Northwest Portland Hostel

Centrally Located – in the Heart of Portland

Summer Music in the Secret Garden 2015

Our Summer Music nights are a great time to hear talented singer/songwriters from around the West Coast while enjoying authentic German BBQ, beverages, and the company of locals and travelers alike! We welcome you to bring your loved ones and friends over for the fun!

2015 Schedule

Every Tuesday Night from June 16 to September 1, 2015 at 6:30pm – 9:30pm.

Sign up for open mic spots at the events.

June 2015

June 16 – Lauren Sheehan

LaurenSheehan_playing_colorRoots Americana musician, Lauren Sheehan, launched her recording and performing career in 2002 and has been sailing on to critical acclaim, national/international radio charts and ‘encores’ at festivals, concerts and venues across the country and in Canada ever since. From fronting a 9-piece band to solo acoustic work, this vivacious ‘songster’ delights audiences with the breadth of her material, evocative artistry and musicianship.

Lauren clearly loves and inhabits the music she performs, shape shifting through the moods of the familiar and the obscure, howling with the werewolf and weeping with the willow. Her gifted guitar work, stylistic breadth and vocals are inspired by her study with elders, oral tradition and scholarship. With all of that tradition behind her, she re-creates the intimacy of a back porch, where singing and playing were regular events.

Lauren began playing guitar at 10, discovered traditional, social and dance music in her early 20’s, then jumped into living acoustic blues up at Centrum’s Port Townsend Acoustic Blues Festival in her 30’s, picking up mandolin and banjo along the way.

Recent appearances on NPR, four CDs that charted in the top 20 on folk radio, a 2012 Portland Music Award for outstanding achievement in Folk, inclusion in the Library of Congress as part of the MusicBox project and her most recent accomplishment as guitarist for the CD, The Light Still Burns, companion to the history book Kalamazoo Gals; A Story of Extraordinary Women & Gibson’s “Banner” Guitars of WWII, attest to her growing significance as an artist, performer and teacher.


June 23 – Clayton & Ernie with Margaret Branch


Clayton & Ernie are a singing duo with guitar and harmonica. They perform a variety of folk, jazz, popular songs, and original material. They often perform at Artichoke Music and other venues in Portland. In October 2014, they released their first CD “Rum Avenue” and are currently working on a second CD.

Margaret Branch is a singer-songwriter who has performed in several states across the country, sometimes in duets but mostly as a  soloist.  Her original songs are inspired by serious songwriters of the 60’s, and are poignant and heartfelt ballads of life and love in an uncertain world.  They invite the listener to enjoy melodic compositions that sometimes echo Latin Beats, as she was raised in Mexico and learned to play guitar there.


June 30 – Andy Gonçalves and Karyn Ann

Andrew Gonçalves is a Portland based singer/songwriter who puts all of himself into the music….every strum, drumbeat, and belted out melody that he sings.  His guitar playing is clean and diverse, varying frgoncalvesom fingerstyle to percussive with some flamenco overtones.  His music and lyrics are infused with his time out on the road of life, and the timeless search for home.  His lyrical and generous songs come from some deep experience – maybe joy, maybe pain……One gets the sense that he really means what he’s singing. He’s a performer for sure, but also a herald of life’s exquisite complexity.”  Andrew recorded his first album with the band “Boa Saida” back in 2010 and has just completed his long awaited first solo album, Fire Inside.


karynannPassionate singing and songwriting, introspective lyrics and musical diversity are what make Karyn Ann unique.  With roots planted in timeless troubadours like Bonnie Raitt, to modern artists like Brandi Carlile and Foy Vance, she sings songs from the heart with unequivocal soul.  Her words express countless years of rising and falling, loving and losing, and searching for the element, where her heart is at home.  Her distinctive vocal presence has the ability to draw listeners in, and deliver personal insight, while her multifaceted mixed genres produce a refreshing, but reminiscent sound of old soul and folk of the 60s.


July 2015

July 7 – Kelly & the Bellskellybells

Kelly and The Bells is a collaboration between Portland songwriters Kelly Bosworth and Richey Bellinger. This cross-generational duo draws from blues, bluegrass, and country roots to build their sweet folk sound. Come for the harmonies – stay for the banjo and octave mandolin!


July 14 – Amanda West

unnamedAmanda West
is an award winning singer-songwriter, recording artist, music teacher, and mother. Not afraid of the big questions, she asks: Who are we? Why are we here? What does it mean to be human, and how can we most deeply live our temporary and precious lives?

