gmail.com for more information or call (516) 432-6342.

JUST ADDED-----Keeping the 4th Annual Kickin' Country Party going on Saturday night after the Library event at 9:30- Join us for Country Favorites with Long Island's own STAGECOACH at LOLA'S- 180 West Park Avenue (across from Library) HeeHaw!

and QUARTER HORSE on the WEST SIDE at LILLY'S from 8-11:45-954 West Beech St


All events are FREE.  Seating is limited to 200 in the Library. Please consider joining Artists in Partnership, Inc. either online at www.aip-arts.org or sign up at the event.


Here is the lineup for the Kickin' Country Eclectic Music Festival and       Food Drive:

Click on Current Events for artist bios and pictures 



FRIDAY- 11/6

7:00- DEMOLITION STRING DUO featuring Elena Skye and Boo Reiners

8:15-JACK GRACE BAND-Experimental Country/Art/Rock


Featuring Acoustic Blues, Roots and

Spirituals in the Piedmont Country Style





8:00- MARC BERGER and RIDE- American Roots


1:30- VIENNA CARROLL & KEITH JOHNSTON- Folk First/Black Roots Music

2:30- SEAN KERSHAW &  NEW JACK RAMBLERS-High Octane Honky Tonk

3:30- MELODY ALLEGRA BAND- Bluegrass/Oldtime Music and featuring

CLOGGING DANCER MEGAN DOWNES and members of City Stompers




  Jack’s form of experimental country art rock has been compared to everything from Frank Zappa to early Johnny Cash — or “Cole Porter meets Gene Autry” as the New York Times once wrote.

Five album releases and tracks featured in the films Super Troopers and Beer Fest have earned Jack a growing following and a steady hum of praise. His most recent release, Drinking Songs for Lovers, features some fine country numbers, but he added mariachi horns to give them a Latin flavor, inspired by his yearly pilgrimage to Tulum, Mexico, where he likes to write songs on the beach. His previous album was a bossa nova-influenced country concept album called The Martini Cowboy.

As Alan Young of the New York Press raved at the time, what sets Jack’s songs “apart from the rest of the country or alt-country scene is his laugh-out-loud, absurdest wit. Not only is this a great party album and a great driving album but it’s also very smart and very funny.”

Kevin Canfield, writing for the New York Times, once exclaimed, “Make no mistake: Jack Grace is an old-fashioned country musician.” Except that he isn’t. His band rocks too hard to be country. And the band members come from all walks of life

Jack Grace Band

: jazz, rock, country and, well, other. Bassist, vocalist and wife Daria (Melomane, Pre-war Ponies) keeps the rhythm going with the rotating drummers, Russ Meissner, Jason “J-Bird” Bowman and Bruce Martin (Tom Tom Club). Horns are provided by J. Walter Hawkes, Rob Henke and “Tuba Joe” Exley.

Jack also fronts the very popular Van Halen tribute band, Van Hayride, which features members of Yarn and Lee Ranaldo and the Dust. Van Hayride was originally conceived in the early 21st century as a countrified David Lee Roth-era only, Van Halen tribute band. The band got weirder and weirder, playing around the NYC roots music scene. Most recently, they toured with Puss N Boots, featuring Norah Jones.

  The Money’s Gone Away, builds on the Latin bit, and also features some groovy mellotron (provided by the multi-talented Mr. Martin), a saw, the addition of the aforementioned tuba and more of Daria’s vocals front and center. And so the evolution of the Jack Grace sound continues.  A consummate live performer, lyricist, singer and guitarist, Jack is at the helm of a powerhouse band that plays kick the can with any musical genre that it stumbles across.  Intelligence, humor and unpredictable cross-pollinations of musical categories await. But don’t take our word for it. “If you don’t laugh and cry at the same …you better check your pulse. You might be disgracefully dead.” – James Reaney, London Free Press (London, ON)

   “They are across-the-board connoisseurs; master instrumentalists, lyricists and entertainers while Skye is a vocal treasure.” BILLBOARD MAGAZINE






With a shared passion for country, rock ‘n roll, bluegrass and mountain music, Elena Skye (Chicago, IL) and Boo Reiners (Charlotte, N.C.) blur the lines between these musical styles with their NYC/Hoboken based Demolition String Band. Thrilling audiences for more than a decade now with their original material mixed with traditional and not-so-traditional songs, they’ve released five albums and toured the U.S. and Europe sharing bills with acts like The Avett Brothers, Ryan Adams, Joan Osborne, Ricky Skaggs, Southern Culture On The Skids, Ramblin’ Jack Elliot, Roger McGuinn, and many others.

