Introducing the americana artist-in-residence program February 22 - 24, 2016

The Americana Music Academy is excited to launch our 2016 Artist-in-Residence program with acclaimed Singer/Songwriter Matt Nakoa. A virtuosic pianist, Matt has performed everywhere from recently appearing at The White House, to throughout India, to regularly touring with folk legend, Tom Rush.  He will be with the Americana February 22 - 24 for a Songwriter's Workshop master class and a few private lessons, culminating with a house concert on February 24 at 7pm. To reserve tickets for the house concert or to request more information about lessons or the master class, please email To learn more about Matt Nakoa, visit

MATT NAKOA is an internationally touring singer/songwriter, recently appearing at The White House, throughout India, and regularly with folk icon Tom Rush. Growing up on a small goat farm in rural NY State, Matt discovered music as a means of teenage escape and trained to be a concert pianist. Matt was ultimately accepted as a vocalist to Berklee College of Music where he studied alongside soon-to-be Grammy winners St. Vincent and Esperanza Spalding among others. After school, Matt landed in NYC’s vibrant piano bar scene. There he quickly became a star performer at Manhattan’s famous Brandy’s Piano Bar, with lines waiting outside the door each Saturday night.

As if illustrating two sides of himself, Matt’s first album, Light In The Dark (2012), is a sweeping pop opus, while A Dozen Other Loves (2014) explores an intimate acoustic palette. Across the board his song craft has garnered awards, including a win at Kerrville Folk Festival’s prestigious New Folk Competition. Though not easily pinned down, “In sum,” as a recent review put it, "Matt Nakoa is a musical adept, one of those well kept secrets you just can’t help but celebrate: intimate and genuine, soulful and bittersweet, a rich poetic songbook sung in praise to a complicated, emotionally present world."

We have a new director! Rachel Black.

Look for exciting news about who Rachel is to Americana, and what coming up this winter in the house.

Castle Tea Room and Americana Music Academy

Hi all,

A couple of weeks ago Americana board member Karl Birns stopped by the Castle Tea Room’s open house and met their new board president, Doug.  Karl let me know that CTR was interested in talking about some partnership ideas.  Thanks Karl for re-connecting us.

I met with them a couple years ago, but progress was not made at that time toward any opportunities.  I’m happy to say that they have some different ideas going now, and they have been immediately responsive, which goes a long way in materializing ideas. 

I’ve met with Doug, their board president, and they are applying for grant funding for a "Porch-fest" idea at CTR.  There are similar programs going in KC and other cities.  It will incorporate live music and eventually art, with a neighborhood approach, in order to bring more music listening opportunities in Lawrence.  We will be partnering with Castle Tea Room in providing music and sound for these events.  Additionally, after meeting with their director Lindsay, they are willing to offer us an effective non-prifit price in hosting some of our house concerts, recitals, and other AMA events.  Our hopes with this partnership is to pool our resources to get a larger response from the community to both the Castle Tea Room, and American roots music we promote at Americana Music Academy.  Without giving up on smaller house concerts here at Americana, we can have a cost effective larger “small” venue that will require less risk and investment than others we now use or have been priced out of in the past.  Our teachers, students, and associated bands will have more opportunity for upscale and affordable community space to perform

As their grant proposal is considered, I’ve gone ahead and solidified our commitment by scheduling our next Americana recital May 17th, 7:30pm., and our July Jam Camp 20-24th, and concert July 24th with Castle Tea Room.  Keep a look out for more event dates and happenings once we get word on funding and schedule a few events there to see how the space works out.

Peter Lague – Executive Director Americana Music Academy

Kids' Summer Music and Art Camp success!

It's been a busy summer around Americana.  I feel the momentum growing as we are growing back into the community.  Our Kids' Camp programs are one of the most exciting things going on at Americana, along with more house concerts and events.

This year we expanded our camp to two, week-long sessions and filled them both!  It was a great bunch of kids this summer, and as we develop our camp, Scenic Roots and me realize more and more the value of our program for the children participating, their parents, and for ourselves as camp directors.  We are excited about developing camp offerings throughout the year, and around the region as a traveling music and art camp.  We hope to reach kids in small towns and inner city areas who would otherwise not form a connection with the tradition of American roots music, folk art, dance, and more.

Partnerships are forming with Folk Alliance International, Douglas County Community Foundation, the Willcoxon Foundation, Freedom's Frontier, the Boys and Girls Club of Lawrence, and La Petite Academy, to name a few.  We are developing plans for two day camps this winter, and an actual "stay-over" camp this spring/summer, where we keep the kids the whole week at a ranch facility still to be determined.  We hope to bring awareness to the traditions of community, festivals, and jamming to this five day camp in the nearby northeastern Missouri countryside.