About Ralph Litwin


The state’s most read paper,The Star Ledger has described Ralph Litwin as "...one of the top troubadours in New Jersey, in demand for his prize-winning brand of country, folk, old-time jazz, ragtime, blues and other quintessentially American sounds." In 1999, in the 11th Annual Makin’ Waves Awards, The Courier-News dubbed Ralph Litwin & the Band With a Thousand Names as "Best Country Artist."

Tony Trischka characterized Litwin’s technique in Banjo Newsletter as "... a great contribution... a very unique style... combining fingerpicking, strumming and clawhammer almost like a Mississippi Delta approach to the banjo..." The late Tiny Moore (of Bob Wills Texas Playboys) called Litwin "...a magician (who) plays harmonica like you wouldn’t believe." About Litwin’s opening set, Utah Phillips simply stated "...good pickin’, real good singin’." Litwin has also opened for David Bromberg, Aztec Two-Step, and Jonathan Edwards and alternated sets with a 17-piece jazz band at First Night Montclair.

Litwin took first place in the NJ Old Style Banjo Championship in ‘83 & ‘86 (the last year of the contest). At the 1996 Uncle Dave Macon Days in Murfreesboro, TN, he was a National Old Time Banjo Finalist, took 2nd place in Harmonica and 1st place in Uncle Dave Macon Freewheelin' Style. He’s received honors three times from Billboard Magazine Song Contest. Litwin began accompanying his singing with ukulele at age 9 in 1959 after a few lessons from a camp counselor. Self-taught by ear since then, Litwin also plays 5-string banjo, harmonica, guitar and jug. For over a decade he’s been performing up to 100 dates per year mainly in the tri-state region, though he has played tours as far-flung as California, Florida, and Great Britain.

His three compact discs have received enthusiastic reviews and airplay both nationwide and overseas. Of his most recent CD, Dirty Linen wrote: "These vaudevillian frolics are delivered with such sheer joy and exuberance it reminds you why you like music in the first place." Acoustic Musician printed "... this is a bunch of fun. Litwin and Company exhibit a good-time attitude in their performance I've rarely encountered... Just get it, you won't regret it."

The Chicago Tribune described his 2nd album as an "... appealing mix of old-time string band jazz, ragtime and jugband with Litwin singing in a style that sounds deceptively informal. He balances between the tongue-in-cheek and genuine artistry, conjuring up an image of Leon Redbone on the back porch with a few friends..."

Cash Box featured Litwin’s first CD as an "Indie Album Pick" saying: "This is a unique release ... an eclectic blend of country, bluegrass, calypso, jazz, and western swing, vaguely reminiscent of Jimmy Buffet, Bob Wills and Jerry Jeff Walker, but highly original."

Litwin is also producer and host of "...Horses Sing None of It!", a non-commercial half-hour cable television series, which has won three 1st Place Awards from The Hometown Video Festival, the country's largest and longest-running community media competition: 1996 & 1997 in the category of Cultural/Ethnic Diversity, and 1997 in the Entertainment category. With over 270 episodes taped, the series has aired weekly since 1993 in Manhattan, Philadelphia, and NJ. Hosting the series has given Litwin the chance to hobnob and jam with folk artists including Peggy Seeger, John Jackson, Artie Traum, Martin Simpson, Guy Davis, John Whelan, Jack Hardy, Roy Book Binder, The Freight Hoppers, and the trio of Mick Moloney, Ilene Ivers & Tommy Sands among many others.


APPEARANCES INCLUDE:

Coffee Houses & Listening Clubs

The Minstrel Coffee House, Basking Ridge, NJ
Godfrey Daniels, Bethlehem, PA
The Bluebird Cafe, Nashville, TN
Pursuit of Happiness, Bethlehem, NY
22 Below, NYC
Richmondtown Restoration, Staten Island, NY
Outpost in the Burbs, Montclair, NJ
The Other End, Drew Univ., Madison, NJ
Mine St. Coffeehouse, New Brunswick, NJ
The Good Coffeehouse, Brooklyn, NY
Palm Beach Folk Club, Palm Beach, FL
Closing Circle Coffeehouse, Roseland, NJ
The Ridgeway Cafe, Oakland, CA
Fiddlers Meadow Coffeehouse, Lyndhurst, NJ
Classy Coffee, Summit, NJ
Hurdy Gurdy Folk Music Club, Paramus,NJ
The Speakeasy, NYC
Bothy Folk Club, Lafayette Hills, PA
Stanhope House, Stanhope, NJ

Festivals and Fairs

Lincoln Center Craft Fairs, NYC
Bethlehem Musikfest, Bethlehem, PA
Waterloo Folk Festivals Stanhope, NJ
NJ Folk Festivals, Douglas Col.,New Brunswick, NJ
June Days Folk Festivals, Montclair, NJ
Folk Project Festivals, Branchville, NJ
Morristown Folk Festivals, Morristown, NJ
Killaloe Fairs, Ontario, Canada
Waterloo Crafts Fairs, Stanhope, NJ
Great American Craft Fairs, Ramsey, NJ
Belleplain State Forrest Music Festival, NJ
Batsto Village Music Festival, Hammonton, NJ
Cold Spring Village Music Festival, Cape May, NJ
Pinelands Folk Festival, Estelle Manor, NJ
Vivian Cord Antique Fairs, NY locations
Monmouth County Fairs, Freehold, NJ.
Builders Association Trade Fair, Morristown, NJ
Parsippany Tomato Festivals, Parsippany Hilton, NJ
Princeton Corn Festival, Nassau Inn, Princeton, NJ
Terhune Orchards Apple Festival, Princeton, NJ
Somerset County Balloon Festival, NJ
Somerset County Energy Festivals, NJ
Somerset County Art Assn. Fair, NJ

Concerts and Dances

Masters of the Banjo Concert, Wheaton Village, NJ
First Night (Morristown, Summit, West Orange, Montclair, Flemington, NJ)
HO Plaza Concert Series, Morristown, NJ
Morris County Park Concert Series at Lewis Morris, Hedden, and Mahlon Dickenson parks, NJ
Musconetcong Historical Society, Stanhope, NJ
Princeton Historical Society, Princeton, NJ
Earth Day Concerts at County College of Morris, Sussex Co. College, Montclair State College, in Philadelphia, PA, etc.
M & M Hall, Old Bridge, NJ
Kansico Dam Plaza, Valhalla, NY
Goodworks Music Concert, Bridgeton, NJ
Turtleback Zoo Concerts, West Orange, NJ
Swingin' Tern Dances, Morris County, NJ
square dances at Staten Island Zoo, churches, private parties of many types
Bygone Daze Swing & Rock Dance, Morristown, NJ

Etc.

The Schooner Richard Robbins, New York Harbor
The Belle Ann Marie (Paddle Wheeler), New York Harbor
Trains: Fall Foliage Tours, New York State;Historic Train, Flemington, NJ; Silver Bullet, NYC to DC; etc.
Private Parties and Corporate Events