“Meredith Axelrod sings and plays guitar as if she really returned to the pre-mic days. We’re not talking revisionist copy of so and so from way back when; we’re10441242_10152179813455017_577338904516657449_n talking as if we plucked an original out of the era and time-traveled…” – JL Stiles

“It takes more than passion to do what Meredith does. It takes guts; conviction. She is unflinchingly committed to authentic recreation of the tunes in her repertoire–swampy blues and early American roots music.” – Gary Rametta

Delightfully engaging and unassumingly comic, Meredith Axelrod envisions the limitless potential of early twentieth century music, whether it be Ragtime, Music Hall, Pop Standard, Boogie Woogie, Tin Pan Alley, String band, Jazz, Country, Blues or even Jug Band music, and embodies the spirit that brought the music into existence in the first place.  Her vocal style is unusual, probably because she learned to sing by listening to how folks did it a century ago – through the medium of cylinders and 78-rpm records.

The dominant theme throughout her expansive repertoire, is that, whatever the genre, these are songs she learns from the original sources (records and / or sheet music) which were released  between the 1890s and the 1930s. Part of the allure of old time music, indeed any music throughout the history of recorded music, is hearing the original recordings as played and sung by the original performers in their heyday, loving what they’re doing and doing it because it means something to them in that moment, never because of nostalgia, and Meredith brings the same unbridled passion, earnest devotion and candid vitality to all of her music; she has found possibility and joy in  the treasures of cultural folklore.



Axelrod demonstratively loves the life she leads, thriving in varied musical and performance settings. She often partners with string virtuoso Craig Ventresco; they perform at venues and festivals that include the San Francisco Silent Film Festival, West Coast Ragtime Festival and Blind Boone Early Jazz Festival.  In addition to playing solo shows, Meredith appears in myriad cooperatives: with her own hot jazz band, her own string band, in partnership with solo act dynamo Frank Fairfield, and often with the 60s Folk / Jug Band legend, Jim Kweskin….  She has also performed with Dan Hicks, Maria Muldaur, Geoff Muldaur, Ramblin’ Jack Eliot, David Grisman, Cindy Cashdollar, Bill Keith, Terry Zwigoff, Sonny Leyland, Robert Crumb, and the Cheap Suit Serenaders at favorite venues: The Great American Music Hall, the Museum of Jurassic Technology, Freight and Salvage, and recently at Symphony Space in Manhattan. She has toured domestically and internationally.


37 thoughts on “BIO

  1. You’re amazing! I heard you about a week ago at Cafe Divine and was in awe of your voice! Unfortunately I was in a hurry and there for take out, so I didn’t get to stay and enjoy. Tonight I randomly brought out of town friends to Cafe Divine for dinner and was telling them about the singer I’d heard with the haunting voice…and there you appeared! We thoroughly enjoyed the unexpected pleasure of your performance! Please start selling your CDs online — that won’t lessen your live audience, but it will help your fans spread the word!

  2. I saw you perform at the Freight and Salvage tonight. Your voice and smile are so honest and positive. I felt so uplifted after hearing you. Thank you for your performance.

  3. ..What a truly wonderful show you two put on last night at Boulevard Music in Culver City. You are my hero! I feel I’ve finally met the perfect woman,, and if you weren’t already in a relationship I would be stalking you as fast as an arthritic hip would allow.
    (..seriously there is nothing wrong with my hip.. it’s every thing else that could use replacing.)
    Please come back to Southern Cal soon.. although I know you residents of the bay area look upon us the way the residents of Beverly Hills look upon Tijuana. None the less a great many of us would be delighted to see you again, oh woman of my dreams..
    (’s a link to a song that would hardly fit your repertoire.. but might fancy your tickle… ..enjoy?)

  4. Saw you at the Freight and Salvage last night for the first time … what a treat … I’m still smiling this morning. Can’t wait to load your cd onto my ipod and hear more of your songs!

  5. Hi Meredith,
    We saw you last night at the Sweetwater and purchased a CD. So nice to see a performer with such purity. You are so genuine. We are still talking about that great trombone thing you do with your voice/mouth!! Keep on singing….

  6. Meredith, I discovered you and Craig, Dennis , Tom recently. I’ve played guitar, mandolin, mandocello, tenor banjo etc, etc. I love the REAL music you guys do. Do you have a website? I’m involved with the Millrace Folk Festival in Cambridge ON (Canada) We would love your kind of music. We regularly feature “Sheesham and Lotus and Son”,, and “The ever lovin Jug Band” you can find them on youtube.

  7. Saw you last night at Yoshi’s with Jim Kweskin and this morning your performance is resonating in our heads as we wake up. Glad you’re from San Francisco. We’ll find you so we can here more.

  8. Hi Meredith, heard you from a radio broadcast I heard of you and Jim Kweskin ( a long-time fav of mine). You are AMAZING! I live near Rochester NY (saw Jim & Geoff Muldaur last fall) Any chance you will be playing anywhere in the east? I’m buying your records tonight!

  9. Good Morning Meredith, I finally loaded your CD and listened intently from start to finish. Beautiful music, thank you. At the recent Parkfield, CA Féile, you were, in my opinion, the star of the show. Looking forward to seeing you again at future shows.

  10. I saw you & Craig Ventresco perform ragtime about 2014 at a cafe next to Wash Sq in N Beach, SF, and I’ve read that you now are at the Blush Wine Bar. But neither their calendar nor yours list your dates. Loved ragtime and 1900-era popular music, not to mention Music Hall, Pop Standard, Tin Pan Alley, and String band. I’m looking to see you perform in or near SF.

  11. Went to see Jim Kweskin in Seattle play with someone I’d never heard of and came away wondering where Meredith Axelrod had been all my life. Please come back up soon!

  12. OK, you’ve done it. I’m hooked now. Can never go back to life w/o MA. I too wonder how I did not know this enchanting voice and personality. And I thought I was a musically educated person.

  13. Tom and I enjoy your live shows on Face Book with Craig. You both look like your having a blast.. Tom and I met you in Portland last September and enjoyed you and Jim Kweskin very much. Now Tom and I get to tune in every night and listen to you and Craig. Your music abilities are awesome and so are Craig’s. Tom and I hope to see you again hopefully soon and meet Craig too. Take care and don’t touch your face! Tom and Aletha Battle Ground, WA.

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