In the middle of “Not Dark Yet”, a Bob Dylan song that Ruby Amanfu performed for us this summertime, Ruby steps back from the microphone to let Brett Lanier take a heartfelt emotional solo. The passion in the playing and the feeling that the musicians on stage had for each other is evident in the “secret video” linked down below. What most of you don’t know is that Ruby met Brett in person at 4:00 that same afternoon. Performances like these are built on years of practice and performing but they’re also built on trust – something that our community continues to give us. You trust us to bring in acts that you love. We sell out shows for artists who have never played anywhere near Vermont. We wanted to thank you for that trust you’ve given us, it’s very much appreciated.
Thanks to everyone who came out to shows, donated money to help us out, brought some food to share and generally participated in making this thing what it is. Thanks to every member of our family who spends hard hours making this happen. Thanks to Nancy for many of these videos and images. Thanks to Sparrow for the image in the email. Finally thanks to the musicians who keep coming and keep putting their hearts on stage for us.
Sometimes in life you find dark places, and the only thing that can give the dark places light is to give voice to it.
Thank you for giving light!
— Ruby Amanfu at Billsville
The year started off with a huge show. Grammy nominated Della Mae decided to drop by thanks to a nice connect from a friend. This show sold out in about four hours for very good reason. Della Mae has so much talent on stage it’s hard to know where to look. Late night jams with Courtney and a lesson on feminism from Kimber made it a night to remember.
Margaret was signed to ATO Records late in 2015. The label paired her with Rayland Baxter as his opener and I literally begged her to join the show with him. Even though she was feeling a bit under the weather she delivered a mesmerizing set of songs from a record that when on to appear on many end of the year “Best of” lists.
Rayland and his band just got better and better as the year went on. It was fantastic to watch this group of talented players fit their jammy rock songs and whimsical ballads to our space. Later in the summer I would see Rayland play 3 times in 24 hours but this was still my favorite.
Joe Pug was the first act ever to play Billsville way back in 2011 and we were thrilled to have him back. His word craft and characters continue to thill.
The Huntress and Holder of Hands
Mesmerizing. This show was packed with emotion for us as MorganEve Swain returned for the first time without Dave Lamb. What a night of close harmonies, hypnotic riffs and heartfelt emotion on stage.
This band continues to be one of our favorite acts. They’ve always had the musical chops but their showmanship and the expansiveness of the sounds they can put on stage continues to improve.
Lula Wiles were a quick crowd favorite and know wonder. Each member is brimming with talent but they are the rare type of band whose personalities and skills combine perfectly into something fresh and fun.
Even a severe hail storm couldn’t keep us from enjoying this amazing band as much as all of us did. Dancing and moving to another Grammy nominated band with a world of talent was a great way to spend a night.
Lissie returned for her second performance with us. She’s an international star with a huge voice who recently made some great personal and professional decisions to help her be in charge of her own career. So thrilled that we can benefit from that.
I fell in love with Ruby at this years Newport Folk Festival and simply begged her to come and play for us. Folks, sometimes begging works. This was one for the books with Ruby bringing her amazing talent to our room while backed by our favorite guitar player Brett Lanier.
A band out of Maine with huge potential. We see great things in the future for these folks with their songs, style and on stage connection. Ryan and Erika can bring the noise with the best of them.
Musical icon Syd Straw entertained us with a night of songs, storytelling and her unique off kilter sense of humor. Here’s a few minutes of Syd with one of our favorite musical guests
Perennial Billsville favorites returned with a new vocalist and a space for dancing. This show is what Billsville is all about. Big band, big fun and great feedback from the community. This one features Ethan on guest guitar.
Vermont musical stalwart Brett Hughes ended the year with a night of fantastic songs and music. We wish him well as he preps to record an album in Nashville.