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Session Americana is a Boston-based band consistently referred to in articles by variants of "a folk-rock or roots supergroup," a "who's who" or "all-star" band featuring members Billy Beard (drums, vocals), Kimon Kirk (bass, guitar, vocals), Ry Cavanaugh (guitar, bass, mandolin, organ, vocals), Jim Fitting (harmonica/vocals) and Dinty Child (mandocello, mandolin, fiddle, banjo, guitar, accordion, keyboards, vocals).
This six member group of experienced musicians came together in 2004, for informal shows at Toad (a pub in Cambridge) on Sunday nights, with Sean Staples (mandolin, guitar, vocals). Kirk moved to Los Angeles in early 2009 to play with, among others, Aimee Mann and Grant Lee Phillips, and was replaced by Jon Bistline. Kirk continued to be the primary touring bass player and eventually returned to the band full time when Bistline decided to devote more time to his day job. Session Americana had a Sunday night residency at Toad for two years, moving to the larger Lizard Lounge in Cambridge, MA when their popularity outgrew Toad's small capacity. The name Session Americana (what the bartenders wrote on the sandwich board outside of Toad on Sunday nights) went with them even though by this point they were evolving into more of a "band". Even though they have steadily played larger stages to more people, their shows continue to involve the band facing each other around a table with a single mic in the middle, passing instruments around as needed, harmonizing on old blues tunes, classic Americana songs, and original numbers written by the group members and their friends. A hallmark of Session Americana is their frequent collaboration on-stage with musical guests, including Rose Polenzani (with whom SA recorded "When the River Meets the Sea" in 2008), Jennifer Kimball (who is married to Cavanaugh), Dennis Brennan, Peter Wolf, Patty Griffin, Rachael Price, Aoife O'Donovan, and many more.
The band released four albums and continued their Lizard Lounge residency until slowing down concert appearances in late 2009 following Cavanaugh and Kimball's move to Ireland for 2009-2010. They reunited for a concert in October 2009 at the Brattle Theatre in Cambridge, MA, alongside Buffalo Tom's Bill Janovitz, and again for a tour in Ireland in May 2010. On Kimball and Cavanaugh's return to Boston, the band started playing again regularly and have been back to Europe every year since.
Since the Fall of 2010, the band has been working regularly without Sean Staples, who suffered a voice injury, and evolved into more of a collective. Jefferson Hamer, Laura Cortese, Duke Levine, Jimmy Ryan (musician), Adam Moss (musician), Alec Spiegelman, and Jason Anick have all been in "seat 6" since then, with Laura, Adam, and Jefferson taking a bulk of the road gigs, primarily around the Northeastern US, but also for short tours in the rest of the country and Canada.
Jim Fitting was one of the founders of Fort Apache Studios. He has been a member of the bands Treat Her Right, the Sex Execs, The Coots, The The, Chris Smither, and many other groups.,
Dinty Child performs solo, is a well known Boston side man, and fronts the 15 piece party band The Funky White Honkies. He has played for many years with Chandler Travis of the Incredible Casuals, (including opening for George Carlin) in the Chandler Travis Philharmonic and The Catbirds, and also Laurie Sargent, among many others.,
Billy Beard is the booking agent for Toad and Lizard Lounge in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He was a member of the 80s band Face to Face (new wave band), and as a drummer has toured and recorded with Patty Griffin, Kim Richey, Lori McKenna and many other artists.,
Ry Cavanaugh is a singer-songwriter who performs on his own, and previously performed with Jennifer Kimball (formerly of The Story) in the group Maybe Baby and was a founding member of the Vinal Avenue String Band with Sean Staples. He has co-toured Europe with Jeffrey Foucault.,
Jon Bistline co-founded and toured with the rock band Chauncey until the group's breakup in 2005. He has played with a variety of bands since.,
Kimon Kirk has performed with many musicians, including Aimee Mann. He performs his original music with his band The Meds.,
Jefferson Hamer (occasional guitar and mandolin) lives in New York City. Performs on his own, with The Murphy Beds, and Anais Mitchell,
Laura Cortese (occasional fiddle) is a singer-songwriter and fiddler who performs primarily as Laura Cortese and the Dance Cards, and tours with other artists.