Session Americana is a rock band in a tea cup, or possibly a folk band in a whiskey bottle. This band/collective of talented musicians craft an musical experience unlike any other. On stage is a collapsible bar table wired with microphones, a vintage suitcase recast as a kick drum, an old Estey field organ, a pre-war parlor guitar, a mandocello and all of its smaller siblings, a harmonica case fire damaged when Jack's bar went up in flames and graffitied by Depeche Mode roadies, and an assortment of other instruments that get passed around in this freewheeling modern hootenanny. The anything-could-happen feel of a Session show depends on craft that's not accidental or easily won; they bring a kind of ease and genuineness to this timeless music, sometimes presenting the latest batch of original songs, sometimes reaching back into depths of the American "song bag".
No two Session Americana shows are alike. They’re rowdy, freewheeling modern hootenannies that surprise the audience as much as they surprise the Somerville, Massachusetts sextet. Session Americana has innovatively recast the live show experience as a familial gathering of musicians seated at a round table swapping songs and instruments. Although the musicians face each other, the audience feels drawn into the circle, engaged by the joyous camaraderie, playful musicality, and charmingly original music of this all-star cast of characters.
Session Americana has received numerous press plaudits for its inventively entertaining live show as well as its revelatory recorded work. The Boston Globe has praised Session Americana for its “fun, fresh take on old-fashioned, and timeless, music.” Alt-country arbiters of cool, No Depression, has called them: “The cream of the Somerville/Cambridge roots music community." Bill Janovitz, of seminal alt band Buffalo Tom, has enthused: "Every set is that magical night at the campfire that you experienced when you were a kid and never forgot." Session American has won Improper Bostonian’s “Best Roots Act” and “Best CD,” and won Boston Music Awards’ “Best Folk Act” and “Best Live Residency.” The band has also been nominated for Boston Music Awards’ “Best Americana Act” and “Best Live Act.”
Review this album in one word? Gorgeous; ten beautifully-crafted and perfectly-arranged songs, six highly-gifted players and vocal harmonies to die for. "
-MusicRiot (review of “Great Shakes”, released October 2016)
"I'll set up my remarks on Session Americana by letting you know that as soon as the show was over I ran over to buy their new album on vinyl. Because this is a band worthy of analog grooves, and I had to take some of their camaraderie and freakishly good taste home with me......The arrangements were tightly packed as their rapport, and the overall musicianship just fantastic. Better bar music was never made by white guys sitting down."
-Music City Roots Blog, May 2016
"It's right there in the name for this ultra-gifted, rotating collective of singers and multi-instrumentalists. And sprawl is a good word when it comes to the Boston-based group's raucous live shows, which were initially built around the community concept of traditional Irish seisiúns. The group, whose members have played with a variety of acts including Patty Griffin, Josh Ritter and the J. Geils Band, expertly blends vintage American roots music styles — from country to jazz to rock — in a rowdy but deft fashion."
-Rolling Stone's Must-See Acts for Americana Music Fest 2015
"Session Americana was an early highlight of the second day, with a variety of rootsy songs that were a cross between rock, country, and folk."
-HeyReverb.com, August 2015 review of the Rocky Mountain Folks Festival
"Every year, I query Planet Bluegrass communications guru Brian Eyster as to who will be my biggest surprise at Folks Fest. By now he must know my taste pretty well because his predictions are never wrong. One year it’s the Milk Carton Kids, another it’s Shane Koyczan and so on. This year Eyster thinks I’ll be blown away by The Family Crest and Session Americana. Can’t wait to prove him right again."
-Boulder Weekly, August 2015
" • You’re going there to see: Sufjan Stevens, Jason Isbell, Gillian Welch"
• You’re going to come home talking about:
Taarka, Session Americana, The Pine Hill Project."
-Marquee Magazine, May 2015 preview of the Rocky Mountain Folks Festival
"Session Americana are a rare breed, a collective of talented individuals that musically moves as one. They take their music seriously but never fail to find the joy in every note. One listen to 'Pack Up the Circus' and I’m sure that you’ll agree."
-Twangivlle, March 2015
"The harmonies of the entire band and guests weaving into each other really build something powerful, fun, and it just feels HUGE. Jim Fitting’s harmonica defies logic…he just manages to play exactly the right parts at each and every turn. The guy just doesn’t play a bad note on that thing. And Billy Beard’s drum is the glue that really keeps everything in check. The host of characters playing everything from upright bass to the beautiful harmonies lended by artists like Anais Mitchell and Laura Cortese are sublime. This is a collective, a community…Session Americana isn't just a band, its an experience. And that experience is captured wonderfully here on 'Pack Up The Circus.' ”
-Red Line Roots, April 2015
"More important than their past decade together is their present: The new album 'Pack Up the Circus' builds on the mature yet mischievous energy of 2012’s excellent 'Love and Dirt.' The work of the core four (Cavanaugh, Billy Beard, Dinty Child and Jim Fitting), with help from loads of regulars including Kimon Kirk and Laura Cortese, 'Pack Up the Circus' looks at middle age with suspicion."
-Boston Herald, April 2015
"Session has a terrific new album called “Pack Up the Circus,” coproduced with Mitchell. It’s their crowning achievement on record, a focused and vibrant statement on what it means to be an artist who’s in it for the long haul."
-Boston Globe, April 2015
"I'd give them 100 miles. That is to say, if they're playing anywhere within 100 miles of your home, you drive there and are grandly rewarded for your effort."
-Metroland, Volume 32, 2009
"Session has has developed into a travelling medicine show which eschews snake oil in favor of an ongoing grail quest for the perfect collaborative experience"
-Hot Press Ireland