Coffee House, 11/06/04, Susan Urban and Karen Mooney
The Coffeehouse is a very informal venue operated in the lower level of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of the Redeemer, at 19th and Wisconsin in downtown Milwaukee. Despite the name of the Church, The Coffee House is an almost agressively "hippie" ("Acoustic music and coffee since 1967.")with the prominently displayed "Earth" flag and peace signs. These days it is a smallish performance space furnished with a couple of rows of motley chairs, some couches, and the coffee and hot water pots in the hall. Susan Urban is a well-known Midwestern folk singer whose also been attending Ohio Valley Filk Fest since 1991, which gives her a venue to indulge her penchant for spooky and just plain wierd songs. She's also a Unitarian Universalist "circuit rider," which means her politics and spirituality are a good fit for the Coffie House and its audiences. Karen Mooney is a Chicago-based performer whose range of subjects complements Urban, and who, with Urban, makes up part of the "Strong Voices" ensemble. They follow the same format as a duet as the "Stong Voices" group does, which is that the singers alternate leading 'their' songs, while the other does backup. They put on a good show, with songs such as "Annie Oakley" and "Anne Marie St. Clair" being particular favorites.
Local filkers Dierde Murphy and Art Warnecke "opened" for the evening. Art and Deirde also put on a fun set, with a lot of eerie and unusual music. They continue to grow as performers and get more polished, and the home-town audience was appreciative.