Greetings, Sportsmen’s Americana Music Foundation Members:

This month we have information about the Craft Beer and Music Festival on June 20th, a new edition of Kenny’s Korner, news about Willie Schoellkopf’s songwriting skills, the winners of last month’s drawing for free concert tickets, some results from our survey of the membership, bluegrass in Buffalo and another opportunity for the members to win free tickets. Make sure you scroll down to the end for information on how to enter this month’s drawing.

The Sportsmen’s Americana Music Foundation presents

Craft Beer Music Festival

Craft Beer Music Festival

Bus & ticket packages for the annual Buffalo’s Best Craft Beer & Music Festival

Depart from the tavern @ 1pm, leaving KB @ 8pm

$15 bus ride & music

$35 bus ride & fest ticket that includes music & beer from 2-6

Music runs from 2-8

41 seats, first paid, first served


We need between 20-40 volunteers from the membership to attend the Beer and Music Festival on June 20th. Your only job will be to help pour beer from the craft breweries. We need you from 2-6 PM and your admission to the festival will be free and you’ll get a free bus ride to the event and back to The Sportsmen’s Tavern. The bus leaves the tavern at 1 and returns from the festival at 8. This is a first come, first served opportunity. Respond to Bob McLennan at to sign up. The SAM Foundation will receive a substantial contribution from the festival, so it’s important we have our members step up and help out.

Thank you.

Kenny’s Korner

Over the years, I’ve been asked many times how I find various artists in the Americana genre. The first thing I explain is how much easier it is today compared to decades ago. Once upon a time you simply had to research & discover publications, everything from Rolling Stone to No Depression. You had to make it your business to find the music that never really got much air play on radio. In modern times, you can find out their mothers’ birthday and everything in between within a few seconds.

A few years ago, Whitey Morgan & The 78’s performed in Buffalo for a handful of patrons for a very small cover, next month they return to what might be a sold out show with patrons paying $20 or $24. Trampled By Turtles & Greensky Bluegrass performed in town @ a show with no cover and less than 15 people got to see that one. Today TBT & GB perform at venues of at least 1200 and more, selling out. I’m sure many of us can remember seeing an act in a small venue with few patrons that now perform for much bigger crowds in much larger venues. I won’t even talk about seeing Billy Joel @ Alfred State College in 1974 for $2.

I’m sure many of us know about live shows & radio stations, but for those who don’t here you go:

I listen to this radio station every day all day long & have never heard a song I didn’t like. You won’t hear beer or truck commercials or really any commercials for that matter, just the best music, much of which you might not have ever heard.

How about a live performance most every Monday night? Tune into WoodSongs. Most every night they record a show in a small theatre with a live audience for distribution to radio & TV stations all over the world. Be sure to check out their archive section & plan to spend days watching & listening to bands you know & don’t know.

Ken Biringer

SAMF Board Member

Willie Schoellkopf, Songwriter

Foundation member and Sportsmen’s regular Willie Schoellkopf recently appeared in the finals of the Chris Austin Songwriting Contest at Merlefest 2015 in Wilkesboro, NC, as accompanist for his longtime friends and songwriting collaborators Buddy Guido and Paul “Killer” Kelly. Their performance of their song, “Deer In The Headlights Look,” earned second place in the bluegrass category. This was their unprecedented fourth appearance in the finals of this worldwide competition. This year’s panel of judges included Peter Rowan and Bruce Robison, both of whom have appeared at Sportsmen’s.

Don Nelson

SAMF Board Member

Contest Winners and Survey Results

We want to thank all who responded to our survey questions sent to you last month. Out of slightly over 300 members on the date the email was sent, of which we had 258 email addresses, 171 members opened the email, 68 responded to have their name entered into the drawing for concert tickets and 53 members took the time to give their feedback in our survey. The following members won two tickets each for upcoming concerts at the Sportsmen’s Tavern:

Joe McLaughlin – Asleep at the Wheel

Jean Farmelo – New Riders of the Purple Sage

Ann Marie Szymanski – Dale Watson

Bill Nowak – Bill Kirchen and Too Much Fun

The survey results were very interesting and the Board will refer to the input from the members in the future as we make decisions on Foundation events. I won’t go over all the comments at this time but I will point out some of the highlights. There is a lot of support for getting an Americana TV show started, outdoor concerts and street festivals, bringing in national acts and using the Foundation to provide education for kids. A variety of presentations were proposed including utilizing different venues and themes like having a gospel brunch or a Woody Guthrie show or tribute nights to legendary Americana artists and local heroes. There is support for the blues and jazz, and the Riverside Park festival was very popular. Many individual artists were mentioned but, indicative of the wide variety of musical tastes of our membership, out of about 115 different artists requested, there are only a handful that got a second or third mention, Jason Isbell, Sturgill Simpson, The Derailers, Marty Stuart, The Dusty 45s, Junior Brown and Marcia Ball. Several members wrote about the importance of communication to and from the membership, membership cards, and special shows and discounts for SAMF members. We’ll continue to send this email/newsletter out to you at least once per month. When you get it, make sure you read through it as we’ll have more membership opportunities to win free concert tickets and more.

