Liz Simmons Performs Brick Hill House Concert June 1
By: Jennifer Sexton-Riley
Topics: Local Music
On June 1, singer and guitarist Liz Simmons of the award-winning folk/roots band Low Lily will join forces with cellist Casey Murray of the quartet Corner House for a night of folk and roots music in Orleans. During this Brick Hill House Concert performance, Simmons will share music from her solo album “Poets.”
Born in San Francisco to itinerant musician parents, Simmons spent her early childhood traveling through the wilds of North America in a sky blue VW bus. The family moved from California to Oregon, then to Alaska. Inspired by her beginnings, and after a time spent training in classical music performance, Simmons found her way back to to the folk and roots music of her early days, founding the bands Annalivia and Low Lily with husband Flynn Cohen, as well as performing with Hannah Sanders, Long Time Courting, EVA, and as a backing vocalist for Livingston Taylor, Tom Chapin, Melanie and others.
Simmons will be joined by Berklee graduate Murray, a cellist and educator. Murray's musical passions find roots in Celtic, Old Time, New England contra, folk, classical, and improvisation.
Simmons first heard about Brick Hill House Concerts when her husband Flynn Cohen performed there with his ensemble. She explained that her music is inspired by her deep relationship with her musical roots.
“My parents play traditional folk music, American roots, classic rock and roll, and New Orleans music. Additionally, there is a thread of Appalachian singing tradition that comes to me via my great-great- grandmother,” Simmons said. “Having music around me my entire life has 100 percent shaped me as an artist, and when I write songs, I write from that experience and that place.”
Simmons went on to say that for her, folk music, and any artistic tradition like it, is about a continuum, connecting today’s singers, musicians and audiences with their counterparts throughout the past.
“We keep singing these songs and telling these musical stories because that’s what those who have gone before have done,” Simmons said. “My original songs are not only relevant to me and my life, but also the people and the natural world I see around me. I like to write songs that create connection — it means so much when people tell me a song really resonated for them and they could relate to it. To me, that’s what it’s all about.”
Dinah Mellin started her Brick Hill House Concerts in spring 2010. She had just taken down a half wall in the living room of her Orleans home, which opened up the whole downstairs.
“At the time, Red Top Artist Retreat of Hyannisport had just given notice that they wouldn’t be doing house concerts anymore,” Mellin said. “This was at a time when I was a bit frustrated while playing in loud pubs where the music is kind of background music to televisions and conversation. So my Brick Hill House Concerts were born.”
Since 1997, Mellin has been a co-host of "The Fiddle & The Harp" on WOMR.org on Mondays from 5 to 8 p.m. She became a member of concertsinyourhome.com to learn what she needed to do to host house concerts. She is also a member of Folk Alliance International, and says she tries to abide by their rules for house concerts.
“Liz Simmons’s husband Flynn Cohen performed in my house in 2014. It seems eons ago,” Mellin said. “I had cellist Casey Murray here with her band Corner House way back in fall of 2019, a wonderful quartet from Berklee College of Music. So of course I was interested in having Liz and Casey come here knowing the quality of their musicianship. I feel compelled to have some of my artists return; kind of like to keep it in the family. I don’t have singer/songwriters all of the time, so this is very special. I am thrilled to have Liz and her beautiful voice and guitar, mixed in with the sounds of cello!”
Liz Simmons and Casey Murray will perform from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. on Thursday, June 1. COVID vaccinations are required to attend. For tickets or for more information about Brick Hill House Concerts, including the address and future concert information, call 508-255-3864 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Brick Hill House Concerts on Facebook at www.facebook.com/brickhillhouseconcerts.