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Summer at the Parkway

The Parkway Theater, Minneapolis MN

Media Notice
IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact:
Martin Keller / Media Savant Communications
612-729-8585 / mkeller@mediasavantcom.com

 

A Rare Summer Solstice Concert from a Group Known For Its Christmas Shows

DRIVEN BY FAN DEMAND, SIMPLEGIFTS TO PERFORM A NIGHT OF DIVERSE MUSIC BY BILLY McLAUGHLIN, THE CIVIL WARS, NEIL YOUNG, PETER GABRIEL, RICKIE LEE JONES, CELTIC TUNES AND OTHERS AT PEPITO’S PARKWAY THEATER JUNE 19

MINNEAPOLIS — May 27, 2015 — Here’s a switch: SimpleGifits*, a group known for its lovely, harmonious vocals and strings only at Christmas is celebrating the Summer Solstice, two days early on June 19 at Pepito’s Parkway Theater in south Minneapolis at 8:00 p.m.
No Christmas music will be heard.
Tickets are $25 in advance and $30 at the door and available online at the SimpleGifts website www.simplegiftsmusic.net Pepito’s Parkway Theater is located at 4814 Chicago Ave S/Minneapolis, MN., 55417/www.theparkwaytheater.com.
What you will hear is original music by Billy McLaughlin who leads SimpleGifts, plus songs by The Civil War, Neil Young, Peter Gabriel, Rickie Lee Jones, some Celtic classics and other tunes by a superb line up musicians that includes: Billy McLaughlin, percussionist/drummer, Billy O, singers Ashleigh Still, Torie Redpath and Celtic star, Laura MacKenzie — plus special guest Melody Michelle Duncan, all the way from Mobile, Alabama, on violin and vocals.
“As longtime fans know, SimpleGifts has been hard to find in concert except during the short and dark days leading to Christmas. But this sunny solstice, we’re changing that, based on fan’s demand to hear SimpleGifts more than just during the holidays,” explains McLaughlin who put together the ensemble 13 years ago.
“Now we are finally giving everyone chance to hear us right near the official beginning of Summer, with a an wide variety of material ideally suited to the three-part female harmonies, plus the sounds of strings, piano, Celtic whistle and pipes. It’s going to be a treat for the ears on a nice summer’s eve.”
For more information — or to interview SimpleGifts or have them perform live in studio in advance of the June 19 date — please contact Martin Keller, Media Savant Communications, 612-729-8585, mkeller@mediasavantcom.com
 
*About SimpleGifts
As long-time fans will tell you, SimpleGifts makes musical magic by bringing a modern flair to traditional Christmas carols and hymns. Staying close to the heart of Christmas by avoiding commercial and pop holiday repertoire has become the trademark of this award winning six-piece ensemble.
SimpleGifts combines violin, Celtic whistle and bagpipes, piano, acoustic guitar and percussion with angelic three part female vocals to create a “modern Old-World” sound. There is nothing ordinary about the arrangements this team delivers both in the studio and in concert. Seen by over 20,000 live audience members last season, this group continues to grow in popularity throughout the Upper Midwest and has successfully transitioned from their early days in coffeehouses and small listening rooms to prestigious performing art centers and larger churches.

 

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simplegifts announces mid-year concerts
Minneapolis, MN —
simplegifts announces mid-year concerts

SimpleGifts

As longtime fans know, SimpleGifts has been hard to find in concert except the short and dark days during Christmas. Well, it’s time to change that!  SimpleGifts has THREE mid-year concerts coming up that we are happy to invite you to!

Come celebrate the longest days of summer with SimpleGifts, Billy McLaughlin and Laura MacKenzie at the Parkway Theater. Featuring Billy’s original music but don’t be surprised if a little Neil Young, Peter Gabriel, Rickie Lee Jones, The Civil Wars and some awesome Celtic classics sneak in! We are excited to share the new summer sound of SimpleGifts!  Get ready for the new summer-sound of SimpleGifts!

Join us in Glenwood MN on March 27th at Central Square for a special night of SimpleGifts with Billy McLaughlin featuring Laura MacKenzie.  We will also be celebrating Summer-Solstice in Minneapolis on June 19th at The Parkway Theater.  All event details are below and we would love for you to help us spread the word!

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Exciting news!  We just added another concert with Billy McLaughlin in Chanhassen MN on November 14th!  For continual updates keep checking the SimpleGifts website and/or join our mailing list by clicking the button below.


 

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SimpleGifts New CD Released
SimpleGifts New CD Released

WinterGrace

SimpleGifts is proud to announce the release
of their new CD – WinterGrace!

WinterGrace is now available for purchase (Tuesday, November 5th)!  Like all the CDs that came before it, WinterGrace features traditional music that tells the real story of Christmas arranged and performed with a modern twist. Familiar classics include “O Little Town of Bethlehem”, “Hark the Herald Angels Sing”, and “Little Drummer Boy” while the lesser known title track provides a fresh but timeless melody from the hills of Appalachia.

To purchase your copy of WinterGrace, click here.  MP3 downloads will be available by Friday, November 8th.
We are looking forward to having you join us for the holidays!  Click here to see all our 2013 tour dates.
-Billy & SimpleGifts
 
 
Sneak peek – WinterGrace, title track

 
 
 



 

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Introducing SimpleGifts 2013

 

Announcing SimpleGifts 2013 – New CD WinterGrace

It’s been a busy off-season for members of SimpleGifts and our awesome staff and crew. Not only has a great tour been confirmed for the 2013 holiday season but there’s a new CD we’re just finishing up called “WinterGrace.” Like all the CDs that came before it, “WinterGrace” features traditional music that tells the real story of Christmas arranged and performed with a modern twist. Familiar classics include “O Little Town of Bethlehem”, “Hark the Herald Angels Sing”, and “Little Drummer Boy” while the lesser known title track provides a fresh but timeless melody from the hills of Appalachia. Celtic whistle, violin, bagpipes, piano and percussion combine with pristine three-part vocals and the signature sound of Billy McLaughlin’s acoustic guitar. “WinterGrace” continues to separate SimpleGifts from the pack of annual holiday artists by its creative arrangements, thoughtful song choices and lush recording engineering from co-producer Jeff Arundel. Listen to samples from WinterGrace here.

