Looking back, we would have to declare 2018 as “The Year of the Woman” at Billsville. We didn’t plan it that way, it just worked out and in reflection it was a great year to make it a central theme. In general, our motto is “we book talent” - gender isn’t an issue for us - but this year that talent was generally female. Some of our bookings were serendipitous (Mipso, 10 String Symphony) and some of them we’ve been working on for over a year (Nicole Atkins, Erika Wennerstrom) but as always we were simply thrilled with the talent that came to town. We hosted our 115th show this year which is kind of phenomenal - thanks for being with us!
We started our 2018 schedule on a cold Tuesday night in January with Rachel and Vilray. Rachel is Rachel Price - dynamic lead singer for Lake Street Dive and truly one of the best vocalists performing today. Vilray is Vilray Bolles, a gifted guitarist, vocalist and whistler as well as a writer/arranger for music that harkened back to the 30’s while managing to remain contemporary and exciting.
Seven Days Vermont came to this show and wrote an article that really captured the vibe of what we are all about. You can read it here.
“When Rachael & Vilray reached the end of "Do Friends Fall in Love," the duo lovingly locked eyes on the final, closely harmonized notes. As their dulcet tones evaporated into the ether, a hushed pause took over the room. Then, from an older gentleman in the back, came an audible whisper: "Holy fuck."
Everyone in the room was thinking precisely those two words, even if they lacked the temerity or the degree of awe-induced absentmindedness to say them aloud. It was a perfect response to a stirring moment in an evening full of them — moments aided in no small part by the unusual setting. Indeed, the older gentleman's foul mouth could have been a simple product of heightened relaxation, of feeling at home — Doug Hacker and Caroline Schneider's Manchester Center home, to be precise. “
After a few years of asking, Nicole Atkins agreed to come to Vermont. Her new record “Goodnight Rhonda Lee” was on a bit of an endless loop around here and our buddy Eric said “it’ll never happen” which is always a good challenge! Nicole and her amazing band thrilled us all on a night we won’t soon forget.
We’ve been big boosters of Twisted Pine for awhile now. They are one of those bands that can make fans from just about anyone who sees them live. Performances here and later at the new Green Mountain Bluegrass Festival should cement their cred in the area.
Erika Wennerstrom from Heartless Bastards brought the raw emotionalism of her songs to our space for an incredible, heartfelt night. We weren’t crying - you were crying!
Courtney Hartman and Taylor Ashton are each remarkably talented musicians and together they brought a sense of playfullness and sweet friendship to Billsville.
Mipso was the only band rained out at the GMBR Festival so we were thrilled when we could work out a date with them. Nancy’s SD card bit it after this show so we’ve only got this Facebook live stuff for sharing but - the house was full and so were our hearts.
10 String Symphony with Carling & Will. Bluegrass and strings were not really our “thing” but somehow we luck into all the talent so we’ll roll with it. The cadence of the music makes for a mighty enjoyable evening.
Lula Wiles with Mary-Elaine Jenkins. We ended the year with some powerful women. Lula Wiles is ready to release a new record on Smithsonian Folkways and Mary-Elaine has a wonderful future ahead of you. A great way to tie it up.