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February 16 @ 9:00 pm - 12:00 am$5
Doors Open at 8pm
In the fall of 1994, in the hilly college town of Ithaca, NY a quiet redhead with a well-worn acoustic guitar befriended an outgoing writer of bad poetry who liked to sing in front of the mirror. Between, and often instead of, classes, Ben Lee and Andy Campolieto found solace–and ample reverb–in the stairwells of dorms and began to pen songs. They formed a rock-n-roll band. They gigged the local and regional bars and clubs. They made demos on cassettes and eventually their first album on CDs. A couple more bands followed, as did a move to Boston in 2000. For several years they performed in and around the Boston area as an acoustic duo before eventually fleshing out their sound with a drummer, bassist, and fiddler. Jo Henley was born.
Good things started happening fast for the band in the world of roots-rock and Americana. Jo Henley sold out popular folk venues like Caffe Lena and Club Passim; they toured, first down south and then out west; they self-released a string of critically acclaimed records that landed them on radio stations across the country and led to invitations to bigger clubs, opening acts for national acts, and festivals slots. Along the way they even befriended and made an album with Tony Markellis, Russ Lawton, and Ray Paczkowski of the Trey Anastasio Band. Tony continues to record with the band and periodically pop up at live shows too.
New England publication The Noise says, “…the rhythm and poise with which the members of Jo Henley write and perform is exquisite. Touches of Robbie Robertson and The Band and all who followed in their footsteps echo throughout this collection. The range is beautiful. The lyrics and melodies have a very familiar feel throughout, as if we have dear friends in all these songs—a rare gift indeed.”
Music critic Jay Miller wrote, “The music of Jo Henley (it’s a band, not a person) has always been a cut above, superbly crafted rootsy rock with intelligent story-songs about real people. Campolieto’s skill as a songwriter is such that most of the songs don’t deal directly with the event, but express the feelings people in that situation might experience, memories they might treasure.”
But industry vet and stalwart of the roots-music scene Bill Hurley might have nailed it best: “Jo Henley routinely goes through paradigm shifts in both style and ambition and the music from their upcoming album is their most ambitious to date. A melodic blend of jam, country, folk, west coast rock floats through these well-crafted songs about the existential human condition. Jo Henley might be one of the most underrated bands to rise out of New England in recent memory.”
The name “Jo Henley” is mashup of Andy’s and Ben’s middle names–Joseph and Henley, respectively–which makes sense as they are the outfit’s co-founders, and it’s Andy’s heart-on-his-sleeve vocals and Ben’s idiosyncratic cocktail of Stevie Ray Vaughn-meets-Jerry Garcia fretwork that remains the band’s calling card, but integral to Jo Henley’s sound is Mike Migliozzi’s accomplished and genre-bending drumming, and Kent Stephen’s gritty harmony vocals and stone-solid bass playing. No era of Jo Henley is off-limits for this quartet. They seamlessly float between folksy bluegrass, heartland country-rock, and groove-oriented cow-funk with ease and endless adventure. With a new record in the works and an aggressive touring schedule of both full-band and acoustic shows, 2019 promises to be a watershed year for Jo Henley. 25 years ago two college kids met and formed a band. They are still as excited as ever to be doing what they do. Stay tuned!