Thursday March 21, 2013

NORTH BENNINGTON -- A string band double-bill takes over Vermont Arts Exchange’s Sage Street Mill on Friday, March 22. Gold Town Duo opens this Basement Music Series concert at 8 p.m., followed by headliner Joy Kills Sorrow. Basement doors open at 7.

Southern Vermont’s own whiskey-twang bluegrass band Gold Town is distilled into the Gold Town Duo as Will Seeders Moshiem (banjo, fiddle, vocals) and Andrew Sterns (guitar, banjo, lead vocals) return to VAE’s basement to refine Gold Town’s old-timey string band sound. For more information, visit goldtownmusic.com.

Modern American string band Joy Kills Sorrow makes its Basement Music Series debut -- and debuts its new bassist -- with a bold new brand of acoustic music. The Boston-based string band brings a decidedly modern sensibility to an old-world sound, channeling the prodigious talents of its individual members into elegant arrangements and well-crafted songs. "Subtle and snazzy, this new jack acoustic outfit merges bluegrass with jazz like it was the most natural combination in the world," praises the Los Angeles Daily News.

While the group pays due homage to its bluegrass roots -- its name refers to one of the first radio stations to broadcast the music of Bill Monroe -- it truly excels in its rich and textured treatment of more contemporary material. Boasting a full arsenal of original songs, Joy Kills Sorrow plumbs the entire spectrum of its spare instrumentation, effortlessly merging influences as diverse as folk, rock, pop and jazz. The songs that emerge are dark and often funny, ruminating on modern life and love with eloquence and wit. The result is a radical new strain of folk music, one that bravely breaks with tradition even as it salutes the past.

Joy Kills Sorrow first emerged out of Boston’s thriving folk music scene in 2005, releasing its self-titled debut album in 2007. Since its inception, Joy Kills Sorrow has performed at theaters, listening rooms, and festivals across the continent and has been featured on nationally syndicated radio program, including NPR’s "Mountain Stage." Founding member Matthew Arcara, a subtle and expressive guitarist, was the 2006 winner of Winfield’s National Flatpicking Championship and has performed with such luminaries as Darol Anger and David Grier. Mandolin virtuoso Jacob Joliff is Berklee’s first full-scholarship mandolin student and a veteran performer who has toured professionally since age 11, sharing the stage with the likes of David Grisman and Mike Marshall. Wesley Corbett, a banjoist of uncommon facility and grace, has toured the country with Crooked Still, the Biscuit Burners and the Bee Eaters, and was featured in the August 2008 issue of Banjo Newsletter. Emma Beaton, the 2008 Canadian Folk Music Awards’ Young Performer of the Year, adds an earthy, powerful presence. New bass player Zoe Guigueno joined the band in February, invigorating her new bandmates as they return to the studio to record new songs. For more information, visit joykillssorrow.com.

Tickets to this concert are $18 through Brown Paper Tickets, the first and only fair-trade ticketing company, at brownpapertickets.com or vtartxchange.org/bms.php, or by calling (toll free) 800-838-3006 -- a small processing fee will be charged. Tickets are $22 at the door on the day of show on a first-come, first-served basis. Libations are available for sale from Thyme Tables Catering.

Follow the 2013 season on the Basement Music Series Facebook page (facebook.com/VermontArtsExchange) and on Twitter (BMSatVAE). Up next, young Gypsy jazz violinist Daisy Castro makes her Basement Music Series debut on April 13; and Mike & Ruthy bring their "breathy, rich Americana [and] warm, vintage sounds." (Time Out New York) on April 20. Boston’s David Wax Museum performs "Joyful Mexo-Americana fusion, with virtuosic musical skill and virtuous harmonies" (TIME magazine) on May 3. Brooklyn’s Miss Tess and the Talkbacks intermingle melodic and rhythmic improvisation and interplay with elements of honky-tonk, western swing and golden-era pop standards on May 18. The Basement Music Series gets funky with Bennington’s Funk in the Trunk on June 8, and the Chris Bergson Band returns with "Gut-busting, horn-bedecked NY blues" (MOJO) on June 29. On September 8, the world-famous Glenn Miller Orchestra brings big band to North Bennington in a special Basement Music Series concert at Bennington College.

Vermont Arts Exchange is a fully handicapped-accessible facility. For more information about Vermont Arts Exchange, the 2013 Basement Music Series season, vacation art camps, classes or workshops, contact VAE at 802-442-5549 or visit vtartxchange.org.