A Folk & Acoustic Music Coffeehouse Since 1973

Concerts at The Universalist Church, 433 Fern St., West Hartford, CT*
860-770-3001•Credit/Debit Cards Accepted at the Door

*unless noted otherwise

Sounding Board Email

Our weekly email includes concert announcements,  updates, and info about folk music
events in the area.
Click below
to sign up.


The Sounding Board is an all-volunteer, non-profit 501(c)3 organization founded in 1973 to present and preserve folk music in all its forms in the Greater Hartford area



A member of

Thank You!


 for Sounding Board performers are provided by
Hampton Inn & Suites of Manchester, CT


The Sounding Board is closed for the summer. Shows resume  on Sept. 10.

Saturday, September 10, 7:30 p.m.

Sometime in the early 1970s, a banjo
picker who could bellow out a sea
chantey with the best of 'em teamed up
with a guitarist and button accordion
player who knew  the Tom Lehrer and
Monty Python songbooks by heart.


They became regulars on Sunday nights in the back room of downtown Hartford's Mad Murphy's. The duo was soon joined by a rugged Irishman who knew how to rouse the crowd, not that they needed that much rousing, though.


The Morgans became a Sunday night institution on Union Place.  From 7 p.m. 'til last call, the Morgans shook the rafters of that old gin mill. The back room was often so crowded that you had to arrive three hours early to get a seat.


Four decades and a few gray hairs later, The Morgans still know how to put on a show. Don Sineti, Chris Morgan, Tom Callinan, Steve Roys and Tony Morris will raise the roof at the first Sounding Board show of the season. Lots of good Irishness, silly songs, music of the sea, plenty of singalongs, and much more.


$17 general, $15 members,
$10 students with ID, $8 children 12 & under

 "Holy Ground" – The Morgans
  (Recorded live at the 2012 Mystic Sea Music Festival)

Sounding Board
reservations by text
or voice mail at


Join or renew your Sounding Board membership at any concert
and get a FREE tote bag !

The Sounding Board's "More Than 40 Folkin' Years" tote bag is the perfect accessory for folk festivals, supermarkets, pot lucks, or anywhere. And now you can get one FREE when you join or renew your membership at any Sounding Board show. Annual memberships start at just $15 a year for individuals and gets you a discount on almost every event we run. Sign up any Saturday night or online!

Saturday, Sept. 17, 7:30 p.m.

Bill Staines has been a fall fixture at The Sounding Board since we don't remember when, His performances always fill the house, and well into his fifth decade on the road, Bill is still making music that gets audiences singing along.


Singing mostly his own songs, Bill has become one of the most popular and durable singers on today's folk music scene. Bill's music is a slice of Americana, reflecting with the same ease his feelings about the prairie people of the Midwest or the adventurers of the Yukon, the on-the-road truckers, or the everyday workers that make up this land. He weaves a blend of gentle wit and humor into his performances. Composer David Amram once described Bill as "a modern day Stephen Foster... his songs will be around 100 years from now."


$17 general, $15 members,
$10 students with ID, $8 children 12 & under


 "Wild, Wild Heart" – Bill Staines

Saturday, Sept. 24, 7:30 p.m.

Jay Ungar & Molly Mason are masters of music and storytelling who generously share their lives and their music with audiences.


Jay’s fiddling is brimming with playfulness, drama, soulfulness and technical verve, as he explores the many musical styles and idioms that he has internalized and made his own. Molly’s total mastery and inventiveness on piano and guitar is always spot-on, as she supports the tunes and follows the flow of the melody. Her rich and expressive vocals along with the resonant strains of Jay’s violin, reveal the deep emotions that flow in the duo's veins.


Millions were entranced by the music they did for Ken Burns’ PBS documentary The Civil War. Their performance of the series’ signature tune, Jay’s haunting composition, Ashokan Farewell, earned the couple international acclaim. The soundtrack won a Grammy and Ashokan Farewell was nominated for an Emmy.


This simple, but powerful melody was originally inspired by the week-long Ashokan Music & Dance Camps that Jay & Molly run for adults and families at The Ashokan Center in the Catskill Mountains. People attend the camps to become better fiddlers, guitarists, mandolin players, percussionists, dancers, dance callers and instructors—and in doing so they become links in the chain that helps pass our folk heritage from the people who came before us, to those who will follow.


