Death Vessel is Joel Thibodeau's work as both a solo artist and band leader. His music, captured on the resplendent record "Stay Close", is an eloquent distillation of a life's tales. Born in Berlin, Germany before The Wall fell... raised in Kennebunkport, Maine before the senior Bush's presidency... this musician lived a childhood where the ghosts of Cold War casualties and seaport tragedies haunted the alleyways and beaches. Leaving Maine as a teenager, Thibodeau moved to Boston, Providence and New York. In Providence he was a founding member, songwriter and performer of the group String Builder. Now as then, Thibodeau captures the surreal and the sublime in wondrous song.
Thibodeau's vocal delivery is astonishing. Perhaps his singing is best-described as descendent from "the high lonesome sound" - unleashed upon the world by Roscoe Holcomb in the early 1960's. With this voice, Death Vessel delivers stunning lyrical poetry that transcends the "whisky 'n' haystack" imagery of its neo-folk contemporaries. Thibodeau brings this same unusual experimentation to the acoustic guitar (his primary instrument). The daringly melodic plucking of strings and the odd tempo changes provide expertly unexpected accompaniment.
To watch Death Vessel perform live is to watch an audience under a spell. This applies whether it's just Thibodeau alone with an acoustic guitar or with an expanded lineup that often includes regular contributors to Death Vessel Pete Donnelly (The Figgs) and Erik Carlson (Area C).