Milkwood Tapestry

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Throughout the late '60s and early '70s, the duo Milkwood Tapestry was a mainstay on the New York City rock circuit, playing a variation of music that equally looked to British Isle folk bands such as…
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Throughout the late '60s and early '70s, the duo Milkwood Tapestry was a mainstay on the New York City rock circuit, playing a variation of music that equally looked to British Isle folk bands such as Incredible String Band and Fairport Convention and to acid rock bands the likes of the Jefferson Airplane and Jethro Tull for their inspiration, somehow successfully pulling off an intriguing balancing act between the two diametrically opposed styles.

Guitarist and songwriter Roland Antonelli, a Poughkeepsie native, had long been involved with music in various capacities -- studying classical guitar and cello, then teaching and arranging music -- when he met New York City law student Joseph Ransohoff (also a music student, in addition to his legal studies, learning voice and recorder, as well as an amateur in musical theater since his teen years) through an advertisement Ransohoff placed in the Village Voice looking for an acoustic composer/songwriter as a potential partner. Upon meeting, the aspiring singer gave the aspiring songwriter some lyrics to take back to Poughkeepsie and within a week, Antonelli had written two songs, essentially cementing the partnership. For a year, the two alternated commuting to the other's home, working up songs, before Antonelli finally moved to Manhattan to enable the new duo to perform out. They began working coffee houses and clubs throughout the New York area, eventually playing in an impressive list of venues (Manhattan College, New York University, Café Au Go Go, the Village Gate, the Electric Circus, etc.) with an equally impressive list of main acts (Country Joe McDonald, Phil Ochs, Tim Hardin, Velvet Underground, NRBQ). At one of their performances, they met Donovan's manager who in turn arranged an audition for the pair before a group of Metromedia record executives. They were signed on the spot and by 1969, Antonelli and Ransohoff had entered the studio to record Milkwood Tapestry. With the release of the album, the group set off on a tour of small colleges throughout the New York and New England regions, even playing a concert at the Museum of Modern Art. The album received positive notices from Billboard magazine, among others, and led to a live performance on the Alex Bennett Show, one of the era's top FM radio shows. By 1972, however, each member's musical tastes had, proverbially, taken off into different directions, effectively putting an end to Milkwood Tapestry.