Session Americana to perform this week's Basement Music Series in Bennington


BENNINGTON >> The Vermont Arts Exchange (VAE) welcomes past favorite, Session Americana on April 2. Join us at the Masonic Hall at 504 Main Street for the band that Boston Music Awards nominated for the Best Americana Act in 2014. Doors open at 7 p.m., the show begins at 8 p.m.

Session Americana is described as a rock band in a teacup, or possibly a folk band in a whiskey bottle. This band/collective of talented musicians craft a musical experience unlike any other. On stage is a collapsible bar table wired with microphones, a vintage suitcase recast as a kick drum, an old Estey field organ, a pre-war parlor guitar, a mandocello and all of its smaller siblings, a harmonica case fire damaged when Jack's bar went up in flames and graffitied by Depeche Mode roadies, and an assortment of other instruments that get passed around in this freewheeling modern hootenanny. The "anything could happen" feel of a Session show depends on craft that's neither accidental nor easily won. They bring a kind of ease and genuineness to this timeless music, sometimes presenting the latest batch of original songs, sometimes reaching back into depths of the American song bag.

Redline Roots says, "The harmonies of the entire band and guests weaving into each other really build something powerful, fun, and it just feels HUGE. Jim Fitting's harmonica defies logic he just manages to play exactly the right parts at each and every turn. The guy just doesn't play a bad note on that thing. And Billy Beard's drum is the glue that really keeps everything in check. The host of characters playing everything from upright bass to the beautiful harmonies lended by artists like Anais Mitchell and Laura Cortese are sublime. This is a collective, a community Session Americana isn't just a band, it's an experience."

Tickets are $18 for adults and $10 for students at, or by calling (toll free) 800-838-3006 — a small processing fee will be charged. Tickets at the door are $22 for adults and $10 for students on a first-come, first-served basis. Libations will be available from Thyme Tables Catering as well as sweets and snacks from Bringing You Vermont. Follow the current season on the Vermont Arts Exchange Facebook page (

The Masonic Hall is a handicapped-accessible facility. Call for specific needs. For more information about Vermont Arts Exchange contact us at 802-442-5549 or visit

The Citizens

The Vermont Arts Exchange (VAE) welcomes NYC artists the Citizens on April 9 to the Masonic Hall. Greg Tate of the Village Voice called the Citizens, "Staggeringly beautiful, big clean crazy sounds and sound quality, lush, exotic harmonic twists, mind twisting lyrics...very cool stuff." Doors open at 7 p.m. the show begins at 8 p.m.

The Citizens are a four-piece band from New York City that began playing together in early 2003. Known for their impressive dynamic range, the Citizens' songs vary from British-influenced rock to quiet, sometimes experimental pieces that play with the boundaries of traditional song forms. Some of the groups influences include: The Beatles, The Smiths, Big Star, Sly and The Family Stone, Velvet Underground and The Pretenders.

The band's Oregon spawned rhythm section consists of Jason DiMatteo (Valerie June, Chocolate Genius, Burnt Sugar) on bass and John Bollinger (Antony and The Johnsons, Sway Machinery, Barbez) on drums. Jason and John have known each other since grade school. With a background together in rock, R&B and jazz, they provide a solid, time-honed core for the band's music.

Bennington's own Thom Loubet is the band's guitarist. Thom is a versatile player with a knack for texture, who can easily move from aggressive to delicate playing styles. Thom has played with some of the New York scene's most prominent musicians such as Alice Smith, Tamar-Kali, Burnt Sugar, and Nu Afrika.

The group's lead singer, lyricist and keyboard player is Mark Lesseraux. Mark is known for his dramatic live performances and considerable vocal ability. Mark was the lead singer of the psych/pop trio Lazy Susan in 1999/2000. He has recorded two solo CDs and one other collaborative CD with the NY multi-cultural collective Earthdriver.

Sonically and lyrically, the Citizens' music is both inviting and challenging. Employing a unique variety of themes, moods and melodies, they manage to produce consistently captivating and original "Avant Rock."

Jenn O'Donnell of DOA raves, "The Citizens shouldn't be missed! It's easy to say that this band or that band is the best new thing to hit the streets, but in the case of this NYC quintet it would be impossible not to sing the members' praises. Fans of any sort of quirky pop or rock should get their hands on Post Cro-Magnon Drift immediately and let the bliss-out begin."

Tickets to this concert are $18 ($10 for students with valid ID) through Brown Paper Tickets, the first and only fair-trade ticketing company, at or, 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 will be available from Thyme Tables Catering.

Up next: April 16, Wild Reeds with openers Will Mosheim and friends – From LA, the Wild Reeds play ethereal folk, a hint of country twang and some rock and roll rhythm from three ladies that harmonize like triplets separated at birth. Saturday, April 30th, Mike + Ruthy with opener duo Will Mosheim and Carling Berkhout – Mike + Ruthy play with jubilation – as exciting and powerful as any quintet out there.


If you'd like to leave a comment (or a tip or a question) about this story with the editors, please email us. We also welcome letters to the editor for publication; you can do that by filling out our letters form and submitting it to the newsroom.

Powered by Creative Circle Media Solutions