Back in February, Joy Kills Sorrow, one of our favorite northeastern string bands, announced on Facebook that its members would soon go their separate ways. The band has played a few shows since then, but on May 1st the quintet made up of Emma Beaton (vocals), Wes Corbett (banjo), Matt Arcara (guitar) Jacob Jolliff (mandolin) and Zoe Guigueno (bass) will play its final show at Boston’s Lizard Lounge (Tickets: 6:30 Show, 9:30 Show).
While the breakup sucks for fans, it’s not a nasty one and each of the band members are already getting fired up about their next projects. For a look back and what’s ahead, here’s a quick Q&A with Emma. Gonna miss these guys.
1. How long have you been with Joy Kills Sorrow? What’s it like to see the band come to a close?
I joined when I had just turned 18, right in the last couple months of high school. It’s pretty crazy for it to come to a close – it’s a huge lifestyle change for me, since I’m not moving straight into another touring band, and playing that music and being on the road has been my reality for so long. That being said, the “disbanding”, if you will, feels like such a natural and painless choice that the transition, so far, has been easy. I think the whole thing has just made a lot of sense, and we’re all still super good friends and proud of everything we’ve accomplished, but also looking ahead to all the possibilities that are now open to us.
2. Any stories from the road that we should all know about?
So many. Ha! We had a ton of fun on the road. I guess my favourite memories are generally times when things went awry, but we laughed it off, pulled it together, and got through it. One time in Denmark, we had a beater of a car, and a random part fell off into the middle of the road as we were driving. The car kept functioning, so we just kept going… Who knows what it was.
3. New seasons bring new opportunities. Are there some short- or long-term next steps for you and the other band members?
Yeah, we all have various irons in the fire. I think that’s part of what made us make the decision we did; we all have other things we want to try. Matt’s been building beautiful guitars for years, but has never really had a ton of time to devote to it, so he’ll be working pretty hard at that. Other folks are playing in different projects and doing more teaching – Wes has also been teaching for a while at Berklee and is continuing with that. I’ve just started a new job in music business that I’m really excited about. Music business has always sort of been in the back of my mind as something that I’d like to head towards.
4. What are you most excited about in your post-JKS life?
Well, I moved to New York over a year and a half ago, and it’s only now that I’m starting to feel really a part of the city and get to know it well. I’m super excited to explore around the city more. And obviously (or maybe not so obviously), I’ve never had a day job where I work the same hours and get to sleep in my own bed at night. Touring is so, so awesome and fun, and traveling is great, but I’m pretty excited to be a “normal person” for a little while…ha!
5. What will you miss the most?
So much. Jake, Zoe and I were riding the bus back from our last couple gigs the other day, and had a little recap session of our top four most missed things, things we’re excited to do, etc, etc. It was really nice to go back and think about all the awesome things we’ve done. Bittersweet, but great. I love everyone in the band so much. The band and my experiences with them (all of them – past members included) have really shaped who I am – I grew with them through very formative years. I definitely am who I am because of Joy Kills Sorrow, and though I’m excited for my own and everyone else’s futures, I’m going to miss everything that came and went with the band.
The focal point of this weekend’s schedule is the annual Brooklyn Folk Festival, taking place at The Bell House Friday through Sunday. The festivities includes sets from acts like Frank Fairfield and The Tillers, as well as a Pete Seeger tribute sing-a-long and the notably notorious “banjo toss.”
Check out the schedule for the fest right here.
But that’s not all that’s happening ’round these parts this weekend. Horse Feathers is back, with two shots thrown at you to catch ‘em. And one of our new favorite things is Mat Davidson (of Spirit Family Reunion)’s solo venture, Twain. You can catch him along with our pal, known in this context as Leland Sundries, on Monday at Rockwood. Check out this Twain performance from 2010. It’ll give you feelings.
Some more must-sees below.
Friday, April 18
8:30 p.m. — Horse Feathers / Laura and Greg at Glasslands
Saturday, April 19
9:30 p.m. — Horse Feathers at Joe’s Pub
Sunday, April 20
1:30 p.m. — Holly Golightly at Rough Trade
8:00 p.m. — Jus Post Bellum at Rockwood Music Hall Stage 2
Monday, April 21
9:30 p.m. — Leland Sundries / Twain
Last Friday, Newport Folk Festival producer Jay Sweet made the following post on his Facebook page:
Hey Friends and Family, I wanted to take a moment and say it’s taken me nearly seven years to figure out a way to bring Ryan Adams to Newport Folk. I’m unabashed in wanting the world to know about it.
Ryan Adams will make his long-pursued Newport debut on the festival’s opening day, Friday, July 25th. While Saturday and Sunday tickets are already sold out, Friday tickets are still available (at the time of posting), but the addition of Adams and a few others are sure to sell out the entire festival well in advance of summer.
Since our last update, Seattle’s Noah Gundersen has also joined the lineup for Friday. I recently caught Gundersen at a packed out Rockwood Music Hall show and was blown away by his performance, which included his backing band (mostly made up by his very talented family).
