River Valey Folk Festival
Ziesemer, Luckett to bring
local talent to festival stage
Red Molly, James McMurtry
(May 2008) Contemporary folk musicians Greg
Ziesemer and Kriss Luckett of Indianapolis love Madison, Ind., so much
they decided to move there, and later they wrote a few songs about the
Ziesemer and Kriss Luckett will
bring their Americana-style folk
originals to the annual folk festival.
The talented singing-songwriting duo will perform those
songs and more original works during the third annual Ohio River Valley
Folk Festival, May 16-17 in Madison along the riverfront between West
and Poplar streets. The festival, with title sponsor of Cruisin
Auto, celebrates the beauty of Americana, combining traditional folk
music, folk art and storytelling for fun and education.
Hot new group Red Molly will headline the musical entertainment on Friday
night. The group will take center stage at 10 p.m. James McMurtry, who
can be politically rousing, headlines Saturdays entertainment.
He will take center stage at 10 p.m.
Red Molly was voted the 2006 New Artist of the Year by WUMB FM Boston.
Since its beginning three years ago, the group has been wowing audiences
with its stunning three-part harmonies and warm, engaging stage presence.
In a particularly satisfying turn, Red Molly was selected to perform
in the 2006 Falcon Ridge Folk Festival Emerging Artists Showcase. Even
more exciting, Red Molly earned the highest number of audience votes,
and therefore appeared at Falcon Ridge 2007.
Texas native McMurtry has long been known as an astute, clear-eyed observer
and concise, no-holds barred chronicler of the human condition. A growing
socio-politically edge fairly exploded just prior to the 2004 elections
when his scathing, palace-rattling We Cant Make It Here,
was made available online as a free download. The seven-plus-minute
diatribe against social injustice and the governments hypocrisy
and deceptions resounded wildly across the Internet and the airwaves.
It ignited a grassroots firestorm that has brought a legion of new fans
to the singer-songwriters work.
Ziesemer and Luckett, both musical and romantic partners, are excited
and thrilled to be invited to perform at the Ohio River Valley Folk
Festival. This is certainly the biggest gig we have ever done,
said Ziesemer, 49. We are honored and excited to be a part of
Festival Music Schedule
Friday, May 16
6 p.m.: Swinging Steaks
8 p.m.: John Gorka
10 p.m. Red Molly
Saturday, May 17
2 p.m.: Otis Gibbs
4 p.m.: Greg Ziesemer & Kriss Luckett
6 p.m.: Chris Smither
8 p.m.: Tom Paxton
10 p.m.: James McMurtryStorytelling
Friday, May 16
6 p.m.: Bob Sanders
7 p.m.: Buck Creacy
8 p.m.: Bob Sanders
Saturday, May 17
2 p.m.: Pam Holcomb
3 p.m.: Tom Cunningham
4 p.m.: Pam Holcomb
5 p.m.: Buck Creacy
6 p.m.: Tom CunninghamAlso
at the festival:
Folk Art Village, food, beer, wine.
wristbands: $20. Available at the gate or at the Madison Area
Convention and Visitors Bureau, 601 W. First St., Madison. Or
online at: www.ohiorivervalleyfolkfestival.com.
Camping available at the festival site for $20 per night.
Information: (812) 265-2956 or 1-800-559-2956.
Ziesemer, a popular figure on the Indiana music scene
for years, began his musical career by singing in church at age 7. He
grew up in a musical household and began playing guitar in high school.
There was always music in my house, he said.
In seventh grade, Ziesemer met Mark Cicenas, who later introduced him
to the Madison music scene. Cicenas taught him how to play guitar chords
and together they wrote some songs. They parted ways after high school,
and Cicenas moved to Madison.
Fifteen years later, Ziesemer, who owns an antique furniture restoration
and conservation company, was working at the Lanier Mansion Historic
Site and called Cicenas. It was at that point that I became connected
to Madison and simply fell in love with the town.
Unfortunately, Cicenas died unexpectedly in December 2002.
Luckett, an interior designer by profession, also grew up around music.
She sang in choirs in high school and then joined the college rock-folk
scene while studying at Ball State University.
After she finished college, she had several bands, including Diamonds
and Rust, an acoustic guitar duo that focused on college rock with a
folk edge. After 10 years, the partners went their separate ways, and
it was at that point that she met and teamed up with Ziesemer.
Luckett said her inspiration for the songs she writes comes from day
to day living. They come from something that happened in a moment
or from a dream during the night, she said. She has learned to
keep a notebook handy for those sudden inspirations.
Ziesemer and Luckett perform about four times a year at Madisons
Thomas Family Winery. Last year, they played the Music in the
Park Series concert during the September Madison Chautauqua Festival
of Art weekend.
The couple has attended previous Ohio River Valley Folk Festivals to
simply watch and say they cant wait to actually perform during
this years event. We are big fans of some of the other performers,
said Luckett. We are just thrilled we were invited to perform.
John Walburn, festival chairperson, said each year festival organizers
try to make the event better than the previous years. Organizers said
turnout for the festival grew last year and feedback on the event was
extremely positive. We certainly dont set on our laurels,
he said. We continue to enhance the event to make it even more
attractive to participants.
There are several new features that have been added to the folk festival
this year. There are VIP tents that can be rented by families, corporations
or any group. The tents rent for $500 and come with eight chairs, a
table and eight wristbands for the festival. Linda Lytle, executive
director of the Madison Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, said the
tents have proven to be a popular item and almost all of them have already
sold. There are still a few available, so anyone who wants a VIP
tent should certainly contact us soon, she said.
A recent challenge for the festival organizers has been the citys
recent ground work at the site where the VIP tents are scheduled to
go up. Using heavy equipment, city workers broke up the concrete pad
where Maddox Tobacco Warehouse once stood and buried the pieces under
dirt. They then sowed grass seed and put down straw. The grass has not
yet had time to grow, so tourism officials may have to relocate the
tents so people wont be walking on the newly sown area.
Also new is primitive camping within the festival grounds. Walburn said
camping was something festival goers kept asking about during the last
two annual events. This year, the Madisons Board of Works approved
27 camping spots within the parameters of the festival. People can set
up their tents and really feel like a part of the event, said
Walburn. The campsites cost $20, but do not include the cost of an entry
Perhaps the most exciting new feature of the festival will be a musician
workshop scheduled for 12:30 p.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday. Anyone with a
wristband will be allowed in the musicians tent for a singer-songwriter
workshop. It will be a very informal setting in which visitors
will get the chance for upfront and personal interactions with the musicians,
said Walburn. This is not a guitar lesson or anything like that;
instead, people will get the chance to ask questions and discover why
musicians do what they do.
John Gorka, who takes center stage at the folk festival at 8 p.m. Friday,
will be among the musicians participating in the workshop.
Gorka is an excellent songwriter, very popular and has been around
on the national scene for decades, said Walburn. It will
be a treat for aspiring musicians to talk with him. National Public
Radio voted Gorka among the top 20 best folk performers.
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