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Nickel City Sessions


In the dying days of 2017, Mark Buell of Nickel City Frets in Akron, NY, contacted me 
for suggestions regarding ways in which he could present regular programming at his venue. As a songwriter who has always wanted to "take up residency" at a venue, I suggested hosting a once a month, "songwriters in the round" series. He accepted the offer, and beginning on Friday, March 23rd of 2018, "Nickel City Sessions" will feature some of the best local, regional, and nationally touring songwriters and duos in the Traditional/Contemporary Folk, Americana, and singer songwriter genres performing around the country today. Our hope, and goal is to grow this into a much talked about, as well as a much coveted series at which to perform, and attend.

Submission criteria -

Based on the inaugural season, and after consulting with Nickel City Arts owner Mark Buell, we have decided that it would be best to limit the series to 9 shows per year. Since there is a car show that takes place in Akron during the Summer months, which affects accessibility to the venue, and in turn, affects attendance. So, for 2019 and going forward, Nickel City Sessions will be held on the third Thursday of each month between January through May, taking a brief hiatus between June through August, and resuming from September through December. 

I must stress that this is NOT an open mic, nor is it a series in which to casually try out new material. This series is an "in the round" style concert for experienced songwriters, for which the venue is charging attendees a $10.00 cover.  Among the artists booked for the inaugural season are ones who have released critically acclaimed albums, have won songwriting awards at major Folk festivals, conferences, and songwriting competitions, and have a history of performing at some of the finest listening room venues in the U.S and abroad. Others who have been scheduled are artists I know personally, and have a personal relationship/track record with, or ones that at the very least, have established themselves in their hometown or regionally through regular, paid performances, and have released their music on a limited basis. 

So, what do I need from you? A link to your website which should contain the following - recent (within the past two years), high quality studio recordings, hi-res photos, a short bio with performance history/press quotes/awards, etc..., and recent, clearly shot live performance video(s). In other words - I need to see that you have some type of web presence, and a solid history as a performer, be it locally or as a touring artist. I need to see that you can tell stories, have banter with an audience, and confidently perform your songs . I do not need you to guarantee me that you will be able to draw "X amount of people" to the venue, but I do expect you to promote the date as diligently as if it were your own series. This means sharing/inviting from the Facebook event, putting it on the calendar page of your website, word of mouth, email, etc....  and if you would like media contacts to send a press release to, I will get that to you. If you feel you have met the above criteria, please email me at with "Nickel City Sessions" in the subject line. I promise to review your submission and reply either way.

About the venue/show format -

Nickel City Frets is located about 25 miles east of the City of Buffalo, NY in the Village of Akron, NY. It is a small, storefront music lesson center, owned and operated by Mark Buell. His goal is to grow a musical community through lessons, performances, and workshops. The room itself is intimate, and cozy, with a variety of stringed instruments on display, and with the seating comprised of rocking chairs, sofas, and folding chairs, it very much has the feel of performing a house concert. Having performed there, I can attest that audiences are attentive, conversation is nearly non-existent, and people will buy your CD's! The venue has an in house P.A. system, but I will advise performers to bring along any stands, cables, keyboards,and personal preferences of vocal microphones, and instrument direct boxes. Please arrive for soundcheck no later than 5:45 pm EST.  Since these shows will take place on a weeknight, start time will be at 7:00 pm, and will consist of two sets - the first set will consists of two rounds, followed by a brief intermission so that the audience can get refreshments, use the restroom, take a smoke break, and most importantly, meet you and purchase your CD's!!!! We will then reconvene for the second set, which will consist of three rounds for each artist. 

The Lowdown -

At some point, everyone asks, "so, is this a paying gig?', and this is something you absolutely need to know before committing to a date. The answer is "yes", but not a guaranteed payout. I, nor venue owner Mark Buell, have not made a profit from curating this series. In fact, I have come out of pocket to make sure that each performer has made something to cover part of their travel expenses.At present, the agreement with the venue is to provide compensation to the involved artists based on an equal split of the $10.00 admission. At some point, if the series is successful, and takes off, the venue will be taking an equal split of the door. Additionally, you will keep 100% of any CD's and other merchandise you sell at the show. If you are a touring artist booked for this series, I would strongly advise using this as a routing date, and not as an anchor date.  Have I forgotten anything? Let me know if I have!!!  Thank you for reading through all of this VERY CAREFULLY!!! - Davey O.

Nickel City Sessions, 2019

January 17th

Scott Celani
Caroline Doctorow
Fuzzy Thurston 

February 21st -

Tyler Westcott
Jamie Lee
Shawna Caspi 

March 21st

Sonny Mayo
Justin Williams
Harvey Brice 

April 18th

Tom Robert
Lara Herscovitch
Sarah Parker

May 16th

Pierce Pettis
Chris LaVancher
Marty Peters 

September 19th

Tom Smith
Rick Drost
Dan Weber

October 17th

Bernice Lewis
Courtney Yasmineh
Steve Piper

November 21st

Siusan O’Rourke
Ric Allendorf
Last Train to Zinkov (duo)

December 19th -  

Grace Stumberg
Grace Lougen
Kathryn Koch

Nickel City Sessions - 2018 Schedule -

Friday, March 23rd 

Chris Squier

MaryBeth King
Tina Marie Williams

Remaining dates are on the 3rd Thursday of each month

April 19th

Jerry Falzone
Sara Elizabeth
Carolann Solebello

May 17th

Carlin Tripp
Dreaming Collective (duo)
Paul Lamont

June 21st

Folkapotomus (duo)

Andy & Judy Daigle (duo)

July 19th (guest host, Tom Callahan)

Dan & Faith Senie (duo)

Andrew Dunn
Kate Callahan

August 16th

Savannah King

Dean Bell
Devinne Meyers

September 20th

Nick Kody

Maria Sebastian
Eric Lee

October 18th

Louise Mosrie

Rob Lytle
Friction Farm (duo)

November 15th

Rupert Wates

Debra Cowan
Amy Petty

December 20th

Sonya Heller
David Michael Miller
Christine Havrilla