Charlotte’s Web presents Michael Johnson & Clandestine

Charlotte’s Web presents Michael Johnson & Clandestine

By Take in a double feature this weekend at the Old Metropolitan (at State), 102 N. Main St., as Charlotte’s Web presents Michael Johnson and Clandestine. After elections, politicians may not deliver on their promises, but these talented performers live up to their billing.

Take in a double feature this weekend at the Old Metropolitan (at State), 102 N. Main St., as Charlotte’s Web presents Michael Johnson and Clandestine. After elections, politicians may not deliver on their promises, but these talented performers live up to their billing.

At 8 p.m. Friday, hear Michael Johnson on guitar as he weaves his spell that always leaves the audience entranced. Critics have raved about him for years. “A dazzling guitarist and wonderfully expressive singer. No two shows are alike,” Billboard magazine states.

“… a masterful guitarist who can pull off some amazing stunts with such incredible nonchalance that he doesn’t seem quite human,” Chicago Daily Tribune notes.

The Duluth News Tribune agrees: “I doubt if any concert performer works an audience better or cherishes the power of a well placed wisecrack more than Johnson does.”

Johnson got an early start, beginning at age 13 and never stopped. Singing, playing, writing and recording are the only things he’s ever done, and he loves it. He studied classical guitar at Barcelona’s Liceo Conservatory with eminent guitarist Graciano Tarrago, and he plays on all his records with a unique and distinctive style. Often performing solo, he has also appeared with such notables as the late John Denver as part of the Chad Mitchell Trio. Born in Alamosa, Colo., he grew up in Denver and kept on going. In 1964, he won an international folk singing contest, and first prize was a record deal from Epic Records. He later toured the Orient with Randy Sparks and The New Society, and toured for a year with John Denver. He has also acted in New York off Broadway and toured with “Jacques Brel Is Alive and Well and Living in Paris.” Since then, he’s had seven hit singles, toured 91 cities with Wynonna and Clint Black and has been on TV on Nashville Now, Austin City Limits, Entertainment Tonight, the CMA Award Shows and Tonight Show with Jay Leno.

Tickets are $10 in advance or $12 at the door.

At 8 p.m. Saturday, at the Old Metropolitan, 102 N. Main, hear Clandestine. This unusual group that plays Texas Celtic music has been called “… a delightful walk on the Celtic wild side” (Rock ‘n’ Reel magazine) and an “astonishing band” (Folktales Internet magazine). With penny whistle, fiddle, guitar, hand percussion and bagpipe and gorgeous vocals, Clandestine knocked out the local audience with their performance last November.

Who are they? E.J. Jones has played the Highland bagpipe since age 11 and has been in the prize lists of the U.S. Piping Foundation and the Nicol-Brown Chalice. He attended the World Pipe Band Championships with the Hamilton Pipe Band when they placed first in the Grade Three Competition.

Jennifer Hamel has been captivating audiences with her voice and guitar work on both traditional songs and original pieces she creates. Gregory McQueen has been playing the fiddle longer than he will admit. When offered the opportunity to play with the pipes and collaborate with Hamel’s unique songwriting and vocal ability, he joined Clandestine in 1994. Emily Dugas began playing with Clandestine in 1996. Her talents in percussion and vocals are adding depth and richness to the band.

This four-piece group from Houston was the only American band invited to compete at the prestigious ’97 Festival Interaceltique de Lorient in France, and they placed fourth in the finals! Of their latest CD, To Anybody At All, Dirty Linen magazine says, “… a sound as tight, powerful and forthright as the Tannahill Weavers… with luck, To Anybody At All could come to be regarded among the classics of the genre.” Dirty Linen calls their previous CD “Powerful stuff, beautiful stuff.” Clearly, this is a group that consistently brings out the best.

This performance is co-sponsored by the Rock River Valley Celtic Society.

Tickets are $10 in advance, $12 at the door. Tickets are available at Rockford Area Arts Council, 713 E. State St., 963-6765; 15 Minutes, Highcrest Center, 395-8061; Ubiquity Records, 1701 W. State, 964-8933; and Tin Whistle, N. Main & Auburn, 963-0270; or by mail with check and SASE, 10928 N. Main, Rockton, IL 61072. For Web information, call 964-2238.

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