In the Folkway tradition, Claudia Schmidt returns

A veteran on the national folk scene, singer/songwriter Claudia Schmidt will be carrying on the tradition of the Folkway coffeehouse when she performs Friday at Bass Hall in the Peterborough Historical Society.

“Claudia was already quite well-known on the folk circuit when I first heard her at the Folkway, around 1976 or 1977,” said Gordon Peery, who is organizing the concert as part of the Music in Bass Hall series. “That was when the Folkway first started to bring in people from away with national reputations.”

The coffeehouse and restaurant on Grove Street eventually went out of business, and Peery said he didn’t hear Schmidt perform for a number of years, until he ran into her at a folk festival in Pennsylvania. He suggested that she come back to Peterborough to perform, and in 2010 Schmidt played the opening concert of the Folkway Remembered series at the Peterborough Historical Society.

“It was just wonderful,” Peery said. “She filled the house, with both old fans and people who had never seen her. I really felt we were carrying on the tradition of the Folkway.”

Schmidt, who describes herself as a “creative noisemaker,” has released more than a dozen recordings. She was a regular during the early years of the “Prairie Home Companion” radio show and is an accomplished performer on 12-string guitar and mountain dulcimer. Her most recent record, “Bend in the River,” is a retrospective of songs recorded for Red House Records that covers a range of jazz and folk genres.

Peery said Schmidt, who lives in Minnesota, usually gets to New England for a series of shows about once a year. “She’s been a part of the national folk scene for such a long time,” he said. “It’s really an honor to have her here.”

The concert is at 8 p.m. Friday. Tickets are $15 ($12 for seniors, students and society members) and may be purchased online at, or at the society’s downtown office.

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