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Chris Beiri Alaska Dispatch News

“The audience roared and cackled with laughter between the verses.”

~ with your host, Kevin Worrell

It’s hard to imagine the Anchorage music scene without PITR, but that may not be true for all AFF members. If you’re asking, “what’s Parlor in the Round?” here’s an introduction…

January 16th at 7 pm, let’s gather at Parlor In The Round. This evening, AFF Guest Artist Jontavious Willis will be joined by Alaskan favorites Ava Earl and Francesca Erni. And Kevin? Well… you might call him the ringmaster. Kevin draws out out the strengths and vulnerability of each artist while holding the crowd closely throughout the performance.

Borrowing from the guitar pull tradition of porches and campfires, songwriters from all walks of Alaskan life (and beyond) will trade songs and stories as they are inspired by each other. You’ll hear old favorites reinterpreted in ways their original author hadn’t imagined.

After the intermission, tradition is cast aside as the musicians dive into collaborations, jocular inventions and premeditated musings all based on written submissions from the audience. Bring your best silly stories, existential crises, or winter woes – just, please, leave the song requests at home. You’ll be hearing things on this stage you’ve never heard before.

Expect to lean in, shed a tear, and laugh out loud at the Parlor.  parlorintheround.com

Kevin Worrell

Jontavious Willis

Fresh from touring with Grammy award winning Keb’ Mo’, Jontavious Willis joins us in Anchorage for a few days before heading to Puerto Rico and a string of solid bookings beyond.

Hailed as a “true blues prodigy” by Blues Greece, Willis grew up in Georgia and is featured on his albums on guitar, harmonica, banjo, and cigar box fingerpicking, flat-picking, and playing slide. What will he surprise us with on the Wendy Williamson Main Stage?

“Only a few like him emerge every decade or so, when even the most hard core blues fans realize immediately that this is the real deal.” – Living Blues Magazine.

“Only a few like him emerge every decade or so, when even the most hard core blues fans realize immediately that this is the real deal,” writes Frank Matheis

- Living Blues Magazine

“That’s my Wonderboy, the Wunderkind,”

- Taj Mahal

Reviewing Spectacular Class - "It’s low-key and old fashioned, in a perfect way."

- Blues Rock Review

“When I heard him play I said to myself: this is how the blues, as I know it, is going to stay alive”

- Paul Oscher

Ava Earl

Ava Earl is a prolific young singer-songwriter from Girdwood. Known for her intricate fingerpicking and graceful melodies, Ava’s music reflects the landscape she’s grown up in—open, raw, beautiful.

At just 16 years old, she has written and co-produced three full-length albums. “Am I Me Yet?” is her latest work, released in July 2018. The collection of 15 songs features Ava on guitar and vocals, Andy Mullen on guitar and bass, and Anna Tivel on violin. The album was recorded at The Hallowed Halls studio in Portland, Oregon, and was engineered by Hawkins Wright who also co-produced the album.

Francesca Erni

Francesca is a jazz and classically-trained vocalist with a master’s degree in Classical Voice Performance from NYU. She’s played played alto/bari sax, piano, and a bit of mellophone and french horn. Four years into living in NYC, she got tired of city life and moved to AK to join partner Jay Straw. Change led her to pick up a new instrument, the accordion, from which new unions arose their band, French Jessica.

Francesca writes her own music and covers a wide range of artists such as Lucio Battisti, Edith Piaf, Roy Orbison, Rammstein, Saint-Säens, Satie, Ima Robot, Squirrel Nut Zippers, among others. Her latest project, French Jessica, can be heard now on SoundCloud; have a listen.