Places to go and things to see by Gypsy Bev

Posts tagged ‘folk music’

Barefoot McCoy Captures Real Life in His Songs


Surrounded by music since childhood, Jake “Barefoot” McCoy of Newark, Ohio now provides musical entertainment all over Ohio and across the United States. His popular folk music developed step by step throughout his life.

Barefoot as a child

Even as a child, Jake attempted to play his dad’s musical instruments.

   His family was homeschooled and piano instruction was part of the curriculum. At the age of five, he began classical piano lessons from a teacher who came to their house every week. A half-hour of practice was required daily.

   Jake feels lucky to have started his musical training at an early age. Music filled his heart and soul so by the time he was eight, he played as much by ear as by reading the music. It wasn’t until age 13 that Jake wrote his first songs using piano and guitar as accompaniment.

Barefoot at Apoxee Trail Florida

The Apoxee Trail in Florida is a great place to go hiking with your guitar.

   When attending Newark High School, Jake also participated in cross country and track. Running and being in nature got in his blood too, and he still gets pleasure from hiking today or taking long walks in the woods.

   Jake attended Asbury College in Kentucky for four years where he earned a degree in music and performance, with minors in accounting and agriculture. In that small town of Wilmore, locals met on the porches or in local clubs and enjoyed sharing music. That’s where he developed as a banjo player.

The same teddy bear is available in multiple, playful settings.

Historic Roscoe Village featured Jake at their grand piano for a Christmas concert.

   It was while enjoying music on those hot summer evenings along the Kentucky River that Jake began playing without wearing shoes. A couple of his friends, Rainwater, a Cherokee, and Gail Roe gave him the Indian name of “Barefoot” at that time and this unique name distinguishes him easily from other performers.

   While in Kentucky, he performed with many local bands from 2010 to 2014 and immersed himself in Appalachian culture, including readings of Thoreau and Wordsworth. If you listen closely, you can hear traces of his beliefs and values in the songs he writes.

Barefoot at South Florida Fair - West Palm Beach

Fairs are a popular venue. Here he performs at the South Florida State Fair in West Palm Beach.

   2015 created a memorable year for Barefoot as he went to California to visit a relative. He stayed the year playing every day as a street performer on the Santa Monica Pier. In the evenings he would play at local clubs and bars. While surrounded by all that music, he wrote over 100 songs that year.

   He began performing solo in 2015 and has since delighted crowds at over 1200 shows in Ohio, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Florida, Indiana, New Mexico, and California. His most recent festival took place in March at Dawsonville, Georgia.

Barefoot April

Jake Barefoot McCoy writes meaningful lyrics for his folk songs.

   A special relative that influenced his music tremendously was Doc Watson. His folk guitar playing inspired much of Barefoot’s technique today. During the American folk music revival in the 1960s, the award-winning Doc played acoustic guitar and banjo with a special picking style.

   A multi-talented young man, Barefoot is a singer, songwriter, and musician. A specialty he has mastered is putting poetic lyrics together that tell stories of yesterday and tomorrow. Barefoot is a truly great lyricist able to capture beauty, happiness, frustrations, and pure fun.

Barefoot at Keyboard

The keyboard is a central part of his performances.

   He varies his performances by playing guitar, banjo, harmonica, and piano. No matter what instrument he picks up, his skill and feelings come pouring through. Those bare feet keep him in close touch with his foot percussion, which is often his guitar case.

Barefoot at Cherokee, NC

Cherokee Nation in North Carolina has a festival that he thoroughly enjoys.

   While playing around on the piano at home, he often just happens across his next song. He loves telling a story through his music and usually is working on several new songs. Sometimes he might work on a song idea for years, but often it happens in just one day, maybe even ten minutes.

Barefoot Latest Album

His album “Back to Virginia” takes you on a musical adventure from valleys to mountaintops.

   His albums are Bye Bye Bluebird, Ballyhoo, American Lady, and Back to Virginia. At concerts, Take Me Away and Cali top the list of requests. Summer in My Soul is his latest hit.

I will not grow old

While my heart is full

The world outside is so cold

But it’s Summer in My Soul.

Tourism Barefoot McCoy

He was a featured entertainer at Ohio Tourism Day on the Ohio Statehouse steps.

