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Clubland: Eavesdrop goes electric

  • The acoustic trio Eavesdrop goes electric on their new album. The acoustic trio Eavesdrop goes electric on their new album.

  • The new album by Eavesdrop includes contributions from supporting musicians on bass, guitar, drums and other instruments.



Thursday, November 16, 2017

 

Natural harmony — the vocal blend of three good friends — has been strong fuel for Eavesdrop, taking the pop-folk trio to places they weren’t expecting.

Kara Wolf, Kerrie Bowden and Laura Picchi began their partnership in the fall of 2014 as an acoustic side project playing cover songs in small nightspots. Now they’re a full-fledged electric band with a debut full-length album of original material, “Tides,” which they’ll celebrate as headliners at the historic Academy of Music Theatre in Northampton on Friday at 7 p.m. Opening the show are The Brother Brothers.

Eavesdrop will be joined by their new band, all of whom appear on the record: guitarist Ross Bellenoit (who co-produced the disc along with Soulive’s Alan Evans), bassist Marc Seedorf, drummer Sturgis Cunningham and special guests.

“Tides” is a diverse and sparkling 13-song album that makes room for all of the vocalists’ influences — folk, soul, pop, country both old and modern — sometimes all on the same song, like “You Can’t Keep Me Down.” The pulsing track “Hypnotized” features backing harmonies that sound like Stevie Nicks snuck into the session. “Danger” and “Red Moon” are unique combinations of dramatic ‘80s rock hooks with folky touches, like three-part harmonies, or a mandolin.

“This record was huge for us — a task that we never thought would be possible,” Wolf said in an interview earlier this week. “Eavesdrop sort of happened by accident in some ways. We had planned to perform a bit as a trio, but never expected it to take shape like this with so much momentum.

“Most of this has been new territory for all of us,” Wolf continued, “so I'd say we have grown a lot both as a band and individually along the way — as songwriters, singers, players, and businesswomen. It's been a whirlwind of a journey, for sure.”

Guitarist and co-producer Bellenoit spoke excitedly about working with the inspired trio. “I was floored with how strong the songs were. Their vocal chemistry is undeniable, but they also really stepped up their writing chops. I felt like their music deserved a few (appropriate) bells and whistles, and they were excited to go there.”

Everyone in Eavesdrop’s band has been part of their extended family for some time — Bellenoit and Wolf have been friends since high school, Cunningham and Wolf played together in bands years ago, and Seedorf engineered the trio’s very first recordings.

“While we knew each one of them would sound and work well together, we were all blown away by how easy the rehearsals and song workshops were,” Wolf said. “We have a lot of fun together!”

 

Here’s a hot tip for something to do before the Eavesdrop record release concert on a chilly late-autumn night: get toasty with a rare “Piano-Warming” at the nearby Werner Josten performing Arts Library on the Smith College Campus on Friday from 5 - 6 p.m. Free and open to all.

To celebrate the arrival of a new Steinway to the Josten Mezzanine (and also make good use of the space’s excellent acoustics), pianists from the Smith community will play stylistically diverse short pieces on the instrument. Chris Golé, Judith Gordon, Monica Jakuc-Leverett, Grant Moss, Jerry Noble, Jiayan Sun, Lisa Utzig ’18 and Mike Vargas are among the participating musicians — and after the concert, you may even get a chance to sit at the grand instrument yourself. As the folks in charge put it, “Come to listen and stay to play.” (A rare opportunity, as it’s a place for studying.)

It’s part of the JostenLive! Fridays@Five concert series, for which librarians bring into the space live theater, music and dance. “People have literally danced in the aisles,” said Gordon, an associate professor of music at Smith, who’s already been able to spend a little time playing the new piano, a gift from an alum.

Gordon was happy to keep mum about the pieces to be played Friday, saying, “It will  be a kaleidoscopic surprise.”