Also joining the Festival’s Friday fold will be Anais Mitchell and Jefferson Hamer – a duo that released one of the top albums of the year last year and, easily, the most beautiful one. I got to know Hamer a few weeks back at a Brooklyn house concert with The Murphy Beds, his other duo with Eamon O’ Leary. Gentle folk, as a whole, can get pretty boring after a while, but like Andrew Bird, the meshing of Hamer’s voice and flawless instrumentation stands out.
Another exciting addition to the lineup are our NOLA friends, The Deslondes, who will perform on Sunday and will undoubtedly elevate their profile with their appearance at Fort Adams. Coming off of a tour with their close friends Hurray for the Riff Raff and Spirit Family Reunion last fall, the band carries the same kind of soulful old time sound (NOT POP) that young and old NPR-loving folkers can’t get enough of these days. I caught up with the band at SXSW last month and am pretty fired up about their new album, which they’re wrapping up now.
Checkout the full Festival lineup to date here a few vids below.
Last week marked the release of Ease My Mind (Amazon MP3 & Spotify), the sophomore album from Brooklyn-based Americana singer-songwriter Michaela Anne. A follow up to Michaela’s 2011 debut, To Know Where, and notable appearances at Telluride, Merlefest and SXSW, Ease My Mind represents the talent of an artist that is well beyond her age and features a powerful Americana voice that’s hard to forget. Of note is the tragic love song “When You Wanted Me,” which runs in line with Michaela’s honest and straightforward songwriting. This is my new favorite song (MNFS).
First things first … let’s clear the air. I take full responsibility for not telling you about what probably would have been one of your favorite shows of the season: Conor Oberst and James Vincent McMorrow at the Green Space tonight. But listen, we weren’t there either, so … let’s move on, shall we? (You can actually catch JVM Friday in Williamsburg.)
The reality is that what would likely actually be your favorite show, well, ever is happening Saturday at BAM, when Emmylou Harris will perform her 1995 album ‘Wrecking Ball’ (take note, Miley … this is the real deal). Problem is, if you didn’t already by your ticket … God speed. There are a few left on StubHub for the hefty price of about $200. Keep your eyes peeled for any other deals and last-minute sells.
Here’s a reminder of her greatness:
More must-sees below:
Friday, April 11
8:00 p.m. — James Vincent McMorrow / Aidan Knight at Music Hall of Williamsburg
8:00 p.m. — Wild Child / Tall Heights / Rick Barry at Rough Trade
8:00 p.m. — The Points North / Avi Jacob at Silent Barn
Saturday, April 12
8:00 p.m. — Emmylou Harris (performing Wrecking Ball) / Daniel Lanois at BAM
Sunday, April 13
8:00 p.m. — Jonah Tolchin at Rockwood Music Hall Stage 1
I think it’s pretty apparent what your Saturday night should consist of. And yes, it’s a combination of whiskey and Nickel Creek.
While the reunited trio will be back in NYC at the end of April, why wait when you could see them (along with PHC’s Garrison Keillor) in two days? No response necessary.
Here are a few others of notable mention. If you see any we’re missing, let us know!
Thursday, April 3
9:30 p.m. — Hurray for the Riff Raff at Lincoln Center
Friday, April 4
8:00 p.m. — Benjamin Cartel at Rockwood Music Hall Stage 2
Brandon Flowers, Dawes, Father John Misty, and Local Natives Cover New Cash Album, ‘Out Among The Stars’
Released this past Tuesday, Out Among The Stars (Amazon MP3 & Spotify) is yet another new album from the late Johnny Cash. These thirteen-tracks recorded in the early 80s have collected dust on a shelf in Cash’s old office for the last thirty years, but John Carter Cash notes in the album’s commentary that the songs represent his dad in his prime.
What a blessing to find this music. Dad recorded this record with Billy Sherrill, the veteran producer, back in 1984 and 81, mostly in 84. At that point in my life, my dad, well he’d been through some struggles in the early 80s. He had fallen back into drug addiction and in late 83, he went through recovery. So, we catch Dad here at a point in his life, when he was true, when he was aware, when his voice was perfect – when he was headed in a spiritual direction that was positive and meaningful for him. This music resonates in so many ways to my spirit. It’s not just about the perfect voice; it’s a memory to me of who my dad was at the time. And what a blessing to come face to face with that and remember that now and I feel like I’m with him again when I hear these recordings. – John Carter Cash
Unlike the pretentious take on this record (and Johnny’s alleged “trend chasing” motives) by The Atlantic’s Noah Berlatsky, I love this album and hope the Cash family continues to fling open the family vault with unreleased recordings like this.
And I’m not alone. On Friday, Brandon Flowers (of The Killers), Dawes, Father John Misty, and Local Natives – fellow Cash-obsessed contemporaries – worked with the phenomenal French blog La Blogothèque to produce a stunning and brilliantly directed short film of covers from the album. This is one of the best things I’ve seen in a long while.