Past Feature Performers

December 2017  and January 2018   —  Open Stage Nights
November 2017
Chris George

Chris was involved in music groups in his early years of teaching high school in New Hampshire. Bands that he wrote for and performed in included “Staving Chain”, “The Stutter Brothers”, and “Conniption Fit and the Flying Fan Modules.” He lives in Portsmouth, NH and is a member of “Rock My Soul”, the New England gospel group. He also plays guitar and sings in a variety of organized and less organized gatherings of musicians.

October 2017
Scott Matsumoto
 Scott Matsumoto is an acoustic fingerstyle guitar player who combines the styles of Andy McKee and Tommy Emmanuel.  The result is a broad range of guitar songs that are both percussive and melodic; everything from two-hand tapping guitar pieces to covers of pop songs.  Scott started as a folk singer/songwriter, but decided to go “all in” on the guitar: making all the music come through the guitar.  The guitar is his band-in-a-box, Every sound in the band gets created out of the different parts of the guitar; there are no pedals or electronics. Follow Scott through his Facebook page:
September 2017
Phil Duke
Over the past few years that Phil Duke (“The Jolly Codger” ) has been playing at the Spireside, he’s shared original songs and stories which often made us smile or laugh out loud (and, yes, occasionally groan). He has many stories about his childhood in England and his fascination with trains and all things mechanical. He also sings about the humorous people and pets he has known over the years. He has been a musician for most of his life and plays a variety of guitars and banjos, most of which he saved, made or modified is some way and each has its own interesting story. We never quite know what Phil will bring to the stage, but we always enjoy it!
July  & August 2017    —  Open Stage Nights
June 2017
Zak Trojano
After Zak got out of college, he wandering the country from the desert Southwest to Great Plains until he ran out of money.
After a while it seemed like he ought to write some songs, and he did: heavy songs with a light touch; an AM radio throwback voice and an intricate finger-style technique framed by a drummer’s rhythm and sharpened by years of immersion in the work of players as various as John Fahey, Merle Travis, and Chet Atkins. In over a decade writing, recording, and performing music professionally – sharing studios and stages with his band Rusty Belle, or supporting touring acts like Chris Smither, Kris Delmhorst, Jeffrey Foucault, and Peter Mulvey – Zak Trojano has evolved his own thing: a warm baritone paired with an old Martin guitar, floating above spare lines of cello and lap steel, horns and brushes, with a deceptively simple lyricism that on repeated listening shows that Zak doesn’t say much, but he’s worth hearing.
May 2017
Don Readel

Don aka The Singing Bus Driver of Maine at his ‘Day Job’ with Concord Coach Lines has 30 years experience of entertaining folks in Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Maine as a soloist mostly. Don was part of the trio Driftwood Creek for one year back in 2015.

Readel is currently singing and active at a new church in Antrim, NH called At The Cross. The Spireside Coffee House breaks a hiatus Don has been on, just gathering his thoughts about life and family and the balance it takes to make the music real.

April 2017
Joel Cage

Once upon a time, Joel Cage was a different person, playing a different type of music, and treading another musical turf. Something happened and he quietly transitioned into an award-winning acoustic talent. During the past twenty years, he has only released a handful of albums [culminating with recent Eponymous, one of the best albums of 2013), but has chosen the well-worn path of traveling troubadour (much like Bob Dylan and his never-ending tours), performing hundreds of shows in concert, festivals, coffeehouses, clubs, churches, and bars with an indefatigable burst of vocal energy and guitar prowess. Each performance seems fresh, enhanced, and downright direct. In short, to fully appreciate this man’s talent, you MUST see him live! Now living in Meredith, New Hampshire, we recently corresponded to trace the steps he took be here & now.

December 2016  and January & February 2017    —  Open Stage Nights
November 2016  
Phil Levesque

Phil Levesque is a Goffstown, New Hampshire singer/songwriter. He performs uplifting music including light jazz standards and some original compositions. Brazilian sounds often find their way into Phil’s exceptional guitar-playing.
October 2016
Monadnock Bluegrass

Monadnock Bluegrass  is a well seasoned bluegrass band based in New Hampshire that has played together over 13 years. The band  provides an upbeat, energized performance in all settings. This group of talented musicians has developed a song list of traditional, contemporary and original bluegrass tunes allowing their musical abilities to shine. A mix of hard driving instrumentals and three part harmonies is always a must. Bill Monroe, Flatt & Scruggs, The Stanley Brothers, Hot Rize and Herschel Sizemore are just a few of the groups whose songs they enjoy singing and playing. They are proud to have completed their first CD, “House Upon The Hill”. They are working on their second CD and hope to have it completed in 2017.
July & August & September 2016   —  Open Stage Nights
June 2016
 Naughty & Nice

Their original music speaks to all aspects of everyday life, from whimsical to poignant, serious to silly. Accompanied by stand-up bass, guitar and pennywhistle, their exquisite harmonies are the highlight of their performance. Sometimes irreverent, but never rude, they’re sure to appeal to all audiences!
Band members Peg Chaffee and Cheryl Sager have been performing music for many years in various genres and bands. They’re repertoire is eclectic, from touching and sentimental (nice) to saucy and suggestive (naughty). Audiences praise Naughty & Nice as “very talented and entertaining” and “great songwriters” with “wonderful harmonies”.

