Rayond Morin, also known as Jagtime Millionaire
TribLive: Sam Bojarski
Published by the Sewickley Herald
July 2, 2019
Sweetwater Center for the Arts in Sewickley has held its wintertime SweetJazz Music Series for nearly 20 years. The concerts frequently sell out, and Sweetwater’s community room transforms into an intimate nightclub setting for each show.
The Sweetwater staff has looked to provide a summer music series offering the same level of talent and intimacy, according to Alexandra Watrous, gallery manager and curator at Sweetwater. Starting July 18, the nonprofit arts center will begin hosting its inaugural Thursday evening Acoustic Music Series, which runs until mid-August and features five performances by musicians from the Pittsburgh region and beyond.
The Acoustic Music Series is part of Sweetwater’s Third Thursdays series, which launched in January and features art, music and creative experiences, according to Sweetwater Center marketing manager Alyssa Spiegel.
“We chose acoustic because it incorporates a wide variety of musical styles, and our venue lends itself so well to an acoustic set. We will be offering a different genre each week, from the traditional folk music of Simple Gifts, to the unexpected sounds of Cello Fury, to the soulful blues of Dan Bubien and The Delta Struts,” Watrous said.
The month of July features two acoustic acts. Raymond Morin, who goes by the stage name Jagtime Millionaire, kicks off the series July 18. The Pittsburgh-based ragtime guitarist is a resident musician at Scratch Food & Beverage in Troy Hill, where he plays every second Thursday of the month.
Morin said that ragtime, which was originally conceived on the piano, is challenging to play on acoustic guitar and interesting for the audience to hear. This will be his first time performing at Sweetwater.
“I’ve never played a show at Sweetwater, but I’ve attended art events, and it seems like they concentrate on programming that mixes the challenging and the beautiful … these are words that I would also use to describe ragtime,” he added.
All acts in the Acoustic Music Series are based in the Greater Pittsburgh area, aside from the folk and world-music duo Simple Gifts, performing on July 25.
“Sweetwater has a reputation (for) being a fantastic place to play, so we wanted to try it out for ourselves,” said Simple Gifts founding member Linda Littleton.
The group, based in central Pennsylvania, recently released a CD called “Journeys,” which was recognized for outstanding achievement this past November by the Global Music Awards.
Simple Gifts uses over 10 instruments and plays a wide variety of styles, including European and American folk music. Littleton said her group offers its own interpretation of this music and provides audience interaction that concert-goers typically enjoy.
“We’re real interested in musical arrangements ‒ play music of many different genres but put our own spin on things. Also, we’ve been told that our audience interaction alone is worth coming for ‒ lots of humor,” she told the Sewickley Herald in an email.
The Thursday evening live music events will take place in the community room and feature complimentary wine, beer and hors d’oeuvres in a nightclub setting, according to Sweetwater’s website. Each concert runs from 7-9 p.m.
Other acts include chamber music rock group Cello Fury (Aug. 1), folk-pop ensemble Townsppl (Aug. 8) and blues-rock band Dan Bubien & The Delta Struts (Aug. 15).
“We hope this new series will be a hit for those of you who have been longtime patrons, as well as those who are new to Sweetwater. Personally, I am excited to bring more live music to Sewickley this summer, knowing that the variety in genre and cozy and cabaret-esque venue will surely attract music lovers young and old,” said Sweetwater Center executive director Thomas Walters.
For tickets to individual concerts, visit the upcoming events section of the Sweetwater Center for the Arts website: https://sweetwaterartcenter.org/upcoming-events/