November 19, 2014 · 7:00pm


Another wonderful installment of our monthly singer-songwriter showcase series, curated by local songwriter Steve Patterson!

Steeped in the tradition of legendary songwriters like Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger, Bob Dylan, Carol King, Kris Kristofferson, John Prine, Paul Simon, to name just a few, the Singer-Songwriter Showcase intends to bring artists and audience together to enjoy new original music.

Each month, we will present a headliner, an established artist working in this genre, and we will follow that performance with a bill of writers who want to bring out two or three new tunes to try out on the audience.

This month’s featured performer is Olds Sleeper, with Jack Roberts opening


Olds Sleeper


Olds Sleeper grew up in the southern rural hills of Pennsylvania and draws much of his inspiration from the fields, rivers, and woodlands of that area. At times country, at times folky, and at times indecipherable, Olds tends to lean lyrically toward traditional blues: themes of solitude, loss, regret, destruction and rebirth, hard times and mean women are recurring throughout his songs . Olds Sleeper composes songs which range from the quietly introspective to the chaotically philosophical. Banjo, guitar, steel slide and uke are his main instruments of choice, and Olds’ performances are eclectic and spontaneously driven, and he often gives himself over to the lure of improvised performance with kick drum and high hat veering toward total meltdown.
“Unless you frequent a few small music circles in the underground world, you may have never heard of the artist Olds Sleeper, but that doesn’t diminish the argument one can make for him being one of the best songwriters of our generation. Of course, saying anyone is the “best” of anything is always disputable, but numbers are not, and by the numbers, Olds is indisputably one of the most prolific songwriters out there.” – Saving Country Music (

“One moment it’s twang and smoky vocals, and the next it’s shallow, dirty distortion and echo-laden singing…and at other times it is decidedly more experimental. In many ways Olds Sleeper’s songs are exercises in genre defiance, as well as merging old-timey styles with modern styles, the organic and the mechanical, noise and clarity, messy compositions and well-structured compositions, the light and the dark, the human and the spiritual, waking hours and dream worlds.”- No Depression, James Carlson

“I get the impression that Olds Sleeper’s kind of truth is the truth of experience; the physically apprehended truth of the body; the truth of sincerity, rather than the truth of argument. The truth of ramming a guitar’s signal through a cable so hard that it starts to bleed, rather than the truth of a ‘fidelity’ that denies the cable even exists; because it’s the ‘cable’, the mediating factors, that keep the lost and wounded characters in these songs in isolation from one another, even as it offers their only hope of connection.”- Oliver


Jack Roberts

FHI pic

Jack Roberts began his career as a singer-songwriter quite by accident one night when he and a high school buddy decided to parody rock classics like “Louie, Louie” and “Wild Thing.” Soon he was taking guitar lessons from his friend and writing original songs, and within a year he was playing in a rock band, determined to become a serious musician.
In the nearly 50 years since then, Jack has written music and lyrics inspired by the people he’s met and places he’s traveled, often singing his originals with acts such as The Royal Pudding, Clancy’s Band and Slow Rush, then with the funky-folk group Ragtime Willi’s Inflatable Band (now The Ragtime Willi Band) leading to considerable local success. In the ‘80s he also began doing solo work at coffeehouses and and open mics, where several of his tunes – “Best Friends” and “Old Men, Young Dreams,“ for example – have attracted a loyal following, and his “Just a Long Road, released on The Ragtime Willi Band’s 2011 CD “Prodigal Sons,” was chosen for Volume 4 of Music For Everyone’s Benefit CD series.
The best description of Jack’s songwriting is, in a word, “relatable.” Everyone, anywhere can feel the emotion of lost love [“Lisa in Blue,” “The Morning Song”]; the gift of friendship [“Old Friends”] and the humor of local stories and cultures [“I Got Run Over by a Car That Was Following Jesus”]. The draw of Jack’s music is knowing you can hear your favorite song at a pub or restaurant and see the familiar faces of those who share your enthusiasm.
Jack, a published poet and an award-winning journalist and short fiction writer, continues to pen songs and take them to the public, performing as a solo act and with his group, which plays an eclectic mix of originals, folk, bluegrass, and blues, with nods to the likes of The Grateful Dead, Johnny Cash and John Prine.