Five musicians from Boston brought a refreshing new soundto a muggy Southern night.
Joy Kills Sorrow performed at the College of Charleston’sCistern Yard on Thursday against a backdrop of colored lights shining on old whitecolumns and Spanish moss.
The modern string band led its audience through a pleasantlyunpredictable set. Its songs captured everything from lounge jazz tohonky-tonk, showcasing each musician individually without distracting from theband’s overall sound.
The group’s name comes from a 1930s radio stationWJKS,Where Joy Kills Sorrow, and where the famous Monroe Brothers performed bluegrassin its earliest days.
The members of Joy Kills Sorrow come from less traditionalroots. Based in Boston, the band’s members include vocalist Emma Beaton, aclassically-trained cellist from Canada; guitarist Matthew Arcara, a nationalflatpicking guitar champion; Jacob Jolliff, Berklee School of Music’s firstfull-scholarship mandolin student; Wesley Corbett, a banjo instructor atBerklee; and bassist Bridget Kearney, the group’s primary songwriter.
Kearney introduced Jolliff as “the Keith Richards of themandolin” and Corbett as “the Mick Jagger of the banjo.”
Although a relatively young group comprised of players intheir 20s, Joy Kills Sorrow comes together for a sound as veteran as the RollingStones.
Beaton’s delicately powerful voice fit neatly atop thecollaboration of accomplished string players. For a band without a drummer, thegroup successfully kept heads bobbing in time with percussive sounds from the bassand mandolin.
Joy Kills Sorrow’s performance Thursday night marked theband’s first gig in South Carolina. Beaton dedicated one of their songs to thecashier who sold them beer at Caviar & Bananas earlier that evening.
Staff writer Allyson Bird contributed to this story. AdamCrowell owns Boxed Music, a James Island-based percussion company.