John C. Van Orman

Next up!  October 8, 2017, 7 pm.  John C. Van Orman and Adam Helwin at  Mike and Carol’s House Concert; 3013 Nottingham Way, Madison, WI 53713.  The suggested donation is $15 with the understanding that if this is a budget breaker, put in what you can afford.  The doors will open at 6:30, and those coming are invited to bring a snack, beverage or dessert to share but that is not required. Please RSVP with a reply to  

photo by megan helwin

photo:  harv koplo

Here’s what the Illinois Times had to say about John Van Orman: “On Saturday evening comes John Van Orman, known to Springfield folkies as a founding member of the area folk ensemble Finnegans Wake. As an award winner, folk center director, hurdy-gurdy player, singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, instrument builder and world traveler, the man is a fabulous treasure-trove of all things folk-music oriented and a gifted performer as well…This is a wonderful thing folks, go enjoy.”

Thanks, Tom Irwin!


 Photo: chris quillen

A Byronic figure on the West Bank scene in Minneapolis during the end of the twentieth century, John C. Van Orman made a mark reflected by the many regional artists who have covered his songs over the years. Boiled in Lead, Bill Hinkley and Judy Larson, Sherry Minnick, and The Flash Girls are a diverse lot whose covers reflect the breadth of Van Orman’s appeal. 

His songs are often referential, alluding lyrically and musically to images, themes and motifs from traditional folk song, a realm about which he is very knowledgeable. The instruments with which he accompanies himself – guitar, concertina, pump organ, fiddle and hurdy-gurdy – enhance the vintage quality of the material. Van Orman received Minnesota Music Academy awards for his multi-instrumental prowess as well as for his songwriting skills.  

Here’s John, singing “Death on Hennepin” from his album, Love, Liquor, and the Lord.