Local Blues-Folk Artists Serenade the Barge

The Barge Canal Coffee Co. (the Barge) hosted a series of local musicians with influences from around the world on the evening of Saturday, March 29. The intimate crowd of late-night coffee and tea drinkers enjoyed the acoustic styling of three solo artists: Kristina Jung, Lauren Mettler and Old Man Ricken.

Kristina Jung, Colgate’s current Composer-in-Residence, opened the evening in the dimly lit Barge with her blues- and folk-inspired original songs. A native of Germany, Jung’s lyrical and emotive songs have an added element of mysticism. “Pirate’s Prayer,” a song Jung composed as a farewell to Hamilton upon returning home a few years ago, exhibits her song style:  mythical tropes, minor key, wide vocal range and delicate finger-picking on her acoustic guitar.

Lauren Mettler began her set timidly and repeatedly warned the audience that songs could go horribly wrong, but quickly revealed her confidence and strength in performing. The sister of Rabbit in the Rye’s Joe Mettler, she writes all of her own music, which fits authentically in the folk genre and includes imagery of roosters crowing and rivers running.

“I needed something to be happy about, so I wrote this song,” Mettler said of her song “Daisy,” which she wrote the day before her performance at the Barge.

A banjo, guitar, ukulele and penny whistle player, Mettler frequents the Hamilton area and can be seen performing her original indie-folk music again this Friday, April 4  at the Barge.

Old Man Rinken, the stage name of Chris Rinken, has definite folk influences but an almost punk-rock passion. Rinken’s melodic songs are reminiscent of City and Colour, and exhibit powerful scream-vocals. Rinken played a handful of original songs, including, “Soy un Desastre(I’m a Disaster),” in which he explains his tendency to formulate lofty, high-minded goals but continually experiences difficulty even getting out of bed. Rinken held nothing back in his performance, nor in his song content, which tended to veer toward the political.

Rinken ended up in Hamilton seemingly by accident. He’s been in Hamilton for two months, building motorcycles, working at the Barge, living in a barn and playing music in his free time.

“It’s the perfect life,” said Rinken.

Although the crowd at the Barge was small on Saturday night, the intimate audience seemed to thoroughly enjoy the evening.

“I’m really glad I was there to experience it,” sophomore Ian Vannix, an audience member Saturday night, said.

Keep an eye out for these artists’ future shows in the Hamilton area, or search for them on Facebook to see what true talents Hamilton has to offer.

Contact Elyse Cianfarano at

[email protected].