Small Potatoes is the fun-loving "Celtic to cowboy," Chicago-based folk duo of Jacquie Manning and Rich Prezioso.
When you see Small Potatoes perform, you hear two great voices, some fine guitar playing and a touch of tin whistle, flute, mandolin, bodhran and other percussion toys. They even yodel.
They call themselves eclecto-maniacs. They say it has taken them "years of careful indecision" to come up with a mix of music that ranges from country, blues and swing to Irish, with songwriting that touches on all of those styles and more.
Together they present a truly rare blend of vocal and instrumental abilities, award-winning songwriting and arranging talents. They have the unique ability to adapt to the style of music they happen to be playing. They seem comfortably at home whether playing an upbeat cowboy swing tune or a tender, traditional ballad -- though there are no rules here either; sometimes the traditional sounds contemporary, sometimes the contemporary sounds traditional.
And they pay attention to the little things, the warmth, the humor and a rapport with the audience that makes for a memorable performance.
Touring together on the folk circuit since 1993, they've traveled a million miles, becoming sought-after regulars at many clubs, coffeehouses and house concerts across the U.S.
Their first four recordings ("Alive!", "Waltz of the Wallflowers", "Time Flies" and "Raw") have just been joined by their new live CD, "Small Potatoes Alive!", that showcases both their storytelling abilities and their easy manner with an audience.
The uNi Coffeehouse Concerts feature a lovely wooded location bordering on Longmeadow and the Forest Park woodlands; easy access from anywhere via Interstate 91, a parking lot, plus space along road for later arrivals; acoustic music (not electric, not excessively loud), some very old songs and tunes, some very new; experienced performers from across the United States, Canada and Great Britain; a coffeehouse style atmosphere relaxed, informal, low stage, candlelight, but no alcohol, no smoke; a lively concert hall sound in an intimate setting, where performers often mingle with audience during breaks; and refreshments are eavailable, from home baked goodies, hot spiced cider, coffee, teas and just popped popcorn.
For more information or reservations, call 562-3990 or visit www.uNiCoffeehouse.org. Tickets to Small Potatoes are $15 at the door.
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