Feel the pulse of Brattleboro and Beyond with the BrattBeat Weekly! Visit the webpage or subscribe to the newsletter to receive it every week!
Blessed with a distinctive voice largely defined by a rich, cello-like timbre, U.K. Folk Legend Bridget St.John joins David Nagler for a magical night of performance in our Sanctuary.
Opening support by Stella Kola, blissful chamber-folk that balances unique delicacy with melancholic clarity.
Bridget St. John is an English singer-songwriter and guitarist who credits John Martyn and Michael Chapman as her “musical brothers” and mentors. She toured regularly on the British college and festival circuit along with other folk and pop luminaries of the time, such as Nick Drake and David Bowie, among others. In 1974, she was voted fifth most popular female singer in that year’s Melody Maker readers’ poll. Following three classic albums on John Peel’s Dandelion label in the late 1960s/early 1970s – Ask Me No Questions, Songs for the Gentle Man, and Thank You for… – Bridget found herself seeking new outlets and a new path when that label ceased operations in 1972. The album Jumblequeen followed on Chrysalis, and, after finding herself drawn towards New York City, Bridget relocated there in 1976 and began to move within the city’s underground folk music and singer-songwriter circuit.
What followed was a wealth of new material that fed her trademark sound into the melting pot of New York’s musical landscape, pulling in different influences and sounds, different musicians, and different approaches to songs. The rediscovery of Bridget’s tape archive has unearthed numerous recordings captured during that very fertile period in her career for the recent Cherry Red box set, From There / To Here, including Jumblequeen, 1995’s Take The 5ifth, and 17 previously unheard tracks, presented alongside her own contextual sleeve notes. Bridget continues to write, record, and explore collaborations with various contemporary artists including Steve Gunn, Arandel, and David Nagler, and she is the inspiration behind Scottish singer-songwriter Hamish Hawk’s 2023 song, “Bridget St. John”
Accompanying Bridget will be Brooklyn-based multi-instrumentalist David Nagler. He was the founder of NY metropolitan area pop group Nova Social, as well as the creator of concept albums including 2016’s Carl Sandburg’s Chicago Poems (feat. Jeff Tweedy, members of the Mekons, and other Chicago musicians) and 2018’s Trump cabinet-informed The Appointees, Volumes 1 & 2. His latest project is an original Brazilian music-inspired collective called As For the Future, and he is a member of the art rock supergroup Tape Hiss, which includes members of The Modern Lovers and Sonic Youth.
Hailing from the misty grottos and orchards of Western Massachusetts, Stella Kola weave haunting ballads that dig deep into the psychedelic-folk tradition while shapeshifting into captivating new forms. Stella Kola began in 2019 as a songwriting project between the singer / poet Beverly Ketch (Bunwinkies / Weeping Bong Band) and musician Robert Thomas (Sunburned Hand of the Man / Dalthom). The duo quickly amassed a body of delicate songs which hover in the twilight of the folk tradition while emanating a peculiar modernity. Ketch’s evocative lyrics have been praised for their uncanny ability to bridge the “prosaic to the phantastical”. They recently released their eponymous debut album featuring a host of masterful musical friends & collaborators (Jeremy Pisani, Wednesday Knudsen, P.G. Six, Willie Lane, Jen Gelineau & many more) most of whom will be joining them for their return to Epsilon Spires.
Critical Acclaim for their recently released debut:
“Stella Kola’s songs wash over the listener with a beautiful woe. It’s hard to see an album, especially a debut, capturing the heart as hard as this one. This is an essential record.” -Raven Sings The Blues
“Pitched somewhere between Vashti Bunyan’s breathy, quavering delicacy and Judee Sill’s conversational but melancholy clarity, Ketch’s soft sighs weave among aching strings and chiming guitars, and her gentle ruminations on the sparse space shanty “Rosa” haunt my dreams.”-Chicago Reader
“Rosa” is a delicate thing, a mythical story-song that is tenderly brought to life with acoustic guitars, woodwinds and strings delivered through the musicians’ casual proficiency. The masterful restraint of “Rosa” and the rest of Stella Kola’s shimmering debut evokes Anne Briggs, Pentangle and similar ancestors that knew the best way to honor traditions was to widen the heritage even further.”- NPR