Tim Eriksen & The Trio de Pumpkintown
ST JAMES HALL i
3214 West 10th Ave, Kitsilano
Accessible All ages
“One of the best voices in music” - T Bone Burnett
“Among the world’s finest folk practitioners” - Toronto Star
“The best ballad singer of his generation” - BBC Radio
There is no need to separate fact from fiction: Tim Eriksen & The Trio de Pumpkintown are the house band for New England’s most musically rich imaginary village. Asking what it would sound like if all of New England music’s subtly cosmopolitan roots were laid bare, the Trio brings a new, imaginative touch to the solid ground of acoustic folk and Americana. With strings, a varied percussion section, bows, and stunning vocal harmonies, they call on the sometimes rollicking, sometimes tragic atmosphere of New England life, as well as the copious global connections underlying some of America’s most stirring songs and dance tunes.
Founded in Western Massachusetts in 2012, the Trio’s players are perfect representatives of Pumpkintown’s invisible denizens. Tim Eriksen has both punk and folk credentials, as well as actual academic credentials in South Indian vocal and instrumental performance, and a long history of finding new sides to old songs with intensity and innovative instrumentation. He has played everywhere from rock clubs as the driving force behind the folk-noise band Cordelia’s Dad, to jazz clubs in collaboration with master musicians like Latin great Omar Sosa, to major concert halls like Carnegie Hall. He’s appeared on both Prairie Home Companion and the Academy Awards, and may be one of the only musicians on earth to have shared the stage with Doc Watson and with Kurt Cobain (not on the same night). Eriksen’s long-time friend and collaborator, drummer Peter Irvine can drive a rock song or odd-meter Romany pop tune, or evoke an atmosphere with cymbals, glockenspiel, and other percussion. Zoë Darrow studied the many facets of Celtic fiddle in Ireland, Cape Breton, and on Prince Edward Island, before beginning her musical career with her father in 2002 and later becoming a sought-out collaborator and session musician.
Together, they create a sonic portrait of Pumpkintown: Peepers burble in the pond and the wind rattles the tree branches. Fiddle tunes shake the barns, murder ballads haunt the hearth, and shape-note hymns rise from the graveyard. Percussive soundscapes, droney Mongolian horse-head fiddle, and bowed banjo cross paths with taut vocal harmonies, guitar, and frame drum. Echoes of Zanzibar and India emerge from barn-dance chestnuts, while novel instrumentation lends new force to solemn, sorrowful songs. The sonic variety and ever-changing mood has revealed how well an imagined history can reflect the truth of our past, and it’s a history that’s been embraced as the group has toured the Northeast, Midwest, and Southeast and performed at a world music festival in Singapore.