Folk Duo Oakes & Smith To Return to Ventfort Hall, Friday, January 30 at 8pm
Berkshire folk duo Oakes & Smith will offer a mid-winter concert here. Joining the duo that night will be Zack Cross on piano and Justin Hillman on guitar and banjo. Doors will open at 7:30pm. Tickets are $20 at the door, $15 if purchased in advance. A portion of the proceeds will benefit the museum.
Oakes & Smith perform original and traditional folk with voices blending in close harmonies.
They sing soothing and soulful tunes inspired by nature, love, spirit, art and poetry. The
harmonious blend of their voices creates an ethereal sound and unique quality not often heard in
today’s popular music, and their songs evoke a sense of wonder, expressing themes such as love,
beauty, innocence and mystery. Their debut album, First Flight, has been received warmly by
listeners and critics alike.
Said Brian Lion of Under the Gun Review, First Flight is “a beautiful folk effort with lush, multi-instrumental arrangements and stunning melodies in their vocal duets.”
In 2014, the duo appeared at The Guthrie Center in Great Barrington, MA; opened for The
Boxcar Lilies at the NJ Folk Project’s Minstrel Acoustic Concert Series in Morristown, NJ;
performed at FloydFest in Floyd, VA and the Hudson Music Fest in Hudson, NY; played at
Infinity Hall in Norfolk, CT; and appeared at Andrea Clearfield’s Salon in Philadelphia and the
Whitney Center for the Arts in Pittsfield. In 2014, the duo also gave performances sponsored by
the Massachusetts Cultural Council and the Cultural Councils of Otis and Southbridge, MA. They
also appear weekly at Canyon Ranch in Lenox, MA, among many other appearances in the
Berkshires and beyond.
Oakes & Smith cite numerous musical influences, including Van Morrison, Peter Gabriel, Joni
Mitchell and Joan Baez. All of these artists are strong, authentic performers with deep, powerful
lyrics. They provide examples of great storytelling, strong vocal presence, and the ability to
connect with an audience, all qualities that Oakes & Smith possess.
Formed in 2010, the singing/songwriting duo has appeared at a number of Berkshire
establishments, including The Red Lion Inn, The Dreamaway Lodge, The Mount, Arrowhead,
and Dewey Hall. They have consistently garnered warm praise for their soothing and soulful
Said Kylee Colvin of The Levity Ball, “Oakes and Smith have the ability to bring a sense of calm
and ease to the air…with songs so full of wisdom and true emotions…a true representation of
what real, pure, talent should sound like.”
At the heart of this project is the strong bond between the pair and their shared passion to create
art. Through their music, they hope to remind listeners that love, joy, and hope for the future are
still very much alive in the world.
Zack Cross of Northampton, MA is a graduate of the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music.
During his time at IU, he was selected to participate in the Steans Institute for Young Artists in
Jazz at the Ravinia Festival outside of Chicago, IL, where he studied with jazz legends Rufus
Reid, James Moody, David Baker and Nathan Davis. Cross has studied and played with some of
the most revered names in modern jazz and was nominated for the American Pianists
Association’s Cole Porter Jazz Fellowship, currently the most prestigious award for jazz piano in
Justin Hillman is a singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and recording engineer from
Richmond, MA. Born and raised around campfire song circles, his sound is rooted in folk music
with an inclination toward the Avante Garde. Justinʼs unique, textural acoustic guitar work is
reminiscent of Nick Drake. Sought after on stage and in the studio for his critical ear and aesthetic
sensibility, Justin performs and records with artists across many genres, from folk to new age and
For additional information about Oakes & Smith please visit oakesandsmith.net.
Affairs of the Heart, Concert & Tea, Sunday, February 15 , 3:30 pm, doors open at 3:00 pm
A Valentine Song Celebration with Ron Ramsay and Samantha Talora.
Folk Music Concert & Tea, Saturday, March 14, 3:30 – 5:30 pm
Chris Scott and Woody Printz bring acoustical bluegrass, Irish, folk and old time music to Ventfort in celebration of St. Patrick’s Day with Chris on the dobro, fiddle, banjo and guitar and Woody on the bass, guitar and harmonica.