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Artist Bios

 Artists LilFest has Presented



Andina and Rich 
When the folk/pop/satirical singer and songwriter, Sandy Andina  , gets together with the friendly, neighborhood, yodeling cowboy, Stephen Lee Rich  , the result is a blend of the contemporary and the traditional. On stage they add hilarious stories, wild patter,  Sandy’s mountain dulcimer, and Stephen Lee’s yodel to their musical diversity and range of abilities. In the fall of 1999, after twenty years of occasionally sitting in on one another’s shows, these experienced solo performers decided to formalize the practice. The team of Andina and Rich was born. Since then they have racked up a remarkable performance resume. They have, as a team, worked on live radio programs like Wisconsin Public Radio’s “Higher Ground” and “Acoustic Sounds Café” in Little Rock. 


Sandy Andina

Sandy  and
Sandy Andina is a singer-songwriter-humorist who performs solo and with her bands SASS! (with Susan Urban) and Andina and Rich (with Stephen Lee Rich). Sandy plays acoustic guitar (6- and 12-string), mountain dulcimer, electric bass, autoharp, and 5-string frailing banjo. Due to her years as a rock band bassist, she thoughtfully chooses rock and other covers to add to her mostly-original solo repertoire, which still receives worldwide air- and Internet play.




Laurie Akermark


Laurie Akermark's story is her terrific voice. She's been deeply involved in the campaign to support survivor programs of the August 1, 2007, collapse of the 35W Bridge. “The MN Helps Bridge Disaster Fund” CD has the award-winning tribute song “Another Detour Ahead.” Laurie comes to LilFest with Brad Stoeckel, bassist, both formerly of the band, LA and The Timekeepers. Laurie placed 3rd and 4th in Women in Music MN and received an honorable mention as a songwriter in the Jazz and Popular division of ASCAP. In her songwriting was nominated for the RPM Challenge 08 compilation CD.

She loves to write about anything that tugs at the heartstrings and sometimes things that are just too funny to be ignored.





Gary Badik
Gary Badik

Gary Badik was born in northern Ohio, where his father played sax in a local big band. Gary took up piano at an early age and later toted his guitar around the country. His musical influences range from John Fahey and John Renbourne to the Beatles and Neil Young. His music is built around expressing the strong emotions of life; from blues, to sadness, to joy, and humor. Gary enjoys sharing songs and ideas with an enthusiastic and creative audience. His idols are the truly great performers who master their live craft as though they are channeling from beyond. The rawness and realness of live performance is the art form he loves. He’s always honing his craft, looking to provide that musical channeling experience.







Sherry Bondi
Sherry Bondi


Sherry Bondi is a singer-songwriter based out of Chicago, Illinois where she lives in the historic Rogers Park area on Lake Michigan. She blends beautiful finger-style playing with clever and insightful lyrics that reflect life, love, sorrow and the power that nature has on all living things. Her love for nature and the environment, and the power that it has over all of us is woven throughout her melodies and poetry. Sherry Bondi's Myspace



Cooper & Nelson

Cooper &   and

After two decades and thousands of performances, Phil Cooper and Margaret Nelson are still delighting audiences with their interpretations of traditional and contemporary folk music, the bedrock of their repertoire. Since teaming up with guitar-playing Phil in 1982, Margaret has provided lead alto and harmony vocals, percussion, and comic relief for Cooper & Nelson. A single adjective isn't enough to describe Cooper & Nelson shows; their approach to folk music is humorous, informative, heart-warming, thought-provoking, and (when they launch into one of the gloriously grim old ballads) hair-raising.



Phil Cooper

Phil CooperPhil Cooper grew up with folk music, opera, and Evangelical Lutheran church music. In college he was exposed to the folk-rock of Steeleye Span and Fairport Convention, which led him straight back to traditional ballads and the vigorous finger-picked guitar playing of Richard Thompson, Martin Carthy, Nic Jones, Dick Gaughan, and Bert Jansch. Phil performed in the ’70s with guitarist Brent Chilton and fiddler Kirk Chilton. Since 1982, Phil has traveled, performed, and recorded 17 albums with singer Margaret Nelson, who shares his fondness for strong stories set to beautiful tunes. Phil is also an ardent admirer of traditional Scottish fiddle music, and has recorded two CDs of his guitar settings of music from the Fraser, Skye, and Gow collections of fiddle tunes.





