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Folk concerts fall into new season

Fraser Valley Folk Concerts returns for its second fall season of intimate performances. The series was the brainchild of John and Bambi Statz. They joke he’s a “closet accordion” player. She plays the flute and piccolo, and is a “’Stars-and-Stripes’ kind of person.”

For 25 years they came up to the area from Wisconsin “just about every school break” with their two boys. They loved all the concerts here in the summers, and moved to the Fraser Valley full time three years ago.

With a deep appreciation of music, the husband and wife team wanted to provide an intimate “house concert” setting “in which audiences are treated to original music by talented Colorado musicians.” In folk/Americana, they say, “writers put so much into the lyrics,” and that “people are there to listen,” Bambi says. “It’s such a special genre because there’s so much heart and soul.” And, “for the musicians, it’s so much more rewarding.”

Their two sons are both musicians in their own right. Son John is an international folk musician who plays the trombone and guitar. Son Cody plays keyboard and sings indie-rock in the Denver area. The two agreed to play for the series’ first house performance: July 5, 2015. “We called it our ‘pilot’,” Bambi said.

With Bambi’s background in educational leadership, she began the bookings and publicity. Since then, they’ve invited musicians who are local, regional or touring nationally. There’s “really no limit,” Bambi says.

Other shows so far have featured Megan Burtt, Robert Louis Cole, John Statz, Joe Johnson, and Peggy Mann. “We were so lucky. Their interaction with the audience is just fantastic,” Bambi said. “It’s fun for us to (also) get to know the artists.”

Denver-based singer/songwriter Patrick Dethlefs kicks off the fall season this Sunday, Sept. 11 at the Fraser Historical Church. Doors open at 6:30 p.m.

In 2009 Dethlefs won the Swallow Hill Music’s Best Teen songwriter Award for best song and best performance, and Fellow Magazine deems it “music that sinks into your bones.”

Born in Tacoma, Wash., Dethlefs grew up in Colorado. Both his parents were big influences along Dethlefs’ musical journey. His mom is a folk musician; his dad was into rock and roll and jam band and was also songwriter.

Their neighbor had an electric bass, and Dethlefs had dreamed about forming a band. So, on Dethlefs’ 12th birthday, his dad got him his first instrument, an electric guitar (he now prefers to play acoustic for its distinct sound).

Since then, including time playing for a bluegrass quartet in high school, Dethlefs has come into his own as a professional musician. He has released several albums, with an overall sound he says reflects music he listens to, things he’s dealt with in life, and what Westword says “exudes a notable amount of emotional depth and sophistication.”

The second set of the season, Oct. 22, features Josh Harty, said to be destined for national acclaim. A third-generation musician born in Kindred, North Dakota, Harty sang gospel and country “at just about every Lutheran Church, Eagles Club and senior center in the Midwest” from ages 5-11. By age 12, Harty and his dad, a small-town police chief and preacher, had recorded two records together.

In 2014 Harty released two duo albums: “The Attic Session” and “Holding On”. His live shows are said to provide good storytelling, and his songs tell the tales love, loss, broken hearts, being on the road, and “the home that we are all looking for.” He’s “always looking for that balance between the rolling road and the people who inspire him, trading stories around kitchen tables and theatre stages.”

Third up for the Fraser Valley Folk Concert fall series is Boulder band Foxfeather, consisting of Carly Ricks Smith (lead vocals), Laura Paige Stratton (acoustic/electric guitars, keys, vocals), Patrick Coleman (upright/electric bass, violin), Ben Batchelor (drums/percussion), and Ian Hendrick (electric guitar). The group, with its “lyrical base … bolstered by strong blues-rock instrumentals” is set to perform Dec. 4.

The “sultry, alt-Americana band” with a “smokey/jazzy edge” has released several albums, including “Foul Moon” in 2014. Their upcoming show in Fraser is sure to reflect pieces from a self-titled album set to hit the streets October 1st. Smith said “Generally our songs cover topics like love and whiskey (haha),” and that they “definitely have a darker side and a lot of heartache in our lyrics.” As with any show they play, they “hope to meet some cool folks and share (their) art with them,” Smith said. “Hopefully they will follow us and come see us again.”

There are currently more than 120 people on the mailing list for the Fraser Valley Folk Concert series, and the Statz couple wants to see that grow. Admission is a donation of just $10; the aim is for all proceeds to go right back to the musicians.

Concerts usually take place at the Fraser Historical Church, 107 Eisenhower Drive, which emulates the “house concert” feel. The venue, formerly known as the “Church of What’s Happening Now,” seats about 60 people, so entry is by guest list or invitation only. To make reservations, e-mail fraservalleyfolk@gmail.com.