As the “Elena & Boo” duo they’ve logged many miles as well. “It started out as a way to deal with rising gas prices and a sagging economy and still be able to hit the road,” says Elena Skye. “But we really enjoy playing and singing harmonies around a single mic, swapping mandolin, banjo and guitars.” Touring all over New England, the southeast, the midwest, up and down the California coast and Ireland has made their show taut, dynamic and entertaining.

Demolition String Band appear on the Sept 2014 release “My    Name Is New York: Ramblin’ Around Woody Guthrie’s Town,”  a three disc set which includes a historic walking guide of all the places where Guthrie lived and wrote songs during his 27 year love affair with the city. “Go Coney Island Roll,

The Demolition String Band

On The Sand” is the rousing DSB track with lyrics by Woody Guthrie and music by Elena Skye which appears among other new collaborations from Del McCoury Band, Billy Bragg & Wilco, Jackson Browne, Jonatha Brooke and many others. The walking tour is narrated by Nora Guthrie and includes interviews with Pete Seeger, Arlo Guthrie, Ramblin’ Jack Elliot, Bob Dylan and others. This release comes just as “21: The Best Of Demolition String Band” hits the streets, a collection of some of the band’s best material from the past five albums, sure to please fans old and new alike.

For the latest release under th

e DSB name, the duo recently reunited with venerable roots rock producer Eric Ambel and engineer Tim Hatfield (Rolling Stones/Xpensive Winos) to record live in the studio  a CD “single” that features Skye’s “Sailor Girl” with The Glimmer Twins’ classic deep cut “Loving Cup” on the flip side.

Elena, who studied with mandolin innovator Jethro Burns as a young teen, has had song placements in films and television, and has provided her vocal and mandolin stylings on various projects.As an accomplished multi-instrumentalist, Boo has moonlighted on tour with world music pioneers The Klezmatics and played on their Grammy winning CD “Wonder Wheel: Lyrics By Woody Guthrie.” He’s also been a not-so-secret weapon for indie rock heroes Dispatch, and has recently joined forces with Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame member Phil Lesh of The Grateful Dead.

Whether raisin’ the roof with Demolition String Band or rockin’as a duo with banjo, mandolin and guitars, fans old and new are moved by Elena & Boo’s infectious grooves, beautiful harmonies and rustic songwriting.




M.S.G.- The Acoustic Blues Trio


M.S.G. - The Acoustic Blues Trio performs traditional Piedmont blues. Their style of music has been influenced by the likes of Archie Edwards, Etta Baker, and Cephas & Wiggins. This band can raise the roof with some old-fashioned house party tunes, make you laugh with their witty originals and then make you weep with blues ballads! They all perform with the Archie Edwards Blues Heritage Foundation Band. They have performed at numerous regional festivals including: Blues in the 'Burg, Smithsonian Folklife Festival, Artscape, and Bayou Boogaloo. They have also had the honor of performing on the Kennedy Center's Millennium Stage


Jackie Merritt - harmonica player, is an accomplished visual artist and musician. She performs in several bands: M.S.G. (harmonica, guitar and bones); and Blues Xchange (bass). For three years, she was Phil Wiggins' harmonica teaching assistant at Augusta Heritage Center's "Bluesweek" at Davis and Elkins College in Elkins, WV. You can hear her harmonica on the syndicated PBS series "Cultivating Life", which has aired for two years.

In July of 2009, Jackie was awarded the honor of being the first recipient of the John Cephas Scholarship created to carry on the study and tradition of Piedmont style guitar at Centrum's Country Blues Workshops, Port Townsend, WA.