Rick Drost


With his striking rich and rolling vocal sound, complimented by his strong, knowledgeable, and varied guitar work, only once in awhile can you tell that the banjo was where he got his start. (!) Rick Drost writes wonderful songs with interesting word work. So wonderful, in fact, that even while being a full-time IT fellow, he garnered a finalist award at the Great Waters Folk Festival Songwriting Contest. Drost makes a rare appearance away from the vibrant New York and New England folk circuit, unless, of course, he’s appearing in the Yale Alumni Chorus in Moscow, Wales, London, St. Petersburg, Carnegie Hall or something.





Tim Duggan


Making music for almost 30 years, Tim Duggan’s style has been described as folk, country, blues, Americana, Shakespearean bizarre, and just plain good. His pure voice, storytelling of real and imagined people, and spinning tales of heroes and antiheroes from old and new days all have captivated audiences in several states, Canada, and Europe. Dr. Tim (that’s what his students call him) is also a professor of education and director of a residential academic and arts camp for gifted youth. At camp he is known primarily for his bad jokes. His two solo recordings are Language Arts 101 and Language Arts 201.



Mark Dvorak

Mark  and 
No one spins a yarn or sings an old timey song with more skill and respect than Mark Dvorak. He’s a builder of the folk world, in Chicago, the region and the continent. His voice and song writing bring the heart of folk music into our contemporary world with humor, authenticity, and a great warm voice. Mark Dvorak’s roots are in Chicago. But since 1981, he has been crisscrossing the country performing, teaching, and learning. His concerts and recordings have been hailed as “a refreshing portrait of the living folk tradition.” When he travels the back roads to an out-of-the-way place or little town where the songs of the American experience seem more deeply rooted, his performance is like a friendly conversation with neighbors. He has been called “a folk singer’s folk singer who follows unerringly in the footsteps of Pete Seeger and Woody Guthrie,” and his song writing has been called “wondrous” and “profound.” His natural style of performing can make an old song sound new and a new song sound familiar and have distinguished Mark as one of today’s important folk artists.


Jay Einhorn, with Jordi Kleiner and Carol Francis
Jay Einhorn
Jay Einhorn began his musical life as a jazz guitarist. It was while playing at the Exit Coffeehouse in New Haven that he first became acquainted with Folk Music. This sparked Jay to shift his musical perspective. He has a natural love of poetry and story telling. This lead him to merge those divergent streams of influence into a new style that is all his own. His music is formed by a combination of jazz, folk and blues styles; with a special Jay Einhorn twist.  Jay will be accompanied by Jordi Kleiner and Carol Francis. Jordi has been performing classical violin since he was five, and picks up the fiddle play with local and national artists including Jay, the Grass Stains and Mark Cleveland. And Carol Francis has been performing for 10 years with her longtime friends, the Grass Stains.



February Sky


February Sky is traditional singer and Celtic guitarist Phil Cooper with songwriter and singer Susan Urban. Although Phil and Susan have played in different bands over the years, occasionally appearing together for an on-stage song swap, in 2007 they formed the duo February Sky. In addition to singing and playing his own arrangements of traditional tunes on six-string guitar and cittern, Phil also interprets a number of carefully chosen songs from the best of modern folk song writers. Susan writes story songs and humorous “slice of life” songs, accompanying her singing with guitar, six-string banjo, mountain dulcimer, and hand percussion instruments. The new band hopes to address the widest possible range of human experience with vocal harmony, intricate instrumentation, and thoughtful stagecraft, through new arrangements of old and not-so-old songs.




The Folk Brothers
(Jack Hardy and David Massengill)

The Folk  

When two of America’s best songwriters get together, the result could be electric, but it is not. It is acoustic. Jack Hardy and David Massengill have known each other since they both moved to New York City in the mid-70s. In an era of pop-driven acoustic music, these two have dual-handedly kept the folk tradition alive in songwriting. Jack and David together have shared many a stage, traveled, boulevardiered, played softball, and had the occasional adult beverage together. Now they play together as The Folk Brothers. Material for this project draws from their own greatest hits and covering songs of friends as well as traditional songs. Both play guitar. David also plays the dulcimer; Jack, the mandolin. Their harmonies are transcendent with a great mix of history, tradition, politics, and irreverence. They are also noted as being great tellers of tales while introducing their songs. Jack Hardy’s songwriters’ co-op (which includes David) and Fast Folk Musician Magazine galvanized songwriting starting in 1982, and alumni of his storied songwriter’s circle in Manhattan include Suzanne Vega, Lyle Lovett, and Shawn Colvin.




