Singer-songwriter and guitarist David Wilcox will be featured in the opening concert of the 27th season of winter folk concerts at the White Gull Inn in Fish Creek on Wednesday, November 9.
The series presents touring acoustic folk musicians from all over the country in monthly concerts in the White Gull’s century-old dining room. Tickets for the 8 pm concert, the first in a series of six scheduled at the inn this winter, are $16.
Cleveland-born David Wilcox, whose last performance in Door County was ten years ago at the Door Community Auditorium, released his first album in 1987. He was a winner of the prestigious Kerrville Folk Festival New Folk award in 1988, and by 1989 he had signed with A&M Records. His first release on the label, ‘How Did You Find Me Here’, sold over 100,000 copies the first year. Now, 17 albums into his career, Wilcox continues to tour nationally and internationally.
Wilcox’s lyrical insight is matched by a smooth baritone voice and a unique and complex guitar style featuring many open tunings. Considered a ‘songwriter’s songwriter’, his songs have been covered by artists such as k.d. lang and many others. In addition to songwriting and performing songs, Wilcox is a gifted storyteller.
Reflecting on well over 20 years of record-making and touring extensively around the US and world, Wilcox says, “Music still stretches out before me like the head-lights of a car into the night. It’s way beyond where I am, but it shows where I’m going. I used to think that my goal was to catch up, but now I’m grateful that the music is always going to be way out in front to inspire me.”
Wilcox has captured critical acclaim from such publications as the New York Times, which described one of his concerts as “a charismatic performance by a star still waiting to be discovered by a much larger audience.” According to Rolling Stone, “David Wilcox’s ongoing musical journey is… compelling and richly deserving of a listen.”
An optional pre-concert fixed price dinner will be served at 6 pm. The menu consists of Cardamom Scented chicken, sweet corn cakes with shitake mushroom cream, mixed greens salad, and browned butter pumpkin cake for dessert.
The White Gull Inn folk concert series, the first of several now established in the county, was started in 1984 by Innkeeper Andy Coulson, a banjo player and long time fan of live acoustic, folk and bluegrass music. Coulson recently reflected on the scarcity of live music back then during the long quiet Door County winters.
“I thought the White Gull dining room might be the perfect venue for folk music. The first White Gull concerts were loosely based on the ‘house concert’ concept, in which traveling folk musicians, often on tight budgets and in need of work, are invited into the homes of fans along the route of their travels. The fans provide the musician with food and lodging in return for a concert to a small group of friends, often right in their living rooms. A collection at the door goes to the artist to help defray expenses.
The house concert circuit has provided work and travel expenses for generations of singers and brought folk music to many rural areas that are too small to otherwise provide such entertainment. “I wasn’t sure who would come to a concert on a weekday in winter in Fish Creek,” Coulson recalled. “But we had plenty of room and board, and figured that we had nothing to lose. At the very least, we’d have access to quality live music.”
In the beginning, it was not easy finding artists willing to come so far for such a small turnout. However, as word got around, more and more musicians decided that a “working holiday” in the quiet beauty of the Door Peninsula was worth the trek to northern Wisconsin. The series has gradually been able to attract in well-known performers such as Wilcox, Tom Paxton, Cheryl Wheeler, and John McCutcheon, all of whom normally play in much larger halls.
Future concerts in the White Gull series will feature Michael Smith on Wed., December 7; Lou and Peter Berryman on January 11; Garnet Rogers on February 22; and the Steel Wheels on March 28; an April concert date will be announced shortly.
Tickets and more information on the concerts and the optional dinners can be obtained by calling the White Gull Inn at 920.868.3517 or toll free 800.624.1987, or accessing the inn’s Website, www.WhiteGullInn.com. If still available, concert tickets can be purchased at the door, although most concerts are sold out, so advance ticket purchase and reservations for the pre-concert dinners are recommended.