$22 general, $20 members,
$12 students with ID, $10 children 12 & under


Listen to an "All Things Considered" interview with Jay & Molly

 "Shove The Pig's Foot A Little Farther In The Fire" –
   Jay Ungar & Molly Mason with Bruce Molsky

Saturday, Oct. 1, 7:30 p.m.

Celebrate 55 years of recorded folk music from Connecticut's own Folk-Legacy Records with Sally Rogers & Howie Bursen, The Johnson Girls, Dan Milner, Chris Koldewey, Jerry Rasmussen, Caroline Paton, David Paton & Wildcat Creek, Larry Kaplan, and Rob Paton.


Founded by Sandy & Caroline Paton and Lee Haggerty in 1961, Folk Legacy has released a catalog of more than 140 albums helping to keep alive traditional song and the singers who sing them.


All proceeds from this concert will help support Folk-Legacy’s continuing efforts to collect, record and preserve the heritage of traditional musicians and their performance.


$25 general, $23 members,
$12 students with ID, $10 children 12 & under


Read an article about Folk-Legacy Records from SingOut! (PDF)

Saturday, Oct. 8, 7:30 p.m.

It's Johnny & June meets Simon & Garfunkel.


The Toronto-based duo The Young Novelists – husband and wife Graydon James and Laura Spink – are known for their beautiful harmonies and songs culled from their small-town roots. Through their rich but rustic sound, The Young Novelists deliver a dose of honesty in audible form.


They have been recognized as New/Emerging Artist of the year at the Canadian Folk Music Awards, won the Grassy Hill Songwriting Competition at the 2015 Connecticut Folk Festival in New Haven, and Graydon received the Ontario Art Council’s Colleen Peterson Songwriting award for his song Couldn't Be Any Worse.


$16 general, $14 members,
$10 students with ID, $8 children 12 & under

        Listen to The Young Novelists at their website

 "In Your Defence" – Young Novelists

Saturday, Oct. 15, 7:30 p.m.

Roy Zimmerman sings satirical songs - original songs about class warfare, creationism, same-sex marriage, guns, marijuana, abstinence, Republicans (a lot of songs about Republicans), ignorance, war and greed.


In twelve albums over twenty years and on stages, screens and airwaves across America, Roy has brought the sting of satire to the struggle for Peace and Social Justice. His songs have been heard on HBO and Showtime. Roy has recorded for Warner/Reprise Records, and he's a featured blogger for the Huffington Post.


The Los Angeles Times says, "Zimmerman displays a lacerating wit and keen awareness of society's foibles that bring to mind a latter-day Tom Lehrer."


SingOut! magazine says, "Zimmerman is a guy on the left skewering folks on the right with rapier-sharp lyrics ... underneath the caustic satire is a man who is surprisingly optimistic.".


$20 general and members,
$10 students with ID, $8 children 12 & under

(Sorry, but our contract with the performer does not permit us to offer member discounts for this show.)

"My Vote, My Voice, My Right" – Roy Zimmerman

Here's the rest of what's happening this fall at The Sounding Board.
More details soon.

BOB ZENTZ (solo show) (Oct 22, 2016)

CHRISTINE LAVIN (Oct 29, 2016)

   (Nov 5, 2016)

THE KENNEDYS (Nov 12, 2016)

RPR (Nov 19, 2016)
Steve Ritchie, Rob Ritchie & Al Parrish
of Tanglefoot with percussionist
Beaker Granger

VANCE GILBERT (Nov 26, 2016)


For information on other folk music events throughout the area, click here.

You can also make a reservation by clicking any of the blue buttons on this page marked "Reservations."

Please make reservations using the online form or by email. You can also make a reservation by sending a text to 860-770-3001.

If you really feel the need to make your reservation by a traditional phone call, dial 860-770-3001 and leave a voice mail with your name, the concert you wish to attend, and the number of people in your party. The Sounding Board does not confirm reservations made by phone.

Please do not call the church for reservations or Sounding Board information. The Sounding Board is not affiliated with The Universalist Church and only rents the hall where we hold our concerts.