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Music and More at The Buttonwood Tree, October 2023

Submitted by Amy Albert

(September 26, 2023) — The Buttonwood Tree at 605 Main Street in Middletown presents the following events in October 2023. For information on all shows and performances, visit or call (860) 347-4957  Email:

Friday, October 6, 2023: Story City Troupe.  Program begins at 7:30 p.m. Admission is $10. Hosted by Michael Isko, who tells stories about his foibles and family. Recently retired from a 34 year career as Public Defender, he accepted Sue Huggan’s request to keep the Story City Troupe together, and bring shows to the Buttonwood. He has told at a number of SpeakUp Storytelling events at Saul Fussiner Songs and Stories, at the Next Door, Jezrie Marcano’s Speak Easy at The Ordinary in New Haven, and for the New Haven Festival of Arts and Ideas. Featuring the stories of many other locals. Admission Link:

Saturday, October 7, 2023:  Singer/Songwriters Charlie Diamond and Riley Cotton.  Show starts at 8:00 p.m. Admission is $20.  Admission link: Charlie Diamond lost everything in a house fire. He drove across the country on his motorcycle like Jack Kerouac facing the great unknown. Lived in a tent and stayed with people he met.  He became a folk singer/songwriter and now travels, with his dog, throughout New England playing music. Sleeping in the bed of his pick-up truck under the stars and living life as only a Diamond could. He has released a new album, “A New Poet In Town.”  Riley Cotton is a Connecticut-based singer/songwriter.  Throughout her coming of age and artistic expression, she struggled with a pulling duality of her queer feminine identity and fondness for her southern roots. While growing up in Texas, much of her musical taste was shaped by the voices of the women of country music; Shania Twain, Sarah Evans, Dolly Parton, the Dixie Chicks. 

Friday, October 13, 2023: The Giosa-Varela Blues Band. Show starts at 8:00 p.m. Admission is $20.From an early age, Morgan was raised around music and the arts. His brother Alex is a professional drummer and a skilled visual artist. A self-described “old soul,” Morgan feels his music is most rooted in inspiration from the electric psychedelic blues of the 1960s (artists such as Michael Bloomfield and Jimi Hendrix are among his favorites), as well as influenced by the greatest electric bluesmen of all time (particularly B.B. King and Albert King, two of his favorite musicians). Morgan has been composing original music with the guidance and collaborative input of his mentor and friend and guitar teacher, Frank Varela. The two, alongside drummer Alex Giosa and bassist Bob Laramie and some special guests, recorded an album under the name Fake News Blues Band in late 2017. Their debut self-titled album was released in June 2019.

Saturday, October 14, 2023: Folk/Variety Artist John John Brown. Show starts at 8:00 p.m. Admission is $15. John John Brown’s new show Songs, Stories and Art Lessons from Strangers,  brings giant comics, iconic photographs, and moving panoramas to the stage; weaving together storytelling songs and the visual arts in a live performance. Over the years, Brown has been chosen as a 2020 Kerrville New Folk winner, an Emerging Artist at the 2017 Falcon Ridge Folk Festival, and a winner of the 2016 South Florida Folk Fest singer/songwriter contest.  Admission Link:

Thursday, October 19, 2023: Soul Songstress Waberi Jordan. Show begins at 7:00 p.m. Admission is $15. Student admission is $5.

Waberi Jordan is a vocalist and songwriter whose signature is rooted in the Leimert Park Jazz Community of Los Angeles. Raised on a steady diet of straight-ahead jazz, at a time when R&B dominated the airwaves, Waberi’s sound bridges two pivotal eras of artistic expression.In 2009 Waberi released her debut album, The Trajectory of Starah. The accompanying video, Sunflowers in my Garden premiered the same year, to critical acclaim. The song has become beloved worldwide. Her second video release, Put it Right There was released in 2014, and as an added bonus, was co-directed and shot by Tim Russ, noted for his role as Tuvok in Star Trek: Voyager. Waberi will play two 45-minute sets joined by Ron Acosta, Nat Holmes, Scott Kessel, with bassist Derrik Bosse joining for a set on bass.


Friday, October 20, 2023: Folk Singer-Songwriter Dana Cooper. Show starts at 8:00 p.m. Admission is $20.Dana Cooper is a poet, storyteller, songwriter from Nashville, Tennessee.  His music is a mixture of flat-picking, finger picking, and percussive strumming,  His harmonica playing is equally impressive.  For one person, Dana Cooper delivers a big sound. His latest CD is called “I Can Face The Truth.”  Dana Cooper is known for insightful storytelling and songwriting, as well as his impressive guitar and harmonica playing.

Saturday, October 21, 2023: Blues/Rock Group The Outcrops. Show begins at 8:00 p.m. Admission is $20.From the woods of Northern New Jersey, The Outcrops present original blues-infused rock’n’roll. The four-piece band was formed in 2016 by lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist Cassidy Rain and lead guitarist Bryan Schroeder. As a singer, Cassidy has been compared to Bonnie Raitt and Susan Tedeschi, but her raw sensibility as front person could as easily bring comparisons to blues legends like Howlin’ Wolf or Muddy Waters.  Bryan’s playing falls somewhere between Duane Allman and Derek Trucks, as many fans have pointed out.  Bryan has also noted Jerry Garcia as a major influence.

Friday, October 27, 2023: Folk Singer-Songwriter Rupert Wates. Show begins at 8:00 p.m.  Admission is $15. Rupert Wates was born in London. He signed an exclusive publishing deal with Eaton Music in the late 1990’s and has been a full-time songwriter ever since. He moved to the United States in  2006. Since 2007 Wates has won more than fifty songwriting awards. He has released eleven full-length CDs.  In 2015-2016 alone, more than twenty of his songs were recorded by other performers, and two tribute albums of his material have been recorded by independent artists in Nashville and Los Angeles.

Saturday, October 28, 2023: Readers Theater performs Tina Howe’s comedy, Painting Churches. Performance begins at 7:30 p.m. Readers Theater does not charge for admission; donations go to The Buttonwood Tree. A Pulitizer Prize finalist, this provocative, theatrical family portrait captures a robustly revelatory reunion between two aging parents and their elusive artist daughter. Readers Theater producing-directors Richard Kamins and Anne Cassady take a turn at performing––with Danielle Truscott.  Michael Eck directs.

Sunday, October 29, 2023, Japanese Music and Culture, Hosted by Musician and Producer Shoko Nagai. Program begins at 3:00 p.m. She will be joined by musician Satoshi Takeishi. Admission is $20. Shoko Nagai is a versatile musical artist who improvises and performs with world- renowned musicians on piano and accordion and composes original scores for films and live performances. Since moving to the U.S. from Japan and studying classical and jazz music at Berklee, she has adapted her mastery of the keyboard to prepared piano, accordion, Moog synthesizer, and other instruments.  Satoshi Takeishi lived in Colombia, South America and Miami, Florida before arriving in New York City in 1991. He has performed and recorded in a vast variety of genres, executing in styles of jazz, rock, contemporary classical, avant-garde, experimental electronic, and world music. Takeishi received a Grammy Award in 2015 with Paul Winter Consort.


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