 

New band members join SimpleGifts for 2013 Tour

Introducing SimpleGifts 2013

SimpleGifts 2013


If you are a parent with young kids you can only imagine what it would be like to be gone for all of the holiday season not just one year but for eleven years in a row! SimpleGifts wishes all of our previous members and their families a blessed and peaceful 2013 holiday season! At the same time, we welcome new members Ashleigh Still, Torie Redpath and Amy Courts. These super-talented artists join returning members Heather Garborg, Billy O., Laura MacKenzie and Billy McLaughlin in a rotating sextet line-up for the busy 2013 “WinterGrace” Tour.

 
 
 
 
 

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About SimpleGifts

As long-time fans will tell you, SimpleGifts makes musical magic by bringing a modern flair to traditional Christmas carols and hymns. Staying close to the heart of Christmas by avoiding commercial and pop holiday repertoire has become the trademark of this award winning six-piece ensemble.
SimpleGifts combines violin, Celtic whistle and bagpipes, piano, acoustic guitar and percussion with angelic three part female vocals to create a “modern Old-World” sound. There is nothing ordinary about the arrangements this team delivers both in the studio and in concert. Seen by over 20,000 live audience members last season, this group continues to grow in popularity throughout the Upper Midwest and has successfully transitioned from their early days in coffeehouses and small listening rooms to prestigious performing art centers and larger churches.


 

Join the SimpleGifts Email List

 

simplegifts background

finding community through music
Like an overnight snowfall, the holiday season has swept into our lives once again. Retailers have wasted no time in “decking the halls” and setting the stage for the most giving time of year. Out come the trees, trinkets and Christmas tunes. Everywhere you go, you hear “Silent Night,” “White Christmas” and “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” along with every Christmas song ever written, it seems. After the thousandth time of hearing a song, any song, your brain feels like it’s had enough. And yet, there’s more to those old Christmas melodies than a few familiar phrases and sounds. They carry with them memories, feelings and a sense of something bigger than our selves and momentary worries. They bring us together.
The unifying power of music is something that forever amazes me, whether I am performing to people down the road, across the country or across the ocean. Often my audience and I begin as strangers, but by the end of our time together the music we have shared has brought us closer in spirit and friendship. It’s music’s expression of oneness and love that keeps me connected no matter how far my journey, no matter how much time I spend on the road. Music’s ability to cross the barriers of language, culture and position is what deepens my purpose and strengthens my resolve to share it with as many people as I can. Of the many examples of this that I have experienced, none has been more remarkable than my journey with Accenture to India. Although my audience and I were from different cultures and different lands, we shared a very similar love for music. No matter where I go, as long as I bring my music, I find myself among friends.
It’s the thought of friendship that I encourage you to consider when you hear a familiar Christmas refrain for the two-thousandth time. The tune that holds your holiday memories is likely to hold the memories of many if not all the people who share the same space, whether it happens to be your place of work or your favorite shopping mall. Every former stranger in the room now shares a little something in common with you. They may be singing along, humming the melody softly to themselves, tapping their toes or watching their children dancing and skipping down the aisles. If you look closely, you can’t help but notice how the simple melody has softened their hearts and connected their souls.
As fond as I am of Christmas music, I do empathize with those whose tolerance is tried after hearing the same set of music repeatedly over and over from early November through Christmas Eve. Personally, I find it gratifying to experiment with traditional melodies, add variations and reinvent them so that they become fresh, appealing and provide a new experience for listeners. In the process, I have been fortunate to work with some exceptionally gifted musicians who have created their own unique sounds. One of these artists is my friend, Rhett Butler.
Rhett is a guitarist from Texas who became well known for playing two guitars at once. He also happens to play finger-style guitar (playing the notes on the neck of the guitar) in his own intricate style. Like me, Rhett has a passion for making a difference in people lives, especially when it comes to healing. Having lost his brother to a rare form of cancer, Rhett has become the CEO of a development-stage biotech company that is working on an implantable cancer vaccine device. In addition to sharing a passion for finger-style guitar, we both enjoy traditional holiday music. A few years ago, Rhett and I produced a guitar collection titled “Holiday Open House.” The CD is a fusion of both of our individual arrangements and recordings of traditional holiday tunes; the same music that we’ve grown up with, but with a new style. If you’d like, you can listen to a number here.
For the past 10 years, I have toured with an ensemble of internationally recognized award-winning instrumentalists and vocalists who join together during the holiday season as the group SimpleGifts. Combining violin, Celtic whistle and bagpipes, piano, acoustic guitar and percussion with three-part female vocals, SimpleGifts brings a modern, yet classical sound to old-world Christmas music. It’s difficult to describe in words just what creates the SimpleGifts style, so I will share with you a video from one of our recent concerts. (Learn more about SimpleGifts here.)
Although Christmas music is prone to being overused and even abused over the holiday season, at the heart of it, there is still much to treasure. In our own small way, my friends and I have made an effort to hold Christmas music in a very special place so that it can be experienced and enjoyed again in a new light. For all the good and pleasure it brings, I believe that we as artists and listeners can uphold the wonder of holiday music now and for generations to come.