Looking back on the list of shows we hosted in 2015 we can’t help but be amazed by the level of artistry that has passed through our series in the last 12 months. We’ve hosted two genuine international stars along with a stellar lineup of musicians that can only be described as incredible – big sounds in small towns indeed. Thanks go out to all the musicians who are willing to travel to Vermont to connect with crowds and share a sense of musical community with all of us. Our biggest thanks go out to all of you who come to these shows – without your attendance it would all be impossible. Here’s to a wonderful year, looking forward to the next one!
The ever amazing Anais Mitchell started the year for us in January. I can’t think of an artist who has been as consistently brilliant in the last few years. Her trio of releases “Hadestown”, “Young Man in American” and “xo” are consistently beautiful and amazing. She stands alongside a handful of others as the best songwriters working today. Here she is with Ben Davis doing our request of “Flowers” from “Hadestown”. So surreal to see Anais, with her tattoo of Eurydice on her arm in front of the original woodcut of the album art by Peter Nevins on the wall.
In February Jeremy Quentin (Small Houses) came to town. I suppose the winter months lead us into contemplative songwriters and Jeremy really brings a poets voice to the stage.
Jeremy was joined by the effervescent Sophie Lane who at age 14 has without a doubt an amazing future in front of her. Here she is scoring big Billsville points my covering Pearl and the Beard’s “Voice In My Throat.”
e was joined by the effervescent Sophie Lane who at age 14 has without a doubt an amazing future in front of her.
In April, Heather Maloney stopped by with her brand new band. Heather’s popularity is soaring as her strong stage presence and clear exuberance wash over audiences who come to see her play.
At the end of April we hosted Upstate Rubdown in what would prove to be their first of three shows with us during the year. Why? Unbridled fun and joy on stage is why. It’s hard to think of another band that is as immediately likable as these folks.
Haunt the House joined us in May as one of their last shows before an appearance on the Newport Folk Festival stage. Will Houlihan brings a spirituality and passion to his music that’s palpable. Rarely has music felt so right for us.
What can we say about an evening with Grace Potter that can describe what we all felt? From what we can tell – this is the smallest “non-promo” show Grace has played in about eight years. We had to keep this one on the down low for obvious reasons. Grace spent the month opening for the Rolling Stones, sharing the stage with Mick Jagger on “Gimmie Shelter” and playing with Kenny Chesney in Green Bay for about 80,000 people. In the middle of that she spent two hours on stage at our house sharing her talent along with Benny Yurco and Matt Burr. This one will be hard to replicate – what a night!
Arc Iris brought serious musical chops and a Bowie/Zappa flavor to Vermont in August that helped us break out of our Americana highway rut. This band can play anything from spaced out jams to Dixieland to Alt-Country, truly an amazing show.
The next day the band hung around and worked up a version of Hall & Oates “Rich Girl” from scratch in the living room. How wonderful to be witness to this kind of artistic creativity.
At the end of August we built an outdoor stage in our backyard to host Parsonsfield. Their infectious brand of sing-along participation drew the whole crowd in on a beautiful late summer night. Most of all, the band has clearly decided that it’s cool to be “entertainers” and we wholeheartedly agree! Note the Vermont and Bernie/EnoughIsEnough shirts on the band.
We partnered with the crew at Earth Sky Time Community Farm and built a stage out of hay bales and plywood for a magical barn dance night with Spirit Family Reunion, Upstate Rubdown and The Horse Eyed Men. We printed #Bernie T-Shirts and ate amazing good. Seriously, we can’t think of a better community event than this one. We were all so busy singing and dancing that we’ve got very little media from the night. Horse Eyed Men were a great fun opener and Upstate Rubdown showed up for a smoking late night set. Spirit Family Reunion were, as always, the personification of the reason we all love music in the first place.
There is a pretty rocking video on Facebook for you.
We’d been hoping against hope to get Lissie to stop by for about four years now and somehow we were able to pull off not one but two shows! Lissie spends much of her performing time in Europe selling out venues everywhere so a show at our place was really a special treat. We had folks drive three or four hours for this one and it was well worth it. I remember listening to Lissie’s first Daytrotter sessions back in the day and being enchanted with her voice. To have her sing in our living room was otherworldly.
Hard to say no to Upstate Rubdown who wanted to come back for a fall show. So many folks were impressed with them at the Spirit Family Reunion show that we just had to bring them back. Here they are doing a version of Mountain Man’s “How Am i Doing?”
HONEYHONEY closed out the year by once again delivering a stellar show. This one sold out four hours after announcing it and we had a waitlist of 50 people. Sorry we couldn’t get everyone in but those of you who were there no what it was about. Classic tunes, amazing talent and an incredible finish to a stellar year.
Didn’t hurt that they brought Sonya Kitchell to open – her sweet passionate singing is always a treat.
Special thanks to Nancy for many of these videos – she created a YouTube Billsville Playlist where you can while away the hours watching videos from our series.