Linden Tree Coffeehouse’s Annual Winter Potpourri

Saturday, December 9, at 7:30 pm.

Featuring Erin Ash Sullivan and a special showcase with 8 contestants hosted by Kirsten Manville. Special holiday tickets are $10 minimum donation To be shared with Wakefield’s Interfaith food pantry.

Welcoming to Wakefield will be several new singer-songwriters in our Linden Tree’s Annual Winter Potpourri. Area folks who have never been to a Linden Tree show are encouraged to attend. They will get to meet over 10 acoustic music performers and help the volunteers with audience participation in discovering new talent. At the same time, the audience will be supporting the local music venue in its 39th season and the Wakefield Interfaith Food Pantry. 

Erin Ash Sullivan, Potpourri winner 2022

Hosting the show is Kirsten Manville, a Wakefield-based singer-songwriter who engages audiences with melodic and lyric-focused Americana music with a touch of blues and country. Her songs have singable lyrics and memorable melodies that capture stories about everyday life, the ups and downs, and in-betweens. Her latest CD is “Blossom in the Sun.” It was a Top 5 pick in the September 2022 issue of Metronome Magazine.

The feature set will be performed by Last year’s winter potpourri winner Erin Ash Sullivan. She is a Massachusetts-based folk singer-songwriter who loves a good storytelling song. In 2021 she released her debut solo album, We Can Hear Each Other, which reached #10 on the FAI DJ Chart. In 2022, she has been a Grassy Hill Emerging Artist at the Falcon Ridge Folk Festival, the recipient of the Mark Erelli Judge’s Choice Award in the New England Songwriting Competition, and a Songwriter Serenade Semifinalist. Victor Infante of the Worcester Telegram & Gazette describes her music as “delicate and evocative,” with songs full of “nuance and emotional resonance.”

Participating in a contest to win tonight’s audience favorite acts will be Diane Battistello, Sam Bayer, Mike Laureanno, Steve Robb, Anne Sandstrom, Mark Zelermyer, John Ferullo, and Peter Vilbig. Each of these performers will sing two songs each. The audience will be able to rate each. Two with top votes will be invited for a future Linden Tree concert.

A speechwriter by trade, Diane Battistello relies on those techniques and methods for both her songwriting and her political activism. Her short storywriting turned into songwriting in the 1970s when she bought her first guitar. Influenced early by the music of Joni Mitchell, it was during the 1980s that she found herself drawn to the lyrics of Greg Brown. She credits her finger-picking style to the guidance she’s received over the years from different guitar teachers, including the south coast’s Steve Allain and John Baptista. With one EP behind her, ‘Green Mountain Blue,’ Battistello is just releasing a full CD, ‘Introvert’s Buffet (or What I Did on My COVID Vacation).’

Boston musician Sam Bayer is your literate, exuberant guide to an imaginary world where housewives win the Nobel Prize in physics, poker-playing children gamble over their bedtimes, and metaphorical elephants pirouette in the den four and a half minutes at a time. His latest studio CD, The Great Indoors, brings 11 gems from his universe to yours.”

John Ferullo is a songwriter and open mike host from Massachusetts. He performs his own songs and other folks songs all around New England. His music has been described as “about important things with his stories about seemingly small things.” Stories about regular people. John runs the long-running PCA Open mic. in Westford, MA. and is in the process of recording a new collection of songs.

Mike Laureanno hails from Fall River, MA, an old mill town infamous for its axe-wielding resident Lizzie Borden, and famous for its chow mein sandwiches and pork pies! A passionate performer, Mike’s songs are visceral and evocative. He is proud of his roots, and many of his songs deal with his gritty, blue-collar hometown and the lives of his family and friends. He is a winner of the 2017 Wildflower, TX songwriting contest, the 2016 Woody Guthrie songwriting contest, and a 2016 Kerrville New Folk, TX finalist.

Anne Sandstrom is a singer-songwriter who draws inspiration from life (and near-death) experiences, history, social issues, and even books. She carefully crafts lyrics and sets them to intricate melodies, accompanied by guitar played in one of a number of open tunings. Although trained in music theory and composition as a high school student at Berklee, Anne relies on her innate musical sense to create her poetic songs. During the COVID lockdown, Anne took the opportunity to travel virtually to the U.S. southwest, Scotland, England, and Israel, where enthusiastic audiences requested numerous repeat appearances. Her music was featured in a video produced by Nobel Peace Prize recipient International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War. She has also performed at events to advocate for nuclear disarmament.

Pete Vilbig, a fiction writer and former journalist, writes songs that combine strong narrative and evocative language, often about the American scene. Pete covered the Contra war in Central America for the Boston Globe and crime and politics in Miami for the Miami Herald, but he’s also been a furniture mover, apartment painter, group home counselor, and a New York City public high school teacher. Currently, he teaches writing at Harvard College. In NYC, Pete busked in the subway and Central Park and joined the Jack Hardy Songwriters Exchange. In Providence, he performed at the Rhode Island Folk Festival and PVD Fest, and in recent months, he’s been part of the Folk Music Notebook’s Artist in Residence series, the Rhode Island Songwriters Association Songwriters in the Round, and as the featured performer at open mics at Strings Bar and Grill and the Sandywoods Center for the Arts. The best place to hear his music is on his YouTube page at Peter Vilbig Music.

Mark Zelermyer’s originals tell stories about everyday life. His songs are always thoughtful and engaging, ranging from touching to funny, heartfelt to uplifting. Backed by Bob Metzger on guitar and John Vandale on bass, Mark and the band perform around Greater Boston and livestream as far away as England. Their second full-length album will be released in the Spring. According to Metronome, “Mark Zelermyer delivers a collection of poignant songs on his debut release, Prior to Leaving.”

Admission to this special Linden Tree concert is a suggested $10 donation, cash, or check at the door. Reservations for preferential seating are made by calling 781-246-2836. There will be seats available at the door. Linden Tree Concerts are held in Wakefield UU Church, 326 Main St., Wakefield, MA 01880

We thank the Massachusetts Cultural Council, Wakefield Chapter for supporting our concert series that has allowed us to bring quality programming to our community. Linden Tree also supports Fair Trade Music Local 1000. For more information, see and our Facebook page.

Masks are not required. 

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