A native of California, Amanda grew up singing around campfires and began her career as a performing singer-songwriter when she was a teenager.  Offered in an angelic voice over folk fusion instrumentation, West’s all-original songs explore topics from humanity’s impact on the planet to musings on women’s role in society, intimate stories of love, and recipes for self-empowerment and cultural evolution.

She has toured the West Coast of the U.S. extensively and recently completed her first UK/European Tour. She understands music to be a part of our universal human birthright, playing an essential role in our experience of being alive.  Author and Consultant to Harvard Medical School, Roanne Weisman, writes “There is truly a healing power in music, and Amanda West is one of these remarkable musicians who holds this power in her songs.”

The summer of 2015 finds West on the road for her 5th Pacific Northwest summer tour, accompanied by her musical & life partner, Pete Solomon. The duo is celebrating the release of their latest EP called “More than Anything”, with 4 original songs, and Amanda’s first cover song (an adaptation of Sarah McLachlan’s “Sweet Surrender”) exploring the highs and lows of new parenthood. The duo will be bringing their unique blend of folk fusion, “music for thoughtful hearts” to festivals, listening rooms, house concerts, and spiritual centers around California, Oregon & Washington in July.


July 21 – The Better Halves

The Better Halves are an Austin, TX-based husband-wife musical duo.  They met when Jimmy Joe was booking music at the local farmers market, and Chrissie was looking for a gig that included fresh veggies.  A decade later, they are working on their third album together (a fun children’s CD!), are touring the west coast for the third year in a row, and have learned to play a song with four hands on one guitar!  Their music inspires and amuses, with clever lyrics and outstanding instrumentation (usually on two guitars).  Their onstage banter is reminiscent of Johnny Cash and June Carter.


They each have some fine accomplishments, including Jimmy Joe having one of his songs played on NPR’s “Car Talk”, and Chrissie performing live on Garrison Keillor’s “A Prairie Home Companion.”  Jimmy Joe is also a school bus driver who writes spontaneous silly songs with the kids on the bus to pass the time.  Chrissie is an acupuncturist who believes in many forms of healing, including the power of music to soothe and bring joy.  Together, they continue writing Texas swing, bluegrass, and Brazilian flavored tunes, sing sweet vocal harmonies, and tour from Alaska to Mexico, with one of their favorite stops along the way being the Secret Garden in Portland!

July 28 – Matt Meighan

meighanMatt Meighan mixes his originals with songs by fellow songwriters as well as older songs from the folk and blues traditions. Drawing on his years as an activist, journalist, parent and poet, Matt writes tradition-steeped, thought-provoking songs that are at turns personal, political, poignant and funny, infused with a philosophical bent and an audible love of language. He also co-hosts the annual Zigzag Songwriting Camp with songwriter Chris Kokesh.  This week’s open mic will feature participants from this year’s camps.



August 2015

August 4 – Mindy Dillard

mindyMindy Dillard is an adventurer and an award-winning singer-songwriter. She plays clawhammer banjo and rhythm guitar, often in alternate tunings to accompany her electric and raw, crystal-clear voice. Her music pulsates with funky rhythmic grooves and sparkles with heartfelt storytelling. Mindy is a mythological scholar and wrote her own one-woman folk rock opera based on Grimm’s fairytales and the work of Clarissa Pinkola Estes, which she has performed internationally. In June 2015 she won Susanne Millsaps performing songwriter competition in Salt Lake City, Utah (which is also her home town). She opened for folk icon John Gorka at the 2015 Utah Arts Festival. Mindy’s musical influences include Joni Mitchell, Dar Williams, Cosy Sheridan, Stephen Sondheim and jazz luminary Ella Fitzgerald. A genre hopper, Mindy’s sound holds shades of old-time Appalachia, contemporary folk, gospel, musical theatre and rhythm and blues. Through her music she seeks to transform the ordinary into the magical and poison into medicine. “Mindy is breath of fresh air on stage! Graceful and poised with lyrics that cut straight to the heart.  She will make you laugh and cry and you’ll leave her performance with a genuine smile and feeling of goodness.”  – Ruthie Naccarato, Ricochet House Concerts (Salt Lake City, UT) “Mindy Dillard’s music resonates with truth and heart and rockstar power!” – Art Yoga Cat (Santa Cruz Fringe Festival, CA)


