SESSION AMERICANA is musicians’ musicians: a cast of top-shelf players, singers, and writers who tour internationally, taking their own songs, plus hundreds more from the American songbook, on the road. Whether you catch Session Americana in a rock hall or on a festival stage, you’ll be a part of the intimate, raucous scene these players built years ago at Toad, the neighbourhood bar where it all began in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
LIVE AT LEVIS
8pm 23rd FEB 2024
TICKETS €20 Email firstname.lastname@example.org
Among other things: Billy Beard has been the drummer for Patty Griffin, Lori McKenna, Kim Richey and Rose Cousins.
On the Early Days: Ry and I were playing together in a band and one night we played Toad, finished early and waited for the next act to play. We were seated at a small cafe table right in front of the stage. When it became apparent that the last act was not going to show, Ry pulled the mics off the stage, duck- taped them to the table top and we just started playing songs at the table with whomever wanted to join in. Soon thereafter we decided this could be a cool gig — just to get out of the house on Sunday nights. We picked the musicians that would become the core. We did a two year residency on Sunday nights at that tiny bar and the band just rose from there. Unexpected … — BB
Among other things: Jon Bistline was a founder of the band Chauncey, whose record My Radio (Everything I Know) was engineered by Steve Albini and won Boston Magazine’s best rock album of the year.
On Getting the call:
Ry showed up at my Porter Sq. apartment with a hard drive a week or so [after asking me to be in the band]. I asked “What’s that?”, and he responded “Oh, just a bunch of MP3s of everything we’ve played or thought about playing at one point or another. Thought you should have them.” When I plugged it into my Mac, a folder of 278 songs appeared.
“Wait – you want me to learn 278 songs?!?” I blurted.
“No, that’s crazy… I just thought you should have… uhh… well, definitely you should listen to… umm… actually, yeah. You should probably learn them all. At some point.” — JB
Among other things: Ry Cavanaugh’s song, “Lighthouse Light” was released by Mary Black on her last record, Songs for the Steeples.
On What It Is: The first six years [at Toad, then Lizard Lounge], Session Americana was an anti-band … [it] obscured the idea of what live music is and what an instrument and voice sounds like in a live setting. Instead of standing in the stage light the music emanates out of the dark corner or behind a table, lurking, sneaking up on you. And as menacing as that is, its also delicate and in some ways impossible. — RC
Among other things: Dinty Child is a songwriter and multi-instrumentalist who’s song “Bluebird Blackbird” was released by Della Mae’s Butcher Shoppe EP.
On the Six: There is still something magical about playing with six people who are all consummate side men, but can also each step out as a leader and front person when the time comes. The sum is definitely greater than the parts, but the parts are pretty great too. — DC
Among other things: Jim Fitting was the harmonica player for the legendary Boston band Treat Her Right and the English band The The. He sits in with Bonnie Raitt and Los Lobos.
On Winter: There are many places over the years we have traveled to where we feel so at home because they have let us become part of their community. And due to their love of and commitment to music, and the joy of bringing people together — and they run some kickass clubs! — we have had so many great nights home away from home. That first place that was home was Langdon St. Cafe in Montpelier at the invitation of Anais [Mitchell]. For a moment I was the mayor I swear there on the Onion River. One night we drove up in the worst snow storm. They were impressed that we showed up and man, was that the coolest show to play, snowed in there? Yes. And of course we went sledding after. — JF
“Buckland’s folksy drawl plays perfectly with this fresh set of pop tunes that are seemingly built for fans of contemporary FM radio acts like Kacey Musgraves and Taylor Swift, both nostalgically rustic and immediately modern.” – WBUR
I’m lucky to have known Session Americana for most of their twenty (!!!) years! I was just starting out as a songwriter when I discovered their residency shows at the Lizard Lounge in Cambridge. Pure magic. I’m misty-eyed now thinking about it! I had never seen a band enjoying themselves that much, and everyone in the room was in on it, this raucous and holy thing. I took a “note to self” that I’ve tried to recall many times when music felt hard. Like, the job is simple— access the joy— and if you can do that, it opens a portal. I got to guest sing with Session a few times, witness their sustained mutual love affair with my home state of Vermont, and even help out in the making of one of their incredible albums. I’m ever in awe of Session, individually and as a band. They’re so finely in tune with each other, with their audiences. I’m in awe of their bond, their easy laughter, their intuitive musical conversation that has now gained the richness of decades. Happy twenty, Session. You can almost legally drink! — Anaïs Mitchell (Vermont-based singer-songwriter and the Tony and Grammy award-winning creator of the Broadway musical Hadestown)
“It’s right there in the name for this ultra-gifted, rotating collective of singers and multi-instrumentalists. And sprawl is a good word when it comes to the Boston-based group’s raucous live shows, which were initially built around the community concept of traditional Irish seisiúns. The group… expertly blends vintage American roots music styles — from country to jazz to rock — in a rowdy but deft fashion.” – Rolling Stone