Miles Spicer - guitarist, demonstrates the distinctive technique of the Piedmont style. He considers himself fortunate to have known late Piedmont blues greats Archie Edwards and John Jackson, as well as having learned from John Cephas and Michael Baytop. He is currently the treasurer of the Archie Edwards Blues Heritage Foundation. In addition to M.S.G., he also plays with the Riverdale Ramblers Cajun Band.


Resa Gibbs - lead vocalist and percussionist, is known for her warm and soulful sound. A sought-after vocal instructor, she is honored to return to the renowned Country Blues Workshops at Centrum, 2009 (Port Townsend, WA), where she will teach Blues Singing. Resa sang background vocals on Gaye Adegbalola's Bitter Sweet Blues CD, produced by Rory Block and recorded by Alligator Records.

Her latest vocal contribution is on the 2008 CD project by Gaye Adegbalola entitled Gaye Without Shame. This CD is produced by Blues Music Award winner, Bob Margolin. Resa performed with Gaye, Bob Margolin, Jason Ricci and other nominated artists at the 2009 BMA's (Blues Music Awards in Memphis). She also contributed background vocals on award winning singer/songwriter, Julie Clark's debut CD Feel Free and her 2nd CD, Change Your Mind.



News Flash!   MARCH 21st 2014 - OPENED FOR ROBERT CRAY

CONGRATULATIONS RESA! - Nominated for 2013 Wammie Award - "Best Blues/Traditional R&B Female Vocalist"

Jackie Merritt / Resa Gibbs - 2010 Accepted into the Library of Congress. "Americana Women: Roots Musicians - Women's Tales & Tunes" MusicBox Project

Nov. 14th: Jackie Merrit won the 2010 Alli Award for her contributions to the Arts in the Greater Hampton Roads and her accomplishments as a blues musician and artist!





"Just when people think the old country blues of the Mid-Atlantic has faded away, along come the wonderful husband and wife duo of Valerie and Ben Turner who are the heirs to the Piedmont blues tradition. They are known as the duo 'Piedmont Bluz' and play the truehearted, authentic country blues with love. It'll warm you heart. Keep your ears on Piedmont Bluz." - Frank Matheis, Publisher:www.thecountryblues.com,Writer:LivingBlues

Piedmont Bluz

 The Piedmont Bluz acoustic duo is dedicated to the preservation of Country Blues and the Piedmont style and their mission is to help keep this rural, east coast tradition alive by educating audiences about this unique aspect of African American culture through musical entertainment. The husband and wife duo are much loved wherever they go and feel that "there are stories to tell, people to remember, and things that must be said" so, in addition to tickling your ears with delightful music, they weave a bit of history into the presentation of each song.

The duo have performed at such venues as the American Folk Art Museum, ArtsWestchester, Archie Edwards Blues Heritage Foundation, Howland Cultural Center, The Jalopy Theatre, The Shrine,andTowneCrierCafé.

They have also been featured in numerous festivals including Clearwater Revival, Hampton Acoustic Blues Revival, Riverside Blues Festival, Connecticut Folk Festival, Washington Square Park Folk Festival, Kickin' Country Music Festival, Cedar Beach Blues Festival, and Brooklyn Folk Festival. In addition, they have also been guests on Horses Sing None Of It, The Blues Break with Big Joe Fitz, and Wes Houston Presents.






Katie Mitchell is a singer/songwriter whose musical roots began in Virginia at a young age. She has been writing her own songs and performing for live audiences since age 8. Her band formed in 2012 when she met drummer and harmonist John Condon at an open mic in Forest Hills. The duo later added lead guitarist John Botten and bass player Brendan Moynihan. The group has a love of harmonies and turning pop songs into country rock songs. They often perform locally in Long Beach and you can find out more about their music and shows by visiting them at








Marc’s life has been about pursuing twin passions: creating and recording his American roots songs, and exploring remote areas of the desert and mountain West.  After signing his first publishing contract while in law school, he fronted rock bands and performed regularly in New York City clubs like CBGB, Wetlands, and The Knitting Factory.  All through this period, he’d find ways to get into the West, picking up details from fellow wilderness junkies about off the beaten path locales and filing them away for future reference.  On one of these trips, he became intrigued by the cover of THE BIG IT, a book of short stories by A.B. Guthrie he found on a revolving paperback rack in a Navajo reservation trading post.  It got him thinking about using his travels to create a set of songs in the cultural tradition of writers like Guthrie and visual artists like John Ford and Frederick Remington.  Marc and Co-Producer Mike Ricciardi now present RIDE, ten cinematic recordings reflecting his romantic connection to the American West and exploring the value of its myths to contemporary culture.