May 2016
Steve Z

Steve’s original songs are well-written and his deep, smooth voice and his calm (and funny) stage presence blend to produce a great show.  Known for writing about loss and heartache, he also has lighter, uplifting songs in his repertoire and the audience is always left wanting more when his performance is over.   We love Steve and you will, too – so come on in to the Spireside for a listen!

Poet Steve RedicApril 2016
Steve Redic

Steve delights audiences around the state with the easy, conversational delivery of his poems. He has been a regular participant at Manchester’s Slam Free or Die, a performance poetry venue and is a member of the Hyla Brook Poets, sponsored by the Frost Farm Foundation. His poetry based on art earned him a place at the Currier Art Gallery’s “Inspired Words” series. Redic’s published poetry collection is entitled Out of the Rain-conversations with spaces between leaves. He and musician Don Watson have collaborated on a CD, “Welcome Home New Hampshire.”

 March 2016           Open Stage Night
February 2016EntangledStrings
Entangled Strings

Entangled Strings (Steve Macdonald, Liz Kantz, David Greenwood, and Nick & Sharon Pangaro) had their world premier performance at Spireside. Together they emphasize tight harmonies and play folk, country and Americana songs. Each player is a veteran of the local acoustic music scene, having played in prior string bands and community events. Their songs reflect the times and trials of everyday people navigating the paths and choices of life on earth. 

DecaturCreekJanuary 2016
Decatur Creek

Jack Carlton, Steve Dionne, and Doug Farrell are each accomplished NH musicians, singer / songwriters, and performers who together are – Decatur Creek.  They met as solo performers through local NH coffeehouses and open mikes, attracted by each other’s songwriting and musicianship.  Their influences run from roots to Americana, country, singer/songwriter, folk, and rock, always with the focus on the songs.  
Decatur Creek performs throughout southern and central NH at coffeehouses, farmers markets, restaurants, festivals, concerts, and community events.

December 2015Singer / songwriter Patricia O'Brien
 Pat O’Brien

Singer / songwriter Patricia O’Brien plays guitar, banjo, tin whistle, and sings. She grew up in Boston, exposed to Irish traditional tunes and songs from an early age, and her music combines the sounds of Irish traditional and American folk music.  She was a founding member and singer/songwriter for the women’s folk group Labrys. She also performed Irish traditional music in the US and Ireland with An Banna Ceoil and Agus Mise An.  Presently she performs with Bradigan, a band that blends Irish, Scottish and American music, and Newgrange, a new band of old friends. Pat’s music reflects a blend of Irish traditional music and American folk music, and she has released several CD’s.  She maintains an active solo performance schedule, singing original songs and telling stories that reflect her life adventures, her travels through Ireland, and her indelible sense of humor.

 November 2015

Jack Kid

Jack Kid, a Hancock, New Hampshire singer / songwriter likes to call his original blend of acoustic music “a brew-ha-ha of edgy urban folk, blues and fingerstyle guitar.” Reviews of his style include “A dash of blues, some folk, awesome guitar chops, excellent writing and singing and there you have Jack Kid” and “Kid falls in the New Hampshire legacy of Bill Morrissey-Meets-Greg Brown.” Jack’s easy rapport with an audience comes from his many public performances and having been a public school teacher for twelve years. His  CD “Blackjacks” opens with “So Many Angels,” an Honorable Mention in Billboard Magazine’s 2004 World Song Contest. 

 October 2015

 Ken Hasselbrack

Ken Hasselbrack is a warm and talented musician with a wonderful repertoire of folk, Celtic songs and traditional ballads.  He began playing guitar while in the navy, and hasn’t stopped since!.  He has been strongly influenced by Tom Paxton, Tom Rush and other acoustic guitar players. He enjoys interpreting music within a historical context, and his subtle and fun sense of humor provided an entertaining evening. 
 September 2015

 Sarah Jane Nelson

Sarah Jane is a multi-instrumentalist and vocalist who has been playing traditional music for folk festivals, New England contra dances, and other regional events for over two decades. She is an old-time fiddler, guitarist and vocalist with the duo  High-Strung Strummers , a member of  Banjos & Old Lace , and the pianist for  Gypsy Minor , a dance band that is regularly featured at both the New England Folk Festival and the Down East Folk Festival each spring. She is also a finalist in “twin fiddling” at Lowell’s Banjo & Fiddle Contest. Learn more about her music at
 August 2015


Since their formation in 2004, Boston-based acoustic guitar duo Kangaralien has released four full-length albums, played at over 100 venues, and printed up some seriously snazzy stickers. Their music has its roots in progressive rock, jazz, classical, and bluegrass. If you listen close enough, you may even hear the faint smells of a kangaroo thinking of a spaceship. Check them out at  They are performers with a sense of humor.  But first and foremost, Steve and Eric are incredible musicians.  They play a great variety of original works interspersed with some light banter and their amazing technical skills all combine to make a great show!  

