Catch Kerri Powers' rising star at Vanilla Bean Café
By Denise Coffey - Staff Writer
Pomfret - posted Mon., Jul. 8, 2013
When two of her songs were picked up for play on the Fox television show “Rescue Me,” Kerri Powers' star started to rise. It was shortly after the 2009 release of her album, “Faith in the Shadows.” Powers called “Sweet Crusade” and “Fireworks and Cheap Repairs,” risqué songs that fit in well with the drama about New York firefighters. Since then, the Connecticut resident has been crafting songs and an acoustic style of play while touring U.S. and European venues.
It has been a busy few years. She has appeared at the Philly Folk Fest, the Telluride Blue Grass Festival and at shows from New England to Florida. Her tours have even taken her to the United Kingdom, Belgium and the Netherlands. “They have a completely different appreciation for independent music, especially in the Netherlands,” Powers said.
On July 13 Powers will bring her Americana style to the Vanilla Bean Café in Pomfret. The self-described roots and soul singer will bring her Martin J-40 and self-penned songs to the Quiet Corner's own folk circuit venue. “The Vanilla Bean has a wonderful reputation,” Powers said. “For well-regarded songwriters, it's definitely a sought-after venue.”
Every Saturday night, and on the first Friday of the month, the Bean offers a variety of performances, from blues to folk, rock to jazz. The music is across the board, said Bean owner Barry Jessurun. But it's the folk music that has cemented its reputation on the New England folk music circuit. “A lot of people who like that music have to drive to Boston, Providence or Northampton,” he said. “We try to get people who are getting air time in New England or who have a following in New England.”
Maria Sangiolo books acts for the Vanilla Bean. Powers isn't the only performer with international or national tour credits who has performed there. “We depend on more established names to create the audience for other artists who are new,” Sangiolo said. “It keeps our reputation strong in the minds of other artists." Powers joins a list that includes Claudia Schmidt, Lori McKenna and the Atwater~Donnelly Band.
But while the café is well known in folk circles, it doesn't have the local following one might expect. Sangiolo chocks it up to the lack of air time. “The masses don't generally know folk music,” she said. “They know popular music because of air play.” She would like to see more area support. “These people put on fantastic performances,” she said. “We'd really like people to know what's going on behind our black curtain.”
Powers said her songs reflect her life experiences. “I'm not a fluffy song writer,” she said. “I lean more towards what people might consider the darker side. But it's also a very hopeful side.”