The Massry Center for the Arts, located on the campus of The College of Saint Rose, continues to celebrate 10 years of extraordinary performances with two stellar performances this November. On November 15, The Ballroom Thieves, who’ve been called a rock band in a folk suit, will perform, and on November 30, roots phenom Kaia Kater takes the stage.
Thursday, Nov. 15, 8 p.m.
Tickets: $25, Saint Rose Student Ticket $10
The Ballroom Thieves – Calin “Callie” Peters (vocals, cello), Martin Earley (guitar, vocals), and Devin Mauch (percussion, vocals) – mine immense melodies and hypnotic hooks from personal stories on their 2018 EP, Paper Crown (Nettwerk Records). Under the cover of vintage jazz-style, the five songs reflect feelings of rootlessness from four nomadic years, bouts of depression, and the ever-looming specter of political unrest hanging over the country.
Nevertheless, a noticeable glimmer of light always peeks through.
“Our lifestyle has shaped our perspective,” explains Martin. “We’ve toured so much that we haven’t been able to call anywhere home. A lot of the songwriting was done from this place of simply not having a home base. We were the perennial guests.”
“Some of the more somber moments come from a darkness I carry,” admits Callie. “I’m not an optimist, and I suffer from insomnia and depression. Traveling around on highways and utilizing the faux likes of large cooperate hotels and chains can bring a person down. Songwriting is a way to speak about sad things in a pretty and concise way while providing a distraction from some of the realities of tour life. It’s not all dreary though, and the enormous range of experiences give us the juxtaposition of happy, easygoing vintage music and dark lyrics.”
That subtle balance has transformed The Ballroom Thieves into a quiet phenomenon. Following two EPs, the group released their full-length debut A Wolf in the Doorway in 2015. Between marathons of touring, 2016’s Deadeye would spawn a string of fan favorites. They claimed real estate on prime Spotify playlists (e.g. “Your Favorite Coffeehouse,” “Relax & Unwind,” “Morning Acoustic”) with “Bees” cracking 10 million streams on the platform. Along the way, they sold out shows and delivered standout performances at festivals such as Boston Calling and Newport Folk Festival, while landing features at NPR, Baeble Music,Boston Globe, Paste, Earmilk, and many others.
Odetta Hartman – With a heart-stopping voice & wide-ranging instrumental talent, Odetta Hartman carries cowboy soul into an era where country can clash with computers, and bluegrass isn’t afraid of bass. Her debut LP 222 – an experimental, bedroom-produced hybrid of folk, musique concrète and psychedelia – was released in 2015 to critical acclaim. Alongside her partner, sound artist & radio producer Jack Inslee, Odetta continues to explore the sonic vernacular created by their uncanny collaboration: badass banjos, detuned violins, field recordings, superstitious soundscapes, and vocal stylings ranging from sensual to spooky. Her newest album, Old Rockhounds Never Die, was released this August.
Friday, Nov. 30, 8 p.m.
Tickets: $30, Saint Rose Student Ticket $10
Kaia Kater – African-Canadian roots phenom Kaia Kater couldn’t have come on the scene at a better time. As a new generation takes the reins, American roots music is needed more than ever to remind us of the troubled pathways of our own history. Born of African-Caribbean descent in Québec, Kaia Kater grew up between two worlds: one her family’s deep ties to Canadian folk music in her Toronto home; the other the years she spent learning and studying Appalachian music in West Virginia. Her acclaimed debut albumSorrow Bound (May 2015) touched on this divide, but her sophomore album, Nine Pin (May 2016), delved even further, and casting an unflinching eye at the realities faced by people of color in North America every day. Her songs on Nine Pin are fueled by her rich low tenor vocals, jazz-influenced instrumentation, and beautifully understated banjo. They earned her a Canadian Folk Music Award in 2016, and they’ve got as much in common with Kendrick Lamar right now as they do with Pete Seeger.
Tickets are available now, in person, by phone 518-274-7804, or online at www.massrycenter.org or www.troymusichall.org. Tickets may be purchased in person at the Troy Savings Bank Music Hall box office, located at 30 Second St., Troy, Monday through Friday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The Massry Center for the Arts is located at 1002 Madison Ave., Albany.
This season, Saint Rose is partnering with the Troy Savings Bank Music Hall to present this Premiere Performances Series.
The 2018-2019 Premiere Performances Series includes:
The Ballroom Thieves –Nov. 15
The Saint Rose Camerata – Nov. 17
Kaia Kater – Nov. 30
Regina Carter – Feb. 2, 2019
The Saint Rose Camerata – Feb. 16, 2019
Aaron Goldberg Trio – March 9, 2019
The Saint Rose Camerata – March 30, 2019
The Secret Sisters – April 4, 2019
Aaron Neville – April 14, 2019
Maceo Parker – May 5, 2019