Marc’s performed at Austin’s South by Southwest Music Festival and The Kerrville Folk Festival and has opened shows for Bob Dylan and other national acts.  His song THE LAST ONE was a staple of Richie Havens’ concerts for years, and has been quoted in the NY Times and featured on The CBS Evening News.





Brooklyn-based music artist Sean Kershaw, whose swaggering, “high-octane honky-tonk” (New York Times) has thrilled and seduced audiences from New York to L.A. and beyond, is releasing a long-anticipated EP, The Aussie Sessions, scheduled to drop in the States on December 7, 2013.

Recorded in Melbourne, Australia at Hailstone Studio — an apropos recording space for Kershaw’s roughhewn country-rockabilly that doubles as a greaser workshop and contains a '65 Ford pickup, shovelhead chopper and collection of vintage amps — the album comprises seven original compositions featuring a more retro rock ‘n’ roll sound than Sean’s previous musical ventures. Recorded live, Kershaw was backed by Justin Rudge on guitar, Sweet Felicia on bass and backup vocals, and Scott Bennett on drums. Paulie Bignell, who was The Aussie Sessions’ recording engineer, also contributed a guitar solo.

Kershaw is slated to embark on a promotional tour of the United Kingdom suppor
Sean Kershawting the album early next spring. However, audiences here at home can purchase the EP and experience the new songs when Sean plays the Way Station in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn, on the December 7th date of release.

The Aussie Sessions is just the latest musical trek in the journey of The Coney Island Cowboy (the title of Kershaw’s acclaimed debut CD). While Kershaw’s lead vocals and rhythm guitar suggest the whisky-soaked angst of Hank Williams Sr., a gritty brand of rockabilly that drives restless boots straight to the dance floor. It was a writer for Playgirl magazine who, after listening to the single “Moonlight Eyes,” Kershaw’s most popular recording to date, observed that those same boots might sooner be kicked off and placed under a lover’s bed. Coney Island Cowboy enjoyed regular airplay in the U.S., Australia and Europe upon its release.

A lifelong wanderer born in Baltimore and raised in a military family, Kershaw has lived overseas and all over the continental U.S. Early in his career, Kershaw embraced the road by busking throughout the country. Starting out in New Orleans, he headed west to play in Los Angeles and San Francisco, went north up to Seattle, back across to Chicago and St. Louis, and eventually settled in New York.

It was in Brooklyn that Kershaw became a driving force if not the face of a growing country music scene, spurring notices in various high profile media outlets such as the New York Post, New York magazine and Time Out New York, and eventually becoming the cover story of a Village Voice article dedicated to Brooklyn country.

From 1996 through 2003, Kershaw played with a band called the Blind Pharaohs. The rockabilly group developed a plugged-in and loyal following touring up and down the East Coast. However, by 2007, having written and continuing to hone a host of original country and rockabilly songs, “Sean Kershaw and the New Jack Ramblers” became Sean’s main musical vehicle.

Depending on the venue, Sean Kershaw and the New Jack Ramblers scale up or down in players, and feature Sean on lead vocals and rhythm guitar, an upright bass, lead guitarist, drums, pedal steel, and occasionally keyboards, banjo, fiddle and the mandolin.

“Audiences that respond to mainstream country music will readily hear the influences of Johnny Cash, jump blues and western swing in the New Jack Ramblers,” stated Sean Kershaw. “But it’s the remnants of my background as a punk rocker, and the strange, unexpected tales our songs tell that subvert country purists’ expectations and appeal to an even broader, often younger audience. The new set of songs from The Aussie Sessions brings yet another dimension to our sound,” continued Kershaw.




