Rod MacDonald

Rod MacDonald

with Mark Dann

Saturday – October 20 – 7:30 pm

Rod MacDonald was born in Connecticut and rose to prominence in NYC’s Greenwich Village clubs in the 1980s and 90s, co-founding the Greenwich Village Folk Festival and recording 21 songs now in the Smithsonian Folkways collection. He’s since made 11 solo cds, his songs covered by Shawn Colvin, Jonathan Edwards, Dave Van Ronk, Four Bitchin’ Babes and numerous other singers, and tours throughout North America and Europe. And his work keeps getting better: his 2014 CD, Later That Night, reached #3 on national Roots Music Folk charts in 2015, with the song “Raven” at #1, and his current release, Beginning Again (released June 2018 by Blue Flute Music) prompted WMNF’s DJ Craig Heugel to write “OMG!….This is a truly wonderful CD. Will be featuring it on next week’s show – 2 songs at each of the half hours. Just can’t decide which 4 to play. So many great songs on this.”

A tenor with a clear voice and wide range, MacDonald is often cited for both his musicality and the content of his songs about political and social events: “Rod MacDonald is a brilliant folk singer and composer. His melodic songs possess words that go straight into your heart and soul.” The Press Of Atlantic City … “A poet with a lot on his mind who has never allowed himself to make points at the expense of making music.” The Boston Globe … “True to the folk tradition, MacDonald is not afraid to get political, take chances, and perhaps shock some people….MacDonald’s place in the folk hall of fame is assured by his ‘A Sailor’s Prayer,’ a hymn-styled tune that many people have mistaken for a traditional song.” All-Music Guide.

In December 2014 MacDonald published his first novel, The Open Mike, “a music-driven novel for the ages and a great extension of MacDonald’s already prolific creative output.” …Jonathan Widran, Music Connection Magazine

Now living in south Florida, he’s been named one of “Ten Greatest South Florida Folksingers Of All Time” by New Times, and Fort Lauderdale’s Labyrinth Café—where MacDonald appears in concert each year –notes “his personal commitment to communicating events that have affected and shaped our world’s societies….Rod’s songs will stay in your heart and mind long after the music has ended.”

Mark Dann is the recording engineeer and principal lead guitarist for the Fast Folk Musical Magazine, and has played bass with many artists. He is also the co-producer of 11 of Rod’s CDs. Rod and Mark have been performing together for more than 40 years, including 40+ tours of Europe. 

More info and reservations at:


Emma’s Revolution

emma’s revolution
Saturday – September 15 – 7:30 pm

For our first concert of the new season, the inimitable Pat Humphries and Sandy O of emma’s revolution will return to Mount Toby Friends Meeting. Definitely make reservations for this concert if you don’t want to miss it. Tickets are $25 to $30 and will also be available at the door and through PayPal in advance. (Link to PayPal will be posted soon)

Dancing on the edge of folk and pop, there’s a revolution: emma’s revolution. “Bold, profound, moving, hilarious and transformative.” The sound of passion in “deftly-turned phrases,” songs imbued with hope, warmth and the “power and drive” to turn tears into laughter, cynicism into action.

“Fervent and heartfelt” ~The New York Times. Emma’s Revolution is the dynamic, award-winning activist duo of Pat Humphries & Sandy O, whose songs have been sung for the Dalai Lama, praised by Pete Seeger, and covered by Holly Near. Emma’s Revolution has shared the stage with Pete Seeger, Holly Near, Rev Jesse Jackson, Amy Goodman, Indigo Girls, Joan Baez, Rev William Barber and Bill McKibben and have performed at concerts, peace & justice events and mass demonstrations across the country, including the Women’s March Oakland, the Poor People’s Campaign National Demonstration in Washington DC and the #FamiliesBelongTogether Day of Action in San Francisco. 

Emma’s Revolution’s latest CD, Revolution Now garnered top acclaim from radio stations across the country focusing on folk and acoustic music, including Top Artist #20 (just after Joan Baez), Top Album #24 (just after Bela Fleck) and Top Song #25 (just after Rhiannon Giddens) for their song, “Sing People Sing”, a loving tribute to the late Pete Seeger who was a friend and mentor to the duo. Winners of the John Lennon Songwriting Contest Grand Prize and the Phil Ochs Award, their songs have been sung at justice events around the world and their music has been featured on NPR’s “All Things Considered” and Pacifica’s “Democracy Now!”

