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Get the Folk Out! Ashland Folk Collective is For All Folks

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Caitlin Jemma and Bart Budwig Photo Credit: Jacqui Aubert

“Folk is music for the people,” says Jacqui Aubert, one of the two founders of Ashland Folk Collective. She and her partner, Dan Sherrill, who also works for the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, began the collective in 2017.  The focus is on “progressive” folk defined as original music by singer/songwriters predominantly. “It is not world music or traditional folk,” Aubert explains.

Ashland Folk Collective produces concerts at venues such as the Headwaters Building in Ashland, Carpenter’s Hall at OSF, and Fry Family Farm in Medford. They also hope to offer shows at Southern Oregon University’s recital hall soon. Both Sherrill and Aubert were touring musicians and began the Collective to keep folk music alive in the Ashland area. Aubert says, “We are basically curating a music scene. Most of the artists coming through are doing well in the United States, but they are not known in Ashland yet.” In the beginning, Aubert went and saw every performer live before booking them, but now she has more musicians than she can respond to and lately relies on referrals from other performers.

The concerts the Collective promotes are intimate, listen to the instruments and stories told in between songs, alcohol-free events. “We want people to be able to sit down and hear storytelling. Listening to the words is important because it is a pretty crucial element of the performance.” With so many musicians reaching out to Aubert, it is difficult to choose. Part of the selection process is finding out how they “walk in the world,” what their personalities are like, and what messages they are sharing.

The collective has just completed a crowdfunding campaign to raise money to provide living wages to performers and to offer specialty educational workshops from guest artists. Funding a non-profit is an ongoing task and the Collective is still a new business. But they are hopeful about opportunities in this area and they have several concerts coming up soon. The next will be held on May 23 and features Caitlin Jemma and Bart Budwig. Aubert explained to the Messenger how she found the duo.

“An artist named John Craigie introduced me to Bart Budwig. Artist recommendations are super helpful. It’s like having a chef tell you the best restaurants in town. I have seen Caitlin Jemma perform at Country Fair and Bart Budwig performed last year with the Shook Twins. They are both beautiful vocalists and true song writers. Caitlin has more of a county feel delivered with soul whereas Bart is a classic folk artist with a spin, as he is also a trumpet player. What’s special about hosting these artists together is that they have toured together in the past so they will join in on each other’s sets!”

The following show on June 13 features Max Gomez and Erisy Watt. Gomez has a “folk and Western sound that is both cosmic and cowboy.” He released his debut album in 2013 called, Rule the World and has played with the likes of John Hiatt and Shawn Mullins. Erisy Watt, from Portland, has an LP due out at the end of July. Her voice and lyrics are ethereal. And on July 17, John Craigie also from Portland will perform in Medford. He is, known for his humor, masterful storytelling and ad-lib antics.

Being a nonprofit, the Collective relies on funding from ticket sales and donations.

To support them and the artists they bring into town, you can check out their upcoming shows below or check out their website for ways to donate at ashlandfolkcollective.com.

Upcoming Shows:

Caitlin Jemma & Bart Budwig
7 – 9 pm, Thursday, May 23
Headwaters Building, 84 4th Street, Ashland

Max Gomez with guest Erisy Watt
7 – 9:30 pm, Thursday, June 13
Fry Family Farm, 2184 Ross Ln, Medford

John Craigie
7 – 9:30 pm, Wednesday, July 17th
Fry Family Farm, 2184 Ross Ln, Medford


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