Sunday, July 28th • 12pm • Main Stage
Some people prefer pop music that behaves like math: once a few familiar variables have been determined—female vocals or male? Acoustic guitar or electric? — the end result should be easy to predict, and always sound the same. That’s not the Joy Kills Sorrow method. This Boston-based string band favors a more unpredictable approach relying on musical chemistry and improvisation. Hence the title of their sophomore album, This Unknown Science. All of the members have been touted as virtuosos, and they effortlessly hunt for unexpected outcomes and new discoveries. “We like experimenting and stretching boundaries,” explains guitarist Matthew Arcara, an acoustic player gaining a name for himself as both an up-and-coming guitar slinger and luthier. Arcara has taken home several honors at various guitar competitions including Winfield’s National Flatpicking Championship in 2006.
On This Unknown Science, Joy Kills Sorrow’s sound is born from the best of two worlds. They start with a base of time-honored timbres and techniques, yet fashion original songs and arrangements that reflect a love of indie-rock and new folk. While the former has made Joy Kills Sorrow proven favorites with the bluegrass circuit, their emphasis on writing arrangements transcending narrow genres allows them to reach wider audiences. Emma Beaton‘s haunting vocals and the ensemble’s rootsy variation on Americana is just as apt to appeal to fans of Mumford & Sons and Fleet Foxes as committed Stanley Brothers enthusiasts. “It’s not that we think traditional music needs improving,” Arcara clarifies. “This is just how we happen to play it.”
Joy Kills Sorrow brings together an eclectic mix of musicians who each have classical and/or jazz conservatory training, though collectively, they ambitiously utilize their years of study to hone a new acoustic territory yet discovered by many of today’s top artists. It’s an amalgamation of lamenting music of the heartland, singular stories of heartache and laughter, beautiful string arrangements, and five musicians who grew up listening to indie-rock, jazz, and pop music that churn out impressive tunes with an incredibly contemporary sensibility.
Official website: www.joykillssorrow.com