Phil Ochs Song Night

Phil Ochs Song Nite

Friday – June 8 – 7:00 pm

First Church, 165 Main St., Amherst, MA

The songs of Phil Ochs are alive and well, indeed, they sometimes ring as true as they did when first performed on Greenwich Village stages of the early ‘60s. At the time, Ochs and Bob Dylan were considered on parallel tracks to national prominence, until in 1964, Dylan went electric, dropped his politics, and began his historic rise to Pop stardom. Ochs remained true to his socially conscious, humanistic, anti-Vietnam War message, and inscribed his lyrical songs into the hearts of a generation of activists around the world. In the process, he created some of the most memorable Folk songs of all time. “Changes,” “When I’m Gone,” “I Ain’t Marching Any More,” and “There But for Fortune” have been covered by dozens of artists through the years from Joan Baez to Ani DiFranco.

On Friday, June 8th, at 7pm, an evening of Phil Ochs songs will be presented by Mt. Toby Concerts at First Church in Amherst at 165 Main St. It will be hosted by Sonny Ochs, Phil’s sister. The focus will be less on the man, more on his indelible legacy of music and its uncanny relevancy. Interpreting his songs will be four of the most adept and compelling voices of the modern acoustic music scene: Reggie Harris, Tom Prasada-Rao, Pat Wictor, and Greg Greenway. To the “under the radar” world of internet con­nected, niche music fans, this is a star studded lineup of individual talent. Leave whatever precon­ceived notions you have about Folk Music at the door. These four eclectic musicians will interact in the round and perform the songs of Phil Ochs as if they were written yesterday. Threads of Gospel, R&B, Jazz, Folk, and Pop will be woven into a memorable evening of virtuosity and heart. Special guest for the evening will be dynamic singer/songwriter Pamela Means.

Tom Prasada-Rao: Born in Ethiopia of India parents, Tom was raised in the Washington DC area. He’s won multiple Washington Area Music Awards, and is a musician’s musician. He is a masterful guitar player with an R&B feel. He also plays violin, piano, and a guitar/sitar hybrid. —Visually and musically, Tom is the most compelling presence to emerge in the singer-song writer genre as I’ve seen in a long time.—Jim Bessman, Billboard

Reggie Harris: From Philadelphia, Reggie is a songwriter, a storyteller, and a lecturer. Having toured internationally for years with his wife Kim Harris, Reggie is now showing the world his singular solo voice. His songs rise with echos of the Civil Rights Movement, Pete Seeger, and Bernice Johnson Reagon. “Reggie Harris is part of the solution. His marvelous music, his hard-earned wisdom, and his loving presence lift up any room he enters. Reggie reaches across all boundaries and makes strangers into friends.”—Rabbi Jonathan Kligler,Teacher, Leader, Musician, Lev Shalem Institute, Woodstock, NY

Pat Wictor: Born in Venezuela, Pat has lived all over the world. His other worldly musicianship has made him a much in demand studio musician on his passion, the slide guitar. With flowing red hair and zen-like calm, audiences love his understated presence, his beautiful songs, and the magic of his slide. Pat is one third of the acclaimed trio, Brother Sun.

Greg Greenway: Originally from Richmond, VA, Greg is an international ambassador of the Boston Folk Scene. A rare combination of instrumental expertise, a soulful & moving singer, and powerful poet, Greenway is one of those difficult-to-categorize performers. On guitar, piano, and ukulele, he is always surprising. He was 1/3 of Brother Sun, is 1/2 of Deeper Than The Skin, and entirely himself.

“one of the strongest, and finest voices in folk music.Confessional one moment, rambunctiously disarming the next, few modern folk singers can own a coffeehouse stage as completely as Greenway.” – The Boston Globe

Suggested donation: $10 to $30

Great article by Richie Davis:

Tim Grimm


with Jackson & Connor Grimm

Saturday – May 19 – 7:30 pm

Grimm is a storyteller…He sings of families being lost, the loss of rural America, returnees from Basra, slaves escaping a horrendous life, floods, yearning, anguish and the reason why people faced with such adversity carry on whilst being totally empathetic toward their plight or feelings…Bit like Woody Guthrie. –americanaUK

Tim Grimm is a bit of a Rennaisance man in the performing arts world. He has for the past 15 years, blended his love for songwriting, travel, and the storytelling of acting (theatre, film and television). His most recent recording- A STRANGER IN THIS TIME (2017), is a collaboration with his wife, Jan,and sons Connor and Jackson– the “Family Band”. In the Fall of 2016 this same group recorded the single- WOODY’S LANDLORD– which was the #1 song on Folk Radio for the year. Tim’s previous recording, THE TURNING POINT, produced the #1 song on Folk radio in 2014– KING OF THE FOLKSINGERS, a tribute to Tim’s friend and musical icon, Ramblin’ Jack Elliott.

