Reviewed by C. Eric Banister
From the growing Boston music scene that produced Crooked Still comes another group with their own unique take on string band music, Joy Kills Sorrow with their debut national release. Fronted by the soulful soprano voice of Emma Beaton, the group produces an atmospheric sound that utilizes the award-winning guitar playing of Matthew Arcara, the mandolin virtuosity of Jacob Jolliff (Berklee's first full-scholarship mandolin student), the mood-setting banjo of Wesley Corbett and the bass playing of Bridget Kearney to set the precise mood for each song.
In addition to providing the band's bottom end, Kearney, the winner of the 2006 John Lennon Songwriting contest, wrote 5 of the 11 songs, including highlights Kill My Sorrow, All The Buildings and the beautifully haunting Thinking Of You, And Such. Beaton contributes two tracks of her own, including the playful You Make Me Feel Drunk.
The music of Joy Kills Sorrow is, as they bill themselves, "modern American string band," which, as evidenced by this fine debut, encompasses the traditional string band sounds and instrumentation mixed liberally with an indie rock sensibility that informs their modern lyrics and lush sound.
The band is an excellent product of the Berklee/Boston string band resurgence.