PICTURED FROM THE left: Howie Newman and Joe Kessler, a.k.a. Knock on Wood, will play an outdoor benefit concert for Pantry of Hope on Sunday, June 23 at the First Baptist Church in Melrose.



MELROSE — Longtime Melrose resident Howie Newman and Joe Kessler, also known as Knock on Wood are anything but a typical folk combo, performing well-known rock covers and funny original songs that is suitable for all ages. Their varied repertoire includes everything from Tom Petty to the Beatles to the Dire Straits.

Knock on Wood, howienewman.com/knockonwood, will be playing its fourth annual community fundraiser, an outdoor concert to benefit Pantry of Hope at the First Baptist Church, 561 Main St., Melrose on Sunday, June 23 from 6 to 7:30 p.m. This is a rain or shine event. In the event of inclement weather, the concert will be held indoors at the church.

The concert is free but donations will be accepted with a portion going to Pantry of Hope, a food pantry run by the First Baptist Church. Partnering with other organizations such as the Boston Food Bank, The Food Drive and Stop & Shop, Pantry of Hope serves about 100 needy families in the Melrose area each month. For additional information about Pantry of Hope, visit melrosefbc.org/panry-of-hope.

The June 23 event is a family-friendly show that may include some children’s music and songs for senior citizens. No matter what they play, Knock on Wood features excellent musicianship, pleasing vocal harmonies and lots of fun.

Newman (guitar, harmonica, vocals) is the songwriter and his engaging manner which includes G-rated comedy and lots of audience participation, has charmed audiences all over New England. Song topics include Smartphones, not-so-graceful aging and his wife’s inability to parallel park. He has performed locally at the Summer Stroll, Memorial Hall and Melrose Four Corners and ran the Music in Melrose Coffeehouse from 2006-2011.

Kessler, who plays fiddle and mandolin has an energetic improvisational style that includes folk, rock, jazz and bluegrass. He has toured extensively throughout the United States and Canada as well as eight other countries performing with Morphine, Jimmy Page and Robert Plant, the Boogaloo Swamis and many others.

“We’re not the traditional guitar-and-fiddle group,” says Newman. “Joe and I like to keep things up-tempo, do some rock covers and get the audience involved. The idea is to play some great music and have fun.”

For more information about the concert or to make a donation, visit howienewman.com/poh.