Passim Monday Discovery Series
- Alt Folk
- Indie Folk
May 13th: Low Ceilings & Abigail Lapell
June 3rd: Erin Bonnie & the Black Caps and McKain Lakey
July 8th: THEY & Letitia VanSant
The Discovery Series is a monthly event sponsored by Nine Athens Music to bring new artists into the Passim community. Through the Discovery Series, we provide a platform to connect new artists with a music-loving audience. These artists may be brand new to the club or may have performed at our campfire. festivals, but the Discovery Series features artists in a room filled with our dedicated members.
- Indie Folk
Low Ceilings is an indie-folk project currently based in Windsor, CT. While the group has taken many forms over the years, its core has always been Ben Mueller, who writes the songs; produces, records, and mixes the albums; and handles guitar and vocals live.
Low Ceilings’ recordings tactfully straddle the line between lush production value and intimate, basementy lo-fi in a way that only a college career in the Boston DIY scene could make possible. While attending Emerson College, Mueller, a Connecticut native, started the group with some friends and released an EP and two full-lengths as a full band. Boston, a veritable cornucopia of music venues formal and informal, gave them plenty of room to play. They belted their folky rock with a progressive tilt everywhere they could: basements, bars, living rooms, and venues like Club Passim, Club Bohemia, and The Middle East. Since then, the band has also performed across New England, notably in an empty swimming pool in Nashua, NH; The Met in Pawtucket, RI; and Cafe Nine in New Haven, CT. Digital Wheat Paste’s TJ Foster called their self-titled LP a “tremendously impressive record…songs that somehow sound intimately lo-fi and carefully polished all at the same time.”
After finishing school and moving back to Windsor, Low Ceilings became a Mueller solo project. The 5-song EP Least Favored Painting, out May 1st 2018, is the first release since the change. And change is good: CT Scramble wrote of the EP that “throughout its almost beachside strummings, there is a weary urban beat mysticism that permeates its mood, weighing down what could be easily sunny pop songs with something more literary, wistful, and vibey.” Mueller is currently performing solo and working up to the next Low Ceilings full-length.
Toronto folk noir songwriter Abigail Lapell draws from roots, indie and punk rock traditions. Hailed as an artist to watch by NOW Magazine, she’s toured across North America and Europe, performing on vocals, piano, harmonica and finger style guitar. Closer to home, she’s completed tours by bicycle, canoe and train. Lapell won the 2017 Canadian Folk Music Award for Contemporary Album of the Year and the 2016 Colleen Peterson Songwriting Award from the Ontario Arts Council. Her new album, Hide Nor Hair, is out now on Coax Records.
Erin Bonnie & the Black Caps
- Alt Folk
Erin Bonnie was reared and raised in the rural town of Arlee, totin’ her fiddle back ‘n’ forth, up ‘n’ down, and all around the Big Sky State. From festivals to orchestral shows, she would lay it down classic or country, and to this day she still can.
Montana formed her, but Massachusetts is the state that refined her. A graduate of the esteemed Berklee College of Music, Erin Bonnie earned her Professional Diploma in Songwriting and Fiddle in 2014. She’s been livin’ out East in big-city Boston ever since, kickin’ her heels up with sassy country rock ‘n’ roll artist Elisa Smith. In the Spring of 2017, Elisa and Erin hit the road to Music City to record Elisa’s debut EP, Hitch A Ride. The EP was produced by Johnny Duke, a gifted producer and guitar player who has played with Little Big Town, Miranda Lambert, and Chris Stapleton, among others, and was recorded at his studio, Spirit Radio Studio, in East Nashville. The EP features talent from Grammy-winning and platinum-status records.
In addition to giggin’ with her sweet country cohorts, Erin Bonnie recently launched her own 4-piece project, Black Caps, featuring an acoustic/electric mix of all-original music. Rounded out by Adam Berowitz on drums, Andrew Walls on upright bass, Ira Klein on electric guitar, and Erin Bonnie herself on vocals/fiddle/acoustic guitar, their sound is an Americana blend informed by old time, blues, country, bluegrass, and American folk traditions. With an emphasis on dark and stormy material that tells a story, their songs weave through tales of maritime journeys, jilted lovers, murderous rivers, and little girls hunted by wolves. From acoustic to electric, clean to distorted, they’re sure to take you on a journey you won’t soon forget.
McKain Lakey is a musician whose work investigates themes of oppression and empowerment through the richness of American folk traditions.
An instrumentalist, singer, and songwriter, McKain performs as a solo artist, as part of the duo Woolly Breeches, and with other bands by invitation. She is an educator and facilitator who works with groups of all ages and backgrounds to deepen their understanding of the historical and technical foundations of music and to encourage personal exploration of voice and creative power. She holds a degree from Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA.
McKain is also an experienced audio engineer who has produced countless live music events, as a front-of-house engineer, monitor engineer, and stage/production manager, in addition to her work as a studio engineer/producer. Recent projects include international tours with acclaimed band MarchFourth of Portland, OR, and mixing work on “The Gods Are Made of Mud”, the latest studio album by Hot Damn Scandal (Bellingham, WA).
A powerhouse duo consisting of Berklee College of Music students AC Muench and Oliver Esposito, playing poignant originals and funky fun covers.
Oliver Esposito, on mandolin, guitar, piano, and vocals, has played with Amos Lee, Langhorne Slim, Chris Thile, Mary Gauthier, and as a solo artist, has released a CD of all original music produced by Neilson Hubbard. Says Langhorne Slim, “Rarely have I come across one who is both virtuosic and profoundly raw and soulful at the same time. Oliver’s got it. It’s mind blowing to watch, spiritually elevating to play along with, and damn exciting to see what this incredible human has in store for us all.”
AC Muench, on bass and vocals, has played as many styles as you can name, some things of note being their work at Berklee as a session musician for the Berklee Film Scoring Orchestra, a member of the house band for the Perfect Pitch Competition, and as the principal bassist of the Berklee Motion Picture Orchestra. They also played Jenni Rudolph’s Momentum Album Release Concert and are featured on her upcoming album.
From sparse indie folk ballads to hard-hitting Americana anthems, Letitia VanSant’s distinctly intimate voice delivers songs that are both deeply personal and politically relevant. Whether performing as a duo or with her all-star four-piece band, her live shows have been described as “vibrant and approachable.”
VanSant’s songwriting has earned numerous awards, including the Kerrville New Folk Songwriting Competition, an honor shared among the likes of Lucinda Williams, Lyle Lovett, and Anais Mitchell. She is a finalist for the 2019 Baker Artist Awards and listeners of 89.7 WTMD voted one of her songs among the top 10 of the year.