After college (Earlham), Tim pursed an MFA in Theatre at The University of Michigan and from there worked in Regional Theatre, settling in Chicago. In Chicago, in addition to his theatre work, he studied briefly at the Old Town School of Folk Music and began writing songs and performing. He put together a band, Tim Grimm and The True Hearts and released 2 cds–True Heart, Kind Mind and Broken Down Palace. At which point, “Hollywood called”, and Tim put down his guitar and pen, and didn’t really pick them up for close to 10 years.

After several years (1990s) working in Los Angeles (where he co-starred for 2 seasons on the NBC drama Reasonable Doubts, worked on Clear and Present Danger with Harrison Ford,  and appeared in several films and tv projects), Tim returned home to Indiana.  He grew up in the woods and small town settings of southern Indiana, son of schoolteachers and grandson of farmers, and his return home was a conscious choice to live a life of significance rather than one of “success’. He now lives with his wife on  80 acres close to where he grew up. Tim’s songs are full of the rural rumblings that have shaped his life—rich with descriptive details, and sung with warmth and intimacy—recognizing the inextinguishable national romance with the idea of the family farm and the vanishing landscape of rural America.  

He released the album, HEART LAND in 2000, and on the strength of that recording, was named 2000’s “BEST DISCOVERY in Roots/Americana Music” by The Chicago Sun-Times. His albums COYOTES DREAM and NAMES, led to his being named “2004 MALE ARTIST of The Year” by the Freeform American Roots Djs. He has released 11 solo albums since 2000. His newest, A Stranger in This Time addresses pressing social topics such as the Dakota pipeline, a deep sense of place and home, the great famine in Ireland and even a Trump song, Gonna Be Great.

Tim will be performing with his two sons, Connor on bass and Jackson on guitar, banjo, mandolin and vocals.

Suggested donation for this show is $10 to $30. To save a seat, click on “Reservations” at the top of the page.


Saturday – April 7 – 7:30 pm

A Joe Jencks concert is definitely not a visit to the inner world of some guy with a guitar who wants you to sit still and listen politely. It’s an occasion for singing, a contagious rising up of voices, an act of joy and defiance! Classical training meets roots-groove with acoustic soul.

Joe Jencks is an international touring performer, songwriter, entertainer, and educator, based in Chicago, IL. He is noted for his unique merging of musical beauty, social consciousness, and spiritual exploration. Jencks weaves a diverse web of stories with brilliant musical skill, ensnaring even the most rigid of hearts, inviting them to open. His songs invite us to live inside of our passions and our beliefs.

On the stage, in the studio, or in the classroom, Jencks applies conservatory training to contemporary genres, bridging styles and techniques. Drawing on his Irish heritage (dual U.S./Irish Citizen), Jencks uses his lyrical voice to enchant, heal, and inspire. Jencks has won numerous songwriting awards and is also highly regarded as a song interpreter.

Joe’s latest endeavor is the upcoming release of a new Joe Jencks CD, The Forgotten: Recovered Treasures From The Pen of Si Kahn, comprised entirely of songs written by his friend and brother in song. Si approached Joe several years back with over 70 songs that he had written and never released. He asked him if he would consider singing any of them, and it evolved into a remarkable new album of 14 previously unreleased songs chronicling the lives of extraordinary people. Produced by Ken Whiteley and featuring some amazing Canadian musicians, these are some of Joe’s best performances yet in recorded form.

Suggested donation: $10 to $30.




Saturday – March 17 – 7:30 pm

Sam Gleaves and Tyler Hughes play old time country music and newly written songs from the Appalachian mountains.  Both natives of southwest Virginia, Sam and Tyler learned their craft from the finest traditional musicians of the region. Sam and Tyler’s programs feature fiddle and banjo hoedowns, close mountain harmonies, stories of all kinds, Carter Family-inspired autoharp and guitar, country gospel songs, lonesome ballads and flatfooting, the percussive dancing of the Appalachians.

As a duo, Sam and Tyler also perform contemporary songs that tell stories from today’s Appalachia, which can be heard on Sam’s critically acclaimed album. Sam and  Tyler have performed at many venues throughout the eastern United States and on programs such as West Virginia Public Radio’s Mountain Stage and Lexington, Kentucky’s Red Barn Radio (on Kentucky Educational Television). The first recording by the duo (titled Sam Gleaves & Tyler Hughes) is produced by veteran roots musician Cathy Fink and was released in June 2017 on the Community Music Inc. label.

Learn more about Sam and Tyler at

“Sam Gleaves and Tyler Hughes claim their place in the deep tradition of duet singing, so much a part of their Southwest Virginia home.  Tyler’s ‘When We Love’ and Ola Belle Reed’s ‘Tear Down the Fences’ are heart stopping anthems to everything that is the best in Appalachia and in each of us.”  – John McCutcheon, folk musician and songwriter 

Suggested donation: $10 to $25


Saturday – February 10 – 7:30 pm

The Peace & Social Concerns Committee presents a concert for the  benefit of Mount Toby Friends Meeting. All proceeds from the event  will  go to the Mount Toby. The concert series is happy to give back to  the Meeting, where music for social change is enjoyed every month.

