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Stars in Our Midst

Stars in Our Midst

  • Folk
  • Singer/Songwriter

Did you know that many of the Passim staff are great artists in their own right? Tonight we celebrate the folks that are selling tickets, running sound, answering phones, managing the office, coordinating festivals, waiting tables, and helping Passim to keep going!

featuring Liv Greene, Mariel Vandersteel, Abby Altman, Beane, Adam Gurczak, Rachel Sumner, Sadie Gustafson-Zook, Oliver Esposito, Liz Keller-Tripp, Grace Givertz, Jared Janzen, & emcee Cindy Howes

Liv Greene

  • Folk
  • Singer/Songwriter

Liv Greene is an emerging singer-songwriter based in Boston, Massachusetts. Raised in a wooded corner of Washington, D.C., Liv discovered her love of song at 12 years old, after teaching herself her first chords on guitar.

After attending Miles of Music Camp, a fiddle camp in New Hampshire, during her freshman year of high school, Liv developed a deepened interest in songwriting as well as Appalachian folk and roots music. She has since felt at home writing and performing old-time, Americana and indie folk music. Her influences are varied and numerous, including Bonnie Raitt, Joni Mitchell, Elliott Smith, Sarah Jarosz, Patty Griffin, and Aoife O’Donovan- to name just a few.

In summer, Liv is part of a touring americana duo with fiddler and songwriter, Olivia Baxter, called “Liv & Let Liv,” in which she sings, and plays guitar and clawhammer banjo. The two have toured extensively, and have travelled much of the east coast and Canada playing both original and traditional music. Liv Greene was a 2016 YoungArts finalist in Voice (Singer-Songwriter) and is an alum of Interlochen Arts Academy, where she graduated in 2016 with honors, a Fine Arts Award in songwriting, and the singer-songwriter program’s Artist of the Year Award. She is currently in school at the New England Conservatory in Boston, where she studies Contemporary Improvisation.

Stars in Our Midst

Rachel Sumner

  • Folk
  • Singer/Songwriter

Praised by audiences for her powerful, lonesome voice and haunting songs, Rachel Sumner carefully spins melodies that get caught in your head and delivers them “with an attitude and drive in her guitar playing…sure to strike a chord and dig deep into your heart. ” (Red Line Roots)

Rachel may be best known as the former guitarist and singer-songwriter from bluegrass string phenom Twisted Pine, but it is in her recent venture as a solo artist that we are beginning to fully recognize her dynamism as a writer and performer. Whether she’s fronting her new band of lush, low-voiced strings or appearing with only a guitar, you’ll be mesmerized by her elegantly intricate arrangements and captivated by the delivery of each and every word. Now, you may be getting the idea that all of her songs are delicate, crystalline confessionals; they are most certainly not. Rachel is both a Willie Nelson and a Patsy Cline of indie-folk – writing the heartfelt but catchy songs and conveying their emotional complexity with candor and an achingly beautiful yodel. And it is her diverse love of pop, classical, country and everything in between that she draws upon to synthesize into her own unique sound.

In 2011, Rachel relocated from the west coast to Boston as a classical flutist, intending only to study Composition and Film Scoring at Berklee College of Music. She didn’t play any other instruments – she hadn’t even thought to strum a string on the guitar at that point. Rachel might have begun her formal training in wind ensembles and orchestras, but folk music was important to her family and had been fueling her musical passion from the very start. Rachel’s debut solo EP Anything Worth Doing was released in November 2018, and she has begun work on the follow-up to that, her debut full-length record due out in 2020.

Stars in Our Midst Visit Artist's Website

Sadie Gustafson-Zook

  • Folk
  • Jazz
  • Singer/Songwriter

Sadie Gustafson-Zook is a versatile singer, intricate guitar player, and contagious songwriter. Her pure voice and hummable melodies balance with witty lyrics to create charmingly honest and relatable music.

Oregon-born, Indiana-grown and Boston-based, Sadie has brought her lovable stories and songs to audiences across the country, in homes, churches, and renowned folk venues and festivals including Club Passim, The Purple Fiddle, Radio Bean, Walnut Valley Festival, Red Wing Roots, and more. Sadie has won multiple awards for performances and original compositions and holds a master’s degree in Jazz and Contemporary Music from Longy School of Music in Cambridge, MA. Sadie is gearing up for her second original album to be released in 2020, coming after her debut album “I’m Not Here” in 2017.

Grace Givertz

  • Indie Folk
  • Singer/Songwriter

Out November 1st, Year of the Horse is Grace Givertz’s debut studio album. Two years after her first EP The Light, Grace has turned her wit to grit to create her most vulnerable release yet. Working closely with good friend Max Grazier (Grazier Audio), Grace has turned tragedy into a triumphant record. She writes openly about living with chronic illness and how it has affected every aspect of her life.

With a large voice packed into a tiny body, Grace Givertz is a multi-instrumentalist who uses her honest lyrics to bring a refreshing sound to folk. Born and raised in Jupiter, Florida, Grace has been writing songs and performing since she was eleven years old. Grace has performed at many Boston venues including Great Scott, Club Passim, ONCE Ballroom, The Red Room and The Burren, opening for favorites like Lucy Dacus, Neyla Pekarek (The Lumineers), and John Paul White (The Civil Wars), and Erin Rae.

Year of the Horse showcases Grace’s ability to turn lemons in to lemonade. “…The only real option is to smile at how much she packs into a tiny punch of a song,” Nina Corcoran writes in digboston.

Stars in Our Midst Visit Artist's Website

Cindy Howes

Cindy Howes is a radio professional passionately motivated to connect communities through meaningful music.

She is based in Boston, with her cat Dottie. She enjoys yoga, hiking and playing the three chords she knows on a borrowed parlor guitar. She grew up in suburban Massachusetts playing clarinet in the high school band while belonging to both a sheep and rabbit 4H club.

She began broadcasting at just 14, at Walpole High School’s 10 watt radio station, which led her to seek a degree in Media Arts at Emerson College. Driven to secure a place on WERS’ hallowed airwaves, Cindy ended up hosting and running the station’s folk program, The Coffeehouse, for most of her tenure at Emerson. Her resume also includes WBOS, WBUR, WBZ,  and WYEP. She spent ten years at WYEP hosting The Morning Mix and then The Evening Mix. Since 2014, she’s been hosting online at Folk Alley/WKSU, a radio station based out of Kent, OH, which has joyfully connected her with folk music again. Folk Alley, WYEP and WERS are public radio stations deeply involved in community and advocating for music fans and musicians alike. Cindy’s has thrived at this intersection and knows how to bring music fans and music creators together in many different ways. She currently is helping prepare the next generation of radio talent back at Emerson College’s WERS.

A zealous folk music fan, she also worked briefly at the historic Club Passim in Harvard Square and was deeply immersed in Boston’s rich singer/songwriter and Americana community. In 2018 Cindy launched her own music podcast: Basic Folk, featuring honest conversations with folk musicians.

In addition to her radio work, Cindy has worked in playlist curating for restaurants and retail stores. She’s familiar with many different genres of music: folk, rock, world, hip-hop, blues and more.

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