The Westport Historical Society’s Betty and Ralph Sheffer Gallery will sway to the rhythms of music and poetry this fall when it morphs into a Greenwich Village-style coffee house for two evenings featuring singer/songwriter Suzanne Sheridan and friends.
Westporter Sheridan, whose music influences include Joni Mitchell and Leonard Cohen, will appear Oct. 11 and Nov. 22 from 6 to 8 p.m. with Westport poet Ralph Adams. She will be accompanied on keyboards by Bob Cooper of Westport and Chris Brown on bass. The sessions are titled “Coffee House at the Wheeler’s,” a reference to Wheeler House, the society’s headquarters at 25 Avery Place.
A jingle and New York club singer in the 60s, Sheridan says she dropped out in the 70s because she couldn’t relate to disco and decided she was going to do it her way, performing music that made her happy. Her goal has always been to bring “intelligence and heart to the music scene,” she says.
In addition to tunes by Mitchell and Cohen, her dates at the WHS will feature Kansas City blues, jazz and such all-time rock faves as “You Send Me,” “New York State of Mind,” “Johnny Be Good” and “Stand By Me.”
Adams, whom Sheridan considers the unofficial poet laureate of Westport, draws on his experiences growing up on the Kansas plains dreaming of buffalo and Indians and his days sailing the world’s seas with the Merchant Marine.
Cooper played piano with the John Mooney Blues Band in the late 1970s, performing at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. He was also the keyboard player for Harvey Robbins' Doo-Wop Hall of Fame concerts from 2000 to 2009.
Brown, who has homes in Bethel and on Candlewood Lakes, studied jazz and classical music at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music. A horn player in addition to a bassist, he enjoyed a long collaboration with Paul Winter and the Winter Consort, serving as music editor of Winter’s Grammy-winning 1994 album “Prayer for the Wild Things.”
Though contemporary music programs are something of a departure for the WHS, executive director Sue Gold says they serve the mission of “enriching the community and creating an opportunity for Westporters to gather together.”
Both “coffeehouses” take place on Friday evenings. A $10 donation will be requested at the door, and reservations are required. Call the Westport Historical Society at (203) 222-1424