Come and hear a variety of music including folk, classical and jazz.        Performing will be:

Kit Johnson is a skilled choral conductor and pianist who performs and offers music lessons in classical and jazz piano, vocal coaching, and improvisation for all instruments. He will be playing both classical and jazz piano.

Ben Tousley is that rare breed of singer-songwriter who brings together the personal, spiritual and political in concerts that engage and delight his audiences. His six albums of original songs include wry storytelling, lyrical love songs, incisive political commentary and stirring anthems.

Sue Kranz, a passionate singer-songwriter, guitarist and flutist, integrates music into every aspect of life, from the stage, to the classroom and around the globe. Sue recently walked the Camino de Santiago with her flute, sharing music and jamming along “the way.”  Sharing music with others is her greatest source of happiness.

Court Dorsey is a multi-talented singer-songwriter, actor and playwright. He is a founding member of the band, Bright Morning Star. We can expect a mix of folk ballads, protest classics, rock & roll, gospel and blues.

Jay Mankita is a celebrated songwriter, innovative guitarist, and upbeat, often hilarious touring performer, who truly engages, inspires, and entertains. He has recorded 6 albums. Three of his iconic songs, Living Planet, I Am A Dolphin, and From a Dog’s Stance are in the new Rise Again songbook.

Suggested donation: $10 to $25



Saturday – January 20 – 7:30 pm

Heather Pierson is an award-winning pianist, multi-genre singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, arranger, bandleader, and performer. From New Orleans-style jazz and blues to rousing Americana and poignant folk narratives, Heather’s memorable, intimate, and cathartic live performances, both solo and with her acoustic trio feature her virtuosity on piano, her bell-tone vocals, and her commanding yet playful stage presence while wielding a tenor banjo, melodica, ukulele, or acoustic guitar.

The Heather Pierson Acoustic Trio features Shawn Nadeau on upright bass and Davy Sturtevant on, as Heather often puts it from stage, “everything else” . Armed with a gorgeous tenor voice and a mighty arsenal of instruments ranging from dobro to fiddle to cornet that come to life in his capable hands, Davy is at once a witty, thoughtful, and engaging stage presence. New Hampshire native Shawn Nadeau brings a rock solid thump and nearly two decades of performing experience to the trio, informed by a wide spectrum of unique rhythmic and melodic sensibilities ranging from rockabilly to reggae to jazz. In their able hands, these three veteran musicians have catapulted Heather’s live performances of her deep well of Americana originals – folk, jazz, blues – with intricate instrumental arrangements and stirring three-part vocal harmonies.

Defying genre and classification and yet fully embracing all musical styles, Heather is an artist who speaks the language of music in as many dialects as her abilities will allow. Her songwriting is as diverse as her musical expertise, addressing life’s joys and trials in songs about women in prison, the struggle of living, hard times and homelessness as well as songs about conscience, the joy of singing and life’s celebration. Her life’s work, she says, is to share her love of music and of life with others – one song, one heart, one mind at a time.

Suggested donation: $10 to $25

Save a seat by clicking on “Reservations” at top of the page



Saturday, December 9, 2:00 pm

Two of A Kind delights audiences of all ages with their music, good humor and audience participation. Philadelphians, David and Jenny Heitler-Klevans of Two of a Kind love bringing people together and building community through music. Their beautiful harmonies accompanied by David’s powerful, rhythmic guitar playing and Jenny’s multi-ethnic percussion instruments create magic on stage.

An award-winning husband-wife duo, Two of a Kind’s concerts for families and children of all ages include songs, puppets, movement and stories – all with an emphasis on interaction and participation. Themes of songs and stories range from friendship and animals to social issues such as the environment, conflict resolution and diversity.

Listen to their music at:

Annie & Peter

Our Valley’s own, Annie Patterson and Peter Blood have created a quiet revolution of group singing in the U.S.  Co-creators of the popular songbooks Rise Up Singing and Rise Again!, they have performed and led singing in schools, churches, conferences, folk song clubs and festivals here and abroad. They lead audiences in singing together, with Annie on guitar, claw-hammer banjo and penny whistle, while Peter plays the fiddle and guitar.

Annie & Peter inspire audiences to sing in schools and camps, educating as well as entertaining and building community. They sing about earthcare and climate, peace, the Underground Railroad and Freedom movements. Often, they just sing for fun.

Visit their website for more info:

This is a great opportunity for families to sing together, old and young.

Suggested donations: $5/child, $10 to $20/adult, Maximum $25/family.