   Some of his favorite concerts have occurred at the Cherokee Festival in Cherokee Nation, the Paul Bunyan Festival at Old Washington, and Apple Butter Festival in Coshocton. My first concert of Barefoot’s occurred on the Ohio State House Lawn at a State Tourism Show and later listened when he performed at the Guernsey County Senior Center Picnic.

Barefoot at Senior Diner

Guernsey County Senior Center asked him to play for their Senior Picnic in the park.

   Like all young men, he has his dreams. One of those would be to go on an international tour. He’d also enjoy playing with Tommy Emmanuel, who he admires for his complex fingerstyle technique on the guitar. The talented Jake “Barefoot” McCoy certainly has a wonderful chance to fulfill his dreams.

Barefoot Tee

This Barefoot tee shirt could be a fun gift.

   Visit his website at to hear some of his music. It’s an easy place to order an entertaining CD. Bluegrass fans might like to pick up a Barefoot Raglan Tee Shirt or Hoodie for themselves or a friend.

   Watch his schedule and plan to listen to his delightful musical creations sometime soon. Barefoot McCoy is a pure American Folk Music treasure.

Adam Miller Plays Music for Regular Folks – Folk Music

Adam on stage

Adam Miller presents one of his American Folk Music Programs for Libraries, entitled “Singing Through History”.

Folk songs always tell a story. But when you add a storyteller with an autoharp to the mix, you have entertainment at its best. Adam Miller is an extraordinary storyteller as he weaves the history of our nation and the world into the introductions of the folk songs that he sings. That’s not to mention his fantastic ability at the autoharp and guitar, as he delights the audience with song after song in his rich baritone voice.

The magical way Adam weaves history into his program makes history seem very exciting for everyone. “Of course,” Adam remarked, “history is better than fiction.” Often he performs for school groups and they, too, find him fascinating. To date he has performed for over 1,000,000 students as part of his journey from the Everglades to the Arctic Circle.

Adam Miller performs folk music using his autoharp.

Adam Miller performs folk music using his autoharp.

While the guitar is the most popular instrument in the US today, it wasn’t long ago that the autoharp had that prestige. A hundred years ago Sears catalogue had autoharps listed for $6.95 and many teachers used them in their classroom. Adam’s ability with the autoharp far surpasses any this gypsy has seen. The fluid sound resounded without any apparent effort on his part.

Involving the crowd seemed to come naturally to Adam as he often works with school groups. Frequently throughout the program, he had the audience singing along on choruses. Since this fantastic musician appears at approximately a hundred libraries a year, he has much practice. A repertoire of folk music programs called “Singing Through History”, which he uses at the library presentations, ranges from “Old Songs for Young Folks” to “Steamboatin’ Days”.

Jerry and Joan Albaugh from Friends of the Library were instrumental in bringing this program to Cambridge.

Jerry and Joan Albaugh from Friends of the Library were instrumental in bringing Adam Miller to Cambridge.

Friends of the Library at Cambridge, Ohio were certainly fortunate to connect with Adam Miller. This busy man travels over 70,000 miles a year as he goes from town to town sharing his love of folk music. He builds his show on whatever people want.

The recent show at the Crossroads Library had the theme, “I’m Goin’ to the West”, which included the song and story of the famous Orphan Train. The chorus began, “Take us in. We have rode the Orphan Train.”

The story began in Ireland, where the potato famine destroyed many families and left children orphans. Many youngsters were sent to the U.S. for a chance at a better life. That didn’t actually happen where they landed near New York City, so a Catholic priest there raised funds to send them, and orphans left by the Civil War, by train to the new western settlements to help build railroads among other things. In a short period of time, 250,000 children rode west on what was soon to be called the Orphan Train.

Adam's CDs help make his love of folk songs live on even after he has left the area.

Adam’s CDs help make his love of folk songs live on even after he has left the area.

The oldest folksong. which has been around over five hundred years, has many different versions. That timeless ballad, “Froggy Went a Courtin”, moves at a rapid fire pace, but with the theme of a frog dating a mouse, it seems humorous that it became so popular.

Even as a child, folk songs captured Alan’s heart and he began collecting these old songs back when he was in grade school. His goal was to learn every song he heard. Today Adam knows and performs over 5,000 songs through his large repertoire of shows. There’s no doubt that he is a master at what he does, and he does it with enthusiasm. Exceptional entertainment!

If your school, group, or library would like to contact Adam Miller for a program, email him at or visit his website at  Here you can also purchase some of his CDs, which are very entertaining and relaxing.

Tag Cloud