23 February 2018

Guy Van Duser & Billy Novick

Amy Kucharik opens

On Friday, February 23, the me&thee welcomes back Guy van Duser and Billy Novick to its stage. Long-time fans of this phenomenal duo surely have some fabulous memories of past performances. Van Duser’s exquisite guitar stylings coupled with Novick’s jazzy clarinet playing have all the makings for a memorable concert. ¶ Somerville’s Amy Kucharik brings her ukulele stylings and sassy repertoire as the opening act.

Concert starts at 8:00 pm

Guy Van Duser and Billy Novick

Together as a duo for more than thirty years — longer than most marriages — Guy and Billy have performed in concerts, clubs and festivals all over North America and Europe. They have also been heard on the Prairie Home Companion show, NPR’s All Things Considered, and any number of film and television soundtracks.

Their unique and stunning swing-jazz music has been described as “Elegant.” “Riveting.” “Soulful.” “Classic mastery.” They have a musical telepathy and understanding that has been honed by playing together for so long, a rhythmic drive that doesn’t quit and a thorough mastery of their instruments. Add to all of this their relaxed and engaging stage manner, and you will be treated to a joyously entertaining and musically enchanting show that, indeed, has already stood the test of time.

And like a good marriage, their music has wed together two perfectly suited musical personalities. Their music is based around Guy’s innovative finger-style guitar wizardry, and his uncanny ability to play bass lines, chords and melodies all at the same time. With his daring imagination, breathtaking technique, and his wonderful musicality, Guy has become an inspiration for guitarists all over the world.

Novick’s ever-inventive and soulful clarinet playing provides the ideal complement to Guy’s guitar. With his vast knowledge of the classic jazz era, his dazzling improvising skills, and his entertaining vocals, Novick is able to both add a melodic and dynamic spark to Guy’s guitar. Their music sounds fresh and original yet is also deeply rooted in the rich legacy of the classic jazz age. The duo can play any piece from their huge repertoire — an obscure Ellington tune, a Gershwin classic, a complex Jelly Roll Morton arrangement, or perhaps one of their originals and immediately have it sound their own.

. . .

Amy Kurcharik

Amy Kucharik is a ukulele-slinging singer-songwriter based in Somerville, Mass. The 2015 Kerrville Grassy Hill New Folk winner explores the full range of her instrument’s capabilities as a tool to convey a complex array of subjects and moods: Whether humorous, topical or intense, she steers listeners away from the ukulele’s perception as a merely twee novelty instrument. At the same time, Amy wants her audience to have a good time, and her performances are infused with vaudevillian charm and an infectious, danceable swing. Her music draws from a range of influences including blues, ragtime jazz, folk, pop and country . . . as well as aesthetics garnered from film and literature. Amy’s catchy, sexy, sometimes haunting songs recount tales of reluctant love, heartbreak, revenge, and grit.

Photo by Caroline Alden

This program is supported in part by a grant from the Marblehead Cultural Council, a local agency which is supported by the Mass Cultural Council, a state agency.

  • Guy Van Duser and Billy Novick:
  • . . . two elegant gents of the swing music world. . . . Garrison Keillor, Prairie Home Companion
  • They’ll stun you with the mastery of their playing. . . . Birmingham, AL News
  • Riveting echoes of an earlier jazz era. . . . Washington Post
  • . . .
  • Somerville MA’s Amy Kucharik and her ukulele kinda stole the show . . . with the light, upbeat sounds of her instrument and voice against the dark humor of her lyrics, giving the crowd a good chuckle. Texas Outside
  • Whether solo or with band, the superb musicianship and songwriting combined with stage presence that can only be earned is an experience not to miss. Tom Bianchi, host of the Burren Backroom Concert Series