Roochie Toochie and the Ragtime Shepherd Kings


The first phonograph showed up in 1877, yet another invention by Thomas Edison – and even he was fond of this machine that could record and play back sound and would often reply to questions about his best invention, “I like the phonograph best”.

Performers would stand before a funnel-shaped horn attached to a phonograph and belt out their tunes. High volumes of sound were required to make the recording diaphragm vibrate strong enough to force the cutting stylus to carve on the blank wax cylinder. The recording engineer would tell the musicians when to begin and would keep the wax shavings from getting in the way of the stylus during the recording.

Roochie Toochie and the Ragtime Shepherd Kings have recorded songs on “honest to goodness” wax cylinder. The band, made up of Aaron Jonah Lewis, Matt Bell, Timmy Findlen, Lindsay McCaw, and Joy Patterson, reports “our mission is to perform the weirdest songs from the early days of tin pan alley on the format on which they were first recorded – wax cylinder”. The video below shows the band recording “The moon shines on the moonshine”.

Can’t wait to welcome this band to Lancaster, Pa and to host the Roochies on Tuesday, July 28 at 7:00 pm at Chestnut House Concerts.

The Corn Potato String Band – The Ears and Eyes of America


             Aaron Jonah Lewis                                                photo by Tim Lehman (7/2013)

I first heard Aaron Jonah Lewis at Grey Fox 2013. His fiddle solos were extraordinary and his stage presence and demeanor drew my attention.

Almost two years later we received a request for Aaron’s current band “The Corn Potato String Band” to play at Chestnut House Concerts.

I did not need to scope out their webpage, listen to audio tracks or watch them on YouTube before agreeing to have the Corn Potatoes for a house concert.  Any band with Aaron on fiddle is welcome here.

Not knowing much about the Corn Potatoes I held a brief conversation with Aaron by phone to ask a few questions so that you, potential audience members, could learn more about this band that plays traditional fiddle and banjo music.

Ben and Aaron met a long time ago when they played in a band together, and more recently, Aaron met Lindsay at Clifftop. He brought the two of them together as “the ears and eyes of America”.  The band plays mostly traditional music with 1 or 2 originals in the mix.  They have two albums- The Corn Potato String Band was released in 2014 and The Corn Potato String Band,Volume 2 in January 2015. Both albums were recorded live with no overdubs; Ben did the artwork for both covers.


Lindsay, Ben and Aaron each play multiple instruments which allows from some double fiddle and banjo tunes. Bringing new songs to the group and determining who plays which instrument seems to be an organic process and the gravitation towards a particular instrument just happens naturally.  Having 3 multi-instrumentalists in the group does lend itself to quite a variety of band configurations.

The enjoyment of life on the road for Aaron comes from visiting old friends and meeting new people.  He keeps focused on the music and the audience and keeps a positive mindset.  The Corn Potatoes are pretty easy going and one advantage of the house concert venue is that the band has an opportunity to meet the audience.

I asked Aaron which musician, (dead or alive), would he have liked to hear perform? His response was Nicolò Paganini, Italian violinist and composer – connicolo_paganini_769725sidered by many as the greatest of all time.  Paganini  would sometimes tune one of his strings a semitone high for a performance,  and once he played the majority of a piece on one string after breaking the other three. Paganini enjoyed using techniques that included harmonics, double stops, or near impossible fingerings. It is reported that Paganini’s performances would awe the audience and could move people to tears.

After speaking with Aaron and listening to The Corn Potato String Band’s music online, I believe that the Chestnut House Concert audience also will be in awe for this band is full of energy, talent, good stories and laughter. They play at 7:00 p.m. on Saturday, March 28, 2015.  Potluck precedes the show at 6:00 p.m.  To RSVP contact Tim at or call/text 717-940-9311.

Something for Everyone: 3 upcoming shows include soul, folk, roots, old-time and world music.


Mando Planet (Jack Dywer and Tim Connell) played at Chestnut House Concerts in March 2014 and we’re excited to have them return on April 10, 2015 to play the world’s music on sixteen strings. Their set typically includes music from Ireland, Brazil, the Appalachians, Africa and the African Diaspora, Greece, The Jewish Diaspora, and the Balkans.

The Corn Potato String Band plays traditional American music and all three members are multi-instrumentalists. In addition to being champion fiddlers they play banjo, guitar, bass and mandolin and deftly handle many different antiquated styles including ballads, “ho-downs,” country “rags” and southern gospel, specializing in twin fiddling and double banjo tunes. The Corn Potatoes will be at Chestnut House Concerts on Saturday, March 28, 2015.

Birds of Chicago won the hearts of the Chestnut House Concert audience in September 2013 and they will return on Sunday, March 22, 2015 for another evening of music.  The Birds of Chicago just finished recording a new album Real Midnight with producer Joe Henry and they will share some of their new songs with us.

For all three shows the evening will start with a potluck at 6:00 p.m. followed by music at 7:00 p.m.  To save a seat contact Tim at or call/text 717.940.9311.  Suggested donation of $15/20 per person.