August 11 – J Wagner

jwagnerJ Wagner is a songwriter from Austin, TX who spends the majority of his time writing songs and touring the U.S. to perform them. Raised in the deserts of New Mexico and one time Park Ranger of Joshua Tree National Park, Wagner often draws his lyrics from this desert landscape. His song/cowrite “If I Go, I’m Goin’ “, has been covered by the country artist, Bart Crow, by the Denver symphony orchestra, and also appears on Season Four of the TV show Californication. He co-writes often with his long-time friend Gregory Alan Isakov. Two of these co-writes appear on his new 2014 release, The Runaway Kid. Wagner has been dubbed “A number one best bet” by the Austin American-Statesman, The Dallas Morning News has called him “A Texas folk music staple”, and the Austin Chronicle gives “The Runaway Kid” a perfect “Four Stars” and refers to Wagner as “A commander of words and ideation”.


August 18 – Avery Hill

averyhillFamily legend has it Avery Hill sang before she talked. Since then, drawing from influences as varied as Billie Holliday, The Beach Boys, Joni Mitchell, and Dar Williams, Avery has used songwriting to stretch her voice and play with the vast spectrum of styles that folk music offers. Her sensitive guitar picking complements the images of her honest and intentional lyrics.

Based in Portland, Oregon, Avery’s first record, EP Fare Thee Well, released in 2012, was featured on Tom May’s nationally syndicated radio show River City Folk.  “This emerging singer-songwriter has a memorable, lilting voice,” says May, “and is already penning songs that could someday be classics. She is an extraordinary young talent.”

Avery is currently preparing to present the program Dreams & Ghosts: A Family Album Retrospective as part of the 2015 Fertile Ground Festival in Portland (see Calendar for more details). Dreams & Ghosts is also the title of her forth-coming album, to be released in 2015.


August 25 – Dan Weber

Award Winning songwriter Dan Weber has been described as “The classic mid-life overnight sensation.” A gifted storyteller and inspiring performer, in 2015 he was honored to become a rare 3-time finalist in the legendary Kerrville Folk Festival ‘New Folk’ competition and in 2014 he Won 2nd place in the prestigious Woody Guthrie songwriting contest. An ex-Park Ranger, Eagle Scout, ‘recovering’ Altar boy and lifelong ‘Deadhead’, Weber began performing at 40 and in a few short years was winning over audiences with energetic performances and hilarious stories from the roads he’s traveled. None other than legendary Folk troubadour Ramblin’ Jack Elliott said “I love Dan’s songs and he tells really good stories.”weber

His songs have been described as ‘Timeless’ and ‘Authentic’ and his debut CD ‘Ash and Bone’ received accolades from American Songwriter Magazine and the UK’s Maverick Magazine said: “4 Stars: The touch of a true Master Craftsman songwriter.” There’s also been recognition from DJ’s: “’Hank and Jesus’ is easily the best folk song I heard last year” and The Victory Review magazine wrote “Weber’s writing is as strong as any in the Contemporary Folk community.

In 2015 Weber begins a new chapter with ‘What I’m Lookin’ For’: A 14 song CD of classic Americana that includes the stirring Folk tribute ‘Oh Woody’, Country-Roots on ‘Cowboy Style’, Bluegrass banjo/Dobro master Tony Furtado on several cuts, and the crowd sing-along favorite ‘(I Deal With) Crazy ALL Day’, an everyman’s anthem that is poised to be a breakout hit.

September 2015

September 1 – Betse & Clarke

B&C+promo2Betse & Clarke explore their love of old time music with an inventive spirit, taking listeners on a field trip across mountain folkways and new landscapes. Their music is familiar… and totally different; a fiddle and banjo duo with a sense of adventure.

Betse Ellis plays fiddle and sings like nobody’s business. Her years with The Wilders proved her passion for Ozark tunes and an unstoppable stage presence. Her early violin studies continue to shape her musicianship through technique and composition.

Clarke Wyatt has an original and innovative approach to three-finger banjo. His background as a pianist and composer inform his banjo method as much as his love for old time music.

Together, Betse & Clarke give every listener something to appreciate. They perform traditional tunes learned from cherished sources, creative arrangements of familiar and forgotten songs, and original compositions. You can expect to hear something new that preserves the spirit of tradition.



Our 2015 season is fully booked. To apply for a featured artist performance in 2016, please contact our music committee.

Scheduled featured artists from other years

2018 2017 2016 2014 2013 2012 2011