Sisters Folk Festival (SFF) will present the Boston-based band The Ballroom Thieves in concert Saturday, April 9 at the Sisters High School auditorium. After a warm and excited reception at the 2015 Sisters Folk Festival, the band is back in Central Oregon touring with their friends and peers, Tall Heights.
For The Ballroom Thieves, the band’s journey has only just begun, but their roots already run quite deep. On their most recent recording, A Wolf in the Doorway, the Thieves find themselves taking the very idea of “roots” and creating ways to make its associated sound progress, while making its encompassing spirit glow. Stylistically, the trio finds a captivating mélange of acoustic styles, blending folk conventions with modern hymnals, delta blues grit with rich harmonies, exploring the basic constructions of pop music while almost rejecting its restrictions at the same time. The band is incredibly dynamic live, with a quiet presence on ballads and a fiery delivery of some of their more rocking tunes. With Martin Earley on guitar, Calin Peters on cello and Devon Mauch on drums, the band is pushing the boundaries of acoustic music.
“Our own personal growth and explorations in songwriting and musicianship caused us to end up in this unique spot where we can generally feel free to be who we are at all times, which is sadly not a luxury enjoyed by all,” says guitarist Earley. “I think we have a certain sound at the moment, but that sound is constantly evolving, and I hope it keeps doing that.” Be sure to catch their live show in Sisters to see where this evolution is taking them.
Also performing is the duo Tall Heights, comprised of Tim Harrington and Paul Wright on guitar and cello. Their music blends soulful stories with arresting vocal harmonies that pry open emotional themes. On their recent recording “Holding On, Holding Out,” the duo widens their reach significantly, beefing up their sound with electronics, synthesizers, drums loops, and plenty of shimmer and shine.
“This record feels like a new birth for us,” says Harrington, a Boston native who grew up singing in the same local choirs as Wright. “We’re sounding different. It’s not because we were bored; it’s because we were street performers who learned how to create beautiful moments as a duo, but then we became a nationally touring act. We saw the country, and we broadened our horizons. Suddenly, we weren’t the artists we were before. But a lot of what we learned on the street still rings true to our approach today, so this record is a growth, rather than a left-hand turn.” This record draws a line between humans’ relationships with each other and their environment. It’s a call to be more present and conscious, especially when things we all hold dear — family, love, our planet — are at stake.
Tickets are $20 adult, $15 youth and the show starts at 7 pm. For more information on the upcoming SFF Presents concerts, and all 2016 Sisters Folk Festival events, visit www.sistersfolkfestival.org or call the festival office at 541-549-4979. Sisters High School is located at 1700 McKinney Butte Rd. in Sisters.