Award winning fiddler Melody Allegra Berger has been playing violin since the age of five and is classically trained in both violin and voice. She fell in love with bluegrass/old time music around 9 years ago and has been raising a ruckus in the NYC area ever since, branching out into all manner of folk genres. You can hear Melody's fiddling on Season 2 Episode Melody Berger5 of House of Cards, in a scene where she also coached an actor to look like he was playing.

 In addition to regularly performing at regional favorites, Melody has rocked out at the top of Rockefeller Center, the Lincoln Center Atrium, Joe's Pub, The Bell House, the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival in San Francisco and Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival (where she played the main stage and dance tent this past summer as the newest member of bluegrass/hip hop superstars Gangstagrass, Emmy-nominated for their theme song on the hit show Justifed).

​Melody loves to work as an actor/musician and has recently originated roles in Prospect Theater's GOLDEN BOY OF THE BLUE RIDGE and Depot Theater's CARELESS LOVE: A Down Home Musical.






Megan Downes has been involved with percussive dance all her life. As a child she studied Irish step dancing with National Heritage Fellow Donny Golden in New York City, and went on to teach Irish social dancing in New York and at regional festivals. She taught for fourteen years at Midsummer Night Swing held every summer at Lincoln Center, was a principal dancer with Footworks Percussive Dance Ensemble for 16 years, and has taught flatfooting and clogging at the Augusta Heritage Center in West Virginia. Columbia Pictures hired Megan to teach Brad Pitt authentic Irish dance moves in preparation for his performance in the 1997 film The Devil’s Own. The City Stompers benefit from Megan’s broad experience in percussive dance traditions, her passion for dance, dedication to teaching, and her infectious enthusiasm.





Vienna Carroll is a singer, playwright, actor, historian and herbalist.

She learned music from the Black Ladies of her youth, including her fearsome great grandmother who played country & western guitar to Minnie Pearl on Saturday night radio and proper Pentecostal chords in church on Sunday.  Ms Carroll received a BA in African American Studies and Political Science at Yale University.

She wrote and starred in Singin Wid A Sword In Ma Han, a musical docudrama about a family escaping slavery, which features rare spirituals and won the International NYC Fringe Festival’s Audience Favorite Award.  Singin’s other venues include the PA Goodrich Underground Railroad Museum, Harlem’s Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Newark Museum, Medgar Evers College CUNY and the West Harlem Library Series.  Ms. Carroll also produced a CD of spirituals and performed selections at the Schomburg’s Emancipation Proclamation evenVienna Carrollt.  singinwidasword.com

Ms. Carroll conceived of and produced the First Annual NYC Underground Railroad Festival Juneteenth Celebration.  With the assistance of the Brooklyn Borough President’s office, she partnered with The Plymouth Church of the Pilgrims, a nationally certified Underground Railroad site; the Brooklyn Historical Society; the Weeksville Heritage Society; and the American Theatre of Harlem.  The Festival, a sold-out event, was recorded and broadcast by WBGO-FM, the tri-state area’s premier jazz station.   undergroundrailroadfestival.org

Folk First: Black Roots Music is Ms Carroll’s latest project which presents early African American work songs, prison songs, and spirituals – music that preceded jazz, blues and gospel – and their direct music relationships to contemporary artists like Biggie Smalls and Pharrell Williams.  Folk First features Ms Carroll on vocals and a peerless old time band consisting of Newman Taylor Baker on washboard, Henrique Prince on fiddle, and Keith Johnston on guitar.

The Vienna Carroll Trio delivers an eclectic mix of folk, blues, jazz standards and jazz versions of country & western, pop and other favorites.  Ms. Carroll has worked with Leon Thomas, and studied with Olu Dara, Barry Harris, Walter Bishop Jr, Nanette Natal and Opera Ebony’s Wayne Sanders.  At college she sang in a jazz band that included Nat Adderley Jr, Jay Hoggard and Pheeroan Aklaff.

Ms. Carroll has appeared in film, video (Black Folk Don’t), television, commercials and theater including the critically acclaimed “Deepest Man.”

Keith Johnston – Guitar / Music Director. Music Director, RUINED, Denver Center. Music Director, Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam. Artistic Director, American Theatre of Harlem. Co-founder, Back-A-Yard Theater. Director BET 30 Anniversary Upfront!