Trampled by Turtles, Greensky Bluegrass and Mountain Run

In Kenny’s Korner, Ken specifically mentioned Trampled by Turtles and Greensky Bluegrass as bands that started out small in their visits to WNY and exploded as big acts drawing large audiences.  On Memorial Day weekend, my wife Rose and I went to DelFest, a 4 day bluegrass festival put on by the great Del McCoury and his family in Cumberland, Maryland.  The Turtles and Greensky were two of the biggest bands at the festival, which also included Old Crow Medicine Show, Jason Isbell, The Black Lillies, Leftover Salmon, David Grisman, Shovels and Rope, Railroad Earth and many more. However, you don’t have to travel to a faraway festival to get great bluegrass.  We got it right here in Buffalo and WNY.  Mountain Run is an outstanding band of great and versatile musicians who can give you your bluegrass fix without ever leaving home.  Doug Yeomans, Jim Whitford, Mark Panfil, John Martz and Phil Banaszak are the real thing and they play often at The Sportsmen’s and other venues.  Look for ‘em.

Spirit of the 80s

On Friday August 7th, Stan Ridgway will appear at Academy Park in the village of Lewiston, NY. Stan Ridgway, who was front man for the Wall of Voodoo provided the eclectic voice heard on the band’s 80’s hit single, “Mexican Radio.”   After becoming a solo act in the mid-80s, Ridgway has continued to tell magnificent stories through his music. “Stan Ridgway plans on delivering an overview of his career,” said Michael Hanrahan, event chairman. “Lewiston is lucky to showcase such an acclaimed artist in the intimate setting of Academy Park.” Ridgway is presented by Spirit of the 80s, a concert and fundraising organization,  and proceeds from the event will go to charitable organizations including the Lewiston Council of the Arts and Music is Art, founded by Goo Goo Doll guitarist Robbie Takac.  For more information, go to

Bob McLennan

See below for more information about Stan Ridgway:

“Music is more than just chords and notes to me, it has the ability to make pictures in the mind,” says noir troubadour and sound alchemist Stan Ridgway. “My records are designed to be seen as well as heard.” It’s been a long and influential road for the songwriter/ guitarist and original Wall of Voodoo vocalist. His darkly humorous, and richly cinematic musical tales of the ironies inside the American Dream have been compared to other classic songwriting iconoclasts like Randy Newman, Tom Waits, Johnny Cash and even hard boiled mystery writers like Raymond Chandler and Jim Thompson, as well as twisted film makers like David Lynch and Quentin Tarantino. The San Francisco Chronicle said, “He conjures “Burroughs, Bukowski and Brecht,” while LA Weekly has called him “the Nathaniel West of rock.” Ridgway’s post-Wall of Voodoo output has cemented his neo-noir rep as one of American music’s greatest storytellers, the wild and wily Steinbeck of sad whiskey railroads and rusted, ramshackle American dreams.” — AUSTIN CHRONICLE

“Truly modern, 21st century folk music, Ridgway’s dark, tall tales often take place in the microcosmic miasma of L.A. and its outer desert, where his characters try to wrest meaning from the beautiful catastrophe of their lives.” — UNCUT

“Stan Ridgway is equal parts Raymond Chandler and John Huston, Johnny Cash and Rod Serling.” — NME

“Through the bright lights and wicked nights of Real America, Ridgway deserves the reverence of the best of fellow soul troubadours Randy Newman, Tom Waits and Leonard Cohen.” — TOTALLY MUSIC

“Ridgway has always peeked around corners as a kind of detective “of the heart “. He misses nothing and he keeps his mouth shut. That’s a hard trick for a singer,” — GREIL MARCUS

“Mixing folk, crime jazz, garage rock, electronic music, film scores, big-band covers, country-inspired excursions,- no question, Ridgway is a restless creative spirit.” — WASHINGTON POST

“Probably the most compelling portrait of American social life to appear on a rock ‘n’ roll record since Bruce Springsteen’s Nebraska.” — ART FORUM



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