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Godfrey Daniels show sings praises of women in folk music

Music at the IceHouse
Godfrey Daniels is presenting Muses at the IceHouse from 4 to 9:30 p.m. Saturday, March 12. (Courtesy photo)

BETHLEHEM, Pa. - Folk music club Godfrey Daniels in Bethlehem is teaming up this weekend with Foul Rift Productions to present an all-women lineup:Muses at the IceHouse.

March is Women’s History Month, and the show is designed to showcase how far folk music has come in the last 20 years. 

The event’s organizer, Brian McCloskey, began hosting house concerts with his brother in the early 2000s. It didn’t take long for them to notice that men dominated the folk music scene.

“There wasn’t a whole lot of parity,” he said. “So we decided we wanted to be a couple of guys who put on a women’s music festival.”

Muses started as a festival and evolved into a performance series that showcases women in folk music. McCloskey, now Godfrey Daniels’ board president, says events like this are essential; he says too many folk aficionados still believe all the greatest songwriters are men.

“They’ll be talking about Dylan and John Prine and Richard Shindell, maybe, and it’s like I don’t know how we have this discussion without having Joni Mitchell in the picture,” he said. “Or Suzanne Vega or Dar Williams.”

Muses at the IceHouse will showcase five musical groups featuring frontwomen. One of them, singer and guitarist Brittany Ann Tranbaugh, hails from Easton. She says being a woman on the folk scene was isolating back then, especially for a teenager.

“The first shows I played, I was oftentimes the only girl,” she said. “That didn’t feel great.” 

Tranbaugh added that growing up, she had to dig around to find other women folk artists. 

“They weren’t just presented to me in the way they are now,” she said. “Women artists are killing it right now!”

McCloskey agreed that the genre has come a long way, thanks to breakout artists like Brandi Carlile, workshops for women musicians and platforms that showcase diverse talent. It’s something he’s grateful for.

“Women’s music gives me perspective that I don’t have,” he said. “Sharing different perspectives changes the way things look, and I like being part of that.”

Muses at the IceHouse will be held 4 to 9:30 p.m. Saturday, March 12. Tickets are $42.50 and available on the Godfrey Daniels website.

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