Bruce Foster


The Lonesome Rambler. Bruce Foster... a room warming whiskey baritone voice, the soothing yet stirring vibrato woodtones of a 12 String Guitar.... 1960's style coffee house poetics forged over timeless melodies that enter your psyche and make themselves right at home. Bruce Foster is a singer-songwriter, who became totally enchanted with contemporary folk music after first hearing Eric Andersen's "'Bout Changes & Things" and Gibson & Camp's "Live at the Gate of Horn" albums. An Army Brat whose mailing addresses stretched from Hawaii to Germany, his influences come from just as far and wide.



Carl Franzén 



Carl Franzén was a show-stopper at one Sunday afternoon LilFest Open Mike. (Talent, class, humor, brains, and style.) He’s been back to play at Bill’s as a headliner.   It took two years to finally get him to LilFest Festival 6, but then Carl dragooned his friends Laurie Akermark and Lonnie Knight to help CAPE (Chicago Arts Partnership in Education). Carl is a performing songwriter known by some for his charted song, “On the Road,” recorded by Michael Johnson, Bonnie Koloc, and John Denver. More recently, the American Composers Forum selected his “Ja Wohl” as one of five compositions to be performed at its 30th Anniversary.




The Bob Gibson Legacy Project

Bob Gibson Legacy

Pete Seeger and Smithsonian researchers collected a treasure trove of folk music, but it took the charismatic Bob Gibson to make this music the pop culture of the ’50s and ’60s. Through his performances, as well as his mentoring of new artists and songwriters, Bob altered the landscape of American music. His ringing tenor voice, innovative instrumental virtuosity, and captivating showmanship brought folk music into venues that had never before experienced the tradition of the traveling troubadour. The Bob Gibson Legacy concerts invoke the performance magic of this musical legend who always thought the real star of the show was the audience. Bob’s eldest daughter, Meridian Green, with veteran entertainers Rick Grumbecker and John Heller, take the audience on a musical journey through the heart of American folk music. From Greenwich Village’s Washington Square to Chicago’s Gate of Horn, from California’s Mendocino Coast to Kerrville, Texas, through songs and stories, medleys and sing-alongs, playing banjo, 12-string, 6-string, and Nashville high-strung guitars, they bring our shared musical history home.



Katie Gladych

Katie’s musical journey began with her mother’s mother taking note of her beautiful singing when she was very small. Still small, her voice is anything but.



Meridian Green

Meridian Green  grew up in Greenwich Village, enchanted by the magic of live music and songs well sung. After moving to Mendocino, she played with the Gypsy Gulch International String Band. She has recorded a solo album and two eclectic Americana duet albums with former Byrd member Gene Parsons, and toured in Europe, the U.K., and across the U.S. In addition to her musical career, Meridian was CEO of StringBender, Inc., is the co-inventor of the Parsons/Green B-Bender, a popular guitar accessory, and founder of Bob Gibson Legacy Records. Now, in addition to reissuing her father’s recordings, she is bringing his musical legacy to life on the stage.




Dennis Gruenling

Dennis     and  

Dennis Gruenling is “a leading light among the new generation of harp players” (Blues Revue Magazine). After spending some time in New Orleans in the early 90’s, he’s been laying down (and teaching) some of the best blues and roots harmonica on the East Coast for 15 years. Along the way, Gruenling has shared the stage with many top names in the blues world, such as Pinetop Perkins, Snooky Pryor, Homesick James, Little Sammy Davis, A.C. Reed, Mick Taylor, and Jimmy Dawkins, as well as contemporary masters such as Rod Piazza, Little Charlie & The Nightcats, Charlie Musselwhite, Kim Wilson, Rusty Zinn, Steve Guyger, and Mark Hummel. Dennis is being awarded “Best Modern Blues Harmonica Player” three years in a row (Real Blues Magazine) and developing “a sound that promises to re-define the role of the harmonica” (HIP Magazine). He recognizes the greatest and most influential harmonica player in blues history with his new CD, “I Just Keep Lovin’ Him – A Tribute to Little Walter.” The rave reviews are pouring in: “T his is a fantastic and timely album, with honest, quality playing that is sure to make blues harp fans dizzy  .” (Living Blues) And “… tributes are ten a penny and most of them are worth about as much. This is a very welcome exception …” (Blues in Britain) 



Rick Grumbecker


Rick Grumbecker gave up a promising career as a major league batboy with the Chicago White Sox in order to pursue his dream of becoming a comedian. But no one understood his humor. So disguised as an earnest young folk singer, Rick has lived the life of the traveling troubadour, playing in saloons, coffeehouses, and pre-karaoke Holiday Inns throughout the United States of America and also in Texas. His extensive repertoire of contemporary and traditional material includes many of Shel Silverstein’s best and most obscure songs. Bob Gibson was a huge influence on Rick who returned the favor by introducing Bob to master guitar builder, Bozo Podunavac. Rick also created the graphics for the Bob Gibson Legacy CDs, as well as those of many other recording artists.