 JULY 2015
 Click HorningNew London-based singer, guitarist and composer Click Horning will be joined by Joanie Horning on bass and rhythm guitar at the Spireside Coffeehouse and Open Mic in Dunbarton on Saturday July 18th.  Click has been performing since his teens when he began playing folk songs, but after hearing Gram Parsons and writers like Bob Dylan, he decided to try his hand at writing songs. “It was the perfect blending of poems and music that intrigued me. I’ve always loved lyrics that tell a story.”  He spent many years writing and performing in New York before  returning to his beloved New Hampshire and now plays around New England.
His songwriting is second to none, with songs recorded by Bill Staines, Harvey Reid and Robert John. Audiences are instantly drawn to Click’s warm stage presence, mellow sense of humor, rich vocal quality and top-notch numbers such as Oh Marie , December Nights , Wildflower , Row Your Own Boat , and Message of Love , to name a few. 
 June 2015

 Don Watson  

Don is a singer/songwriter from Gilford, NH, whose music has been compared to John Denver, Jim Croce and Dan Fogelberg. His songs are upbeat, inspiring and easy on the ears. Don’s newest project “Welcome Home New Hampshire” is a collection of songs based on people, places and events of the granite state. Don partnered with Steve Redic, a poet and historian from Candia, NH in the writing of these songs.
Here is what folks are saying about Don’s music. “A treasure for anyone who loves New Hampshire” and “The grand folk tradition of the Shaw Brothers is alive and well in the music of Don Watson”.

 May 2015

 Rick Cooper and Pat Kenneally 

Rick and Pat grew up less than a mile apart in the Boston suburbs in the 50’s and 60’s but only met in 2006 after each had developed a distinctive style.  Together they deliver an entertaining mix of folk-rock, country and blues. The strains of early rock and roll along with some folk-pop in their performances cause fans to say they are wonderfully talented musicians who understand what entertaining a crowd is all about. Cooper and Kenneally have opened for Ernie and The Automatics, Ronnie Earl, and David Buskin & Robin Batteau, among others. Check out their webpage at for a sneak preview of their music.

April 2015

Jim James

Guitarist Jim James, ‘the Brit with the dog’, has established a growing reputation as an entertaining performer with an eclectic mix of his own material, traditional British folk songs, and blues. He takes particular delight in introducing the work of songwriting friends he’s met on his travels. Accompanying Jim is his beloved Golden Retriever, Emmy Lou.  She is a fully certified Therapy Dog, a gentle soul, and longtime fan of Jim’s music.

 March 2015

Deep Hole Road

Deep Hole Road is a fun group comprised: Nick & Sharon Pangaro and Sue & Phil Cassista.
The Recipe for Deep Hole Road – Start with Old Crow, stir in a few Allmans and a pinch of Rowan, mix in a sprinkle of Dead with a dash of 3 Doors Down, cover it all with blues, old-timey and bluegrass. Bake and garnish with fiddles and guitars, then add banjo, dobro, mandolin and harmonicas. Let sit for a set or two and let please your ears.

 February 2015

Kathy Nikitas

Kathy started playing guitar and singing as a kid, and dropped music almost completely in her late 20’s and 30’s.  Four years ago, she picked it back up with renewed passion, gusto, zeal … playing open mics in NH, ME, and MA, and getting her first solo shows at a little cafe in Lawrence MA. She’s the Kat of the band The JiveKats based out of Nashua, and has been having a blast bringing people out onto dance floors since the band was formed in 2012. 
Come out to hear this cover girl deliver songs from the 1930’s to present day — an eclectic mix of rock, blues, pop… many tunes you’d never expect to hear done with an acoustic guitar!,,

January 2015
Pine Hill Boys

The  Pine H
ill Boys are infamous for their absence on the acoustic music scene. Peter Cram, a member of the Concord Chorale, plays bass when he’s “slumming” with the group between Chorale gigs. Lead guitarist Bob Pope sings lead for “Monadnock,” a Bluegrass band that tours New England—for money. George Kelly sings lead, plays hot licks and harmonizes with the likes of Neil Young, Dolly Parton, and Ricky Skaggs – in his basement. 

December 2014  –  Christmas Open Mic