The Night Eagle Cafe
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200 State Street Binghamton, NY (607) 217-7334

Vance Gilbert

(This will be Vance's 20th appearance at the Night Eagle he has become one of our most beloved performers.., and since the bio listed below was written, Vance has had the honor to become George Carlin's opening act..but has taken time out of a incredibly busy schedule to make his yearly return to the Cafe stage. Come on over and and help us wind up the year with Vance.., Peace to you and yours.., Ken)

Vance Gilbert burst onto the singer/songwriter scene in the early 90's when the buzz started spreading in the folk clubs of Boston about an ex-jazz singer who was knocking 'em dead at open mikes. The word spread of this Philadelphia-area born and raised performer to New York; Shawn Colvin invited Vance Gilbert to be special guest on her Fat City tour. Gilbert took audiences across the country by storm ("With the voice of an angel, the wit of a devil, and the guitar playing of a god, it was enough to earn him that rarity: an encore for an opener" wrote the Fort Worth Star-Telegram in it's review of a show from that tour). Gilbert's three albums for the Rounder/Philo label - EDGEWISE (1994), FUGITIVES (1995), and the celebrated, arrestingly sparse SHAKING OFF GRAVITY (1998)- are all essential additions to the American singer-songwriter collection. With guests as varied as Tuck and Patti, Jonatha Brooke, Patty Larkin, Dee Carstensen, Vinx, and Jane Siberry, all three albums found significant niches on NAC (New Adult Contemporary) and Non-Commercial A3 (Adult Album Alternative) radio. These discs were followed by the selfreleased SOMERVILLE LIVE (2000), his live recording lionized by the Boston Globe as the disc "young songwriters should study the way law students cram for bar exams", and ONE THRU FOURTEEN (2002), a stylistically varied tour de force that New York's Town and Village calls "lively, eclectic, electrifying and transcending." Follow that with SIDE OF THE ROAD (2003), a duo album with Ellis Paul, lauded as "haunting, artful, and lovely" by Boston Magazine and nominated for a 2004 Boston Music Award. UNFAMILIAR MOON stands as a most impressive cap to this discography. This is Vance Gilbert at his most fearless, timeless, compelling best. These examples of classic songwriting, presented with deep humanism and bravery, stunning artistry and soul, and unbridled joy are inarguably the blue ribbons that tie and seal the seemingly impossibly package that is.............Vance Gilbert

At the heart of everything Vance Gilbert does there are the twin towers of his compelling artistry--his voice and his guitar. I know--you're a sophisticated reader and you can't believe you just read a cliche like that. But this is not just any voice, nor just another guitar. This is the striking pairing that the Fort Worth Star-Telegram lionized as "the voice of an angel, the wit of a devil, and the guitar of a god." The industry is taking note: when the Kerrville Music Awards were announced Dec. 15, Gilbert came out on top as the Outstanding Male Vocalist of the year.

It was his voice that the Boston Globe called "undeniably expressive," the Ann Arbor News called "remarkable," and the Austin Chronicle says must always carry "a capital V." The voice has been compared in print to Al Jarreau, Donny Hathaway, Bill Withers, and to Rickie Lee Jones, for its uncanny fusion of jazz stylings and singer/songwriter confessional. Gilbert's guitar work is called "stunning" by New Age and "sophisticated" by the Boston Herald. No lesser authority than Guitar Player magazine describes it as "graceful and lush...a serious folk talent."

Raised in Philadelphia and a resident of Boston, Vance is one of a very few black artists to embrace the singer/songwriter genre. While his voice may continually garner soulful comparisons and his guitar draws flattering allusions to George Benson, Vance cites Columbia recording star Shawn Colvin as his inspiration (they have toured thirty markets together). It is this meeting of worlds that gives Vance his uncompromising edge.

Vance Gilbert made his recording debut with Edgewise on the Philo/Rounder label in 1994. Edgewise outperformed any first release in the respected independent label's history both at retail and at radio where it spent eight weeks on both the Triple A and NAC charts. Touring behind Edgewise, Vance was featured at the Philadelphia Folk Festival and made nationally broadcast appearances on Public Radio's Mountain Stage and World Cafe. He also contributed the theme video for no less than the mainstream TV's Jerry Lewis Telethon, bringing his achingly lovely "If These Teardrops Had Wings" to forty million viewers.

Vance's current release is Fugitives on Philo/Rounder. While Vance's live shows have become legend for their humor, Fugitives stakes his claim to the darker side. He maps love's rough terrain--"Scene of the Crime"--and elegantly takes on social issues while telling luminous stories rather than preaching platitudes. Canadian producer John Switzer was at the helm on a recording filled with shimmering and offbeat solos...and lots of upfront and personal voice and guitar. Jane Siberry (Warner/Reprise) joins Vance on piano for a duet recorded in Jane's living room on the bone-chilling "Just The Way That It Was." And in an inspired Motown cover (Smokey Robinson's "Just a Mirage"), the electric sitar makes its triumphant return to the airwaves.

Vance Gilbert has shared the stage with everyone from Aretha Franklin to Mary Chapin Carpenter, Arlo Guthrie, Warren Zevon, Jay Leno and Bill Cosby. Then there was that summer shed date--Chatauqua, NY, 1994. Although he was an opening act, fans rushed the stage Gilbert's set and showered him with money. They bought $1100 worth of CDs and cassettes in 15 minutes. We are honored once again to have Vance take the stage at the Night Eagle Cafe, where he will always be welcome.

Gilbert's style is a rich mix of bounding, pliant vocals, thoughtful lyrics...and sophisticated guitar riffs. The new CD shows him in mature shape, undeniably expressive. His jazz/folk image may soon make room for another label: Popular.--BOSTON HERALD

A young Al Jarreau? A black James Taylor? Jimmy Buffett with a sense of humor? Yes, most of these, and more. He will make you go back to cut three time after time, with the beautiful "If These Teardrops Had Wings," and then have you on the floor with the next cut, "Country Western Rap"....If I had to nail one word to describe Mr. Gilbert, it would have to be "infectious," because I found my interest spreading with each successive cut...and then, boom! A Surprise. About the time you feel Vance may be becoming a bit predictable, he makes you change socks. Vance certainly is an artist for the format, for there is a delectable dish for everyone. This is a CD that you will constantly be turning friends on to, and their friends, etc...four stars for a very tasty package of entertainment.--PAT MCCOY, THE MAC REPORT

Here's the next link in the Vega Colvin Gorka Story chain of perk and natural talent. Vance Gilbert has a contagious sense of craftiness to his music, spinning out of the folk idiom with gobs of personality and jazz-flavored chords.--GAVIN REPORT

Watching Vance live onstage is like witnessing a one-man "Robin Williams, George Benson, Garrison Keillor, and Al Jarreau.--THE PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER

Is this your show or mine?--BILL COSBY

I'm really looking for serious lyrical integrity. I want to be known as a writer. I know a lot of people like the performer in me. But the songs are going to last forever, I'm not.--VANCE GILBERT