Steve Guyger

Steve  and

Steve Guyger, one of the finest blues harmonica players and singers in the world today, still makes his home in Philadelphia, and can be seen on a regular basis at clubs in the tri-state area in addition to touring with the New Legends of the Blues All-Stars. He won the Canadian Blues Award as Top Harp Player. A long-time alumni of the legendary Jimmy Rogers Band, none other then William Clarke called Steve, “The greatest harp player I’ve ever seen.” Critics say: “As a master of traditional harp stylings, he has few equals ... but working within a tradition doesn’t have to mean repeating stale licks: Guyger always manages to find something new and surprising to play over time-tested grooves ... this only makes his subtle twists and textural nuances more interesting ... he is also a fine unaffected singer." (Blues Review Magazine) When you hear Steve play, you’ll know what they're talking about.


Jack Hardy


Jack Hardy was born in Indiana; his father a musician, his mother, a painter. He has created a musical world with a strange mix of themes – from the American West to the ballads and jigs of Celtic ancestors. Hardy has toured extensively for 20 years and is an ambassador for American music. In an Italian encyclopedia of rock, Jack has a larger entry than many prominent rock stars. With a re-ignited interest in his music, he now tours regularly on both sides of the Atlantic. A teacher and mentor as well as an artist, he has hosted a weekly songwriters workshop, nurturing songwriters such as Suzanne Vega, John Gorka, Shawn Colvin, Richard Shindell, and David Massengill. Perhaps fueled by pasta and wine, these sessions are famous for their artistic and political conversations and the many remarkable songs that have emerged from them. He also founded/edited The Fast Folk Musical Magazine. This collection of over 100 compilation albums has now been taken over by the Smithsonian.



David Hartman

David Hartman describes his music as if Kelly Jo Phelps, Leonard Cohen, Stuart Davis, Nellie McKay, and Steve Goodman were all put in a blender. Dr. Dave, as he is called, came to Chicago 25 years ago, bringing a Pentangled and James Taylored musical style with him. Here he watched the rise and fall of places such as The Quiet Knight and Holsteins. In recent years, Dr. Dave has been a regular at Bill’s Blues, the late lamented Charlie’s, the Lake County Folk Club, and other venues around Chicagoland. He believes that good songwriting should “rip you up inside, make you laugh, or maybe both.” His songs follow the twisted and the tragicomic; with Anna Nicole cast as Cinderella (“Glass Slipper”) a good example. Dr. Dave will be recording a CD this fall. The working title is “The Suburban Book of the Dead.”



Dave Hawkins

David  and

Dave Hawkins is the singer, songwriter, and guitarist from the cities of Chicago, Tulsa, and New Orleans.  Contrary to his avian moniker, "Hawkman" is more cicada-like as he climbs onto the scene after many seasons underground.  Dave's songs come from the idea that music is a place where flesh and spirit meet, so his songs go high, deep, and wide.  An English teacher, he is inspired by his favorite authors, as well as by his favorite songwriters, Dave thoughtfully explores the range and essence of human experience through haunting melodies, soulful vocals, a strong poetic sense, intermittent injections of humor, and a variety of musical styles..



John Heller

John  and


John Heller began his lifelong musical journey at the age of 12 after sitting on stage during a Bob Gibson concert. During his high school and college years, John played Gibson songs in a trio with multi-instrumentalist Larry Basil and funnyman Bill Murray. After Murray left the group to pursue his comedy and movie career, John and Larry took an extended hiatus. The duo of Basil and Heller reunited three years ago and are once again being warmly received by audiences throughout the Chicago area. John is a good friend of Bozo Podunavac and an aficionado of his guitars. It was this love of Bob’s music and Bozo guitars that brought the Bob Gibson Legacy into existence. John is the executive producer of the Bob Gibson Legacy CDs.


Marshall Hjertstedt