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John Roberts & Debra Cowan

“Wonderful! I could do an entire two hour show with just John and Debra”                                                  David Guzzetti, host “Woody and Friends” KZFR 90.1 Chico, CA

“…Debra Cowan and John Roberts reminded me of why I love folk music so much–it’s the ripping yarns, the sparse tunes, and the joy of singing along.”                                                                Rob Weir, “Off-Center Views” Read the entire review HERE

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It all started with a question in 2009:

“How are you getting to Chicago?”

And with that, folk musicians John Roberts and Debra Cowan decided to team up for a series of small concerts in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan and Illinois before arriving as separately booked artists at the Fox Valley Folklore Society’s annual festival. The combination of car-pool and mini-tour was successful enough that John and Debra continue to do more performing together both in the USA and in 2011, with a successful tour in the United Kingdom.

John and Debra met for the first time at the New Bedford Whaling Museum in 1999 where John and his long-time musical partner, Tony Barrand were performing a concert of Maritime Songs. Afterwards, they continued to meet at various folk music events in New England and became friends, often appearing on stage together at New England folk festivals.

John and Debra both share an enthusiasm and passion for the old songs and ballads that have been handed down through the oral tradition in the English-speaking world. Debra counts John as one of her mentors and teachers: “I have been listening to Roberts and Barrand (Tony Barrand, John’s long-time musical partner) since the early 1980s and it’s a privilege to share the stage with a man who was among the first to introduce traditional English songs to a wider American audience”. Even though a John Roberts and Debra Cowan evening will certainly include many traditional songs, there will be contemporary songs as well, some by writers personally known to both performers. Be prepared to join in and sing along!

You can find out more about John Roberts by visiting his website

Click on an image to view or download.

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