Folk Strings back on the hill

Acoustic quartet stretches the definition of “folk” music

— When they first got together in 1992, the founding members of Folk Strings realized that they had a lot in common.

Mandolinist Andy Revutsky and guitarist Bill Hider shared an appreciation for the so-called “folk music revival” of the 1960s.

After comparing biographies, however, it became clear that in 1969, when that music was so vibrant, Hider and Revutsky all traveled in the same circles, ate in the same restaurants and drank in the same bars, never meeting until a jam session brought them together in 1992.

They formed Folk Strings as a trio along with another neighbor, guitarist Terry Hill, and worked up a repertoire of folk tunes popular in the 1960s and ’70s mixed with a little bluegrass, gospel and blues. On a recent episode of WSYR-TV9’s morning talk show, “Bridge Street,” the band played an acoustic cover of The Beatles’ “When I’m 64.”

The quirky quartet – which now features Mike and Mary Kester along with Hider and Revutsky – returns to Kellish Hill Farm to perform at 7 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 23.

“We love Folk Strings,” said Kathy Kellish who owns the family farm on Pompey Center Road with her partner, Rick Harding. “You never know what songs Folk Strings will do, and they always engage the audience with their high-energy love of music and love of life.”

The band will play songs by artists such as Peter Paul & Mary, Tom Paxton, The Kingston Trio, Woody Guthrie and Bob Dylan, plus a handful of spirituals.

The foursome’s reach exceeds the usual restrictive definition of folk music, however, as the Strings cover material by rockers such as Johnny Rivers and Flower Power songwriters such as Donovan Leitch and Janis Ian.

Admission on Saturday costs $8 per person or $15 per couple, and coffee and tea will be provided. “Audience members can bring munchies or non-alcoholic beverages to share,” Kellish suggested. “And donations are happily accepted.”

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