Joy Kills Sorrow @ Club Passim 1/31/2012

Tuesdays are usually not a very desirable day of the week, that is unless said Tuesday happens to be one where local folk quintet Joy Kills Sorrow is playing in town. OK, there may be other things to look forward to on any given Tuesday, but I haven’t had one like Tuesday January 31st in quite some time. The night began when I met two friends, one who I am slowly converting to a lover of folk music and the other who is a lover of all things music, at the historic Club Passim.

When the lights went down, the crowd picked their heads up from various Veggie Planet meals and was immediately entranced by frontwoman Emma Beaton. Her angelic voice on the opener was only a taste of the musical abilities that the five bandmates had to offer. The second tune was quickly recognizable as a cover of The Postal Service’s “Such Great Heights,” a song which one would think Sam Beam’s version and the ensuing flood of various covers, had all but explored every angle of attacking the song. That was certainly not the case on this night as the crowd had their introduction to mandolin virtuoso Jacob Jolliff. He played as if the frets of his instrument were on fire, with his fingers onto the next note seemingly before they had even touched the last. As the night continued, Jolliff’s frantic picking even led to a break in the music as he had to leave stage to repair his broken strings.

On the softer songs the spotlight was turned back to Beaton as her sweet yet sometimes haunting tone set the mood for tracks like “Such Sweet Alarms” and “Somewhere Over The Atlantic.” The upbeat tunes didn’t faze her either as we heard on ”One More Night” or “Eli” where she didn’t hold anything back and showed off her impressive vocal range. Although it may seem like it so far, the night was certainly not all about Beaton and Jolliff. Each member took their turn at solos whether it was Bridget Kearney’s swooping play on the bass, Matt Arcara’s nimble guitar work or Wes Corbett plucking his banjo at a pace that challenged Jolliff’s display of dexterity.

The night ended with an encore of “Kill My Sorrow” and an eruption of applause from the Passim crowd. It’s safe to say that Joy Kills Sorrow is going to be a band to watch at SXSW this year and once they gain that exposure to a national audience you better watch out.

Check out a video of my personal favorite “Jason” taken from a live session over the summer.

Posted on by Eric in Concert Review

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